Ft. Yuma, Cal.
August 27th 1855
My dear Sister,
Your letter of the 15th of April found me at Benicia, where we arrived on the 12th of July after a rather fatiguing march from Salt Lake; glad however to get fairly away from the Mormons and hope we have seen the last of them.
Our stay in Benicia was cut short by an order from Gen’l ___. for this Company to go to Ft. Yuma. Accordingly I left San Francisco on the 30th day of last month on the steam ship “Republic”_____ San Diego; reached there on the 2nd of Aug’t & then marched 220 miles to this place where we arrived on the 18th; crossing a desert of [100?] miles with the thermometer 110° in the shade—so you can imagine that I have had quite enough of marching within the last year.
I was only one day in San Francisco and time to see very little. I took breakfast with Mr. & Mrs. Baker, both of whom are very well, and have grown immensely large since I saw them last [Nov. 18?] particularly.
I was exceedingly disappointed to find on my arrival that Bragg had declined the Majority in the new Cavalry Reg’t, as I had fully calculated upon being promoted to his Company and expected to be able to go east immediately on arriving at Benicia—instead of this, here I am writing under the hottest sun I have ever felt. [Dad?] Kendrick characteristically said when he was here that this place was hell with the fires put out. I agree with him, except I think the fires are hardly out yet. This fort is located at the juncture of the Colorado & Gila, with a desert on both sides, and when we have any wind at all, it comes from the one or the other, and is a perfect sirocco. I have yet a chance to get away. I hope when my promotion does come it will take me to the other Company as if Bragg should resign, I understand he intends to, I may get his Company. Jim I hope received my letter, and acted upon it, and if he hears of Bragg’s resignation I hope he will try and do something so as to get me the Company. I am satisfied of one thing now—in the Army, merit is no recommendation & political influence is every thing. I have given it a fair trial & give it up. The less you do the more worthless you are—the more favours you can obtain and the more apt you are to be advanced—this seems to be the rule in our [service?] a [promotion?] is offered for worthlessness—I may say that I never have been so fully disgusted with the Army as within the last twelve months.
When in San Francisco, I saw a Mrs. Peachy who had recently been to the Sandwich Islands, and had seen Will & Becky, but you have heard from them undoubtedly more recently than this.
William ________, who was a Cap’t in one of the new Reg’ts in the Mexican War, is leaving here. He has just heard from home, Pittsburg, and told me of the death of Isaac Lighton at his father’s in P.
I wrote to Jim a few lines about Col. Copper’s business before I left Benicia & hope he has attended to it. I would like to know if Jim has any money of mine uninvested as I wish if I am to stay in this country to have some things purchased for me & sent, not tho’ until I am settled. I cannot tell what I do want.
Tell Sam & Rob. that quail abound here in the greatest numbers, but with the thermometer 110° in the shade, during the day altho’ we hear them all round us they are unmolested by dog or gun. I bagged some 40 [or so?] on the march here, between San Diego & the desert, but I have to give it up until the weather gets cooler; the birds are hatched here and grown by the beginning of August, so they need not think I murdered them—in October I expect to have some fine sport.
When you write please let me know what Jim has done in reference to the matter of getting me the Light Company of the Reg’t in case of Bragg’s resignation. Maj. Anderson is an applicant & has Gen’l Scott’s recommendation, but that I think will have but little influence—he is not fit for it, and will not be commended by the Col. of the Reg’t—this I know from the Col. himself. Col. Nauman, who is at present in command of the Reg’t at Benicia.
When you write, direct to Benicia, care of the Adjt. 3rd Arty. until you hear from me again. Give my love to Aunt, Hal & Jim & the rest when you write, & believe me, your affectionate Brother,
John F. Reynolds