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May 27, 1864: Morgan Hill

May 27, 2014

[Today] we came on up the San Jose Valley, twenty-one miles. The day was intensely hot, 97°, the air scorching and dusty. The drought is terrible. In this fertile valley there will not be over a quarter crop, and during the past four days’ ride we have seen dead cattle by the hundreds. The hot air trembled over the plain, and occasionally a mirage seemed to promise cool weather ahead, only to vanish as we approached. The mountains on either side were bathed in a haze and seemed all tremulous in the heated air.

We got to the 21-Mile House and camped under the old oak trees. We had camped there before, once in ‘61, and again in ‘62. The spot seemed familiar and awoke pleasing memories, and that night, on the ground under the trees, sweeter sleep came than had for many a long night before.

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