Gallia County, Ohio
A letter Written By Columbus Drouillard
Concerning Mr. Daniel Prose
We take the following extract from a letter written by Columbus Drouillard, as it settles the ultimate fate of Mr. Daniel Prose, who left this county for California in the spring of 1849. The letter is dated Middle Fork of North Yuba, Sierra county, July 2d, 1852:
I saw Mr. William Armstrong and spoke to him as regards Dan'l Prose. He says he formed an acquaintance with Prose at Durango, Mexico---that Prose was on his way to California, in company with a man from New York by the name of Barnum, and also a Dutchman named Jake---that he joined a company of Mexicans at Durango to fight the Apacha Indians, serving the Mexican Government---that he served about six weeks against the Indians, during which time they had one battle with them, sixty in company contending against four hundred Indians---they killed several Indians and took a large number of mules and horses, and that Daniel was not well at that time---he fought like a man and had the praise of all his comrades. The company was en route to a place called Quinkerna, some 60 miles from where they had the fight with the Indians, when Mr. Prose was taken with a severe diarrhea, and was left at a confortable place and there taken good care of by one of his companions. He died about the 18th of December, 1849, in the State of Durango, Mexico, at a Ranch. Palo Blanco is the place or near the place where he was buried. Mr. Armstrong did not know all the particulars, but it was Daniel Prose no doubt; he was lame. He won the esteem of all his fellow travellers.
[Source: Gallipolis Journal (Gallipolis, Oh.) Thursday, August 26, 1852 - Transcribed and submitted by Kathy McDaniel]
Letter from California - Written by A. W. Drouillard
The last mail brought several letters from Gallia county boys, now in California. Mr. A. W. Drouillard writes, under date of June 3d, from the 'Forks' on the Yuba. He says, "This is a mountain stream and comes gushing and whirling down from the Sierra Nevada, clear as chrystal and cold as ice. We have splendid timber on the mountains as well as in the valleys. The water is too high now for good digging, but some are making their pounds while others but ozs.; but all are sure of a fair return this season, with common luck. Claims are selling for from $1,000 to $5,000. This is decidedly the richest in California. Incredible stories are afloat this morning. A man came in with $40,000 from the diggins close under the Sierra Nevada. A man, with health and industry, can make money here, but he has to undergo a great deal of fatigue, &c(etc). Those who come out this fall will be apt to fare badly unless they are well supplied." All the Gallia boys are well so far as he had information of them. [Gallipolis Journal (Gallipolis, Oh.) Thursday, August 15, 1850]
Letter from California, written by Columbus C. Crouillard
Below will be found another letter from California from a Gallia boy, Columbus C. Drouillard. We publish it for the perusal of the many friends of young Drouillard, and as it contains something of interest to the general reader.
Downieville, Forks of the North Yuba,
California, June 21, 1851.
Dear Father: It is with feelings of great joy I write you this letter. We received your last letter with pleasure. You wished me to give a description of California, which I now sit down to do. I cannot describe Lower California for the reason that I never have been down in the Valley, but those who have been extol it highly. Lemuel Gates was here this week; he has a farm in Sanwasa Valley, with twenty acres of barley and forty acres of potatoes under cultivation. He says it is a splendid country and likes it very much. Coombs, a brother to J. J. Coombs, of your place, is in with him. California is the garden of the world; everything grows almost spontaneously. The most beautiful flowers I ever saw, and unlike ours, are here. There is some land here yet vacant, some forty or fifty miles from San Francisco, about the head of the Bay, and more game than you ever beheld, the plains are covered with deer, antelope, elk, geese, ducks, brants, &c(etc)., also in the rivers salmon the finest you ever saw, the meat of which is red and most delicious; they are very large and like our pike. I like the climate of California very much, the world cannot produce a better. In the valleys the soil is very rich, but the rolling hills and mountains are very rocky and rough but generally well timbered.---Some small valleys in the mountains would make good farms, but I would prefer the valley if I wished to remain. I think of taking a farm myself next spring if I am not successful at my present business.
I am now making from 10 to $25 per day and will save my money. I am in a business in which I can do well. We are keeping a bakery, store and boarding house, with some fifteen boarders. My partner is a young man from Tennessee. There is a great deal of gold at this point. The flat on which I live is very rich; I own one-third in a shaft which has just been sunk, high on the head of the flat; the first claim below it is very rich, and ours may probably turn out so. * * * * *
Life in California is one of excitement. There are many different kinds of people here, Chillians, Peruvians, &c(etc)., &c(etc)., and it is amusing to see the manners of the different nations. The California Indians are a poor, small, degraded set, very sloven and live upon acorns and meat.
Since my departure from home I have learned much of the world. A person being raised in the best manner cannot form the first idea of the trails and hardships in this country, and the poorest man in your county is a lord in comparison. Many times we have no house to shelter us, nothing for a covering but the canopy of heaven, yet with all this we are satisfied and why? because we are in search of that which makes our earthly enjoyment. Yet what has it done, every man has not made a fortune; no, it has ruined more than it has made four to one. Many broken constitutions and dissipated lives have been the result, and many have found an early grave. Between St. Joseph and California it is almost one continued string of graves. How many there are whose hopes have been blasted, who have sacrificed their all to come to California, and who have amassed debts instead of fortunes.
I would like to be at home with you all but I cannot come until I make four or five thousand dollars. I think I can make it in one or two years. I am weaned from home now and will strike while the iron is hot. * * * Brother Anthony is here and is mining, and will do well. One or both of us will be home in the fall or spring if we do well.
You are acquainted with Mr. Prose, who lives nine miles back of Gallipolis. Well a gentleman told me that Daniel Prose, a young man who was lame in his left leg, started for California with him from Durango, in Mexico. He was sick for seven days with diarrhea and died about 30 miles from Durango; he was a married man he said. His father does not know it, you will please acquaint him of it. In your last letter you spoke of some deaths, young Roman Menager and some others; I was pained to hear it. Roman was a fine young man and possessed a good heart; he has gone to a better world I hope. * * * The society here is not very good, but I trust there is a time coming when California will be a State of the finest morals, in fact it is hastening to be one of that class. Many families have migrated from the East and West, and are fast settling up her fine valleys and plains.
Tell the young ladies not to be in a hurry about getting married until the California boys return, for they have been through the flint mill, have seen the elephant, &c(etc)., and are worthy of any one. There are, I suppose, some of the finest young men in this country the world ever produced, the most thorough going and resolute; you cannot muster up in any country such a multitude of young men; you might say they are the bone and sinew of the world.
C. C. DROUILLARD.
[Source: Gallipolis Journal (Gallipolis, Oh.) Thursday, August 14, 1851]
Letter From California, written by A.W. Drouillard
We received a letter last week from A. W. Drouillard, Esq., in California, under date of Downieville, April 12th. The Gallia boys were all well, so far as he had heard. He gives a glowing description of the scenery near his location, which the crowded state of our columns prevents us publishing. He is engaged in mining with his brother Columbus, and talks of returning this coming winter, with pockets full of the dust. With the letter we received a ring of the California stamp.
[Source: Gallipolis Journal (Gallipolis, Oh.) Thursday, June 17, 1852 - Transcribed and submitted by Kathy McDaniel]
LETTER FROM LIEUT. J. P. DROUILLARD.
We are permitted to publish the following letter from Lieut. Jas. P. Drouillard, who was in the battle at Manassas:
Camp Turnhill, Va.,
July 28th, 1861.
Dear Father: I am again back to our old camp, opposite to Washington, on the Potomac. The grand army, as you have doubtless heard ere this, was beaten by the enemy before Manassas, and completely routed. I cannot describe to you the scenes and events of our march to and from the battle-field. I was with a battallion of Regulars, numbering about 600 fighting men, under command of Maj. Syeks a Marylander by birth, but a true and loyal soldier. Four of my classmates were with me, and four of the class which graduated just before us---also two captains who were my instructors at West Point for three years. Our little battallion was on the field seven hours, and is the only one that never left the field after entering it, until the final retreat.
We won the victory at first, but while the rebels were falling back we saw in the distance immense volumes of dust raising, and knew they were reinforcements. Johnson's column came upon us just in time to turn the wavering scale. Our volunteers fought well at first, and wherever they met the enemy on equal grounds, they repulsed them. By some means a panic was created among our troops---whole regiments threw down their arms, and ran for their lives. When defeat became inevitable, Gen. McDowell said the safety of the army depended on the Regulars, and ordered Maj. Sykes, our commander, to cover the retreat of the volunteers. Our little band was surrounded at one time by their cavalry, artillery and infantry, but we fought our way out, and while interposed between the retreating volunteers and the pursuing enemy, we were subjected to the most terrific fire. Maj. Sykes was all through the Mexican war, and says he never saw anything like it. Two of our officers were taken prisoners; they fell wounded, and our retreat was so rapid we had to leave them. I will not attempt to picture to you the battle-field, your imagination will suggest to you what a horrible sight it is to see over one hundred thousand men, on a single plain, engaged in deadly encounter. I never expected to get off the field. I expected to fall every moment---men were falling all about me---legs and arms, flying in every direction---the groans of the dying, and screams of the wounded are still in my ears.
You can form no conception of the rout of a large army. We marched forty-seven miles that day, without food and without water and rest. We were so sure of success, that all our cooked rations, blankets, &c(etc)., were left in the enemy's rear, the point from which our column attacked. Twenty-five or thirty pieces of artillery, a large number of muskets, blankets, knapsacks, &c(etc)., fell into the hands of the enemy, besides many army wagons filled with munitions. The rebels are now hovering over Washington, and an attack is hourly expected. They had better not be to emboldened by their sucess. I think they lost two to one in killed and wounded. Gen. McClellan is here to supersede McDowell.
I would like to come home and see you all before we make another advance, because being with the Regulars, who never run, I do not expect to ever return from another campaign.
I hope you will get the trunk I sent you. My diploma and other valuables are in it; should I fall, my army trunk, containing many valuables, is stored at ____in Washington. My effects would be taken charge of by the War Department, but in case of difficulty, you will know where to apply. I will do my duty, and if the fortunes of war result adversely to me, I will leave a good record.
Your affectionate Son,
J. P. DROUILLARD,
Lieut. U. S. A.
[Gallipolis Journal, (Gallipolis, Oh.) Thursday, August 08, 1861 - Transcribed and submitted by Kathy McDaniel]