HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,
San Francisco, Cal., June 24, 1863.
Major CLARENCE E. BENNETT,
First Cav. Cal. Vols., Commanding Camp Morris, San Bernardino, Cal.:
SIR: The department commander has directed in order that you will proceed to and assume command of Fort Yuma. The condition of the command and the many abuses preaviling at that post make it necessary that you should proceed to the point designated as soon as you possibly can, consistent with the best of the service and the preservation of the public peace in the section in which are now serving. The inclosed papers will measurably inform you of the existing abuses at Fort Yuma. On the subject alluded to, the general desires you to make a thorough investigation, reporting your opinion to this office. Previous to leaving your present command you will instruct your successor in his duties and the objects in view in the establishment of your camp. Should you think Captain Johnson unfit for so responsible a position you will not hesitate to make your opinion known to the commanding general.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
R. C. DRUM,
Owen's River Valley, Cal., June 24, 1863.
Colonel R. C. DRUM, U. S. Army,
Assistant Adjutant-General, San Francisco:
COLONEL: I would most respectfully state that while at Camp Babbitt, near Vasalia, Cal., I had frequently urged the officers there in command to represent to the general commanding the departmet the necessity of a military force at or near Fort Tejon. Since my arrival in Owen's River Valley I have examined the matter more thoroughly and feel convinced to that those who are acquainted with its geographical position and the topography of the surrounding country will not hesitate to state that it is the key to both Owen's and Tulare Valleys. Had it been so occupied last winter the outlaws and rebels would not have dared to congregate at Tulare Lake, from whence they issued to commit their depredations upon the defenseless Union citizens who inhabit that portion of the country, for the road through to the south would have been shut up to them, and had they passed by Keysville and Walker's Pass they would have been either cut off or forced into a pathless desert. The Indians, too, finding themselves between two fires, would not have been so apt to have renewed hostilities. Forage and escorts could there be procured for trains passing from San Pedro to Stockton, or from San Pedro, to Owen's Valley. It is almost a matte of impossibility for any force from Little Lake, Owen's Valley, to pass the desert to Elizabeth Lake without ample forage, as there is nothing upon the route upon which animals can subsists, and, being almost always without barley in Owen's Valley, valuable train might become an easy prey to hostile bands of Indians or to worse hordes of desperadoes who infest that section of country. I sincerely hope that the suggestions which I have had the honor to make will not be looked upon by the general commanding the department in the light of one wishing to intrude upon his precisious time, or who, from the many acts of kindness of which he has