Lot 814"Santa Fe N.M., February 24th", military adjutant endorsement on 1849 datelined folded letter to Saint Charles Mo., carried military courier on the Santa Fe trail, entered mails with "Westport Mo, 26 March" and matching ms. "10" rating; some edge wear, Very Fine.
Estimate $1,000 - 1,500.
The contracts for carrying the mail on the Santa Fe Trail were let by the military authorities in the Quartermasters General's Office at Fort Leavenworth to civilian contractors in 1848 and 1849. The mail service was very irregular during this period, with the cost of each delivery being carried under special contract at $600.00 per round trip. The military maintained their own courier service to Fort Leavenworth were all letters would then enter the U. S. Postal service.
Dr. E. B. Bateman informs his brother Newton of life in Santa Fe, during a very dull winter season where, the main story seems to be about the tragic journey of Col. Fremont, including the death of many of his men during their journey to Taos in a severe winter storm. Fremont crossed from the Plains through La Veta Pass 9,382 feet into the interior valley west of the Sangre de Cristo range then on south to Taos.
This is the tragic story as written by Dr. Bateman: "…Col. Fremont & men were here a few days since en route for California. They were compelled to put into Taos (Tous) for succor, having lost all their mules & ten men from famine & cold & besides nearly all else they possessed they suffered greatly & appeared like shadows of natural men, but in time American spirit, meek, submissive & determined. There is a great spirit here of emigration to the west, numbers have already gone & many more, probably to the number of 100 will emigrate from Santa Fe to the west this spring, highly bound for western California. I have recently been a trip 50 miles blow on the famous Rio Grande, it is a beautiful mountain stream meandering through scenery as Grotesque & lovely as beautiful as any in the world." .