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November 24, 1860: En Route to Southern California

November 24, 2010

Steamship "California"[November 22-23] were spent in the greatest activity, buying blankets, getting tents made, getting harness, saddles, some groceries, tea and coffee, etc., and [today] we were on board a steamer* for San Pedro, 380 miles southwest of San Francisco. Four of us started. Professor Whitney went to Mariposa with Colonel Frémont, intending to come down by the next steamer, about three weeks later. As first assistant, the company was placed in my charge, a heavy responsibility I would like to have had placed on someone else. We were to come down [to Los Angeles], buy mules, provision and equip fully, and go into camp and await Professor Whitney.

Elephant Seals

(c) Scott Cox 2010

Well, we sailed [today], a most lovely morning, and took our course down the coast to the southeast. There are two small rocky islands just at the Golden Gate and they were completely covered with sea lions, a kind of large seal, apparently nearly as large as a walrus. They barked at us as we passed and many tumbled into the sea, but hundreds were basking in the sun or moving about with awkward motions.
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*The Senator, under Captain Seeley, which did regular runs up and down the California coast. In 1863 The Senator was witness to (and Captain Seeley was killed in) the explosion of the Ada Hancock off San Pedro.

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