The names of new mines appear constantly and vanish almost at a touch, suggesting the fairy-like evanescence of their riches.
But a few of the letters here will best speak for themselves; not all of them are needed. It is perhaps unnecessary to say that there is no intentional humor in these documents.
To Orion Clemens, in Carson City:
ESMERALDA, 13th April, 1862. MY DEAR BROTHER,--Wasson got here night before last "from the wars." Tell Lockhart he is not wounded and not killed--is altogether unhurt. He says the whites left their stone fort before he and Lieut. Noble got there. A large amount of provisions and ammunition, which they left behind them, fell into the hands of the Indians. They had a pitched battle with the savages some fifty miles from the fort, in which Scott (sheriff) and another man was killed. This was the day before the soldiers came up with them. I mean Noble's men, and those under Cols. Evans and Mayfield, from Los Angeles. Evans assumed the chief command-- and next morning the forces were divided into three parties, and marched against the enemy. Col. Mayfield was killed, and Sergeant Gillespie, also Noble's colonel was wounded. The California troops went back home, and Noble remained, to help drive the stock over here. And, as Cousin Sally Dillard says, this is all I know about the fight.
Work not yet begun on the H. and Derby--haven't seen it yet. It is still in the snow. Shall begin on it within 3 or 4 weeks--strike the ledge in July. Guess it is good--worth from $30 to $50 a foot in California.
Why didn't you send the "Live Yankee" deed-the very one I wanted? Have made no inquiries about it, much. Don't intend to until I get the deed. Send it along--by mail--d---n the Express--have to pay three times for all express matter; once in Carson and twice here. I don't expect to take the saddle-bags out of the express office. I paid twenty-five cts. for the Express deeds.
Man named Gebhart shot here yesterday while trying to defend a claim on Last Chance Hill. Expect he will die.
These mills here are not worth a d---n-except Clayton's--and it is not in full working trim yet.
Send me $40 or $50--by mail--immediately.
The Red Bird is probably good--can't work on the tunnel on account of snow. The "Pugh" I have thrown away--shan't re-locate it. It is nothing but bed-rock croppings--too much work to find the ledge, if there is one. Shan't record the "Farnum" until I know more about it--perhaps not at all.
"Governor" under the snow.
"Douglas" and "Red Bird" are both recorded.
I have had opportunities to get into several ledges, but refused all but three--expect to back out of two of them.
Stir yourself as much as possible, and lay up $100 or $15,000, subject to my call. I go to work to-morrow, with pick and shovel. Something's got to come, by G--, before I let go, here.
Col. Youngs says you must rent Kinkead's room by all means--Government would rather pay $150 a month for your office than $75 for Gen. North's. Says you are playing your hand very badly, for either the Government's good opinion or anybody's else, in keeping your office in a shanty. Says put Gov. Nye in your place and he would have a stylish office, and no objections would ever be made, either. When old Col. Youngs talks this way, I think it time to get a fine office. I wish you would take that office, and fit it up handsomely, so that I can omit telling people that by this time you are handsomely located, when I know it is no such thing.
I am living with "Ratio Phillips." Send him one of those black portfolios--by the stage, and put a couple of pen-holders and a dozen steel pens in it.
If you should have occasion to dispose of the long desk before I return, don't forget to break open the middle drawer and take out my things. Envelop my black cloth coat in a newspaper and hang it in the back room.
Don't buy anything while I am here--but save up some money for me.