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October 20, 1861: San Ramon

October 21, 2011

Camp 52

[This] morning heavy clouds hung overhead and enveloped the mountains. All prophesied rain. We were in a sorry plight to meet it there, out of provisions and no wood—we used dried “buffalo chips” for fuel, but as there are no buffalo here that means cow chips, or in camp parlance “counterfeits.” Money was reduced to less than twenty-five dollars, so I ordered a start, although it was Sunday. The whole camp was decidedly in favor of it. It is the first Sunday that we have traveled all day, although twice we have traveled a few hours, and the previous Sunday had moved our camp three miles.

First our way lay through Livermore Pass, about eight miles, among rounded hills over a thousand feet high, then we emerged into the Livermore Valley. We crossed the plain about fifteen or sixteen miles, a tedious ride. At Amador we stopped, fed our mules, and got our dinner. Here are two taverns, a grocery, and about two houses besides. A horse race was coming off in the afternoon, and a mixed crowd of fifty or a hundred Americans, Mexicans, and Indians had assembled—decidedly a hard looking crowd—drinking, swearing, betting, and gambling. After dinner we came on here, where we camped some five weeks ago—at Major Russell’s.

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