California Gold

The "placers" or Gold Mines of California, are located in the valley of the Sacramento, in the northern part of that new territory. They are all on the public lands, with the exception of the portion belonging to Messrs. Forbes and Sutter. The region which they embrace and which lies, according to authentic reports, on both sides of the Sierra Nevada, must be "larger than the State of New York." The mines, it is estimated, are worth a thousand millions of dollars. The most reliable information in regard to them may be found in the official reports communicated to the authorities at Washington, by some of the American officers who have visited the region. The following document is of this nature. The author of it, Col. Mason, the military commander in California, speaks, as will be seen, from observation, and the fullest confidence may be placed in his account:--

HEADQUARTERS 10TH MILITARY DEPOT, Monterey, California, Aug. 17, 1848. SIR:--I have the honor to inform you that, accompanied by Lieut. W. T. Sherman, 3d artillery, A. A. A. General, I started on the 12th of June last to make a tour through the northern part of California. My principal purpose, however, was to visit the newly-discovered gold "placer," in the Valley of the Sacramento. I had proceeded about forty miles, when I was overtaken by an express, bringing me intelligence of the arrival at Monterey of the U. S. ship Southampton, with important letters from Com. Shubrick and Lieut. Col. Barton. I returned at once to Monterey, and dispatched what business was most important, and on the 17th resumed my journey. We reached San Francisco on the 20th, and found that all, or nearly all, its male inhabitants had gone to the mines. The town, which a few months before was so busy and thriving, was then almost deserted.