Wednesday, July 1, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

In the morning, Brigham Young and other members of the Twelve rode up the bluffs to John Taylor’s camp on Mosquito Creek, where they met together with Captain James Allen and his men from Fort Leavenworth.  Captain Allen presented a letter of introduction from President William Huntington at Mount Pisgah.  He also showed the brethren a letter from Colonel Stephen W. Kearny, authorizing Captain Allen to recruit Mormons for a battalion to march toward Santa Fe.  The decision had already been made by the brethren the previous evening to support the government and raise the battalion.

At 10:40 a.m., the council called the men in the camp to assemble.  They gathered around a wagon used as a stand.  President Young introduced Captain Allen, who then addressed the people.  He explained that his mission, authorized by the President of the United States, was to enlist  five hundred Mormon men into a battalion to help take California in the Mexican War.  He wanted the men to be ready to leave in ten days.  If he could not get five hundred men, he did not want any.  He read his orders and passed out copies of a circular which had also been passed out at Mount Pisgah.

President Brigham Young next addressed the assembly.  The men were very anxious to know the feelings of the brethren on this matter.  President Young explained that this call to service was something that he had been hoping for and that it would bring about much good.  He probably explained about Jesse C. Little’s mission to Washington D.C. to enlist support from the government.

There were very bitter feelings in the hearts of the men toward the government for past injustices.  But President Young tried to help them make a distinction between the general government and those in public positions who oppressed the Saints in Missouri and Illinois.  The government in general should not be blamed for acts perpetrated by the mob.  He said, “The question might be asked, is it prudent for us to enlist to defend our country? If we answer in the affirmative, all are ready to go. . . . If we embrace this offer we will have the United States to back us and have an opportunity of showing our loyalty and fight for the country that we expect to have for our homes.”

President Young next issued the call to raise the Mormon Battalion:   “Now I want you men to go and all that can go, young or married.  I will see that their families are taken care of; they shall go on as far as mine, and fare the same, and if they wish it, they shall go to Grand Island first.” 

Captain Allen stated that he would write to President Polk and ask that permission be granted to let the rest of the camp stay in Indian Territory while the Battalion was away.

Elder Heber C. Kimball formally proposed that the five hundred men be raised as asked by the government.  The motion was unanimously supported by the brethren.  President Young immediately rose from his seat and said, “Come brethren, let us volunteer.”   Elder Willard Richards started to take down names of volunteers.

The men in the camp were still hesitant.  Henry W. Bigler wrote: 

It was against my feelings, and against the feeling of my brethren although we were willing to obey counsel believing all things would work for the best in the end.  Still it looked hard when we called to mind the mobbings and drivings, the killing of our leaders, the burning of our homes and forcing us to leave the States and Uncle Sam take no notice of it and then to call on us to help fight his battles.


Later, members of the Twelve met in John Taylor’s tent to work out some of the details with Captain Allen.  There were good feelings in the meeting.  Brigham Young proposed that he and Heber C. Kimball should travel to Mount Pisgah to raise volunteers.  He understood the urgency to raise the Battalion.  President Young wished to have the rest of the camp settle on Grand Island for the winter while the Twelve would travel further west with their families.

In the afternoon Brigham Young and the others returned to their camp near the river.  Some of Brigham Young’s teams had already been sent across the river.  President Young asked the Twelve to delay crossing over the river for the present time.

Patty Sessions recorded in her diary:


The boat [ferry] is done, ready to cross. The word is for us to be ready to go to the river at 10 o'clock. When 10 o'clock came the word was, put the teams to the wagons and start in 10 minutes. Before that time was up the men were called to a public council. One of the troops have come in to enlist men for one year to go to California. The Twelve had a private council after and Brigham is going back to Mt. Pisgah and sent word to us to stay where we were if we chose.


Lorenzo Dow Young arrived back from his trading expedition to Missouri.  He found the rest of his family well and they were glad to see him.

A son, Mason Lyman Tanner, was born to Sidney and Louisa Tanner.[1]


Between Mount Pisgah and Council Bluffs, Iowa:

At 6 a.m., Parley P. Pratt, traveling back to Mount Pisgah, met William Clayton’s company.  Later in the morning, Wilford Woodruff traveled a few miles and was also met by Elder Pratt, on his way to raise a company of pioneers to go over the mountains.  Elder Pratt of course had no idea that the plans and changed and that now a battalion would be raised.  He delivered his message to Elder Woodruff’s camp of fifty wagons.  Elder Woodruff traveled twenty miles this day.  William Clayton traveled seventeen miles and remained a few miles ahead.

Further to the west, near the Indian village, Hosea Stout and a large company returned to work on a bridge.  A new foreman was selected and they decided to build a “drift bridge.”  This bridge would be a large raft which was to be built on top of the old bridge that had mostly been washed away.  Many wagons were backed up at this point, waiting for the bridge.  Hosea Stout wrote, “Our encampment now was very large.  The hills were full of our tents & waggons and seemed to be nearly as large as the first camp when it started in February [at Sugar Creek].”


Mount Pisgah, Iowa:

Sister Mary Richards spent the morning unpacking her chest to let things air out, and spent the rest of the day packing for her planned departure on the following morning.  She had been at Mount Pisgah since June 12.

In the afternoon, Parley P. Pratt arrived and called for a meeting at 5:30 p.m.  He informed Ezra T. Benson that he had been called to serve in the Quorum of Twelve Apostles, taking the place of John E. Page.  Isaac Morley was being sent to take Elder Benson’s place in the presidency of Mount Pisgah.  Elder Benson wrote: 


Bro. Parley P. Pratt came down from the Bluffs with a line from President Brigham Young, directed to me, stating I was appointed one of the Twelve Apostles to take the crown of John E. Page, and if I accepted of this office, I was to repair immediately to Council Bluffs and prepare to go to the Rocky Mountains.  A brother offered to take my family to the Bluffs with his own team, and not owning a horse at this time, I went to see Bro. Ross to buy one.  He said he had none to sell, but said if I was called to be on of the Twelve Apostles he would give me one, and he turned out to be his best riding horse.


The meeting was held and Elder Pratt called for a company of five hundred pioneers to travel without their families over the mountains.


Bonaparte, Iowa:

Far to the east, on the Des Moines River, a daughter, Mary Coltrin was born to Zebedee and Mary Coltrin.[2]


Sandwich Islands (Hawaii):

The Brooklyn raised anchor and again started to sail for California.  The Orrin Smith family was left behind because of illness.[3]  As they sailed, it soon discovered that they had a stowaway.  The stowaway was a young lad from the U.S. Army.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 203‑207; “John Taylor’s Journal”; “Extracts from the Journal of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:36; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 57‑8; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:56; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:144; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 173; William Clayton’s Journal, 52; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 137 The Instructor, May 1945, 217;  Rich, Ensign to the Nations, 32; “Diary of Daniel Stark,” Our Pioneer Heritage 3:498; Ward ed., Winter Quarters, The 1846‑1848; Life Writings of Mary Haskin Parker Richards, 67‑8; Esshom, Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, 1198; Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia; Patty Sessions Diary in Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:61






Thursday, July 2, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

A general meeting had been called at 10 a.m. near the river.  This meeting was to further inform the Saints about the Mormon Battalion and the leaders asked able men to step forward and enroll.  John Taylor recorded in his journal that he had hard feelings against the government.  However, he felt that the raising of the Mormon Battalion would give them a legal right to go to California.

Captain James Allen worked to secure the formal permission of the Pottawatomie Indians for the Saints to settle on their lands.  The agreement read:


We the undersigned chiefs and braves representing the Pottawattomie tribe of Indians near this subagency do voluntarily consent that as many of the Mormon people now in or to come into our country as may wish from cause or necessity or convenience to make our lands a stopping place on their present emigration to California may so stop, remain and make cultivation and improvement upon any part of our lands not now cultivated or appropriated by ourselves, so long as we remain in the possession of our present country, or so long as they shall not give positive annoyance to our people.


Brigham Young ate dinner with Patty Sessions.  He instructed her company to move down to Council Point, so they all started preparing to make the move.  Brother Freeman came to get Patty Sessions to deliver his wife’s baby.  She went back three miles to Parley P. Pratt’s camp and helped deliver a baby girl into the Freeman family.

Brigham Young finished taking his teams across the Missouri River on the ferry.  A camp was established about four miles to the west at Cold Spring.[4]   Lorenzo Dow Young also started taking his teams over.  When he learned that his brother, Brigham, was making another trip with the ferry, he paid those running the ferry extra money so that he could also finish taking his teams over.  He wrote, “I went over and got back about half after ten, tired almost to death.  I actually felt as if I had not strength enough left to undress myself.  Went to bed and rested as well as I could, for the mosquitoes.” 

Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards moved their camps further away from the river on the east bank, and dug a ten-foot well, finding plenty of good water.  Elder Kimball’s daughter, Helen Mar Kimball Whitney wrote:


Mosquitoes were so troublesome near the river that we were obliged to move back, and as we were far from water, the brethren dug a well close by.  As it was nearly dusk when they concluded to move from the river, and being very weary, I, with one or two others accepted an invitation from the Chief’s daughter to accompany her home; and when returning, finding the wagons gone and not feeling strong, she urged me to return and stop over night, which invitation I accepted though I spent a somewhat nervous and wakeful night.


Between Mount Pisgah and Council Bluffs, Iowa:

With the bridge finished, Hosea Stout attempted to cross it.  There was a great rush to get across because everyone was afraid that the poorly constructed bridge would not last.[5]  Brother Stout made it across and then reached the next stream a mile further where another new bridge had just been finished.  He wrote: 


There was large companies of Indians followed us today for several miles and in fact they thronged around us all the time we were building the bridge & at times would come in droves to the camp but they were very civil, friendly & good‑natured and done none of us any injury while we were here.  They would amuse themselves sometime by swimming in the creek in large numbers and sometimes at playing cards at which they seemed to be very dexterous.  They appeared to be much interested at our operations while at work which seemed to be a great novelty to them.


Brother Stout moved on about 18 miles and camped in the prairie just after crossing a small, deep stream.

William Clayton lost his horses during the night.  He searched for them four miles to the east but could not find them.  He went back to his camp and later found them a mile to the west.  His camp moved out about 10 a.m., passed through the Indian village at sundown, and camped at the Nishnabotna River where the new bridge had been built.


Mount Pisgah, Iowa:

In the morning, Parley P. Pratt and Ezra T. Benson started for Council Bluffs.  Sarah Rich wrote that at about this time the brethren in the settlement found that they needed to “stake and rider” the fences in order to secure their crops from the cattle.  She explained, “Now I expect that many of my readers will not know what stake and rider fences mean, for they do not see much of that kind of work in this day.  They put stakes cross ways on each end of their poles, and then laid another pole on top of the old fence, which made the fence some higher than it was so the cattle would not jump over the fence.”

Phinehas Richards also departed with his family in one wagon.  They had originally planned to stay at Mount Pisgah longer, but Phinehas’ brother, Elder Willard Richards, asked them to move ahead to Council Bluffs.  They traveled about eight miles on good roads and in pleasant weather.


To the west, on the Oregon Trail, Nebraska:

The Mississippi Company of Saints neared the North Fork of Platte River.[6]  During the night someone came into the camp and cut loose several of the Saints’ horses.  By morning, three were missing.  During the morning, the Saints met a company from California who told them the distressing news that there were no Mormons on the route ahead of them.  All this time, the Mississippi Company thought they were behind the main body of the Saints.  They now understood the truth, which caused much dissatisfaction in the camp.  Some wanted to turn back, but they decided to press on to Fort Laramie.


Nauvoo, Illinois

Franklin D. Richards and his brother Samuel W. Richards were preparing to leave for their mission to England.  At the temple, Thomas Bullock pronounced a blessing on some important packages that would be taken by these brethren to the east and to England.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 207; The Instructor, May 1945, 217; Woman’s Exponent, 13:135, 150; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 195; William Clayton’s Journal, 52; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 173; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:144; “John Taylor Journal,” typescript BYU; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church 3:143; “Thomas Bullock Journal,” BYU Studies 31:1:74; “Sarah Rich Autobiography,” typescript BYU, 58; “John Brown Journal,” Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:426; “Louisa Pratt autobiography,” Heart Throbs of the West 8:241; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 67; Patty Sessions Diary in Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:61


                             Friday, July 3, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Helen Mar Kimball Whitney had spent the night with the Chief’s daughter.  In the morning they both went out to pick blackberries and other wild fruit in the woods.  Helen was impressed by her new friend.


I learned that her parents had separated, as her mother was now living with her and did most of the work.  Though dressed in her native costume she looked neat and kept the house tidy, and could cook equal to white women. . . . Later she showed her taste and skill in braiding my hair in broad plaits, after the latest French style, and put it up ‘a la mode’! In the evening she accompanied me to the Camp.


Many of the men were busy moving their wagons across the river.  Lorenzo Dow Young got up very early and worked hard, driving teams up the bluffs on the west side of the river.  Charles Decker soon arrived across the river with four yoke of oxen to help Brother Young.  With an additional yoke of oxen, they hauled wagons up the hill.  They could only haul up one wagon at a time.  At one point, one of the oxen panicked and tipped over a wagon which contained some children.  Luckily, the children were not hurt.  They made several more trips with the help of Jedediah M. Grant and camped near a small creek at Cold Spring.

Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards started toward Mount Pisgah at 9 a.m. to raise men for the Mormon Battalion.  They rode in President Young’s carriage while other men in the party rode on horseback.  At 1 p.m., they stopped at the Mosquito Creek camp and had dinner with George A. Smith, Orson Pratt, and Orson Hyde.  At 5 p.m., they passed several companies traveling to Council Bluffs, numbering 180 wagons.  After a thirty-four-mile journey, they camped with Ebenezer Brown and John I. Barnard.  The brethren talked with the men in the camp about enlisting into the Battalion until midnight.

Zadoc Judd was among those who heard President Young’s message to enlist.  He wrote that they made


a request that all who could possibly be spared should enlist as soldiers in the government service to serve as such for the term of one year.  This was quite a hard pill to swallow‑‑to leave wives and children on the wild prairie, destitute and almost helpless, having nothing to rely on only the kindness of neighbors, and go to fight the battles of a government that had allowed some of its citizens to drive us from our homes, but the word came from the right source and seemed to bring the spirit of conviction of its truth with it and there was quite a number of our company volunteered, myself and brother among them.


Between Mount Pisgah and Council Bluffs, Iowa:

William Clayton’s company started early and traveled four miles before breakfast.  As they traveled, they met Brigham Young’s company and learned about their mission to recruit the Mormon Battalion.  It was their belief that raising the battalion would help the Church, and if the call to service was rejected, it would bring more persecution upon the Church.  After they parted, William Clayton traveled a total of twenty‑five miles, camping near Hiram Clark.

Further to the east, after traveling twelve miles, Hosea Stout’s oxen could go no further because of exhaustion.  The other brethren he was traveling with wanted to go on and did.  Brother Stout was totally out of food and pleaded with them to leave some with him for his family but they did not.[7] Brother Stout found a nice camp by a beautiful spring and soon other companies joined him there.  A man named Henry Nebeker, who was not a member of the church, let Brother Stout get milk from his cows and gave him a piece of bacon, and ten pounds of flour.  By night there were many companies at the campsite.  Shortly after dark, members of the camp saw a carriage and some horsemen coming from the west and feared that the U.S. officers might be returning.  They soon found out it was Brigham Young and his company.  President Young only stopped for a few minutes to talk with Hosea Stout.  He explained about the mission to raise recruits for the Mormon Battalion at Mount Pisgah and Garden Grove.  Brother Stout wrote, “Their presence seemed to give new life to all the camp who flocked around them and asking so many questions that they could not answer any of them.  But after a few words of comfort to us they went on.”

Still further to the east, as Wilford Woodruff was traveling toward Council Bluffs, he was overtaken by Parley P. Pratt and Ezra T. Benson.  These brethren wanted Elder Woodruff to return with them immediately to Council Bluffs. Elder Pratt was still following his mission to raise a company of pioneers and then to quickly return to Council Bluffs.  Elder Woodruff decided to join them, so he saddled his horse and off they went.  He commented that he “had an interesting time once more with Br.  Parley.  And to add to the interest of the days ride, we passed through the main village of the Pottawatomie Indians the first time I ever passed through a large village of Indians in my life.”  They continued riding until dark and made their beds in the grass on the side of a hill.  Soon the mosquitoes attacked them and they moved to the top of the hill where the wind was blowing.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

Franklin D. Richards and Samuel W. Richards boarded a steam boat, leaving Nauvoo for their mission to England.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 207; William Clayton’s Journal, 52, 53; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:56; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:144; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 173‑74; Woman’s Exponent, 13:135; “Zadoc Judd Autobiography,” BYU, 21;


                          Saturday, July 4, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

William Clayton finally reached the camp at Council Bluffs.  He was delayed for much of the day, searching for horses and trying to find food for his hungry family.  He attended a council meeting at Captain Allen’s tent.


Between Mount Pisgah and Council Bluffs, Iowa:

Hosea Stout continued his journey to Council Bluffs slowly because his teams were so weak.  The weather was hot and muggy.  He only traveled about six miles, reaching Keg Creek, where there was a small grove.  Here his oxen gave out again.  After a rest in the afternoon, he continued on for three more miles and camped on the prairie.

Further to the east, and heading in the opposite direction, Brigham Young was in his carriage ready to go at 8 a.m., when Elders Parley P. Pratt, Wilford Woodruff, and Ezra T. Benson met him. Elder Woodruff had not seen President Young for almost two years, as he had been away serving as the president of the British Mission.  He wrote, “It was truly a happy meeting.  I rejoiced to once more strike hands with those noble men.”

Elder Parley P. Pratt reported that he had raised a company of eighty-four pioneers for the mountains.  President Young informed them about the new plans to raise the Mormon Battalion.

At 9 a.m., Parley P. Pratt continued his journey toward Council Bluffs.  Since there was no longer an urgency for Elders Woodruff and Benson to reach Council Bluffs, they joined Brigham Young’s group, traveling back to Mount Pisgah where they would retrieve their families.  After they had traveled twenty miles, they found Elder Woodruff’s company.  Brigham Young met Elder Woodruff’s seventy-year-old father, Aphek Woodruff, for the first time.  Wilford Woodruff stayed with his family then resumed his journey toward Council Bluffs.  He rode fifty miles on this day and was very sore, stiff, and sick.

At about a half hour before sunset, Brigham Young’s group passed through Pottawatomie Indian Village, pressed on for eight more miles, and spent the night  in Isaac Morley’s camp.  They counted 206 wagons during the day.

At 10:30 p.m., President Young retired for the night in Father Morley’s tent.  It soon began to thunder, lightning and rain.  He had to crawl into a wagon to avoid getting too wet.  Many tents in the area blew down during this hard downpour of rain.


Mount Pisgah, Iowa:

A wedding party was held with dancing and music, with “a thunderstorm to wind up the celebration.” 


Putnam County, on the border of Iowa and Missouri:

A Mr. L. Marshall wrote a letter to the President of the United States, “There is a set of men denominating themselves Mormons hovering on our frontier, well armed, justly considered, as depredating on our property, and in our opinion, British emissaries, intending by insidious means to accomplish diabolical purposes.”  He asked for an armed force to be sent to “expel them from our border.” 


Nauvoo, Illinois:

Almon W. Babbitt, one of the Nauvoo Trustees, took William Law on a tour through the temple.  Brother Babbitt had been a longtime friend of Law’s,  who was one of the missionaries that introduced Brother Babbitt to the Gospel.  This temple tour did not please many members of the Church still in Nauvoo.  Thomas Bullock wrote, “Many persons expressed their dissent of the act and well do I remember Joseph’s words, ‘If it were not for Brutus, Caesar might have lived.’ So has Law proved a Brutus unto Joseph.”  William Law had published the “Nauvoo Expositor” which was a catalyst to the martyrdom of the Prophet.

Martha Haven wrote to her mother in Sutton Massachusetts:  “We think soon of going to Farmington, Iowa.  We shall probably stay there till fall.”  Her husband, Jesse, “talks of boxing our things ready for the wilderness. . . . We have sold our place for a trifle to a Baptist minister.  All we got was a cow and two pairs of steers, worth about sixty dollars in trade.” 


Pacific Ocean:

The Saints on the Brooklyn recognized Independence Day.  Samuel Brannan brought out the cloth that he obtained at Honolulu and had the women make it into uniforms for the men.  Each man had a military cap and there were fifty Allen revolvers available.  Brother Brannan then drilled the men with the help of Samuel Ladd, an ex‑soldier, and Robert Smith, another passenger who understood military tactics.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 208‑9; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 174; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:144; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:57; “Thomas Bullock Journal,” BYU Studies, 31:1:74; Cook, William Law, 117; “The Ship Brooklyn,” Our Pioneer Heritage 3:490; “Louisa Pratt Autobiography,” Heart Throbs of the West, 8:240; Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 96; Holzaphel, Women of Nauvoo, 173


                            Sunday, July 5, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

The weather was extremely hot and muggy.  Lorenzo Dow Young wrote, “It seems as if we could not live.”  Hosea Stout finally arrived at Council Bluffs.  He searched and found Elder Orson Hyde who was the presiding Church official at the camp.  Elder Hyde recognized Brother Stout’s destitute condition and invited him to stay near his camp, which was on a ridge.  Brother Stout pitched his tent and prepared for what he expected would be a long stay.  In the evening he took his wife to be reunited with her mother.  He wrote, “Our feeling on meeting was very tender without a word being said we all burst into tears in remembrance of the loss of my little son Hosea.” 

Hosea Stout then went to see U.S. Captain James Allen, who was on another ridge “situated under an artificial bowery near his tents with several men in attendance having the ‘Striped Star Spangled Banner’ floating above them.  He was a plain non-assuming man without that proud over bearing strut and self conceited dignity which some call an officer‑like appearance.”  They had a pleasant conversation about the battles that had occurred recently on the Rio Grande River.


Between Mount Pisgah and Council Bluffs, Iowa:

During the night, a White Hawk Chief named Oquakee came and camped near Brigham Young and his company.  They were hungry so President Young asked a brother to give the Indians a fat cow.  Brigham Young promised them another cow when they returned to Council Bluffs.  The Indians, were of course, very pleased.

At 8:30 a.m., Brigham Young’s company resumed their journey toward Mount Pisgah.  At 11:30 a.m., they stopped when they came upon a number of brethren.  Brigham Young preached and continued recruiting for the battalion, but he sensed that it had little effect.  He reproved Andrew H. Perkins for harboring a wrong spirit in his company, to which Brother Perkins responded to with gratitude.

Samuel H. Rogers reflected on reasons to join the Battalion, “It was like a ram caught in a thicket and that it would be better to sacrifice the ram than to have Isaac die.  Reflecting upon the subject, it came to my mind that Isaac, in the figure, represented the church . . . and for the saving of its life I was willing to go on this expedition.”

At this location was the Phinehas Richards’ company, including Mary Richards.  President Young asked Mary Richards if her husband, Samuel W. Richards, had left Nauvoo for his mission to England.  She told him that she believed that he had.  President Young was pleased.  He asked her if it had been hard to part with him and how she was doing.  She responded: “[I] told him it was hard and I stood it the best I could being satisfied that I had to endure it.  I did the best I know how.”  Elder Kimball also remarked that he was pleased that Samuel W. Richards had gone on the mission and said that he was a good boy.  Mary wrote:  “[They] told me to be a good girl and it would only be a little while before I should meet him on the other side of the Rocky Mountains.”

Willard Richards, Samuel’s uncle, also visited with Mary Richards and the rest of the family.  He mentioned that if Samuel W. Richards and Franklin D. Richards had not left for their missions, they would have been asked to join the Mormon Battalion.  A third brother, Joseph, was being counseled to join the battalion as a drummer.  Mary shared with Willard Richards her trials and asked for a blessing.  He replied, “You have got your hearts desire and there is every blessing in the world for you and what do you ask more?”  He gave them some good instruction and had to leave them at 4 p.m.

Brigham Young’s company continued their journey.  During the day they counted 240 wagons.


Mount Pisgah, Iowa:

Jesse C. Little arrived at the settlement on his way to deliver the news regarding the battalion from President Polk to Brigham Young.[8]  Certainly he discovered that Captain Allen had already been to Mount Pisgah on this mission.  He went to the wagon of Louisa Pratt and delivered to her some money from her husband, Addison Pratt, who was serving a mission in the South Pacific.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

Meetings were held in the temple.  Almon Babbitt spoke in the morning and Joseph Young spoke in the afternoon.  He spoke against abusing wives, children, and animals.  Erastus Snow left Nauvoo for his trip back to join his family whom he had left at Garden Grove.  Brother Snow had earlier returned to Nauvoo to try to sell his property.  He did so, for about one fourth the real property value.  On this day he crossed the Mississippi with his brothers William and Willard  Snow.

A daughter, Barbara Young Crockett, was born to David and Lydia Crockett.[9]



With the aid of American settlers in the vicinity of Yerba Buena (San Francisco) Colonel John C. Fremont defeated the Mexicans recently in two battles.  On this day, the American Californians declared themselves independent, and placed Fremont as their leader.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 209; “Samuel H. Rogers Journal”; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:144; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 174‑75; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 138; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:380‑81; Donna Hopkins Scott, The Crockett Family, 14e; “Thomas Bullock Journal,” BYU Studies, 31:1:75; Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:103‑15; “Louisa Pratt Autobiography,” Heart Throbs of the West 8:240; Ward ed., Winter Quarters,  68, 76


                           Monday, July 6, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Hosea Stout went to Trader’s Point, a little town on the Missouri River, a few miles downriver from the ferry crossing.  He described it as an “Indian village which consisted of some scattering houses and was mixed up with French & half breeds.  All not amounting to many.  This was where they kept their trading houses & large business no doubt is carried on.” 

At the river crossing, many were moving their wagons over to the other side.  It was hard work and very slow going.  George Miller crossed over with thirty-two wagons.  He was going 114 miles west Pawnee Village, a Presbyterian mission station which was recently raided by Sioux Indians.[10]  His mission was to go to the village, salvage any possessions, and bring them back to Bellevue, which was across the river from Trader’s Point.

Hosea Stout went for a visit across the river.  “The hill is uncommonly steep on the other side.  The landing was at the mouth of a deep ravine up which it was now contemplated to make a road as it would not then be a very steep hill to assend.”  He went with Orson Pratt, George A. Smith, and others to find a good route for the proposed road.  It would be very difficult to make because the area was heavily timbered and there were very many ravines.

On his way home, Hosea Stout met George W. Harris.  They had a long talk and Brother Harris advised him to enlist in the Mormon Battalion.  Brother Stout wrote, “I then returned home again as I went not yet knowing what to do.” 


Between Mount Pisgah and Council Bluffs, Iowa:

Wilford Woodruff continued his journey toward Council Bluffs.  An Indian chief and some squaws camped nearby that evening.  The chief said that he was going to meet with Mormons and “smoke the pipe of peace.”

Near Mount Pisgah, Iowa:

Brigham Young and his company arose very early, at 4 a.m., and were on the road by 4:30.  They stopped for breakfast at Ezra Chase’s camp.  Eleven miles outside of Mount Pisgah, they met Charles C. Rich and Jesse C. Little, who joined their company.  As they passed Daniel Russell’s camp, they blessed his sick wife.[11]  In the evening they reached Mount Pisgah.  During the day they passed 241 wagons, including 63 that were camping across the river from Mount Pisgah.  They had counted a total of 800 wagons and carriages between Council Bluffs and Mount Pisgah.  Brigham Young spent the night at President William Huntington’s house.


Chimney Rock, Nebraska:

The Mississippi company of Saints came to Chimney Rock.  They stopped at Horse Creek and repaired wagons.


Voree, Wisconsin:

James J. Strang, who claimed to be Joseph Smith’s true successor, was proclaimed “imperial primate.”  John C. Bennett, a former counselor to Joseph Smith, was named Strang’s general‑in‑chief.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 209‑10; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 175; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:57; William Clayton’s Journal, 53; Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, 210; Van Noord, King of Beaver Island, 49; “John Brown Journal,” Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:426


                           Tuesday, July 7, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Hosea Stout was looking for a way to get food for his family.  He did not want to resort to begging, so he went down Mosquito Creek to the sawmill and tried to find work.  There was not any there and his health was getting so poor that no one would have hired him anyway after taking a look at him.

Thomas L. Kane, the new influential non-Mormon friend, arrived at Council Bluffs from Fort Leavenworth.  Henry G. Boyle wrote,


While I was waiting at Colonel Sarpy’s [trading post at Trader’s Point] for the Battalion to be organized and mustered into service, a stranger (Colonel Kane) arrived at the Point and obtained board and lodging at the same place.  After gaining an introduction to me, he soon entered into an animated conversation relative to our people, their history, religion, etc.  I found him to be a very pleasant and affable gentleman, and very easy and fluent in conversation.

Brother Boyle was at first cautious but Kane soon presented a letter of recommendation from Jesse C. Little.  “I soon found that his sympathies and good feelings were all in our favor.”

Thomas L. Kane later wrote about his first impressions of Council Bluffs:


They were collected a little distance above the Pottawatomie Agency.  The hills of the high prairie crowding in upon the river at this point, and overhanging it, appear of an unusual and commanding elevation. . . . This landing, and the large flat or bottom on the east side of the river, were crowded with covered carts and wagons; and each one of the Council Bluff hills opposite was crowded with its own great camp, gay with bright canvas and alive with the busy stir of swarming occupants.  In the clear blue morning air the smoke streamed up from more than a thousand cooking fires. . . . From a single point I counted four thousand head of cattle in view at one time.  As I approached the camps, it seemed to me that the children there were to prove still more numerous.  Along a little creek I had to cross were women in greater force . . . washing and rinsing all manner of white muslins, red flannels and parti‑colored calicoes, and hanging them to bleach upon a greater area of grass and bushes than we can display in Washington Square.


Between Mount Pisgah and Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

The day was very hot.  Wilford Woodruff described, “Our cattle came near melting.”  He moved his camp within twelve miles of Council Bluffs.

Phinehas Richards’ company was several miles behind.  Mary Richards wrote, “Having no wood, we started before breakfast, went 1 mile, found wood & stopped to take refreshments, after which we proceeded.  Crossed several bad slews and hard hills.  The weather being very hot, we rested from 11 till 3.  Met about 40 Indians.” 


Mount Pisgah, Iowa:

At 10 a.m., Brigham Young dictated a letter to be sent to the Samuel Bent, the president of the settlement at Garden Grove.  He sent him an advance message about the need for volunteers for the Mormon Battalion.  He explained that the battalion would march to Fort Leavenworth to receive their arms, ammunition and other provisions.  He emphasized,


This is no hoax.  Elder Little, President of the New England churches, is here also, direct from Washington, who has been to see the President on the subject of emigrating the Saints to the western coast, and confirms all that Capt.  Allen has stated to us.  The U.S. want our friendship, the President wants to do us good, and secure our confidence.  The outfit of these five hundred men costs us nothing, and their pay will be sufficient to take their families over the mountains.


The recruits were to be between age eighteen to forty‑five.  They were to immediately go to Council Bluffs.  Drummers and fifers were wanted.  The rest of the Saints would be gathering on Grand Island in the Platte River, about 120 miles to the west of the Missouri River, where there was a salt spring which would be of use to make salt.  He anticipated that before spring, they would be able to bring all of the Saints to Grand Island, even the poor.

Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball conducted a meeting to raise the Mormon Battalion.  Heber C. Kimball said, “If you leave your wives, your wives shall be taken care of . . . and if any of you die, why die away and the work will go on.  I suppose that many think that you are going to starve to death.  But I will tell you [that you] will never want.  You will have abundance and to spare.”  Jesse C. Little also spoke.

Sixty‑six men volunteered.  Eighteen-year-old James S. Brown, was one of those who stepped forward.  He had not as yet been baptized, but was so moved by the speaking of Brigham Young that he went to Grand River and was baptized.  He wrote in his memoirs: 


This done [my baptism], the happiest feeling of my life came over me.  I thought I would to God that all the inhabitants of the earth could experience what I had done as a witness of the Gospel.  It seemed to me that, if they could see and feel as I did, the whole of humankind would join with us in one grand brotherhood. . . . Elder [Ezra T.] Benson said the Spirit’s promptings to me [to enlist] were right. . . . He told me to go on, saying I would be blessed, my father would find no fault with me, his business would not suffer, and I would never be sorry for the action I had taken or for my enlistment.  Every word he said to me has been fulfilled to the very letter.


In the afternoon, President Young wrote another letter, this one addressed to the Nauvoo Trustees.  He included one of Captain Allen’s circulars asking for volunteers and wrote, “By this time you will probably exclaim, is this Gospel? We answer, yes.  We shall raise these five hundred men from among those who are driving teams between this [Mount Pisgah] and Council Bluffs.”  He mentioned that there were 2,805 wagons between and including those points.

His main purpose for this letter was to ask the Nauvoo Trustees to send all the men and boys on the road to Council Bluffs immediately, leaving behind women and children.  These men would take the place of those who would leave for the Battalion.  The men were needed to move the camp to Grand Island, build houses, and make hay.  When they arrived at Grand Island, they would unload and quickly return to Nauvoo to take all of the Saints out of the city by fall.  The Trustees were encouraged to sell the temple, but not use the money to buy more teams.  Rather, it should be used to pay off the temple hands and gather provisions.  They were instructed clearly to send Thomas Bullock and his family to the camp immediately.  Finally, he mentioned that they received an offer to build a mill about fifteen miles north of Council Bluffs on the east side of the Missouri River.


Monterey, California:

Commodore Sloat, in command of the United States squadron in the Pacific, bombarded and captured Monterey, California



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 221‑26; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:57; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 176; “Juvenile Instructor,” 17:74; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 198, 99; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 22‑25; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church 3:380‑81; “Mount Pisgah Journal,” July 7, 1846; Ward ed., Winter Quarters,  67


                        Wednesday, July 8, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

In his quest to find a way to get food for his family, Hosea Stout started going through all his things to select articles which he could take to the settlements to trade for provisions.  However, his health was so poor that he knew that he would not be able to go.


Keg Creek, Iowa:

Elder Woodruff, twelve miles from Council Bluffs, went to bless Sister Mary Ann Grant (wife of David Grant) who was in labor.  About five minutes later she gave birth to a daughter whom they named Mary Ann Grant.  He wrote, “Thus the Saints bear children by the wayside like the Children of Israel in the wilderness.”[12]

Wilford Woodruff saw about fifty Sioux Indians pass the camp, heading east.  They said they were going to meet the Mormon Chief.  He supposed that they were referring to Brigham Young who was at Mount Pisgah.


Mount Pisgah, Iowa:

Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards visited the Saints in Mount Pisgah during the morning, encouraging and blessing them.  They paid a visit to Lorenzo Snow.  Brother Snow was counseled to leave Mount Pisgah as soon as possible and to travel to the next planned settlement, Grand Island.  Lorenzo Snow asked what he should do for provisions when he arrived there.  President Young told him not to worry about that until he got there.  Lorenzo Snow had recently moved into a house which had been used by Chandler Rogers, who went on to Council Bluffs.  Brother Snow wrote, “We had suffered much inconvenience living in Tent and wagons in the hot weather.” 

Those who had already volunteered for the Mormon Battalion received some instructions from Charles C. Rich, then started for Council Bluffs.

Willard Richards administered to Sister Moss who had been bitten by a rattlesnake.  Brigham Young spent the evening with Willard Richards, Charles C. Rich, and Jesse C. Little.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 226‑27; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 176; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:57‑8;  Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 138; “Iowa Journal of Lorenzo Snow,” BYU Studies 24:3:260; LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Jenson, Andrew,  4:705


                          Thursday, July 9, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Wilford Woodruff finally arrived at Council Bluffs, completing his long journey to rejoin the main body of the Saints.  His journey began when he left his mission in England on January 23, 1846.  He soon located the camps of other members of the Twelve and enjoyed talking with Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor.  Elder Woodruff pitched his tent on the bluff near John Taylor’s camp.

The brethren at Council Bluffs held a council meeting and wrote a letter to be circulated throughout the camp, requesting volunteers for the Mormon Battalion.


Five hundred men must be raised forthwith for the expedition to California.  Don’t delay till the return of President Young; but come forward hastily . . . for be assured it is the mind and will of God that we should improve the opportunity which a kind providence has now offered for us to secure a permanent home in that country, and thus lay a foundation for a territorial or State Government, under the Constitution of the United States. . . . The season is passing rapidly away; and it will take some days to organize . . . and be assured that the Council and Camp will not move from this place until this thing is done.


The weather was very hot, but in the afternoon a cool and refreshing shower fell.  Anson Call, who had recently arrived at Council Bluffs, lost another child.  His son, Moroni Call died.


Cold Spring Camp, Nebraska:

Across the Missouri at the Cold Spring camp, several of the men hauled in a load of poles and bushes from which they made a fence and built a bowery.

George Miller, joined by John Butler and other members of the James Emmett company, left for their mission to journey 114 miles to the west.  They were to go to the Pawnee Mission, which had been recently destroyed by the Sioux Indians.[13]


Mount Pisgah, Iowa:

At 11:30 a.m., Brigham Young and many of the other leaders were escorted to Alpheus Cutler’s encampment and Brother Davis’ camp where President Young addressed the brethren and ate dinner.  At 2:40 p.m., the leaders left for Council Bluffs.  Their visit to Mount Pisgah had been good for the Saints there.  Sarah Rich, the wife of Charles C. Rich wrote, “Their visit to us at this time was encouraging, for they left a good impression among the Saints which gave them new courage to preserve and prepare themselves for what was ahead of them.” 

At 5 p.m. Brigham Young’s company rested their animals on the prairie for a time and then continued until midnight after a journey of thirty miles.  President Young and Heber C. Kimball slept sitting up in the carriage.

Many of the new recruits for the battalion were on their way to Council Bluffs.  James S. Brown wrote,


We bade our friends an affectionate farewell, and started on what we understood to be a journey of one hundred and thirty‑eight miles [to the bluffs], to join the army of the United States at our country’s call.  We had provisions enough to put up to last us on our trip. . . . Our initial trip was begun without a blanket to wrap ourselves in, as we thought we could find shelter in the camps along the line of march.  But in this we were mistaken, for everybody seemed to have all they could do to shelter their own.  The first night we camped on the bank of a small stream, where we fell in with twelve or fifteen other volunteers who had not so much as a bit of bread. . . . We divided with them, then scraped what leaves we could and laid down thereon, with a chunk of wood for our pillow.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 226‑27, 589; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:58; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:145; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 176; Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, 210; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 25‑6; Whitney, History of Utah, 4:144; “Sarah Rich Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 58


                            Friday, July 10, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

It had rained all night and continued to rain during the day, causing many in the camp to stay in their tents all day.  Captain James Allen and Indian Agent Robert B. Mitchell issued a proclamation granting permission to the Mormons to reside on Pottawatomie lands.  This was an important point, requested by Brigham Young during the negotiations to raise the battalion.  The proclamation acknowledged that many of the men would have to leave their families behind, which necessitated this action.


Between Mount Pisgah and Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Brigham Young and company arose early, broke camp by 4:30 a.m.,  and rode a half mile to have breakfast with Samuel and Daniel Russell.  President Young’s company continued on until a little after 9 a.m. when they rested their teams during a thunder shower.  At about 1 p.m., they halted their journey when some Fox Indians met then and asked the “Mormon Chiefs” to wait until they could send for their chief who had something to say to them.  They agreed to delay their trip ‑‑ it was raining very heavily anyway.

The chief, named Powsheek, arrived at 7 p.m.  He wanted to see the “Mormon chief,” to learn where the Mormons came from and where they were going.  Powsheek stated that his people were going off with the Pottawatomies who had recently sold their land to the government.  He was interested in traveling with the Mormons as they traveled to their new tribal lands.[14]

James S. Brown continued his trek to join the battalion.  “We journeyed, much of the time in heavy rain and deep mud, sleeping on the wet ground without blankets or other kind of bedding, and living on elm bark and occasionally a very small ration of buttermilk handed to us by humane sisters as we passed their tents.”


Near Fort Laramie, Wyoming:

The “Mississippi Company” of Saints, consisting of about fourteen families, decided to leave the Oregon Trail and head south to spend the winter on the Arkansas River at what would later be called Pueblo, Colorado.  They had met a man named John Richards, who had a fur trading post at Fort Bernard, about eight miles east of Fort Laramie.  Richards told them that Mormons were going up the South Fork of the Platte.[15]  When the Mississippi Company learned this news, they held a council and decided not to head farther west, but to find a place to spend the winter on the east side of the mountains.  Richards told them that the head of the Arkansas River was the best place, where corn was growing, and settlements were nearby where they could get supplies.  He was on the way to take buffalo robes to Taos [New Mexico] from his trading post and offered to be their guide.  The Saints decided to follow Richards to Pueblo.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

Daniel Bailey, age forty-two, died.  He was the husband of Sarah Currier Bailey.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 227‑28; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 26; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 176; Journal History; “John Brown Journal,” Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol.  2, p.428; Black, Membership of the Church 1830‑1848


                         Saturday, July 11, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Wilford Woodruff went to visit Thomas L. Kane, who had also recently arrived at Council Bluffs.  Colonel  Kane informed him that President Polk was very favorable toward the Mormons.  Elder Woodruff wrote, “Col Kane manifested the spirit of a gentleman and much interest in our welfare.  From the information we received from him, we were convinced that God had began to move upon the heart of the President and others in this nation to begin to act for our interest and the general good of Zion.”  Hosea Stout also met Kane.  He wrote of him, “he was quite an intelligent man notwithstanding he was uncommonly small and feminine.”  John Taylor wrote, “We had some conversation with him [Kane] during which he manifested a spirit of sympathy for us.” 

After meeting with the brethren, Col. Kane wrote a letter to George Bancroft, the secretary of the navy.  Col. Kane had intended to travel with Mormons to California during this season but he wrote, “Every day, too, renders it more vain for the [Mormon] people to attempt proceeding to California this season, and I have been acquainted confidentially by those in authority, that such has ceased to be their intention.”  Thus he informed Bancroft that he would not be traveling to California during this year.

Phinehas Richards’ company arrived at the Council Bluffs area and set up camp near John Van Cott’s tent.  Mary Richards felt very weary after the long journey from Mount Pisgah.


Between Mount Pisgah and Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Brigham Young again met with the Indian Chief Powsheek.  He authorized Cyrus H. Wheelock to give a two‑year‑old heifer to the Indians.  Powsheek was still interested in locating his tribe near the Mormons.  President Young told him that after they settled over the mountains that they would send men to hunt for them in return for blankets, guns and other goods.  Powsheek spoke of Joseph Smith and his murder.  He had been acquainted with the Prophet and knew that he was a great and good man.

At 8:10 a.m., Brigham Young and his company started their journey again.  At 10:22 a.m., they stopped at the west branch of the Nodaway to visit with Ezra Chase.  They continued on at 11:30 a.m. and arrived at Pottawatomie Indian Village at 1:45 p.m.  An Indian presented to them two sheets of hieroglyphics from the Book of Abraham and also a letter from their father, “Joseph” dated 1843.  The company continued on and arrived at the Nishnabotna at 8 p.m. where they camped for the night.  Brigham Young tried to sleep in his carriage but the mosquitoes were bad and he only had a little rest.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

A few Mormons left Nauvoo and traveled about twelve miles, near Pontoosuc to harvest a field of grain with some of the new non‑Mormon citizens.  As they were working, at 9 a.m.,  a company of about twelve men was seen on the north side of the field.  Another company of 50‑60 was on the west and a third company on the east.  They were trapped.  The workers sent one of their men, James Huntsman, with a white handkerchief to meet them.  He asked the mob leader what they wanted.  “You shall soon know!” The workers were surrounded and their guns were taken from them.  One member of the mob threatened to blow out the brains of Archibald Newell Hill if he did not give up his gun.

The mob took the men to the house and after getting some hickory switches, they took each man, two at a time to the field and gave them each twenty lashes.  Archibald Hill’s brother, John, recorded, “I was taken out, placed in the ditch on my knees with my breast on the bank, and a man wielded a large hickory switch with both his hands across my shoulders striking me twenty‑one times, which disabled me from doing the least service for myself for about a week.”  The mob then smashed several of their guns and stole the others.  The men were ordered to go back to Nauvoo and not to look back.  After they had gone fifty yards, a gun went off and a ball “whizzed” close to John Hill’s head.

When word of this outrage was received back at Nauvoo, a handbill was issued calling for the arrest of the men who beat the Hills.  A company of sixty men was organized.  They left Nauvoo at 10 p.m., and proceeded to the mob leader’s house, John McAuley (or M’Calla).  They succeeded in arresting him late at night.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 228‑32; Rich, Ensign to the Nations, 39; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:58; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 177; “John Taylor’s Journal”; “The Historians Corner,” BYU Studies, 18:1:127; “Lyman Littlefield Reminiscences (1888),” 167‑68; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters,  69


                           Sunday, July 12, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Brigham Young and his traveling companions broke camp at 4 a.m., rode for a few miles, and ate breakfast with Pleasant Ewell.[16]  They then continued on and visited the various camps along the way, passing 30‑40 companies.  They finally arrived at Council Bluffs and stopped at Elder John Taylor’s camp on the bluff, which was about sixty feet west of the lower bridge on Mosquito Creek.  Wilford Woodruff was camping near this bridge. Elder Parley P. Pratt was camping about 160 feet to the north.

A meeting was held at 5:30 p.m. in a large bowery which had been recently put up between Elder Taylor’s tent and Elder Woodruff’s tent.  Before the meeting, a “Liberty Pole” was raised nearby by William J. Johnston and Samuel H. Rogers.[17]  It consisted of a white sheet with an American flag underneath.  The pole would be a rallying point for raising the Battalion.

At the meeting, Elder Woodruff spoke for an hour, telling about his mission to England.  Mary Richards wrote to her husband, Samuel W. Richards who was on his way to England, “[Elder Woodruff] spoke of the prosperity of the Church there, said if 50 good Elders would go there who would know or teach nothing [but] Christ and him Crucified for was all they had aught to teach that they would find plenty to do & their labors would be blest with success.” 

Elder Parley P. Pratt next spoke and condemned the common practice of swearing among the men and boys.  He then spoke about the raising of the battalion, trying to further convince the Saints that it was the right thing to do.  Even Hosea Stout was feeling better about it.  “Indeed it needed considerable explaining for every one was about as much prejudiced as I was at first.”  John Taylor also spoke and tried to convince the audience that defeating the Mexicans was in the best interests of the Church because the Mexican government would only tolerate the Catholic faith.

At 6 p.m., the Council met to write a letter to Orson Pratt, who was across the Missouri River.  They wanted to notify all those who had already enlisted, to come to the main camp for a meeting in the morning.  All of the other brethren were notified to attend a meeting at noon.


Pontoosuc, Illinois:

Phinehas Young, his son Brigham, Richard Ballanyne, and James Standing arrived at Pontoosuc at 10 a.m.  They were on their way home to Nauvoo after purchasing flour at McQueen’s Mill in Henderson County.  A Mrs. Hanover came running toward them, asking if they were Mormons and told them to flee.  She said a mob had one of the Mormons, James Herring, and was swearing that they would cut him to pieces and kill every Mormon they could find.  They had heard enough, and started to flee as fast as they could.  As they approached Appanoose, while watering their horses, ten armed men came up yelling and screaming, pointing guns, asking if they were Mormons.  Phinehas said they were.  The mob demanded that they return to Pontoosuc.  They asked why.  The reply was, “because you are Mormons.”  The Mormons questioned the men’s authority.  The mob’s reply was, “By God gentlemen, these weapons are our authority.”  They were taken back to Pontoosuc, where they were met by fifty armed men, including apostate Francis M. Higbee.  Higbee told them that they were being taken hostage for the safety of McAuley and the others who had been arrested in Nauvoo.

The brethren were taken to Jeremiah Smith’s store house, near the river, and kept under a guard until the evening.  Then they were taken in a wagon under heavy guard toward McQueen’s mill.  They soon came to a thicket of brush, were taken through a gate into the woods, and then on to a prairie.  Next, they were ordered to get out of the wagon and form a line.  Phinehas Young asked if they were going to kill them.  The hostages were assured that they would be safe as long as they did not try to escape and if the prisoners at Nauvoo were freed.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

The Nauvoo posse brought mob leader, John McAuley to Nauvoo in the morning.  Later in the day, the “new citizens” received a letter from Phinehas Young and others who had been taken hostage by the mob.  They wrote:


The citizens of Pontoosuc have taken five of us (Mormons) in retaliation for the arrest of Maj. McAuley and Mr. Brattle and perhaps others, and intend to detain us as hostages for the safety and release of those gentlemen.  They are determined to retaliate for any outrage or insult that those gentlemen may receive, upon us, we therefore request that you will immediately release the gentlemen alluded to, so that we may gain our liberty and safety; you may depend upon this resolution being carried into effect.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 232‑33, 277‑78; “John Taylor Journal”; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 177; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:59; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters,  75; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846‑1852, 261


                          Monday, July 13, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Heavy rain showers fell, which lasted until 10 a.m.  Jesse C. Little offered to deliver a letter for Mary Richards to her husband, Samuel W. Richards, who recently left on his mission to England.  Mary wrote in her letter, “I have got up in the waggon to try to write one but it rains so fast & the wind blows so hard that I find it almost impossible, the things are piled so high in the waggon that I cannot sit upright & you can well see that the rain blotches every mark I try to make.” 

At 11 a.m., the battalion recruitment meetings began.  Major Jefferson Hunt called out the first company of volunteers.  Brigham Young met with Thomas L. Kane and mentioned that “the time would come when the Saints would support the government of the U.S. or it would crumble to atoms.” 

Later, at 12:45 p.m., a general meeting for the camp was held.  Music was played by the band.  Brigham Young arose and addressed the large assembly under the bowery.  He stated that the purpose for the meeting was to furnish the five hundred volunteers that were needed for the battalion.  He mentioned that many were worried about leaving their families behind, but he said, “My experience has taught me that it is best to do the things that are necessary and keep my mind exercised in relation to the future. . . . The blessings we are looking forward to receive will be attained through sacrifice.  We want to raise volunteers.” 

He mentioned that many felt that he did not understand their unique circumstances.  He replied that there was not time to reason with them.  “We want to conform to the requisition made upon us, and we will do nothing else, till we have accomplished this thing.  If we want the privilege of going where we can worship God according to the dictates of our consciences, we must raise the battalion.”  Some feared that they would die, fighting in battles.  He countered the argument by prophesying, “All the fighting that will be done will be among yourselves, I am afraid.”  He pressed on, stated that they had enough men in Council Bluffs on this day to raise the five hundred men needed, they did not even need to wait for the men at Mount Pisgah.  After they were finished talking, volunteers would be called to come forward.

Colonel Thomas L. Kane arose and apologized for being too sick to speak, but he endorsed the words of President Young.  Elder Orson Hyde next spoke and called, “Arise, then, the standard is raised, the call is made.  Shall it be in vain, NO! Let us rally to the standard and our children will reverence our names; it will inspire in them gratitude which will last for ever and ever!”

Brigham Young again spoke and mentioned that they had been fleeing from the “old settlers” of various places for years.  Well, they now had the chance to be the “old settlers” themselves in the west.  “If any man comes and says get out, we will say, get out.”  He closed by promising the men that their families left behind would be taken care of.

The men voted that Brigham Young and the council should nominate the officers for the battalion.  Captain Allen, of the U.S. Army, spoke and expressed his impatience, that time was wasting away.  The battalion must be raised now.  Any time wasted would have to be made up on the road.  Captain Allen spoke of clothing that would be needed included some warm wool clothing.  Merchandise would be available to purchase at Fort Leavenworth at reasonable prices.  Brigham Young again spoke up and said, “Those who go on this expedition will never be sorry, but glad to all eternity; but those who are not here to go will be sorry.” 

At 5 p.m. the council met together to nominate officers.  Before the day was through, three and a half companies of at least seventy men each were organized.  The captains named were Jefferson Hunt, Jesse D. Hunter, James Brown and Nelson Higgins.

Hosea Stout spoke for a time with George A. Smith.  Brother Smith explained how Jesse C. Little and Thomas L. Kane had worked with the government to bring about the battalion.  Brother Stout was finally convinced, “This made the matter plain and I was well satisfied for I found that there was no trick in it.” 

At 6 p.m., a large party was held under the bowery with dancing to the music of the band until dusk.  William Clayton played with the band.  He was distressed because he watched all of his teamsters enlist in the battalion.  He reflected on his sad circumstances.  He still had four yoke of oxen missing.  His children were sick and he was being asked to look after Edward Martin’s family while he was away with the battalion.  He wrote, “on the whole, my situation is rather gloomy.” 

Mary Richards was invited to attend the dance.  She later wrote about the dance to her husband, Samuel W. Richards.  “Brother Brigham came & introduced Bro Little to me & desired me to dance with him.  I did so . . . this is the first time I have danced since I danced with my Samuel in the House of the Lord.”

In the evening, Elder Orson Hyde spoke at length on the law of adoption, which was the practice at that time to seal people to some of the leaders of the church.  This doctrine was new to many at the meeting.  Elder Hyde desired that “all who felt willing to do so, to give him a pledge to come into his kingdom when the ordinance could be attended to.”[18]

Luther Terry Tuttle and Abigail Haws were married on this day at Council Bluffs.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

The arrested mob leaders were examined before the authorities in Nauvoo.  There was great tension in the city.  The new citizens again called for help from the Mormons to organize for the defense of the city.

News had been received in Nauvoo about the raising of the battalion and the teams which were on the way back for the poor.  The saints were “greatly cheered” by the proposals made to move the poor out.


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

Phinehas Young and the other hostages were moved the next morning when an alarm was given that a posse of Mormons was in pursuit of them.  It was determined that the hostages should be shot.  Phinehas reasoned with the wicked men that if they did shoot them, the noise would bring the whole Mormon force down on them.  The leader, “Old Whimp” was convinced and decided to move them, but if they made a noise, or tried to get away, he would kill them.  They were taken to the thickest part of the forest and led through thickets and swamps, arriving at William Logan’s home after a journey of about twelve miles.  They had been driven like wild beasts at the point of a bayonet.  Brother Ballantyne was quite sick.  They were fed some corn and bacon, then taken to the woods and forced to march two more miles.  They were then lined up and “Old Whimp” and the others loaded their guns and cocked them.  As Phinehas was protesting, Mr. Logan rode up and warned them that the Mormons were within a half mile.  The guards shouldered their guns and forced the men to march again to another spot where they were made to lay still for the night.


Pontoosuc, Illinois:

Brother William Anderson was appointed deputy sheriff to raise a posse of 50 men to go in search of the hostages.  They traveled through the night and arrived at Pontoosuc at daybreak.  They discovered that a large company of men was in the brush just outside the town.  The posse searched the brush on both sides of the road and soon found them.  Many of them had their rifles cocked and were taking aim.  They were led by apostates Francis and Chauncey Higbee.  The mob numbered about three hundred men.

William Anderson called out to the mob:


O, yes we know you are there, and we know how many you number.  If there were five times as many there we should not be afraid of you.  There are only 50 of us here but there are five hundred a little way back.  We have the authority and hold the powers to search the town for our brethren.  If any one of you snaps a cap we will lay your town in ashes.  We command you in the name of Sheriff Backenstos whose servants we are, to come out of the bushes and lay down your arms.


 The men came out and gave up their arms.  The posse took the Higbees and others prisoner and then searched the town for the hostages but could not find them.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 233‑38, 278‑79, 329; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 178; William Clayton’s Journal, 54; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters,  78; “George Morris Autobiography,” typescript, BYU; LDS Biographical Encyclopedia. Jenson, Andrew,  3:729


                          Tuesday, July 14, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

At 9 a.m., the first Mormon Battalion company (Company A) with Jefferson Hunt as the captain, started to make out their muster roll.  Another general meeting was held, calling for more volunteers.  Heber C. Kimball addressed the gathering and said the opportunity for raising the Mormon Battalion should be “acknowledged to be one of the greatest blessings that the great God of heaven ever did bestow upon this people.”  By 10:30, the fourth company was filled up and marched out under the direction of Orson Pratt.  The Council met together to select the officers in that company.

Many of the young men desired to enlist.  Eighteen-year-old Aroet Hale wrote:


I had a desire to go with the battalion as a drummer boy, being a member of the martial band in Nauvoo. . . . President Heber C. Kimball talked to me.  Said he, “Aroet, you have been away from your father and mother five months in the camp of Israel, as a teamster.  Your dear father is on crutches with a broken leg and no help but your mother and her little ones.” I took President Kimball’s counsel and well that I did.


It was about this day that Colonel Thomas L. Kane, still recovering from his illness, was taking a walk through the woods near the camp with Henry G. Boyle.  They passed by a man praying in secret hear the edge of the woods.  Brother Boyle wrote:  “It seemed to affect [Kane] deeply, and as we walked away he observed that our people were a praying people, and that was evidence enough to him that we were sincere and honest in our faith.”  As they walked on, they walked near yet another man beginning to pray.  Boyle wrote:


We had involuntarily taken off our hats as though we were in a sacred presence.  I never can forget my feelings on that occasion.  Neither can I describe them, and yet the Colonel was more deeply affected that I was.  As he stood there I could see the tears falling fast from his face, while his bosom swelled with the fullness of his emotions.  And for some time after the man had arisen from his knees and walked away towards his encampment, the Colonel sobbed like a child and could not trust himself to utter a word.


Hosea Stout had a long interview with Brigham Young, seeking his counsel and desires.  Brother Stout recounted his days of suffering as he tried to carry out Brigham Young’s order to bring the public arms to Council Bluffs.  Brigham Young told him that he wanted him to continue to work for the Church in a military role.  After the battalion left, he wanted to organize a military organization that Brother Stout would be involved in.  He asked Brother Stout to not say anything about it before the battalion left, because it would only hinder their desires to go.  President Young also took compassion on Hosea Stout’s destitute condition.  He let him borrow 109 pounds of flour from Wilford Woodruff and told him that he could borrow anything he needed.  This brought great joy to Brother Stout who wrote, “My prospects for living seemed to brighten for he acted like a friend that was willing to help in time of need.” 

Charles Decker returned to Council Bluffs and reported that George Miller and the James Emmett company were sixty miles to the west, on their way to the Pawnee Mission (see July 6, 1846).

In the afternoon, a council meeting was held at John Taylor’s camp.  Many important decisions were made.  It was decided to not send the entire camp to Grand Island.  Instead, as soon as the battalion left, the Twelve would find a location on the east side of the Missouri river for a winter settlement.  A small company would be sent to Grand Island, on the Platte River, to build a fort and prepare for a settlement.  Bishop George Miller would be sent ahead with a company over the mountains.  Finally, it was decided to send two of the Twelve to England on a mission to set things back in order.  The Twelve also discussed sending some settlers to Vancouver Island.

Edward Martin’s youngest child died at 1:30 p.m.

At 5 p.m., the volunteers for the battalion arrived from Mount Pisgah.  One of their number, James S. Brown, recounted:


We had excellent music, the best dinner that the country could afford, and, above all, a spirit of brotherly love and union that I have never seen surpassed.  With all on the altar of sacrifice for God and His kingdom and for our country, it seemed that everything and everybody looked to the accomplishment of one grand, common cause, not a dissenting voice being heard from anyone.


Mary Richards also attended this dance.  She noted that the Twelve did not dance until the last figure.  “Bro Brigham took me for a partner.  We danced the hopa reel.” 

The dancing continued until 8:30 p.m.  in the camp on Redemption Hill.  Brigham Young gave the ridge a new name, calling it Chime Ridge “because on the night before he laid on the chime of a barrel in a wagon.” 

Eliza Partridge Lyman, wife of Amasa M. Lyman gave birth to a son, Don Carlos Lyman.[19]  Eliza would be very ill for some time.  She wrote, “I am very uncomfortably situated for a sick woman.  The scorching sun shines on the wagon through the day, and the cool air at night is almost too much to be healthy.”  Also, Sarah Elsa Dame, was born to Andrew and Sophia Dame.[20]  Patty Sessions helped deliver both these babies.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

Tensions were growing to a boiling point again in the county.  Deputy Sheriff H.G. Ferris wrote a letter to G. Edmunds Jr.


Things are hot here.  Threats and demonstrations are made of the most decided character.  They say the matter now will not be confined to lynching [whipping]! But that the whole city (Nauvoo) shall be destroyed ‑‑ the property of the new citizens as well as that of Mormons shall go together, for the former, or at least a majority of them are as bad as the Mormons! . . . Already they have threatened to shoot me in the streets if I did not leave.  What they will do I don’t know. . . . If the cowardly devils do put their threats into execution, I have only to say that I hope my friends and the friends of all those injured will avenge their indignities and brutality....I understand the mobbers have sent messengers to every part of the country to raise a force.  No efforts will be spared and no lies will fail to be manufactured to accomplish the object.


A son, Hyrum Bassett, was born to Hiram and Lucinda Bassett.[21]


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

Very early in the morning while it was still dark, Phinehas Young and the other hostages were forced to march to the north, staying in the brush and fields until dawn.  When they arrived at Shockoquon, they were given some food and then taken to an island on the Mississippi River, where they had to lie in nettles and mosquitoes until midnight.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 238‑41, 279; William Clayton’s Journal, 54; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 178‑79; “Heber C. Kimball Diary”; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:59; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church 3:62‑3; Our Pioneer Heritage, 19:256; “Aroet Hale Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 11; Arrington, “‘In Honorable Remembrance’:  Thomas L. Kane’s Service to the Mormons,” BYU Studies, 21:4:391‑92; Amasa Mason Lyman, Pioneer, 156; Patty Sessions Diary in Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:62


                       Wednesday, July 15, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

It was a cloudy day, with a little rain.  During this gloomy weather, William Clayton went with Edward Martin to bury his child on a high bluff, south of the camp on Mosquito Creek.  They buried the child between two small oak trees.  When William Clayton returned, he was instructed to move his camp across the creek, to the bluff that John Taylor was camping on.

A council meeting was held in Elder John Taylor’s tent.  Brigham Young proposed that he would cross the Missouri River to visit his family.  He wanted Elders Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards to join him.  The rest of the Twelve would stay in Council Bluffs to instruct the Mormon Battalion.

Lots were cast between Elder Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt and John Taylor to determine who should go to England.  The lot fell on Elders Hyde and Taylor.[22] 

The Council discussed plans for the battalion after they were discharged.  President Young suggested that they stay in California and work.  He further remarked:


The next temple would be built in the Rocky mountains, and I should like the Twelve and the old brethren to live in the mountains, where the Temple will be erected. . . . I could prophesy that the time would come when some one of the Twelve or a High Priest would come up and say, can we not build a Temple on Vancouver Island, or in California.  It is now wisdom to unite all forces to build one house in the mountains.


Captains Jefferson Hunt and Jesse Hunter of the battalion called on the council to discuss wages to be paid to the battalion members when they arrived at Fort Leavenworth.  The fifth company would be mustered at 5 p.m.  Jesse C. Little was assigned to meet with Captain Allen to obtain an authorization for the camp to stay in Council Bluffs or any place west of the Missouri River.  He did obtain this authorization.  The following day Captain Allen finished an order that read in part, “The Mormon people, now en route to California, are hereby authorized to pass through the Indian country on that route, and they may make stopping places at such points in the Indian country as may be necessary to facilitate the emigration of their whole people to California, and for such time as may be reasonably required for this purpose.”[23]

Hosea Stout went to John Taylor’s camp in the morning and was surprised that he was to receive 1900 pounds of bread stuff by order of Brigham Young.  He was to be given enough provisions for eight people to last a year.  He also received good news from Jesse D. Hunter that his cows had been found and were on their way to Council Bluffs.

A baptism was held for two brothers, Daniel and Miles Miller who recently enlisted into the battalion.  Daniel was baptized by Elder A. Love, and on the following day he ordained an Elder by President Brigham Young and George A. Smith.[24]

A son, Hyrum Scott, was born to John and Mary Scott.[25]

In the evening, Elder Parley P. Pratt instructed the battalion soldiers.  They were not to abuse any enemies that might fall into their hands, “but to remember that they were our fellow beings to whom the gospel is yet to be preached.”  They should be honest in their dealings.

Mount Pisgah, Iowa:

Sister Eliza R. Snow commented that Mount Pisgah had very few men in the settlement.  So many had gone on to join the battalion that the settlement was almost entirely made up of sisters.  She was hard at work braiding “hat timber” (straw).  Louisa Pratt (Addison Pratt’s wife) wrote “I called on Sisters Markham, Eliza R. Snow, and Dana.  They all seem resigned to the times and circumstances.  I wish I could.  I pray earnestly for submission.”


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

A little after midnight, a shrill whistle was heard from shore.  The alarm was sounded that the Mormons were coming.  The guards came to the hostages and pled for the brethren to protect them from the Mormons.  The hostages agreed, but it was soon learned that it was a false alarm.  They were next ordered to leave the island and were led downstream on a trail very quickly for some hours.  After they turned east and ascended the bluffs, they came to Mr. Gidden’s farm.  Soon, another alarm was sounded that the Mormons were covering the Mississippi River bottoms.[26]  They were taken back out to the woods and given some food.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

The Nauvoo Trustees wrote a letter to Brigham Young, which he did not receive until a month later, on August 17.  They had recently received a letter from President Young asking that young men be sent on to Council Bluffs to help backfill the loss of men to the battalion.  They wrote, “We shall use all our influence to induce young men to hasten to you; but we have but few left in this place. . . . We are again in the midst of war and anarchy which has become quite a natural element with us. . . . In relation to sending back teams, it will be necessary to send them as soon as possible, or else on their return it will be too late to sustain them by grass.”  They reported on efforts to sell the temple.  There had been some interest, but funds had not been raised to secure the deal.  Finally they asked to forward word to Elder Woodruff that the man who bought his home died and was buried on the lot.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 241‑42, 279, 329; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church 3:125‑26, 137; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:59; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 179; William Clayton’s Journal, 54; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 138;  Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:755; “Louisa Pratt Autobiography,” Heart Throbs of the West 8:241


                         Thursday, July 16, 1846

Cold Spring Camp, Nebraska:

Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball were across the Missouri River at the camp called Cold Spring.  At 9 a.m., they met with the brethren who were in that camp.  Elder Kimball asked the brethren to decide whether they wanted to enlist in the Battalion, go over the mountains, go to Grand Island, or go back over the river for the winter. The emphasis of this meeting was to raise  volunteers to go over the mountains.  Many wanted to go over the mountains. Others wanted to go to Grand Island.  Volunteers were asked to help repair the road by the ferry.

At noon, the members of the Twelve at Cold Spring walked out on to the prairie to further discuss the problems in the British Mission.


Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

The Mormon Battalion volunteers arose early in the morning to make last‑minute preparations.  Elder Parley P. Pratt baptized William Sidney Willes, who was leaving with the battalion.

Before he left, nineteen-year-old John Riggs Murdock became engaged to Almira Lott.  He later wrote, “She, who was so greatly admired for her beauty and intelligence, that her hand was sought by many, while separated from me for more than two years, and in the greatest uncertainty as to whether I would ever return, remained true to her promise.” 

The time finally arrived for the Mormon Battalion to be officially called into service.  Mary Ann Jackson Woodruff recalled, “I stood and watched the battalion break camp for their long western march, composed of the beardless youth and the white‑haired veteran.” 

Four companies of the Mormon Battalion, about four hundred men, were officially mustered into service.  They were formed into a square by their captains on Redemption Hill, where they were addressed by members of the Twelve.  They then marched double file seven miles down the bluffs to the flats by the river at the ferry crossing.

At 1:30 p.m., Brigham Young (at Cold Spring) had started for the river and by 2:30 had crossed over and met with the volunteers who were ready to be delivered over to newly promoted Lieutenant Colonel Allen for service in the Mormon Battalion.

Colonel  Allen read an order to the battalion, “In virtue of authority given me by the Col. commanding the army of the west, I hereby assume the command of the Mormon Battalion, raised at this place for the service of the United States.  Therefore, companies now organized will be held in readiness to march at the shortest notice, and as soon as the fifth company be filled all will be ready for movement.”


Wilford Woodruff wrote:


The battalion have thus stepped forth promptly and responded to the call of the government . . . leaving families, teams and wagons standing by the way side, not expect to meet or see them again for one or two years. . . . And while casting my eyes upon them I consider I was viewing the first battalion of the Army of Israel engaged in the United States service for one year and going to lay the foundation of a far greater work even preparing the way for the building of Zion.


The battalion was then taken to Trader’s Point where Colonel Allen issued provisions which included, “camp kettles, knives, forks, spoons, plates, coffee, sugar and blankets.”  These items were deducted from their first pay.

Henry Bigler still felt “insulted” to having to join the battalion, but he wrote, “there was one consolation and that was Brother Willard Richards . .. said, ‘If we were faithful in keeping the commandments of God, that not a man shall fall by an enemy, no not as much blood shed as there was at Carthage jail.’”

Afterwards Brigham Young went to Orson Pratt’s tent on the flats near the bank of the Missouri River.  Members of the Twelve met with Bishop Newel K. Whitney and Jesse C. Little for a council meeting.

Two Indians came with a letter from Major Robert B. Mitchell asking the leaders about six stray horses.  They sent a reply that they had no knowledge of them but would ask the camp to be on the lookout for them.

The council attended to a very sacred matter.  The Twelve unanimously sustained Ezra T. Benson to be ordained an Apostle.  President Brigham Young then offered a prayer as they knelt together.  When they arose, they laid hands on Ezra T. Benson and ordained him an apostle in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter‑day Saints, “with all the keys and power and blessings pertaining to the apostleship, and to take the crown of him (John E. Page) who has fallen from the Quorum of the Twelve.”  Elder Ezra T. Benson wrote later, “I was ordained one of the Twelve Apostles . . . and many great and glorious things did he pronounce and seal upon my head.  He said, I should yet have the strength of Sampson.” 

The Twelve rode up to Elder John Taylor’s tent on the bluff and at 7 p.m.  had supper with Elder Woodruff.  Afterwards, the Council met and decided by vote that Elders Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor should all go to England.  Elders Reuben Hedlock and Thomas Ward were disfellowshipped from the Church.  The Twelve drafted the following notice which would appear in the Church’s periodical in England, the Millennial Star: “It now becomes our painful duty to lay before the church in England an act of the Count of the Twelve Apostles, in the American wilderness . . . The Twelve in Council, this day, voted that Reuben Hedlock, and Thomas Ward, be disfellowshipped until they shall appear before the Council and make satisfaction for their repeated disregard of the Council.” 


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

During the night, the Mormon hostages were ordered to travel to the southeast through fields and forests for about ten miles, where they were taken into a house belonging to a brother of Mr. Giddins.  Phinehas Young’s son, Brigham H. Young asked for some water and was refused.  After much begging, the wicked men gave the hostages some liquor and water drugged with a “corrosive sublimate.”  Only Brigham H. Young drank.  He soon became very ill with a burning in his stomach and blindness.  He started beating his head.  Phinehas Young later wrote: 


We imperceptibly laid our hands upon him in the dark and claimed the promised blessing, with a little help he was soon able to walk, and we were ordered to move on.  We reached a large field of corn, where was an old house and well, where we were kept for an hour and a half, our guards watching to see the effects of the poison upon us, intending to put our bodies into the old well, but in this they were disappointed.


A new guard, John Sanders, joined their ranks.  He became a friend of the hostages and would tell Brigham H. Young all that was going on.  When it was learned that the hostages would not die from the poison, they were ordered into a wagon and were taken to McDonough Count and shut up in a Mr. Johnson’s corn house for one hour, then taken to the woods for the rest of the day.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 242‑44, 588, 279‑80; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 127‑28; “Henry W. Bigler Journal,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:36; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:145 The Instructor, May, 1945, 217,227; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:60; Millennial Star, 8:103;  Orson F. Whitney, History of Utah, 4:191


                            Friday, July 17, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

At 9 a.m., Brigham Young met with the Twelve at John Taylor’s tent.  He sent a letter of recommendation for Elders Hyde, Parley P. Pratt and Taylor who would be leaving for the British Isles on a mission.

A meeting was held at 10 a.m. at the bowery, with the brethren who did not join the battalion.  Brigham Young still proposed that a company go over the mountains this season.  Another company would be sent to Grand Island for the winter which would send their teams back to help the poor come from Nauvoo.  President Young told the brethren that they could choose to go or not, but those who would go over the mountains would have a hard time.  He exhorted the assembly to remember the covenant they made in the temple “that we never would cease our exertions till all were gathered.” 

Bishop Newel K. Whitney was instructed to gather the Church cattle and give them to Cornelius P. Lott who would take them up the river for the winter.[27]

Forty or fifty volunteers were still needed to complete the battalion.  President Young commented that “hundreds would eternally regret that they did not go, when they had a chance, and retired.”  John Steele wrote that the leaders never ceased their effort to “beat‑up for volunteers.”

Elder Hyde next spoke, preaching about a parable of a woman in the wilderness and two wings of a great eagle.  Elder Kimball stressed the importance of enlisting to fill up the battalion.  At 10:30 a.m., the meeting was adjourned for a few minutes to receive the new volunteers and complete the fifth company.  The meeting resumed at 11:30 when Elder Kimball asked for volunteers to work on the road on the west bank of the Missouri River.  About twenty volunteers stepped forward.  He also asked for contributions for Brother William Yokum who had been shot at Haun’s Mill in 1838.[28]

Brigham Young proposed that brethren be selected to take care of the families left behind by the battalion soldiers.  They brethren would act as bishops for the families.  Ninety men were called to serve in this position.  The Mormon Battalion members had been asked to leave their wages for the benefit of their families.  The Bishops were to be held accountable to keep correct records of the money and property received and sold for their families.

William Draper was one of these men called and later ordained to be a bishop.  He wrote, “We could look in every direction and see the prairies dotted with wagons and tents and speckled with cattle, whose owners had gone.  Now it was that something must be done for the women and children that was left unprovided for and without protection and in an Indian Country.”

At 3 p.m., Brigham Young, others of the Twelve, and many other brethren left to search out a location for a winter settlement.  They went to Trader’s point and then rode north through the woods, along some ridges and ended up, around 7:40 p.m. at Pigeon Creek, on the Missouri River.  There, they camped for the night.

A daughter, Mary Louisa Stocking, was born to John and Harriet Stocking.[29]


Trader’s Point, Iowa:

Members of the battalion were permitted to return and visit their families.  William Hyde was one who returned and described his feelings: 


The thoughts of leaving my family at this critical time are indescribable.  Far from the land which we had once called civilized, with no dwelling save a wagon, with the scorching mid‑summer sun beating upon them, with the prospect of the cold December blast finding them in the same place.  My family at this time consisted of a wife and two children, the eldest of which was but three and a half years old, and the situation of my wife was such as to require, if ever, the assistance and watch‑care of her companion.


He later added these feelings, which were echoed throughout the battalion,  “When we were to meet with them again, God only knew.  Nevertheless, we did not feel to murmur.” 

James Pace was appointed to be First Lieutenant in Company E and was entitled to a servant to be paid $15 per month.  Looking to keep the money in the family, he asked Colonel  Allen for a furlough to go back to Mt. Pisgah to get his fourteen-year-old son, William.  The request was granted and James Pace started his journey.


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

After midnight, the hostages were made to travel until daylight, suffering much abuse from their guards.  Brothers Ballantyne and Herring were worn out from sickness and fatigue.  Nevertheless, they continued to be pricked with bayonets and threatened with death if they fell behind.  At sunrise they were taken and hidden in some brush near a log house in the woods.  During the day they were visited by strangers and new schemes were suggested for taking their lives.  It was finally agreed to put a noose around their necks while they were asleep and strangle them.  But “Old Whimp” said they did not have enough men there to dispose of the bodies in a mud slough near the Illinois River.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

Word was received from Joseph Cain in England that the many Saints there were doing well and the Church was growing.


Society Islands in the South Pacific:

On his mission to the islands, Addison Pratt was dealing with the natives’ strong belief in superstitions.  He commented:   “They used to have much witchcraft among them before the Bible was introduced amongst them, but since then, their wizards have lost most of their power.”  On this day he finally recovered from a bad headache which was brought on by an experience the previous Sunday.  He was called on to bless a sister who was troubled “by the powers of darkness” because of her involvement with superstitions.  As he anointed her, he described, “I felt a heavy pressure upon top of my head and the powers of darkness overshadowed my mind, and brought with it a foretaste of the horrors of hell.  Such feelings are not to be described, and are known only to those who experience them.  This darkness remained 24 hours, but a severe pain in my head which commenced with the pressure, and lasted till today.”  The woman also recovered.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 260‑63, 280, 329; “Franklin Allen Journal,” Church Archives; Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 1:759; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 128; “John Steele Diary,” typescript, BYU; Yurtinus, “Recruiting the Mormon Battalion in Iowa Territory,” BYU Studies, 21:4:484; Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 284‑85 Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:60‑1; “William Draper Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 25‑6; Jenson, Church Chronology; History of the Church, 4:389; Our Pioneer Heritage, 20:385;  “William Pace Autobiography,” BYU, 10


                            Friday, July 18, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Brigham Young and other leaders were exploring the land north of Council Bluffs.  Wilford Woodruff examined Pigeon Creek.  He described it as a stream about fifteen feet wide and one to ten feet deep, “with a hard blue clay bottom, well supplied with good fish.  I saw a flock of ducks.  One brother shot one.  I went fishing and Brother [Cornelius] Lott caught one.”

Henry W. Miller and seven others were sent to scout out the country further to the north.  Brigham Young and the other leaders returned south to Council Bluffs, arriving at 1 p.m.

At 5:25 p.m., President Young met with the officers of the Mormon Battalion in some cottonwoods near the bank of the Missouri River, by the ferry.  He called for a complete list of the families and property which would be taken to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  Many of the officers were permitted to take their families with them.  Thirty‑three wives and many children were permitted to go.  President Young also called for a report of the wages that would be issued.

Next, Brigham Young gave some last instructions to the officers.  They were to be “fathers to their companies and manage their affairs by power and influence of their priesthood.”  He further promised that every man would return alive if they would perform their duties faithfully, without murmuring.  The soldiers were counseled to pray every morning and evening in their tents.  There must not be swearing, nor contentions with the Missourians or any people.  They were to only preach to those who desired to hear and should not  impose their faith on any people.  “Take your Bibles and Books of Mormon.  Burn up cards if you have any.”  The officers should regulate any dances, but they should not dance with those of the world.  If they were to engage in battle, they should treat prisoners well and never take a life if it could be avoided.  Daniel Tyler said that President Young prophesied the no one would fall into the hands of the nation’s foes and their only fighting would be with wild beasts.

Elder Heber C. Kimball endorsed the words of President Young.  He exhorted the brethren to turn to the Lord in humble prayer, to hold their tongues and to remember the Mormon motto to mind their own business.  If there were sick among them, the Elders should be called in to rebuke all manner of diseases.  Elders Taylor and Parley P. Pratt also briefly spoke.

Brigham Young told the brethren that “we should go into the Great Basin, which is the place to build temples, and where our strongholds should be against mobs.”  He mentioned that the battalion would probably be disbanded about eight hundred miles from the place where the Saints would gather.  They were instructed to go to work in California for a season, save their means, and then to bring seeds to the Great Basin.

Bishop Newel K. Whitney, Daniel Spencer, and Jonathan H. Hale were asked to be agents, to go to Fort Leavenworth and receive the pay for the soldiers and their families.[30]  Brigham Young said, “We consider the money you have received, as compensation for your clothing, a peculiar manifestation of the kind providence of our Heavenly Father at this particular time, which is just the time for the purchasing of provisions and goods for the winter supply of the Camp.” 

William Clayton went with the band to Trader’s Point where, they played at a farewell ball for the Mormon Battalion until sundown.  One of the battalion, Guy Keysor wrote:  “Every one of the assembly was invited to join in the dance:  officers, soldiers, citizens & natives ‑‑ Everything moved in perfect order . . . all was still and quiet and nothing was heard but the music, except now & then a soft breeze stealing over the tops of the lofty cottonwoods.” 

Thomas L. Kane was very impressed by this ball.  He later recounted:  “a more merry dancing rout I have never seen, though the company went without refreshments, and their ball room was of the most primitive.”  The dance was started by the leaders of the Church.  Kane marveled,

They, the gravest and most trouble‑worn, seemed the most anxious of any to be the first to throw off the burden of heavy thoughts.  Their leading off the dancing in a great double cotillion, was the signal bade the festivity commence.  To the canto of debonair violins, the cheer of horns, the jingle of sleigh bells, and the jovial snoring of the tambourine, they did dance!  . . . French Fours, Copenhagen jigs, Virginia reels, and the like . . . with the spirit of people too happy to be slow, or bashful, or constrained.  Light hearts, lithe figures, and light feet, had it their own way from an early hour till after the sun had dipped behind the sharp sky‑line of the Omaha hills.


Indians from nearby gathered to watch, “staring their inability to comprehend the wonderful performances.  These loitered to the last, as if unwilling to seek their abject homes.” 

Silence was then called for and one of the sisters sang, “By the rivers of Babylon we sat down and wept.  We wept when we remembered Zion.”  This was an altered version of “Jewish Maid.”  The lyrics had been altered by the musician, John Kay.

Kane described:  “There was danger of some expression of feeling when the song was over, for it had begun to draw tears! But breaking the quiet with his hard voice, an Elder asked the blessing of heaven on all who, with purity of heart and brotherhood of spirit had mingled in that society, and then all dispersed, hastening to cover from the falling dews.” 

A daughter, Olive Chase, was born to Eli and Olive Chase.


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

In the evening, the Mormon hostages were taken on a forced march to the south, traveling through fields and forest for two and a half hours.  They reached a small stream where a fire had been built.  They were instructed to sleep.

Phinehas Young told the other brethren that he would keep awake to watch the mob.  After one hour, ten men quietly joined the mob.  Soon Mr. Logan crept towards the hostages to see if they were asleep.  As he approached, Phinehas Young called out to him.  This was repeated four or five times, to the frustration of Logan who commented:  “That Young never sleeps!”  Soon, a wagon pulled up and two more men joined the mob.  The hostages were awakened and moved out.  After an hour, they arrived at a home near Blandensville, where they were taken into the woods until dawn.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 263‑66 Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 61; William Clayton’s Journal, 55; Yurtinus, “Recruiting the Mormon Battalion in Iowa Territory,” BYU Studies, 21:4:485‑86; “Guy M. Keysor Journal”; Mulder & Mortensen, ed,. Among the Mormons, 181‑83; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri 1846‑1852, 261; Carter, The Mormon Battalion, 14‑15; Roberts, The Mormon Battalion, Its History and Achievements, 25; Campbell, BYU Studies, 8:2:129; William Kelly in Our Pioneer Heritage, 16:509


                           Sunday, July 19, 1846

Cold Spring, Nebraska:

In the morning, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards, who had spent the night at Ezra Chase and Brother Ross’s tents, harnessed borrowed horses to Brigham Young’s carriage, and went across the river to visit their families at Cold Spring.

After they arrived, Brigham Young’s brother, Lorenzo Dow Young borrowed the carriage to take his sick wife, Harriet, out for a ride.  Two of Brigham Young’s wives also went for the ride.  They visited several Indian huts which were vacated.  The ride seemed to do Harriet good, but in the evening she again had a bad fever and was very sick during the night.

In the afternoon, at 1:30, a public meeting was held.  Brigham Young spoke about starting a company to go over the mountains and getting men to repair the river road and tend the ferry.  To avoid starting severe problems with the Indians, he asked the herdsmen to be very careful to keep the cattle out of the Indian’s corn.

The leaders started out at sunset and headed back over to the main camp on the bluff near Mosquito Creek, arriving at about 11 p.m.


North about forty miles, up the Missouri

Henry W. Miller and his exploring expedition reached the Boyer River which empties into the Missouri, but found that it could not be forded.  They went up the Boyer for a distance and saw an Indian who told them that there were rushes above the Boyer and that the country at this location was good during the fall and spring but no better during the winter than Mosquito Creek.


Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

After roll was called in the morning at Trader’s Point, the Mormon Battalion members were furloughed for the rest of the day.  Most of them quickly returned to the Bluffs to spend one more day with their loved‑ones and to attend a Sunday service.

During the meeting, the people were addressed by Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff.  Efforts were made to raise more volunteers to complete the five hundred required for the Mormon Battalion.  It was made clear that the raising of the battalion was a “command of the Lord.”  After the meeting, about forty people came forward to join the battalion.  Henry Standage was one of those men.


On finding the 5th Co. yet needing some men, I felt willing to leave my friends and enlist according to council, though at this time my wife was without house or tent, and with but little provisions, 3 dollars in money, one cow and property belonging to Joseph Pierce to take care of.  Accordingly after meeting I gave my name to Capt.  Hunt as a soldier though not without counsel from Elder Benson of the Quorum of the 12.


William Kelly and Anna Farragher were married.[31]


Garden Grove, Iowa

A son, Caleb Hyrum Baldwin, was born to Caleb and Ann Robinson Baldwin.


Mississippi Saints, in Wyoming

The Mississippi Saints were traveling south towards Pueblo.  On this day, they were visited by twelve Cheyenne Indians.  A feast was made for the Indians and presents were exchanged.


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

At 8 a.m., a Mr. Vance came into camp where the hostages were being held, bringing a razor and soap saying, “Gentlemen, this is the Sabbath morning.  You had better shave yourselves.”  They were permitted to do so.  Soon after, “Old Whimp” stared to trample down grass in a straight line a few feet away.  Phinehas Young whispered to Brother Richard Ballantyne that he thought they again intended to shoot them.  A few minutes later, the prisoners were ordered to stand on a line marked out.  Before they did, Phinehas spoke up and was allowed one minute to speak.  He tried to play on the emotions of the mob, speaking of the hostages’ families and the trial that would be placed on the widows and fatherless.  Phinehas offered himself to spare the lives of his brethren and added, “I was about worn out and could do but little more good.”

At this moment of crisis, a man rode up at full speed and shouted, “Gentlemen, the Mormons are three hundred and fifty strong within a mile and a half, right on your trail.”  He advised the mob to let the hostages go, but three of the guards objected.  They said that they had taken an oath to shoot the Mormons and would not let them go.  The hostages were instead taken away quickly for the rest of the day and were not given anything to eat until night.  After they had eaten, they were rushed away in the darkness for more traveling all night.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 266‑67 “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:145; “Guy M. Keysor Journal”; “John Steele Diary”; Yurtinus, “Recruiting the Mormon Battalion in Iowa Territory,” BYU Studies, 21:4:487; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 180; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 138, 39; William Kelly in Our Pioneer Heritage, 16:509; “John Brown Journal,” Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:428;


                          Monday, July 20, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

In the morning, at 8 a.m., Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Amasa Lyman crossed the Mosquito River to try to raise the remaining volunteers.  They returned at 9:30 a.m.

Wilford Woodruff put up his new iron wheat mill to experiment with grinding wheat and corn.

The Twelve met in council under the bowery.  Now that the battalion was almost fully staffed, they turned their attention to finding a winter settlement for the thousands of Saints at Council Bluffs and scattered across Iowa.  At 11 a.m., Henry W. Miller and his company returned from their expedition to the north.  They reported that they did not find a better place to settle for the winter.  After receiving the report, Brigham Young remarked that there might be found a place to settle which was better than the Pottawatomie lands on the west side of the Missouri River, but for now they would stay where they were.  Brigham Young shared some private feelings for the first time that it would be dangerous to send a company to go over the mountains.

Major Robert B. Mitchell, Indian Agent for the government, signed a document at Trader’s Point that ratified the earlier permission given by Colonel Allen (see July 16, 1846) for the Church to settle on Indian lands.  He added, “I willingly certify that it is for the apparent good of both parties, and that there is no prospect of evil arising therefrom.” 

Colonel Thomas L. Kane wrote to President James K. Polk, and forwarded him a copy of the permission documents.  He added, “I have no hesitation in . . . saying that while I can see no reason why the Mormon people should not winter in the valleys of this neighborhood, I consider it exceedingly important to them to be allowed the privilege of so doing.  My own advice to them has been opposed to the crossing of too large a body of them over the Missouri during the present year.” 

Colonel  Allen wrote a letter to Jesse C. Little in reply to a request to express his opinion concerning the Mormons. 


I have found them civil, polite and honest as a people.  There appears to be much intelligence among them, and particularly with their principal men or leaders, to whom I feel much indebted for their active and zealous exertions to raise the volunteer force that I was authorized to ask for. . . . Brigham Young is entitled to my particular thanks.  All of this people are entirely patriotic, and they have come not only with cheerfulness, but under circumstances of great difficulty to them. . . .


He stated that he would later file an official report but “will here say that I think them [the Mormons] as a community and in their circumstances deserving of a high consideration from our government.” 

Brigham Young met with Hosea Stout.  He asked Brother Stout if he would be willing to organize a cohort (group of soldiers).  President Young explained that it was not time yet to organize, but he expected that the majority of the camp would stay at Council Bluffs for the winter while others would cross the river.  This cohort would be involved in helping the poor come from Nauvoo and elsewhere.

The day was growing hot, with very little wind.  The band gave a concert on the bluff near the headquarters.  Many spent the afternoon dancing.  At the end of the concert, Brigham Young spoke and exhorted the Saints to pray always.  Wilford Woodruff spent most of the day hunting for lost cattle.

The Mormon Battalion was making preparations to leave.  A steamboat had been expected to take men from Trader’s point, but it never arrived.  Colonel Allen decided that the battalion would march overland to Fort Leavenworth.

Henry Standage, who had enlisted the day before, went to Brother Ira Eldredge and asked him to take care of his mother while he was away.  This, he agreed to do.[32]  Henry Standage wrote, “About 9 o’clock I took my knapsack and left the camp of Israel, leaving my wife and Mother in tears, and reached the Co[mpany at Trader’s Point] at noon.  This afternoon I received a blanket of Government, and commenced to draw rations also.”

Zadoc Judd, his brother, and others arrived at the last minute.  They had been recruited while on the road to Council Bluffs and finally arrived on this day.  Private Judd wrote “ Our number made up all that was lacking and we were organized and numbered with the Mormon Battalion and we commenced drawing rations of flour and bacon. . . . Our rations were abundant‑‑about eighteen ounces of flour per day, four ounces of pork.”  The Mormon Battalion was fully staffed at last and ready to depart. 


Mississippi Company, in Wyoming:

The Mississippi Company was welcomed into a Cheyenne Indian village.  John Brown wrote: “They received us kindly and made us a feast which consisted of stewed buffalo meat.  We traded some with them and they appeared well pleased with our visit.”


Pawnee Mission, Nebraska:

About 114 miles west of the Missouri River, George Miller, James Emmett, and a company of men arrived at the Pawnee village which had been burned in mid‑June by the Sioux Indians.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

A meeting was held in the temple to raise volunteers to travel west, to help replace the men who joined battalion.  Others were also asked to go in search of Brigham Young’s brother, Phinehas Young  and the others who were still held hostage by the mob.


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

The weary hostages were forced to keep traveling all night.  Phinehas Young later wrote, “this was the hardest suffering we endured.  Brother Ballantyne was sick and worn out with fasting and fatigue, he almost gave out but the bayonets of the mob goaded him on.  We were kept all day in a thicket.” 


Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 266‑67, 276, 281; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 62; William Clayton’s Journal, 55; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 180‑81; “Guy M. Keysor Journal”; Yurtinus, “Recruiting the Mormon Battalion in Iowa Territory,” BYU Studies, 21:4:487; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 139; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:121; “Zadoc Judd Autobiography,” BYU, 22; Pioneers and Prominent Men of Utah, p.1190; Brown, Autobiography of Pioneer John Brown, 69; Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, 212‑13;


                          Tuesday, July 21, 1846


Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

At 6 a.m., a thunder storm rolled in.  It started to pour and continued to rain until about 11:30 a.m.

At 12 noon, the Mormon Battalion began its historic march as the first four companies took up the line of march for Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.[33]

This parting was a sad time for families left behind.  Sister Margaret Phelps recalled this day when her husband Alva left.


I was very ill at the time, my children all small, my babe also extremely sick; but the call was pressing; there was no time for any provision to be made for wife or children; no time for tears; regret was unavailing.  He started in the morning.  I watched him from my wagon‑bed till his loved form was lost in the distance; it was my last sight of him.


Robert Gardner watched them leave and recalled, “They were soon off and leaving their families in wagons and tents where they had them but some was without and in the middle of an Indian country this things made me feel like asking O Liberty and Freedom, where art thou gone?”

Drusilla Dorris Hendricks was in charge of her large family since her husband was paralyzed from a shot in his neck at the battle of Crooked River.  Sister Hendricks could not bear to allow her son William Dorris Hendricks, age sixteen, to enlist in the battalion.  She recalled watching him as he went off to do his morning chores: 


I got ready to get breakfast, and when I stepped up on the wagon tongue to get my flour I was asked by that same spirit that had spoken to me before if I did not want the greatest glory.  I answered with my natural voice, Yes I did.  ‘Then how can you get it without making sacrifices?’ said the voice.  I answered, ‘Lord, what lack I yet?’  ‘Let your son go in the Battalion,’ said the voice.  I said, ‘It’s too late.  They are to be marched off this morning.’ That spirit then left me with the heartache. . . . Then Thomas Williams came shouting at the top of his voice, saying, ‘Turn out, men, turn out, for we lack some men yet in the Battalion.’  William raised his eyes and looked me in the face.  I knew then that he would go as well as I know now that he has been.  I went to milk the cows.  I thought the cows would be shelter for me, and I knelt down and told the Lord if he wanted my child, to take him, only spare his life.  I felt it was all I could do.  Then a voice answered me saying, ‘It shall be done unto you as it was unto Abraham when he offered Isaac on the altar.’ I don’t know whether I milked or not, for I felt the Lord has spoken to me.


It was also a difficult time for battalion members.  Henry W. Bigler wrote, “It was a solemn time with us as we were leaving families and friends and near and dear relatives, not knowing how long we should be absent, and perhaps we might never see them again in this life.  I bid my folks farewell and did not see them again for 9 years.”  Zacheus Cheney also wrote:  “It was a day of sadness, of mourning and of parting.  The tears fell like rain.” 

When the battalion left, the Mormon officers had not yet fulfilled a request from Brigham Young.  President Young was dissatisfied with the information on the appropriation rolls filled out by the officers.  They did not state how much money each man would send back to the Church.  Captain Allen ordered the battalion to march before these rolls could be returned.  This “created considerable uneasiness” in the minds of the officers.

The Battalion only traveled four miles in the mud, stopping at the point where Mosquito Creek empties into the Missouri River.  As they marched, they kept time to ‘The Girl I Left Behind Me.’  Elder Jesse C. Little spent the evening with the soldiers.  The men camped on the ground without tents, and slept in rude brush shelters on the banks of Mosquito Creek.

Back at Council Bluffs, at 11 a.m., members of the Twelve met together  in Parley P. Pratt’s tent to select a High Council of twelve men to preside in all matters at Council Bluffs while the Twelve were pressing on, to Grand Island.  The men selected were:  Isaac Morley, George W. Harris, James Allred, Thomas Grover, Phinehas Richards, Herman Hyde, Andrew H. Perkins, Henry W. Miller, Daniel Spencer, Jonathan H. Hale and John Murdock.

William Clayton, under the direction of the Twelve, composed a letter of instruction for the High Council.  The High Council was instructed to give advice to the Saints at Council Bluffs and to look after all the poor who were brought from Nauvoo.  They were also instructed to counsel the Saints and see that the laws of God were obeyed.  They were to assist and counsel the Bishops who had been called to look after the battalion families.  Further, they were instructed that it would not be wise for any families to cross the Missouri River unless they had sufficient provisions to reach Grand Island.  Schools should be established for the education of the children during the winter.

William Clayton was undergoing the hardship that so many others had experienced.  His provisions were nearly out, his teamsters all gone, nearly all his cattle had strayed and there was no one to hunt for them because of sickness.  He asked the Council what he should do.  Should he stay at Council Bluffs or move on? He was frustrated that he couldn’t get an answer from them.

In the afternoon, Brigham Young and others rode to the ferry, arriving at 5 p.m.  They discovered that the four companies of the Mormon battalion had departed.  Colonel Allen was still there and President Young was able to bid him good‑bye.  President Young then crossed over the Missouri River and spent the night at Cold Spring Camp with his family.

Bishop Whitney received a signed statement from the leaders of the battalion authorizing him to receive payment of battalion wages and to apply the funds to such uses as may be specified.

A son, Luman Israel Calkins, was born to Luman and Methitabel R. Calkins.[34]


Pawnee Mission, Nebraska:

One morning, eight Ponca Indians approached, startling George Miller and his company of men.  James Emmett talked with the Ponca chief who just came to assure them that the Ponca had not taken part in the burning and sacking of the Pawnee Indian village.  To show them kindness, the brethren pitched a tent for the Indians.

The Ponca Indians also told them some very important information about the Pawnee, who were away at that time.  They informed George Miller that the Pawnee would never let the Mormons spend the winter on Grand Island, “that the Pawnees wintered their horses at Grand Island, and that our [the Mormons] immense herd would eat up all the feed before winter would be half gone, and when the Pawnees came in from their summer hunt they would kill all our cattle and drive us away.” 


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

The mob continued to move the Mormon hostages around all night.  At dawn, they passed through the small town of Pulaski and went to a large plantation where they were hidden in the woods.  “Old Whimp” left them to go to Carthage “to gather a killing company.”  Phinehas Young and the others were taken to a grove near Carthage where this mob lay ready to ambush the prisoners.  Their friendly guard, John Sanders stood up for the prisoners and challenged the mob to fight him, but “they very prudently declined the offer.”  The hostages were taken by wagon back to Pulaski.  There, the mob argued amongst themselves and finally had the hostages get back in the wagon and travel for two or three hours.  They ended up about twenty miles from Nauvoo and six miles from Warsaw, near a community called Green Plains.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 269, 282; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:36; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 129‑31; William Clayton’s Journal, 55‑6; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 62; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 139; Whitney, History of Utah, 4:214; “Robert Gardner Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 13; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket:  The Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War, 64‑5; “Guy W. Keysor Journal”; Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, 212‑13;


                       Wednesday, July 22, 1846

Cold Spring to Elkhorn River, Nebraska:

It was a cloudy day with a few thunder showers.  In the morning, Brigham Young’s company of sixty‑seven wagons and about 227 individuals, started to move out for the Elkhorn River which was about eighteen miles to the west.  They still had hopes of sending a company to the mountains.

While at Heber C. Kimball’s camp, Brigham Young and the other leaders wrote a letter to Cornelius P. Lott, asking him to gather five or six teams, along with his flocks and herds and cross over the river, heading toward Grand Island.  Andrew H. Perkins was instructed to go to Savannah, Missouri to obtain a carding machine (used in the processing of wool).

After dinner, at 1:45, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Willard Richards traveled west for two hours in President Young’s carriage.  They passed many small fields of corn, through a beautiful grove, and on a high rolling prairie.  A rain storm developed and they drove into a valley, where they waited an hour for the storm to pass.  They continued on to a small creek and found a deep mud hole which forced them to take the carriage through by hand.  They finally arrived at the Elkhorn about 6:45 p.m., where Joseph Holbrook’s company was sending wagons over on rafts made by George Miller.  Bishop Miller had crossed that way on about July 10, on the way to the Pawnee Mission.  (See July 9, 1846.)  The raft had been found about a half mile downriver, having broken loose from its storage place.

The crossing only took about ten minutes.  As dusk arrived, they had supper with Hyrum W. Mikesell with whom Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball spent the night.[35]  Sleep was difficult for the leaders.  The mosquitos were terrible.  Willard Richards lodged in Brother Matthews’ wagon, but they were kept awake being rocked by the oxen.


Trader’s Point, Iowa:

The fifth and final company of the Mormon Battalion started their march.  They caught up with the first four companies at Mosquito Creek.  These companies had been addressed by Jesse C. Little in the morning while they were formed in a hollow square.  He referred to the energy of Samuel Boley, a battalion member who was dangerously ill and being nursed by Dr. William L. McIntyre.  The battalion, finally fully staffed and together, continued their march for another eighteen miles and camped across the river from present‑day Plattsmouth, Nebraska.  Some of the men were quickly convinced that they needed a wagon to haul some of their baggage.  Several pooled their resources to purchase a wagon and three yoke of oxen.  It would carry about twenty pounds of goods for each man.  That night, they made their beds under the brush.

Zadoc Judd wrote about their eating arrangements: 


We drew our rations for the mess of six men in one bulk.  Now as we had no cooking utensils a lump of dough was mixed by pouring water in the sack which had been opened and the flour hollowed out to hold the water.  Now when the dough was properly mixed, each man would get a stick similar to a common walking cane, go to the sack and get a lump of dough, pull it out in a long string and wrap it around and around the stick and then hold it to the fire until it was considered baked; then eat.  The pork we did not use much of.


Pawnee Mission, Nebraska:

About 114 miles west of the Missouri River, seven wagons left the Pawnee Mission, heading back to Council Bluffs.  In return for hauling the salvaged goods back to Council Bluffs, the Protestants gave the company the mission’s corn and grain.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

An article appeared in the Quincy Whig that published an affidavit of a woman who referred to the whipping of Mormons on July 11.  This woman falsely stated that the Mormon harvesters “acted in a riotous and boisterous manner, shooting around the neighboring fields, using the stables of one of the old citizens for their horses, and feeding his oats, etc.”  This woman was later discovered to be the wife of the man who raised the assaulting mob.


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

The Mormon hostages arrived in the neighborhood of Green Plains, Illinois.  They were visited by a number of men whom they recognized as some of the men who murdered Joseph and Hyrum Smith.  Their guards were changed with men from Warsaw.  The change was fortunate for the hostages because these new guards treated them more humanely.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 269, 282; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 139; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 131; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:62; “Zadoc Judd Autobiography,” BYU, 22 ‑ p.23; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:6; Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, 212‑13; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846‑1852, 262; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 66; “Guy W. Keysor Journal”


                         Thursday, July 23, 1846

Elkhorn River, Nebraska:

The weather was very pleasant, a welcome relief after a couple of days of rain.  Early this morning, at 6 a.m., Brigham Young met with the brethren in his company and appointed Hyrum W. Mikesell, Newel K. Knight, and Joseph Holbrook to preside over the company which was “the first fifty.”  Joseph Holbrook wrote that they were instructed to lead the company ahead, towards the mountains, “and they [the Twelve] thought they should be on our heels in a few days.  If not, would send us word in due season.”  Brother Holbrook was asked to take an inventory of each family’s provisions.  A work crew was requested, to build a bridge over the Elkhorn River, which was one hundred and fifty feet wide.

Brigham Young crossed the river on the raft.  After returning, he instructed Brother Mikesell to see that all those who crossed the river were registered in a log, along with any animals they took with them.

At 10:30 a.m., President Young and the other leaders started back towards the camp at Cold Spring.  Joseph Holbrook and Anson Call were also returning to conduct some business regarding the building of the bridge.  They rode with President Young in his carriage for part of the way and arrived at the creek one mile from Cold Spring at 2:50 p.m. 

The water had risen so high that the creek could not be forded.

Here, Noah W. Bartholomew, Hiram Clark, and their companies were very busy building a bridge.  Brigham Young advised them to build it one log higher.  President Young left behind his carriage, swam the horses, and crossed the creek using ropes that were strung across.  On the other side of the creek, Elder John Taylor took President Young and Willard Richards back to Cold Spring camp, where members of the Twelve met in a council meeting.


Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

William Clayton spent the day unpacking Church property in from his wagons.  He found much of it damaged because of the recent rains.  He put the property out to dry and then repacked it later in the afternoon.

Mary Richards worked most of the day sewing a tent out of one of her company’s wagon covers.


Mormon Battalion in Southwestern Iowa:

Right after midnight, twenty-one-year-old battalion member, Samuel Boley died.  In the morning they attended to his burial.  He was wrapped in his blanket and buried in a rough lumber coffin.  He had been ill at the start of the journey and many people urged him not to go, but he insisted on going with the battalion.  Evidently there were no physical requirements to enlist.

James S. Brown later wrote: 


We had only a small ration of food, for it did not seem to be in the country, and we suffered much from want. . . .  With less than half rations, and that badly or insufficiently cooked, from lack of proper utensils and experience, and having to lie on the ground without any bedding save one blanket each, it is a wonder the entire camp were not down sick instead of a few.


The men were not kept under tight control while marching and at times would be scattered over several miles.  The weather was very hot and the men became extremely thirsty.  Thomas Dunn wrote, “The grass is up to a man’s shoulders which made it very hot and sultry.”  They marched about twenty-five miles to the south, camping for the night in what now is Fremont County, Iowa, at some springs near the Missouri border.


About 72 miles west of Nauvoo:

A son, Isaac Phinehas Richards, was born to Franklin D. and Jane Richards.  Franklin D. Richards was not with his family, but was on his way to England.  Little Isaac died the same day.  After the midwife completed her duties, she gruffly asked Jane Richards,  “Are you prepared to pay me?”  Jane responded,  “If it were to save my life, I could not give you any money, for I have none; but if you see anything you want, take it.”  The woman rummaged through the wagon and took a beautiful wollen bedspread and said, “I may as well take it, for you’ll never live to see it.”


Nauvoo, Illinois:

An alarming rumor was circulating that reported that Phinehas Young, Brigham Young’s brother who was being held hostage by the mob, was dead.


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

Phinehas Young was not dead.  During the very early morning hours he, and the other hostages were taken to a log house in the middle of a corn field and told that they could obtain some much needed sleep.  They gathered up weeds and made their beds, but immediately they went to sleep, a whistle woke them up.  The prisoners overhead the report that the Mormons had been seen nearby and that a move was again necessary.  They were quickly rushed into the woods and driven through dense forests toward the lowlands near the Mississippi River where they were “devoured by mosquitoes.”  The captors changed their minds again and the poor men were forced to march back up the bluffs and were hidden for the night near the mouth of Bear Creek.


Springfield, Illinois:

The Sangamo Journal published an article regarding the Camp of Israel.  Mr. S. Chamberlain had recently arrived back to Illinois from Council Bluffs.  He observed that there were about one thousand wagons at Council Bluffs and hundreds of people at Mount Pisgah and Garden Grove.  “Mr. Chamberlain counted over one thousand wagons en route to join the main bodies in advance. . . . The whole number of souls now on the road may be set down in round numbers at twelve thousand.”  The article noted that two to three thousand others departed for other locations. [Many of these were in St. Louis.] Mr. Chamberlain also shared news that a Mormon Battalion was being raised.  Finally, “Mr. Chamberlain represents the health of the traveling Mormons as good, considering the exposure to which they have been subjected.”



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 269; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 139; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 131; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:62; “Zadoc Judd Autobiography,” BYU, 22‑3; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:6; Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, 212‑13; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 66‑7; “John Steele Diary”; Private Journal of Thomas Dunn, typescript, 2; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 84; Holzapfel, Women of Nauvoo, 173; Crossroads: Newsletter of the Utah Crossroads Chapter Oregon-California Trails Association, Volume 7, No 2&3, p. 19

                            Friday, July 24, 1846

Cold Spring Camp, Nebraska:

In the afternoon, Brigham Young and other members of the Twelve, along with Bishop Newel K. Whitney, went up on top of a high ridge about a mile northwest of the camp.  They pitched a tent and covered the ground with buffalo robes.  It was decided by vote that Orson Spencer and Elias Smith should go on a mission to England to assist the members of the Twelve in printing and publishing.  They also discussed the principle of eternal marriage.  It was decided that no man had a right to be sealed to a wife unless the President of the Church or those directed by him approved.  The ordinance should only be performed in Zion or her stakes.

The brethren next dressed in temple robes and laid hands on Elders Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor to set them apart for their mission to England.  They also set apart Ezra T. Benson for a mission to the States.  Brigham Young gave the brethren some instruction and the Council adjourned and returned to camp.  Most of the Twelve crossed back over the river to Council Bluffs.

Wilford Woodruff and Parley P. Pratt had trouble getting back to camp.  After they had rowed a skiff over the river, they decided to take an alternate route across a large mud hole.  It was dark and they lost their way wandering through some dense woods and brush.  But they found their way out to the road and soon arrived at Elder Pratt’s tent below the bluffs.  Elder Woodruff continued his journey up the bluff but lost his way again.  He did not arrive home to his family until 10 p.m. and was “very weary having walked about 12 miles since sunset.”


Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Hosea Stout was very proud that he cured his ongoing bowel problem.  “I [ate] a lot of choke cherries today . . . and they entirely cured me . . . and this I thought was a very simple and cheap remedy.” 


Mormon Battalion March in Missouri:

The battalion traveled about twenty miles.  They left the Missouri bottoms and marched along a good bluff road.  They crossed the Nishnabotna River at Hunsaker’s Ferry and camped near Lindon, Missouri.[36]

Colonel Allen was in favor of traveling moderate distances daily, but Daniel Tyler claimed that Adjutant George P. Dykes, on a horse, urged long marches.  Colonel Allen was persuaded by Dykes because he thought most the men felt the same way.  In reality, most only wanted reasonable marches.[37]

William Hyde and William Coray each purchased an Indian pony to help them make the long journey.  Because of these long marches at the beginning of the journey, several men became sick, including Daniel Tyler.  But when they were anointed and blessed by the Elders, they “went on their way rejoicing.” 

Levi W. Hancock was impressed by the kindness of Colonel James Allen.  He wrote, “The Colonel was very kind to us and made us ride; he administered consolation to us, and said nothing was too good for his men.”


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

Phinehas Young and the rest of the hostages were kept near the mouth of Bear Creek all day.  As night fell, they were taken to a high point of the Mississippi bluffs.  One of the men from Warsaw seemed to favor releasing the hostages and started to influence and affect the resolve of the captors.


Mississippi Company in Colorado:

The Mississippi Company camped on Crow Creek, probably just over the Colorado/Wyoming border.  Some of the company went on a buffalo hunt.  They thought they had seen a herd but it turned out to be a band of wild horses.  As they were scattered across the plain, a large party of Indians rushed upon them before they could gather together for safety.  To their relief, an Indian friend who had been traveling with them came with great speed and greeted the mounted party.  Once the Indians knew the Mormons were friendly, they “reached out the hand for the usual ‘howdy do.’” A large circle was formed and they smoked the peace pipe.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 272‑73, 592; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 139; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 132; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 62‑3; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 181; Journal History; Lyman Littlefield Reminiscences 168‑69; Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers along the Mormon and Other Great Western Trails, 183; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 67‑8; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 2; Brown, Autobiography of Pioneer John Brown, 69


                         Saturday, July 25, 1846

Cold Spring Camp, Nebraska:

Members of the Twelve were making preparations for the departure of Elders Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, John Taylor and Ezra T. Benson for their missions.  Brigham Young signed letters of authorization for the missionaries to be received by the Church in their mission fields.  Elders Hyde, Pratt, and Woodruff worked all day bringing their families across the Missouri River.  Failing to finish, they camped on the bank of the river.

At 1 p.m., Brigham Young rode down the bluffs to the river where Colonel Thomas L. Kane delivered important recent historical documents to Willard Richards.  They included authorizations for settling on Indian grounds.


Near the Platte River, Nebraska:

About fifty miles to the west of the Missouri River, the advance group, which was part of Brigham Young’s company, met the seven wagons that were returning from the Pawnee Mission.


Council Bluffs, Iowa:

In the evening a thunder storm rolled in, dumping heavy rain for two hours.  The wind was severe, described by William Clayton described as “a perfect hurricane.”  Hosea Stout recorded, “It blew down my tent leaving all my meal & flour and most of my trunks exposed to the pelting rain.  We had hard work to hold on the waggon covers.” 

Before the storm, Mary Richards finished her new tent which she sewed out of a wagon cover.  “About 4 o’clock she was hoisted.  I then went to work & swept off our green Earth Carpet, brought in some blocks to set our trunks upon, helped to carry them in & fix them to sute my own notion.  I then sat down & thought my home although but a tent appeared pleasent.”  This new comfort did not last.  At about 1 a.m., the storm hit. 


The wind began to blow most tremendious, the lightning eluminated the whole Country.  Had one of the heavyest cracks of thunder that I ever heard.  Had to hold down the sheet in the front of the waggon during the storm which lasted more than an hour.  This took all the strength I could summons, having nothing on but my night clothes.  I got very wet.  About the middle of the storm, our tent blowed down.


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

In the morning, the leader of the mob holding the weary, sick men hostage, announced that he was going to Carthage to meet other members of the mob to determine the fate of their prisoners.  They were left in the care of the new guards.  Their guards allowed them to walk around, pick berries, and enjoy themselves with Phinehas Young’s word that they would not to escape.  As they were picking berries, Phinehas’ son, Brigham said that he wanted to try to escape or die in the attempt.  Phinehas replied,  “These are exactly my feelings, and the voice of the Spirit to me.” 

They returned to the guards, Phinehas boldly announced to them that they intended to go home or be killed.  They’d had enough.  They were being held only because they were Mormons and had not committed any crime.  He told the guards that he believed Mr. McAuley, the man arrested by the Mormons, was now free, so he asked why were they still being held.  The leader said he would go to Warsaw and see if that was true.  If it was, they would be free to go.  When he returned, he kept his promise.

As soon as the hostages were freed from their bonds, the guards all expressed the warmest feelings of friendship towards them and pledged to defend them as they traveled to Warsaw.  They arrived at Warsaw at 10 p.m. and were treated kindly and given many things to eat.  After their supper, the door flew open and it was announced that the mob was coming.  In a moment they were rushed off to the river and boarded onto two boats, staying near the east bank of the river.  After they had gone a short distance, they saw a large number of men in small boats who were taking a different channel down the river, hoping to overtake them.  Their former guards (who were now their friends) landed the men at Keokuk and then called out to the mob that if they dared come on shore, every man would be killed.  When the mob heard this, they turned their boats away and left.  Their new friends took them to a hotel and treated them very kindly.


Mormon Battalion March in Missouri:

The Mormon Battalion marched eighteen miles in warm weather.  The sick among them were permitted to ride in the baggage wagons.  Most of the soldiers were in very good spirits.  The battalion ran out of flour which made dinner that night pretty sad.  Some ate parched corn, while others just skipped supper.  They hoped to be able to purchase some more flour soon.  James S. Brown commented:  “But with all this hardship there were no desertions and few complaints.  Everything seemed to move harmoniously among the men.”  They camped on the south bank of Tarkeo Creek.

Henry W. Sanderson later wrote that the Missourians in the area were fearful about the approach of the battalion.  Many of them were “locking up their houses and getting out of the way with their families which course of action presented itself to my mind as evidence of guilt and I thought they must have taken some part of the persecution of the saints.” 


Mississippi Company, in Wyoming:

The company was greeted by a whole nation of Indians, including women and children, who camped near them with their lodges.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 274‑277, 283‑85; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 181; William Clayton’s Journal, 56; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:63; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 132; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 139; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 28; Rich, Ensign to the Nations, 84; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 65; “Joseph Skeen Journal”; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 65‑6; “Diary of Henry Weeks Sanderson,” typescript, BYU, 37; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 84; Brown, Autobiography of Pioneer John Brown, 69


                           Sunday, July 26, 1846

Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Brigham Young and Bishop Newel K. Whitney crossed over the river to the Council Bluffs area.  Willard Richards was very sick and spent the day in his wagon.

Up on the bluffs, William Clayton tried to recover from the terrible storm the night before.  He wrote, “This morning the tent is down, wagons drenched and everything looks gloomy enough.  Scarcely a tent in the camp was left standing and many wagon covers torn.  A report is circulated that a cow was killed by lightning.  Much damage is done to wagons, provisions, etc.  The cow was killed about 200 yards west of my wagons.  There was a tent struck also, but no persons hurt.”  Many in the camp spent the day drying out clothes and provisions.

A Sabbath meeting was held, at which Elders John Taylor and Ezra T. Benson preached.  In the evening, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball and Newel K. Whitney went up to the bluffs to transact business and asked William Clayton to move down to the river on the next day.

Throughout the day, Wilford Woodruff continued to move the rest of his company across the river.  He wrote:  “This was one of the hardest days work of my life.  We commenced at about sunrise to take our cows over with a skiff.  We took 5 or 6 cows at a time in the water, tied their heads to the board, and rowed them over the river until we had taken over 20 cows.  We also took over some of our oxen in the same way.”  One of the ferry men tore open the belly of one of his best oxen which had to be later sown up and treated.  He took all of the wagons over himself in the very hot sun until he “nearly melted.”  He drove the teams up the hills, through the mud, arriving exhausted at Cold Spring camp.

Thomas L. Kane later described watching cattle being forced to swim across the river: 


Then rose their hubub, their geeing and wooing and hawing . . . the rearmost steers would hesitate to brave such a rebuff; halting, they would impede . . .  they would all waver; wavering for a moment the current would sweep them down together.  At his moment a fearless youngster, climbing upon some brave bull in the front rank, would urge him boldly forth into the stream; the rest then surely followed; a few moments saw them struggling in mid‑current; a few more and they were safely landed on the opposite shore. . . .

I have seen the youths, in stepping from back to back of the struggling monsters, or swimming amoung their battling hoofs, display feats of hardihood that would have made Madrid’s bull ring vibrate with bravos of applause.  But in the hours after hours that I have watched this sport at the ferry side, I never heard an oath or the language of quarrel, or knew it to provoke the least sign of ill feeling.


At 6:35 a.m., Cynthia Maria Wilcox was born to Walter and Maria Richards Wilcox.  Maria Richards Wilcox was the daughter of Phinehas Richards.  Maria went into labor during the terrible storm.  Her tent had blown down and she had to make her way to a wagon barefoot and in her night clothes.  Her sister‑in‑law, Mary Richards attended to her all night.  After the delivery, Mary made her bed and left her in the care of two other sisters.  She then went to examine the damage to the tent she had recently made.  It had been torn from one end to the other.  She did not delay what had to be done; She sat down and started to sew the tent.


Branch of Platte River, Nebraska:

The advance group of Brigham Young’s company reached a branch of the Platte River on their journey to their hoped‑for destination over the mountains.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

A daughter, Rose Hannah Nixon, was born to Stephen and Harriet Nixon.[38]


Near Nauvoo, Illinois:

The freed hostages woke up to a happy day in Keokuk.  Phinehas Young wrote:  “a happier set of fellows . . . I never saw.”  They parted with their new friends who wished them well.  They jumped into a “hack” and soon arrived at Montrose, where they were greeted warmly by friends and learned that their families were still in camp where they had left them, and were doing well.


Mormon Battalion in Missouri:

The Mormon Battalion continued their southward march in uncomfortable, hot weather.  They traveled twenty‑one miles through beautiful rolling country with fields of potatoes, oats, hemp, and tobacco.  They camped on a small, pleasant creek.  Many complained of sore feet.

Henry W. Sanderson related an experience that happened about this time: 

I was at one time traveling alone some little distance from the road and the Company was ahead of me.  I came across a man in his garden digging potatoes.  I asked him civil if he would give me two or three.  He told me no and raised his hoe on me and told me to get out of his lot.  I stood a few moments in a dareing attitude and then stopped and picked up two or three potatoes, went a few steps to an onion bed, pulled up two or three of them and went on my way, leaving a very mad man, using very bad language while I was saying nothing.


Yes, some of the battalion men did not act as “saints” during the time  they traveled through Missouri.  Abner Blackburn wrote that the farmers along the route thought they were a rough group.  Chickens, ducks, pigs and all kinds of vegetables were taken by some without pay.  “One set of theives carried several bee hives while the owners were at dinner.  One soldier drove off a cow and milked her . . . then sold her.” 

Henry Sanderson also recorded:


I remember at one time we made our camp close to a large corn field.  The proprieter came to the Col as soon as he seen that camp was going to be made and requested the Col to keep the Boys out of the corn and he circulated that such request had been made and soon after fires had been kindled, I happened to be to the Col’s and roasting ears were plentiful around it and much corn was consumed that night.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 277, 285; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 140; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:63; William Clayton’s Journal, 56‑7; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 181;  Rich, Ensign to the Nations, 84; Millennial Star 10:148; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 220‑21; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 68‑9; “Diary of Henry Weeks Sanderson,” typescript, BYU, 37; “Abner Blackburn Autobiography,” typescript, Nevada State Historical Society, 5; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 84


                          Monday, July 27, 1846

Cold Spring Camp, Nebraska:

In the morning, Brigham Young spoke to Hosea Stout again about organizing a militia in the form of the Nauvoo Legion.  Afterwards, he and Heber C. Kimball crossed over the river again and returned to Cold Spring Camp.  President Young told Hosea Stout that he intended to stay over on the west side of the river or go on to Grand Island.

In the afternoon, Brother Griffin and James Case arrived with seven wagons from the Pawnee mission, where George Miller, James Emmett, and others were located.  The wagons were loaded with goods salvaged from the village which had been destroyed by the Sioux.  James Case had been recently baptized a member of the Church at the Pawnee Village.

Wilford Woodruff spent most of the day in his tent recovering from over‑exertion the day before.


Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

William Clayton started moving his wagons down the bluffs to the river.  Unfortunately, he had to leave four yoke of oxen and two horse because they were lost.  The ferries were very busy and he was told that he would not be able to cross for a couple days.

Mary Richards worked very hard this day.  Her father‑in‑law, Phinehas Richards, was getting ready for a trip back to Mount Pisgah to retrieve more of this family’s goods.  Mary helped to pack up his things and baked a piece of meat for him to take.  She also took care of her sister‑in‑law, Maria Wilcox, who had just delivered a baby.


Mount Pisgah, Iowa:

Sickness at Mount Pisgah was becoming a terrible problem.  Many were probably sick with malaria.  President William Huntington commented in his journal, “Brother [Charles C.] Rich and myself spend most of our time visiting the sick‑‑ague and fever and chill and fever is the great difficulty with the saints in Mount Pisgah” Lorenzo Snow recalled this time, “Well persons [could] not be found to take care of the sick; it was indeed a distressing scene.”  Eliza R. Snow had been passing the time by braiding many hats.


Mormon Battalion in Missouri:

The battalion traveled about seventeen miles and passed through the town of Oregon.  They were an impressive sight to the town citizens.  Thomas Dunn wrote:  “[The] battalion marched through in order with music in front which presented a fine appearance to many.  Good order was observed throughout the company.”  

After about nine miles, they crossed over the Nodaway River and camped on the south bank.  A Missourian had been hired to deliver a load of flour to the camp.  When he was still some distance from the camp, he refused to deliver the flour to the Quartermaster because he did not like being ordered by a Mormon.  He insisted on only delivering it to Colonel Allen.  This angered Colonel Allen, and he ordered the man to deliver the flour immediately or be arrested and put under guard.  He made the delivery to the Quartermaster immediately.  Daniel Tyler wrote that “Good for the Colonel” and “God bless the Colonel” were repeated from one end of the camp to the other.

Zadoc Judd related an amusing incident which occurred around this time. 

One day one of the boys rather an eccentric character, had procured an odd kind of hat with a feather in it, similar to an officer’s uniform.  He went ahead of the company several miles and about noon called at a farm house and asked for his dinner, stating he was the colonel of the Mormon Battalion.

Of course he was given his dinner and the farmer thought himself quite highly honored to have such a guest.  When the company came to the farm house quite a number of the boys stopped for a drink of water.  The man was telling them that our colonel had stopped there and got his dinner.  Some of the boys inquired how he looked and what kind of a man he was and from the description given the boys recognized the comrade with a feather in his hat, and had a hearty laugh about it.

After the company had camped for the night the man with a feather in his hat came walking back into camp.  The boys saw him coming and knowing what he had done, began to hail him and holler:  ‘Here comes the colonel.’ The news soon spread through the entire camp and so much yelling and cheering brought the Colonel Allen from his quarters to enquire what was the matter.


Daniel Tyler wrote about Colonel Allen’s reaction to this impersonation of an officer.  “On being informed, instead of being angry and ordering him under arrest, as many a stiff‑collared fourth corporal would have done, the noble, high‑minded commander settled himself down again and laughed and shook his sides until he almost wept.” 


Montrose, Iowa:

A daughter, Rachel Richards, was born to John and Agnes Richards.[39]


Mississippi Company in Colorado:

The company of Saints crossed the South Fork of the Platte River.  They searched in vain for a trail of Mormons that they had been told had headed up the river, but could see no sign of them.[40]



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 285‑86; “William Huntington Journal”; “Iowa Journal of Lorenzo Snow,” BYU Studies, 24:3:269; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 181; William Clayton’s Journal, 57; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 63; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 132, 135; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 140; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 139;  “Zadoc Judd Autobiography,” BYU, 23; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 2; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 84; Brown, Autobiography of Pioneer John Brown, 70; Kimball, Historic Sites and Markers along the Mormon and other Great Western Trails, 174


                          Tuesday, July 28, 1846

Cold Spring Camp, Nebraska:

In the morning, the Otoe Chief and some warriors came into the camp to meet with Brigham Young and to get some beef.  President Young met with them and ordered that they should be given some beef.  The chief had tears of gratitude in his eyes.

At 11:30 a.m., members of the Twelve and Bishop Newel K. Whitney met in Parley P. Pratt’s tent for a council meeting.  They laid their hands upon Elder Jesse C. Little and blessed him.

At 2 p.m., a thunder shower rolled in from the west, pouring heavy for an hour, causing a large body of water to rush upon the camp.  In Brigham Young’s history it reads, “The water ran six inches deep through the tents, no wagon was exempt from water, and goods and provisions were more or less damaged; no one in Camp remembered such a succession of heavy thunder and lightning, and rain in so short a space.  An ox was killed by lightning.” 

Elder Wilford Woodruff’s family carriage was blown down a hill by the wind, tipped over and broke into pieces.  Sister Woodruff had just left the carriage before this happened.  Nothing in the wagon was lost.  The storms continued on through the night.  Several tents were torn down and the night was “very disagreeable.” 


Council Bluffs, Iowa:

Mary Richards (wife of Samuel W. Richards, away on a mission) worked very hard this day serving others in her camp.  When the afternoon storm hit the Saints at Council Bluffs, it beat very hard on all the tents, causing water to leak in very badly.  Mary went to help Maria Wilcox, who had delivered a baby after the storm three days earlier.  She found Maria lying in two quarts of water.  After moving her to a drier spot, Mary held an umbrella over her until the storm blew over an hour later.  She wrote, “I then took a bed which had kept dry & got her [Maria] into it, fixed her as comfortable as I could.”

At 11 p.m., they were aroused by yet another terrible storm which blew down the tent Maria Wilcox was lying in.  Mary Richards quickly helped to move Maria to her tent and volunteered to sit up the whole night with Maria and the baby.


On the Platte River, Nebraska:

The advance group of Brigham Young’s company reached the main Platte River.  They were about one hundred miles west of the Missouri River.


Mormon Battalion in Missouri:

The battalion traveled fourteen miles and camped close to a Missourian’s house at Mount Pleasant.  Battalion member, Daniel Tyler wrote,


We found the country poor and broken, the road bad and the inhabitants very miserable.  A great many of the settlers in this part of the country, were old mobocrats, as several of them admitted.  They said that they had been misled by false rumors, and very much regretted having persecuted the Saints.  They would have been glad to take their old Mormon neighbors back.  They had not prospered since the Saints were banished from the State, and the men they then hired to labor for them accomplished only about one half the amount of work in a day that the Mormons did.


Thomas Dunn and eight others became separated from the rest of the battalion.  They went through Savannah and camped at Dillon’s Mill.


Fort Bridger, Wyoming:

The infamous Donner party left Fort Bridger, on their way toward the Great Salt Lake Valley.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 286‑87; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 140; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 132‑33; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:64;  Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:208‑09; Rich, Ensign to the Nations, 84; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 70; “John Steele Diary,” typescript, BYU; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 2; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 86


                       Wednesday, July 29, 1846

Cold Spring Camp, Nebraska:

Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball rode in President Young’s carriage to the river, about four miles to the east.  They crossed the river and went to Trader’s Point, where they bought a pony, some cloth, and other items.

The whole camp was very busy drying out clothes, beds, grain, and other items.  Sister Phoebe Woodruff was ill from the exposure to the storm during the night.  Lorenzo Dow Young moved his camp because of the resulting mud.

Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball returned at 8 p.m.  They called the camp together and reported that Alpheus Cutler, Reynolds Cahoon and eight others were at the river wishing to cross.  Several of them were weak and sick.  President Young asked every man to get a team and help them in the morning.  The condition of the hill on the west side of the river was improving, but double teams were still required to pull the wagons up the bluffs.


Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Hosea Stout spent the day hunting for his oxen.  He was delighted to find some of them and was determined to cross the river.

After only two hours of  rest during the night, Mary Richards went back to work mending a tent and spreading out things to dry.  She also continued to care for Maria Wilcox who was taken back to her tent that had been raised up again.


Mount Pisgah, Iowa:

The sickness in the settlement was getting worse.  Louisa Pratt, wife of missionary Addison Pratt wrote:


A sorry time it is; many are sick.  Sister [Phebe] Hallet is very low.  I have for some time had charge of her babe, seven months old.  Last night I had a serious exercise with her, was up and down alternately.  At length my bedstead (one I had made myself) broke down.  I then made my bed on the ground.  There was a bottle of bitters standing near.  I thought perhaps a few drops might lull the child to sleep.  She struggled under the operation.  I then gave her a dose of cream.  I thought if the poor child could speak she would tell me I was killing her with kindness.


Nauvoo, Illinois:

The trial of Orrin Porter Rockwell for the murder of Frank Worrel had been recently held at Galena, Illinois.  Sheriff Jacob Backenstos was subpoenaed as a witness and Orrin Porter Rockwell was acquitted of the charges which had caused him to spend the past three months in prison.  Rockwell had given Almon Babbitt his gold watch as payment to defend him.  He returned to the deserted streets of Nauvoo.  As he was walking down the street, he came across young, thirteen-year-old Joseph Smith III.[41]  The prophet’s son later wrote: 


I saw him coming down the street, and I ran across our yard, climbing the fence, and jumped down on the other side close by him, greeting him and extending my hand.  He shook it warmly, put an arm affectionately across my shoulders, and said, with much emotion, ‘Oh Joseph, Joseph!  They have killed the only friend I have ever had!’ He wept like a boy. . . .  I tried to comfort him, but to my astonishment he said, ‘Joseph, you had best go back.  I am glad you came to meet me, but it is best that you are not seen with me.  It can do me no good and it may bring harm to you.’ It was with my heart in my throat and my eyes dim with tears . . . that I climbed back over the fence, to wonder, in my boyish way, how it was possible for men to be so wicked and cruel to good men.  I write this with no shame or any consciousness of unfitness in thus expressing my friendship for the man . . . Going back to the house I told my mother whom I had seen, what he had said, and how he had cried.


Mormon Battalion in Missouri:

The battalion passed through St. Joseph, Missouri, marching double file, keeping time to the tune of “The Girl I left Behind Me.”[42]  They camped four miles to the south side of the town, on Contrary Creek.

William Hyde saw Luke S. Johnson, former Apostle and now a newly re‑baptized member (See March 8, 1846 in Volume one) in St. Joseph.  He learned from Brother Johnson that the people of Missouri were astonished that the Mormons had raised the battalion.  They had thought the Mormons would spurn the government’s request.  He stated, “When they came to see the Battalion march through their settlements with civility and good order, they were perfectly unmanned.”[43]


Great Salt Lake Valley, Utah:

Edwin Bryant, future mayor of San Francisco, was with an emigrant party that traveled this day across the Salt Lake Valley.  He wrote in his journal,


Resuming our march, we took a south course over the low hills bordering the valley in which we have been encamped:  thence along the base of a range of elevated mountains which slope down to the marshy plain of the lake.  This plain varies in width from fifteen to two miles, becoming narrower as we approach what is called the `Utah Outlet,’ [Jordan River] the channel through which the Utah Lake empties its waters into the Salt Lake.[44]



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 287; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:64; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 181; William Clayton’s Journal, 57; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 140‑41; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 133;  Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, Vol.3, Ch.79, p.230; “Louisa Pratt Autobiography,” Heart Throbs of the West 8:241; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:146; Dewey, Porter Rockwell a Biography, 122, 124; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 71; “William Hyde Journal”; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 86


                         Thursday, July 30, 1846


Cold Spring Camp, Nebraska:

Elder Parley P. Pratt left at sunrise for his mission to England.  At 7 a.m. many teams started out towards the river to assist others to come to the camp.  Brigham Young went to the river two hours later to help and to check the progress.  He returned to camp later in the afternoon.


Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

At 3 p.m. Willard Richards crossed back over the river and headed up the bluffs to John Taylor’s camp to handle the mail and conduct some business.  He arrived at dusk and found Elders Hyde, Pratt, and Taylor ready to start for England.  Elder Jesse C. Little would travel with them as far as New York as he returned to his position as president of the Eastern States Mission.

William Clayton spent the day unpacking his mother’s wagon, finding many things wet and damaged.  Parley P. Pratt visited many people, telling them good‑bye.  He paid a visit to Mary Richards at 11 a.m.  He joked with her about seeing her husband Samuel W. Richards in England.

Hosea Stout started to take his wagons to the river.  He did not have anyone to help him drive them.  He drove the heavy gun wagon with two yoke of cattle, attaching a smaller wagon to the back.  Another wagon was driven by his wife with one yoke of cattle.  They crossed Mosquito Creek and stopped in the early afternoon to rest the cattle, exhausted after just one hour.  The weather was very hot.  From there, they took a road towards John Taylor’s camp and had to pass up over a very steep ridge.

Brother Stout wrote,


In going up with the second [wagon], the cattle came near fainting and would stop on the steepest places and pant as if it was their last, but by much whiping and a great deal of abuse to them I got them to the top and also down.  No accident happened but the cattle was entirely given out.  I took of the yokes & turned them out.  I was in the mien time taken with a sun pain in the head or as some call it ‘Sun Struck’ which came near taking my life.  I lay in the shade of the waggon for hours unable to do any thing.  It caused a high fever to rise on me.  Neither myself nor any of my family knew what was the matter with me.  Had circumstances called for a little more exertion from me at this time there is no doubt but it would have proved fatal.


The weather cooled and they were able to continue for three more miles.

After supper, another terrible storm started.  Elder Taylor lowered the flaps on two of his tents.  The  third, which lodged Willard Richards and Jesse C. Little, blew down and covered them with water.  They quickly went over to Brother Walter and Maria Wilcox’s tent which also had blown down, breaking two of the tent poles.  Sister Wilcox’s one week old daughter became exposed to the storm.  Mary Richards once again quickly brought Maria and the baby to her tent.  Elders Richards and Little looked after the family for the rest of the night in this crowded tent.  Mary Richards wrote, “I lay down on the soft side of a bord & slept for 2 hours & ½.” 


Mormon Battalion in Missouri:

The battalion followed a road into the Snake Hills.  These were the roughest roads which they had traveled over so far.  It was a short cut to avoid following a “U” along the river.  They passed through Bloomington, Missouri and camped on a small creek (Sugar Creek) after traveling fifteen miles.

At 9 p.m., a terrible storm arose causing trees to fall all around the camp.  Henry Standage wrote:


The brethren were all aroused from sleep and out of their wigwams, which were built of bushes, looking for those in the camp to fall every minute, there was about 80 fires kindled for the cooking of supper, which had died away but enlivened up again by the wind blowing so hard, which together with the lightning which was very vivid, had a curious appearance and was alarming considering the crashing of timber, howling of the wind &c.  but not one tree fell in the camp‑‑which proved to us that God was with us, the cattle were in an old field where there was some deadened trees, and one ox was killed.


Daniel Tyler remarked, “The owner of the field afterwards remarked that it was a marvel that they were not all killed.  He had been quite alarmed lest his house, which was in the vicinity, should blow down.” 

Thomas Dunn wrote, “This appeared quite miraculous to us, but we considered we were in the hands of the Lord, for in his power, I trusted.” 


Great Salt Lake Valley, Utah:

Edward Bryant, future mayor of San Francisco, was with an emigrant company passing through Great Salt Lake Valley.  They visited the hot springs and then he described:  “From these springs we crossed a level plain, on which we encamped at 11 o’clock, a.m., near a small stream of cold water [City Creek] flowing from the mountains, which is skirted with a few poplars and small willows.  The grass immediately around our camp is fresh and green, but a short distance from us it is brown, dry, and crisp.” 

They were soon visited by some Indians and smoked a pipe with them.  Their women brought baskets


containing a substance, which, upon examination, we ascertained to be service berries, crushed to a jam and mixed with pulverized grasshoppers.  This composition being dried in the sun until it becomes hard, is what may be called the ‘fruit‑cake’ of these poor children of the desert.  No doubt these women regarded it as one of the most acceptable offerings they could make to us.  We purchased all they brought with them, paying them in darning‑needles and other small articles, with which they were much pleased.  The prejudice against the grasshopper ‘fruit‑cake’ was strong at first, but it soon wore off, and none of the delicacy was thrown away or lost.

A fire was raging on the mountain‑side all night, and spread down into the valley, consuming the brown vegetation.  The water of the small stream [City Creek] was made bitter with the ashes.



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 287‑88; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 133; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 141; William Clayton’s Journal, 58; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 181‑82; Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol.  8, p.69; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 71; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” Typescript, 2


                            Friday, July 31, 1846

West Bank of the Missouri River, Nebraska:

Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Orson Pratt rode down to the Missouri River where they found the missionaries, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, and John Taylor.  They had been unable to leave for their missions because the Mosquito Creek was so high and the bridges had been washed out.  But at 1 p.m. they were on their way in a carriage for Bellevue (to the south, on the west bank of the river).  At Bellevue, they found passage on a small, open, flat boat with Elders Little and Pierce.  Also onboard were some Presbyterian missionaries who had come from the burned Pawnee Mission on the Platte River and were heading for St. Joseph, Missouri.  They floated or pulled the oars to help to boat along its way.

Wilford Woodruff and men in his company went down to the river with twelve yoke of cattle to help others take their wagons up the steep bluffs.


Council Bluffs, in Iowa:

Willard Richards finished preparing the mail bag for Mount Pisgah and Nauvoo.  At 3 p.m., he started his journey back to the Cold Spring Camp.  When he was about one mile from the river, he found William Clayton, to whom he gave copies of the Mormon Battalion muster rolls for the first three companies.  Elder Richards did not arrive until sunset and the last ferry had already left.

In the evening, Mary Richards had a terrible headache.  Her uncle, Willard Richards laid his hands on her and gave her a wonderful blessing.  He also prayed that her husband, Samuel W. Richards would have a good mission in England and would return home safely.

Hosea Stout’s frustrations continued.  During the morning his horses decided that they wanted to go back up to the John Taylor camp on the bluffs.  When he had retrieved his horses, he discovered that his oxen had strayed!  He decided to continue anyway.  The road to the ferry was very muddy.  When he was three miles from the river, he knew that he could not continue without his oxen.  Finally, a man came by and let him use his teams to pull the wagons over this bad stretch of road.  The road went through Trader’s Point, where Brother Stout stopped to do some trading and then continued on to the ferry.

Near the ferry crossing, he saw Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Orson Pratt and John D. Lee in Brigham’s carriage about to cross back over the river.  Hosea left his teams in the care of a boy and went with the brethren on the trip across the river.  As they crossed, the brethren were discussing where the Saints should settle for the winter.  The choice seemed to be between going to Grand Island or staying where they now were located.  Hosea Stout returned back to the east bank.  Alpheus Cutler was about to cross over with part of his company, but when he realized he couldn’t get them all over that day, he let Hosea Stout go ahead of him on the last ferry of the day.  Hosea Stout took his wagons across, after which Brother Peter Conover and others assisted him up the first steep rise out of the boat.  Hosea Stout wisely chained up his wandering cattle for the night in a ravine, part way up the bluff, on the west side of the river.

Mormon Battalion in Missouri:

William Pace and his father caught up with the battalion.[45]   The battalion, this day, marched through Weston, Missouri.  Fourteen-year-old, William Pace described the scene. 


Colonel Allen being desirous of showing off his Mormon boys to the Missourians, selected Levi W. Hancock and Elisha Averett as fifers, and Jessie Earl and myself as drummers at the head of the command, being two of the smallest boys in the Battalion.  About 14 ½ years old, we were of course very conspicuous.  The march through the city and suburbs was about three miles of continuous beating, so when we were through we were wet as drowned rats from perspiration, yet it paid in vanity...”


Levi Hancock wrote:  “With hands and fingers clenched tight around the drumstick beat the accents with most tremendous strokes which were even and were harmoniously measured with left foot down at the beginning of every bar . . . all was silence while five hundred Mormons passed and turned three corners in the heart of town.” 

The citizens of Weston were very impressed.  John H. Tippets wrote that they “gathered upon every side and corners of the streets looking with unexpected amazement to see so many Mormons enlisted which they thought would not be done.”  On the following day, many went to Fort Leavenworth asking to be introduced to the boys who had drummed through their town.[46]

The battalion camped on a small creek (Bear Creek) about two miles south of Weston and about four miles from the ferry over to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.  They spent the afternoon washing their clothes so they could make a good impression when they entered Fort Leavenworth on the next day.  But washing was difficult in the muddy stream where the dirt stuck to the clothes as fast as it could be washed off.  That night Colonel Allen prepared the official return which accounted for 22 officers and 474 enlisted men in the Mormon Battalion.


Yerba Buena (San Francisco), California:

The ship Brooklyn passed through the Golden Gate with about 220 Saints in great anticipation of reaching their goal.  Their leader, Samuel Brannan had visions of planting a flag for the first time at Yerba Buena.[47]  Captain Richardson ordered all the passengers to go down into the hold for their safety, but they were soon permitted to come on deck and put on their uniforms.  Samuel Brannan passed out the guns and ammunition which were obtained at the Sandwich Islands.  All things were ready for a battle with the Mexicans.  He peered into his telescope and to his great disappointment he sighted the American flag already waving.

But there was no disappointment on the faces of most of the weary passengers when they saw their long awaited destination in sight.  One of the passengers later wrote:


The day opened not with glorious sunshine to us, for fog hovered over the harbor of Yerba Buena, and a mist like a winter’s robe hung all around, hiding from our eager eyes the few objects...of the firm and solid ground, where we expected that soon willing labor would begin, homes be erected, fields cultivated, and peace and safety spread over us their wings of protection.


A cannon from the Yerba Buena battery fired a welcome salute and the Brooklyn fired a gun in response.  A rowboat soon came out to meet them and men in uniforms came aboard the Brooklyn.  They were from the U.S.S. Portsmouth which had arrived three weeks earlier.  One of the passengers reported:  “In our native tongue the officer in command, with head uncovered, courteously said, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, I have the honor to inform you that you are in the United States of America.”  To this, they replied with three hearty cheers.  By 3 p.m., the Brooklyn was at anchor near the town of Yerba Buena.


They crowded upon the deck, women and children, questioning husbands and fathers, and studied the picture before them‑‑they would never see it just the same again‑‑as the foggy curtains furled towards the azure ceiling.  How it imprinted itself upon their minds!  A long, sandy beach strewn with hides and skeletons of slaughtered cattle, a few scrubby oaks, farther back low sand hills rising behind each other as a background to a few old shanties that leaned away from the wind, an old adobe barrack, a few donkeys plodding dejectedly along beneath towering bundles of wood, a few loungers stretched lazily upon the beach as though nothing could astonish them . . . all ‑‑ and that was Yerba Buena, now San Francisco, the landing place for the pilgrims of faith.


Great Salt Lake Valley:

Edwin Bryant and his company continued their march through the Great Salt Lake Valley. 


Our route to‑day runs in a west course across the valley of the ‘Utah Outlet’ [Jordan River], about ten miles south from the bay or arm of the Salt Lake upon which we have been traveling.  The waters of the Utah Lake are emptied into the Salt Lake through this channel. . . .  Our route for several hours described nearly a semicircle, when there was a break in the range of mountains, and we entered upon another plain [Tooele Valley].



Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 288‑89; Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 345; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 182; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:64; “William Pace Autobiography,” BYU, 11; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 141; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 133; Our Pioneer Heritage 3:490‑92; “Diary of Daniel Stark,” Our Pioneer Heritage 3:498; Caroline A. Joyce, Our Pioneer Heritage 3:506; Our Pioneer Heritage 3:491, 8:70; Edward C. Kemble (really Eagar), “Twenty Years Ago. ‘The Brooklyn Mormons’ in California’, in Mulder & Mortensen, Among the Mormons, 187; Caroline A. Joyce quoted in Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:37‑8; “John H. Tippets Journal,” Utah State University; “Levi Hancock Journal”; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 73; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 86‑87



[1]Little Mason would die in Winter Quarters on November 30, 1846.  Sidney Tanner joined the Church in 1833. The Tanner family would later be called to help settle San Bernardino, California.  In 1857, Sidney Tanner would return to Utah and serve in the High Council of the Beaver Stake.

[2]Zebedee Coltrin joined the Church in 1831.  He attended the School of Prophets in Kirtland and was a member of Zion’s Camp. In 1836 he had a glorious vision of the Savior.  He later arrived in Utah, in 1847, and settled in Spanish Fork.

[3]Orrin Smith later arrived in California.  In 1866 he joined the RLDS Church and was an influential missionary for that church in California.

[4]This camp was a little north of 60th Street and L Street in present‑day Omaha where there is a marker.  The spring is now diverted to an underground culvert.

[5]During the following month, Louisa Pratt would describe this poorly built bridge.  “I intended to have described a bridge we crossed a little west of Indian village.  Not much to the credit of the many teams which have passed over, or rather their owners.  It is very long, made of large logs, very uneven, one side being two feet higher than the other.  It took one team a quarter of an hour to cross over.”

[6]These Saints were led by William Crosby, George W. Bankhead, and John Brown.  They had left their homes in Monroe County, Mississippi on April 8, 1846 to join the main Camp of Israel.

[7]For several days, the Stout family had been living on boiled corn.

[8]Jesse C. Little was the president of the Eastern States Mission.  He had been to Washington D.C. and had discussion with President James K. Polk which led to the decision to raise a Mormon Battalion.

[9]David Crockett was the author’s 3rd great‑grandfather.  David would later serve as the first mayor of Payson, Utah and would later settle in Logan, Utah.

[10]This village was about eight miles southwest of present‑day Genoa, Nebraska.

[11]Daniel Russell would later arrive in Utah, in 1848, and settled at the mouth of Millcreek Canyon.  The first fruit in the valley came from his orchard.

[12]Mary Ann would die at the age of seventeen.  David Grant would later be in the original pioneer company of 1847.  The Grant family would settle in Mill Creek, Utah.  David would serve a mission to England and cross back over the plains in a handcart company.

[13]They traveled on the established “Platte River Road” which took them west for forty miles before arriving on the north bank of the Platte River.  This route had been used during the 1820's and 1830's as the northern route of the Oregon Trail.

[14]Powsheek and his braves would travel towards Council Bluffs in the days that followed and would stop and dance for many of the Mormon wagon trains.

[15]He was mistaken or not telling them the truth.

[16]Pleasant Ewell joined the Church in 1837 and was ordained a high priest in 1844.  He would settle in Lehi, Utah, where he died in 1852.

[17]Both William James Johnston and Samuel Hollister Rogers would serve in the Mormon Battalion.

[18]Many years later, this practice would be stopped and instead families were to be sealed to their blood relatives.

[19]Don Carlos Lyman would only live five months and was buried in Winter Quarters.

[20]Sophia would die in Winter Quarters.

[21]Hiram, the father, would die in Winter Quarters in March, 1847.

[22]All three ended up going. They were to go to England to remove Reuben Hedlock and Thomas Ward from the British Mission Presidency.  Soon after the departure of Elder Woodruff for America, Elders Hedlock and Ward organized a joint stock society for general trading and manufacturing.  The scheme was improperly represented as part of the church to help Saints gather to America.  The scheme was endorsed in the Church’s “Millennial Star” and many Saints purchased stock only to see the funds used to pay salaries and travel expenses of the officers in the company.  These Elders were given the mission to set things back in order.

[23]This authorization would later be challenged by government officials after Captain Allen left.

[24]Daniel would be killed by the Indians many years later while returning from a canyon with a lead of wood September 26, 1872, near Spring City, Sanpete Co., Utah.

[25]Hyrum would later raise a family in LaBelle, Idaho.  John Scott had served in the Nauvoo Legion and police force at Nauvoo.

[26]In reality it was only four men going to harvest a field.

[27]Cornelius Peter Lott joined the Church before 1834.  He managed Joseph Smith’s farm, four miles east of Nauvoo.  He would later be in the original pioneer company of 1847.

[28]As a result of his injuries, his leg had to be amputated in 1841.  He had also been shot in the head on the fateful day.

[29]The Stocking family was among the first to settle in Herriman, Utah

[30]Each man was to receive about $42 advance pay (a reimbursement for clothing) which would add up to about $21,000, a very important sum to help the Church and the families of the battalion.

[31]William Kelly had enlisted in the battalion, in Company a.

[32]Ira Eldredge joined the Church in 1839.  He later would go to Utah in 1846 and was a member of the first High Council of the Salt Lake Stake.  He served as the bishop of the Sugar House Ward from 1858-66.

[33]Many histories state that the battalion left on the 20th.  This is not backed up by the first‑hand journal accounts which state clearly that the first four companies of the battalion left on the 21st.

[34]Little Luman would die on July 22, 1847 in Winter Quarters.

[35]Hyrum Washington Mikesell joined the Church in 1839.  He helped to build the Nauvoo temple.  He later settled in Salt Lake City, where he served as a doorkeeper for the Tabernacle.  He later also served a three year mission in the Endowment House.

[36]Only a cemetery remains of this community.  Take the Watson exit off I‑29, turn east on road B and follow it for 5 miles to the cemetery.

[37]George P. Dykes was the chief assistant to Colonel Allen.  He was the  intermediary between the Colonel and the soldiers.  Many of the battalion member had very bitter feelings toward Dykes because of his actions during the march.  In later years, Dykes joined the RLDS church and was one of their first missionaries in the Utah Territory.

[38]The Nixon family later settle in Provo, Utah.

[39]The Richards family would later settle in Mill Creek, Utah.  Rachel would grow up, marry Jarvis Baker, and settle in Mendon, Utah.

[40]The company crossed the Platte a few miles south of Fort St. Vrain, located west of present-day Gilcrest, Colorado.  This fort was built in 1837 by Ceran St. Vrain of the American Fur Company.  It was abandoned in 1844.

[41]This event may have happened months earlier.

[42]In 1850, the town had a population of 5000.  In later years, this town would be an important starting point for many Saints making the journey to the Salt Lake Valley.

[43]Luke S. Johnson was probably in St. Joseph because his wife was very sick.  He would soon bury his wife in St. Joseph, Missouri.

[44]They traveling south from the Weber Canyon towards the north end of Salt Lake Valley.  This group was ahead of the Reed and Donner Party who would decide to take a different route than those ahead of them.  This would delay those emigrants and result in disaster when they would finally reached the pass in the Sierra Nevada mountain range late in the year.

[45]His father had been given permission to go get his son from Mount Pisgah.

[46]In 1850, Weston would have a population of 3775.

[47]Some have supposed he wanted to plant the U.S. flag, others believe he wanted to raise the flag of the Kingdom of God.