Brigham Young and Willard Richards rode on horseback up Turkey Creek to view the site for the mill. They visited President Young’s brothers, John, Phinehas, and Joseph. John Young was still sick and the brethren administered to him.
Elder Richards received fifty dollars from Albert P. Rockwood to distribute among the needy battalion families. Wilford Woodruff was sick in bed from exhaustion due to the hard work of the previous days, cutting house logs.
Mary Richards wrote in her letter to her missionary husband, Samuel W. Richards: “The place where we have settled for winter quarters is one of the most beautyfull flatts I ever see. It is about one mile square. The East side borders on the Mo River and most of the North & South. The West side is bounded with a ridge or bluff, from the top of which it decends graduley to the River. . . . The scene is quite Romantic.” Mary was camping about a quarter mile from the meeting ground and about a half mile from Willard Richards’ camp.
A daughter, Mary Minerva Snow was born to Erastus and Minerva Snow.1 Felina Clark, age nineteen months, died of fever and “fits.” She was the daughter of Lorenzo and Beulah Clark.
Chandler Rogers died at the age of fifty-one. He was the father of nine children, including battalion member, Samuel Hollister Rogers. Chandler’s wife, Amanda Rogers wrote: “The last day [he] went to sleep as usual, died about 8 o'clock in the evening. We feel very lonesome.”
A son, Samuel Clark, was born to Samuel and Rebecca Clark.2
Almon W. Babbitt, one of the Nauvoo Trustees, arrived at Garden Grove on his way to Winter Quarters. He told the Saints about the Battle of Nauvoo and the surrender of the city to the mob.
Distressing news arrived that the mob proclaimed no Mormon would be allowed to cross back over the river to sell property. They vowed that no Mormon in the camp would get a cent for the property left behind. This news caused a great deal of concern and some murmuring among the destitute Saints.
The battalion started their march at daylight, traveled three miles, and stopped at Stillbitter Creek to graze the animals on the grass. After four hours, they resumed their march and traveled another twelve miles, camping in a valley just east of Point of Rocks.3
During their travels, they passed within a half mile of some walls of an ancient structure to the north. Two walls ran parallel, about four feet apart for about one hundred thirty feet. They appeared to be constructed with cement. Daniel Tyler wrote:
Whether these had been partition walls of a castle or some large building, or a part of a fortification, it would be difficult to determine. It was evident that the whole face of the country had undergone a change. There were numerous canals or channels where large streams had once run, probably for irrigating, but which were then quite dry, and to all appearance had not been used for generations.
In the evening, Lt. Smith cursed the sergeants and Quartermaster Samuel Gully for neglecting their duties.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 402; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:90; “Allen Stout Journal,” typescript, BYU, 26; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 168; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 160; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 162; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 92; Our Pioneer Heritage, 3:167‑68
In the morning, Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards went to see John Pack, who had just returned from Savannah, Missouri. Brother Pack had brought back the carding machine purchased by the Church and also brought back two newspapers. Peter G. Camden, of St. Louis, Missouri, published a sympathetic appeal to the citizens of the city for the poor who had been driven from Nauvoo. The newspapers announced that food clothing and other articles were being collected for the sufferers. The stores of J.P. Eddy and Beebe Bros. were advertised as locations accepting contributions.
At noon, President Young, Willard Richards, and Albert P. Rockwood rode out to see the brickyard. They also saw an excellent bed of clay and stone in the river which could be used for wells.
In the evening, a council meeting was held at Brother Rockwood’s tent. A report was read regarding the herding of cattle. Amasa Lyman, Orson Pratt, and Wilford Woodruff were appointed as a committee to divide the city into wards. Bishops would be appointed over each ward and would take care of the poor. Benjamin L. Clapp was appointed to superintend the building of a house to store the carding machine.
The High Council met and discussed Brigham Young’s request that they send more men and teams to help gather the poor from the banks of the Mississippi River. Even though the brethren in Council Bluffs were already carrying the load for providing for the Mormon Battalion families, they responded favorably to this request for additional service. James Murdock and Allen Taylor, with about twenty‑five more teams, would lead this rescue effort. These teams would be in addition to those led by Orville M. Allen, who left about two weeks earlier. Brother Allen’s rescue team would arrive in the poor camp within a few days.
A son, Joseph Lewis Ford, was born to William and Delana Ford.
Members of the camp started to move away from the river to other locations nearby that were believed to be healthier. Many cranes were seen flying south.
Joseph Heywood, one of the Nauvoo Trustees, wrote a letter to Brigham Young. He reported that he had gone to St. Louis to solicit aid for the destitute Saints, “whose situation is truly deplorable scattered along the bank of the river opposite to Nauvoo.” He reported that he had been somewhat successful in finding aid. Also, he found a man who might be interested in buying the temple. He hoped that they could finish up the work in Nauvoo soon, because it was “like the abomination of desolation.” The mob had searched his home in Nauvoo while he was away, but they did not find his most valuable arms.
While the battalion halted its march for breakfast at spring near Point of Rocks, Levi Hancock and others climbed the highest peak. Brother Hancock built an altar and offered prayers. He also broke off some branches from the highest cedar tree which he gave to his friends. The rest of the battalion marched on for two miles to water the animals.
In the afternoon, the battalion met a company of dragoons coming from Santa Fe. They reported that General Kearny left for California on September 25 and said that the Mormon Battalion would have to be discharged if it did not reach Santa Fe by October 10. As a result, the battalion marched long and hard for a total of twenty‑seven miles to Red River.
A problem arose when a number of men were reported by their Mormon officers and put under guard for falling behind the line of march and for other violations. John D. Lee defended the soldiers and argued that no officer in the Battalion could court martial another legally. He still contended that Lt. Smith did not have legal command of the battalion.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 403, 432; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 203; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 161; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:73‑4; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846‑1852, 82‑4; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
John Hill and Asahel Lathrop arrived from their camp about seventy miles up the Missouri River. They, along with seven other families had left George Miller’s company at Ponca, who were still about 150 miles up the river. They had become discontented with Bishop Miller’s leadership and moved further south to find better feed for their cattle. During the last six days of their journey to Winter Quarters, Brothers Hill and Lathrop lived on two squirrels, one goose and a turtle.
The lowlands near the river were full of men and teams cutting cottonwood trees for house logs. Hosea Stout traveled six miles up the river where the camp’s herd was being kept. On Saturdays, the men would gather the entire herd scattered over several miles. This made it much easier for the owners to find their cattle. Otherwise it might take a week to search for specific cattle.
A son, John Helaman Pixton, was born to Robert and Elizabeth Cooper Pixton.4
After traveling for about six miles in the morning to Ocate Creek,5 Lt. Smith called for a temporary halt and invited all the battalion officers to his tent. Lt. Smith emphasized the importance of arriving at Santa Fe within a week. He proposed that fifty strong men from each company make a quick, forced march to Santa Fe. The sick, lame, women, and children would be left behind under the command of Lt. George Oman. Most of the officers agreed to this proposal.
The recognized religious leaders of the battalion, Levi Hancock, David Pettigrew, and John D. Lee strongly opposed this proposed division. Many of the enlisted men were about ready to revolt when they heard of this decision. But Captain Jefferson Hunt said to his men that he thought “this to be the best move that could be made.” Private George W. Taggart expressed his feelings, “I did not feel like volunteering to go on and leave the sick behind, consequently I did not go with the first division.” Robert Bliss wrote, “I fear treachery.”
So the battalion became divided and the advance group traveled on for another eighteen miles and camped on Wagon Creek near a high rock. Some of the Missouri Volunteers were camped there. A few Mexicans and Indians entered the camp in an attempt to sell whiskey and other items.
It is interesting to note, but not surprising, that Dr. Sanderson chose to go ahead with the healthy men rather then staying behind to care for the sick. Daniel Tyler wrote: “But the sick did not complain on that score. The sorrow which they felt at the loss of friends through having the Battalion divided was in a great measure compensated by the relief they experienced at being rid of the Doctor’s drugs and cursing for a few days.” There would be a noticeable improvement in the health of those who stopped taking the drugs.
Elders Orson Hyde and John Taylor arrived in Liverpool, England. They had experienced some severe gales at sea and witnessed the wrecking of three vessels in the middle of the ocean. Their ship had saved half of the passengers from one of the other ships.
Elders Hyde and Taylor immediately issued a circular to the Saints. They stated that they had been sent by the Council of the Twelve to “set in order” every department of the Church, in England. They advised the Saints to no longer patronize the Joint Stock Company which had been misused by the brethren who had been left in charge of the British Mission. It was made clear that the Stock Company was independent from the Church. A conference was appointed to be held at Manchester, England, on October 17, where more instructions would be given.
Reuben Hedlock, who had been left in charge of the British mission, had fled to London. Elder Taylor later wrote of this man:
Elder Hedlock might have occupied a high and exalted situation in the Church, both in time and eternity; but he has cast from his head the crown ‑‑ he has dashed from him the cup of mercy, and has bartered the hope of eternal life with crowns, principalities, powers, thrones and dominions, for the gratification of his own sensual appetite; to feed on husks and straw‑‑to wallow in filth and mire!
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 403, 493, 597; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 203; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 169; “William Coray’s Journal”; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 161; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:74; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 163; Roberts, The Life of John Taylor, 178
A Sunday meeting was held at the stand in Winter Quarters. Elder Orson Pratt preached on the first principles of the gospel to the congregation consisting several nonmembers. Letters were read including some from the Mormon Battalion.
After the morning session, Elders Orson Pratt, Amasa Lyman, and Wilford Woodruff divided Winter Quarters into thirteen wards. Bishops were appointed over each ward. They ordained six of the bishops at that time.
In the afternoon, the Saints again assembled to hear President Brigham Young speak. He mentioned that John Hill and Asahel Lathrop arrived from their camp about seventy miles up the Missouri River. They had broken off with Bishop Miller’s camp because of “oppression and disorder.” President Young said he intended to send his cattle up to Brother Hill and Lathrop’s camp for the winter. He advised that some families be sent up there to winter their cattle at that location.
President Young discouraged participating in the practice of paying visiting peddlers inflated prices for goods. He proposed that a committee be appointed to purchase goods collectively from the merchants. If the prices were still too high, they would not buy their goods. Volunteers were asked for to help build a bridge. Brethren were given the opportunity to advertise for help to find their lost animals or property.
In the evening, a council meeting was held. Elder Willard Richards reported on the plot of Winter Quarters which had been drawn by Elder Orson Pratt.
Halmagh Van Wagoner, age fifty-nine, died. He was the husband of Mary Ann Van Houten Van Wagoner.
It was rumored that the mob had removed the angel weather vane and the ball from the top of the temple.6 Thomas Bullock wrote: “At night I took a walk thro the Camp for the first time and counted 17 tents and 8 Wagons remaining, and most of those are the poorest of the Saints. [There is] not a tent or Wagon but [has] sickness in it, and nearly all don’t know which way they shall get to the main camp.”
The advance companies of the battalion traveled about twenty‑four miles and arrived at Wolf Creek.7 They found good water and grass at this location. Lt. Smith restored full rations to this advance group of troops. Some Mexicans came into the camp to sell cakes and bread.
Abner Blackburn wrote of an event that probably occurred at this time.
Camped one afternoon about three oclock. Presently there rode up several Spainiards. Amongst them was a Spanish Hidalgo and his daughter with their rich caprisoned horses and their jingeling uniform. The [Senorita] lit off her horse like a nightengale. The whole camp was there in a minute. Their gaudy dress and drapery attracted all eyes. The dress of the [Senorita] is hard to describe, all the colors of the rainbow with ribbons and jewelry to match. . . . We gave them presents and made them welcome to our camp and also to martial music as a greeting. The damsel was struck with our drummer boy, Jesse Earle, and his violin. He played “The Girl I Left Behind Me.” She could not contain herself and with her companaros started a dance and made the dance fit the tune. . . . She took a fancy to our drummer boy. The attachment was mutual; but his admiration cooled off somewhat when she appropriated his handkerchief and pocket‑knife.
The rear companies of the battalion traveled about eighteen miles and camped at Wagon Mound in a beautiful valley they called the Valley of Hope. Good grass was found for the teams.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 404‑05 Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:91; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 203; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 169; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 165, 173; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:74 “Norton Jacob Autobiography,” BYU, 42‑43; Bagley. Frontiersman, Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, 41‑2; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Brigham Young visited the sick and finished his well that was thirty‑two feet deep. The High Council met and appointed a committee to purchase sheep.
Wilford Woodruff left Winter Quarters in the morning in his carriage to take four or five sisters on a “graping expedition.” They crossed over the river on the ferry and traveled to Council Point. On the way, Elder Woodruff shot three prairie chickens and they arrived at the grape fields at dark. Elder Woodruff built a fire and fetched water from the Missouri River. The women made their beds in and under the wagon. Elder Woodruff tried to sleep under the stars, but the moon was shining bright, keeping him awake. At midnight he went to the river for several hours to hunt.
A daughter, Susan Burgess, was born to Horace and Iona Burgess.
A son, William Thomas Ewell, was born to William and Mary Ewell.8
The Saint Louis Weekly Reveille reported that Joseph L. Heywood, one of the Nauvoo Trustees, was in the city asking for provisions to help the poor who had been driven from Nauvoo.9 “We know their wretched state, not from report, but from eye witness, of misery which is without a parallel in the country. They are literally starving under the open heavens; not even a tent to cover them‑‑women and children, widows and orphans, the bed‑ridden, the age‑stricken and the toil worn.” The article asked for clothing and money to be donated to help the Saints.
A very pleasant day cheered up the sick and hungry Saints. Thomas Bullock wrote, “A very fine day, the woods all alive with the sweet music of birds which makes me feel delightful even in my exiled state.”
An issue of the Hancock Eagle was published by the non‑Mormon new citizens of Nauvoo. It reported that the anti‑Mormons were in violation of the treaty because they had in effect stolen the guns from the Mormons. “It is no exaggeration to say that nineteen‑twentieths of the arms delivered have been confiscated.”
The Nauvoo Temple had sustained much damage from the mob. “Holes have been cut through the floors, the stone oxen in the basement have been considerably disfigured, horns and ears dislodged, and nearly all torn loose from their standing.” Names had been carved in the woodwork of the large assembly room on the main floor.
The advance companies of the battalion traveled about thirty miles, and camped near a Mexican town called Las Vegas. The town was relatively large with a population of about five hundred people. Samuel Hollister Rogers wrote: “The houses are rudly built chiefly of adobies, a kind of large sun‑dried brick, one storey high with a flat roof made by laying line poles across with brush and covering with mortar. Only saw one window in the whole town. When we passed through the men, women and children came into the street to see us. Some climbed upon the roofs of the houses.”
Abner Blackburn wrote that the inhabitants of the town were “a most miserable set of poor, half clothed wretches, covered with vermin, who cared for nothing except a few meals and a Fandango to kill time. The rich were very rich and the poor very poor and worthless.” Their fields were near the river bottoms. Irrigation was used to water the crops of wheat, squaw corn, onions, red peppers and squash.
The rear companies broke camp at noon and traveled twenty‑five miles until midnight when they reached the Noro River. They camped near a small Mexican settlement.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 405‑07; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:91; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 169; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 165‑66, 173; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:74 Our Pioneer Heritage, 20:181; Bagley, Frontiersman, Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, 42 “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Work commenced on a dam for the Winter Quarters flouring mill. Almon W. Babbitt, one of the Nauvoo Trustees, arrived at Winter Quarters with forty‑four letters and one hundred newspapers. He reported that the mob had taken over Nauvoo, had most of the brethren’s guns, and had defaced the temple. Many of the poor families had gone on to St. Louis, Missouri.
Helen Mar Whitney wrote of Brother Babbitt’s news of mob activities, “They had several mock ceremonies with different individuals, and had baptized or dipped Moses Davis three times. . . . The shore of the city and nearly all the approaches to the city, were strickly guarded, to prevent the ingress of Mormons, and when any man was found they immediately baptized him and sent him over into Iowa.”
A letter was received from Bishop Newel K. Whitney who had visited the poor camp near Montrose, Iowa, on his way to St. Louis. (See September 20, 1846.) He reported the destitute condition of the Saints and that about fifty wagons would be needed to help bring the poor further to the west.
Lorenzo Dow Young went up the river twelve miles with six others to pick grapes. They made their camp as comfortable as possible. He wrote, “We had a little music from the wolves, to remind us we were not alone.”
A daughter, Charlotte J. Cole, was born to John and Charlotte Cole.10 Ashabell Dewey, age fifty-one, died of canker. He was the husband of Harriet Dewey. Ann Wadsworth, age thirty-six, died of canker and fever.
Wilford Woodruff ate a breakfast of prairie chicken stew on the east side of the river while on a graping expedition. He recorded: “Found the grapes on Cottonwoods & willows. I cut down several hundred of them during the day the size of my arm & leg. And we all laboured hard untill sun set picking grapes. We picked over three Barrels of Bunch grapes & started for home by moon light. We returned as far as the ferry but could not cross and had to camp for the night.”
Alonzo Merrill, the eldest son of Albert Merrill died. The Merrill family were among those who experienced severe hardship. Brother Merrill wrote:
My wife continued to grow worse and her milk dried up. Her young babe was without mother’s food and all the other children came down with chills and fever. We could not get help. The other people there were many of them sick. One George Bratton drove a yoke of my oxen from the range and took them up to the Bluffs 80 miles from our place. My horse that my wife and children drove in a light wagon fell into a ravine and died in sight of our place as I was not able to care for my stock.
A daughter, Martha Zabriskie Doremus, was born to Henry and Harriet Doremus.
Elder Jesse C. Little wrote a letter to Brigham Young reporting that he had just met with President James K. Polk and found that the president had good feelings toward the Saints. He asked the president to appoint Jefferson Hunt or Sheriff Jacob Backenstos to lead the Mormon Battalion, but the president said he did not have the power to appoint, that the battalion would have to choose.
Elder Little also visited with the Indian Commissioner and requested permission for the Saints to remain on Indian lands for some time. Everything looked fine. Elder Little earlier called upon Judge Kane and he offered his support to help with anything in Washington on behalf of the Saints. “He wished me to say when I wrote to our people that his son had expressed his highest regard for your great kindness during his sickness of which he said much.” His son, Thomas L. Kane had traveled to Washington, reported on the barbarous treatment in Nauvoo, and worked to help the Saints receive permission to stay on Indian lands.
The battalion passed through the town of Las Vegas, marching to music in good order. After about twelve more miles they also marched through the town of Tecolotte. They made their camp on a farm near Burnetts Springs, five miles from the town.11 While marching, they met a Mr. Simington who was sent from Santa Fe by order of General Stephen Kearny. The message confirmed the order that the battalion should arrive at Santa Fe by the 10th to received further instructions from General Alexander Doniphan.
The rear companies of the battalion rested this day. From the top of a large rock near their camp, the soldiers were able to see Lt. Smith’s division marching in the distance.
A son, Ephriam Burdick, was born to Thomas and Anna Burdick.12
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 407‑08, 433; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:91; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:148 Woman’s Exponent, 13:131; “Albert Merrill, autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 4; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 169; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 166‑67, 174; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:74
Brigham Young and other members of the Twelve traveled several miles to the north, to the location where the herds were being tended. President Young wanted all those who were not herding regularly to leave the herd grounds. He made arrangements for the herdsmen to receive better clothes to perform their duties. On the way back to Winter Quarters, the brethren inspected the progress at the mill site.
Wilford Woodruff returned to Winter Quarters and started to work at juicing the grapes which had been gathered on his expedition. They were able to obtain about twenty gallons of juice. Lorenzo Dow Young also returned from some grape fields. As they left the fields, he had difficulty finding his wagons because the willows and cottonwoods were so thick. After quite some time, he found them, and was on his way back to Winter Quarters. When he returned, he found his wife, Susan Ashby Young, weeping. She had recently received news of her father’s death from Brother Almon Babbitt. Brother Young did all that he could do to comfort his dear wife. Her father, Nathaniel Ashby had died near Bonaparte, Iowa, on September 23.
In the evening, Brother Asahel Dewey was buried. Several of the Twelve met at the post office to meet with Almon Babbitt. Brother Babbitt was counseled to return to Nauvoo, sell the Church property without delay, and to also sell the property at Kirtland, Ohio. The brethren discussed a rumor that Reuben Hedlock, who had been left in charge of the British Mission over the Winter, had taken $7,000 dollars credit from the Church and fled to unknown parts.
Willard Richards called on his daughter‑in‑law, Mary Richards, and asked her to go take care of Sister Eliza Ann Peirson, who was very sick.
A son, Silas William Holman, was born to James and Naomi Holman.13
Orville M. Allen, captain of the first rescue teams to help the poor, arrived at the camp on the Mississippi River, across from Nauvoo. He called the Saints together and informed them that he had been sent by the Twelve to help. He told them, “I was sent to bring as many as I can, and I will do it, and get them to Council Bluff. . . . I’ll get you thro’ as quick as I can.”
Brother Allen shared news from the pioneer camps. He asked the camp to exert themselves to yoke up available teams and prepare to leave. Forty‑ two of the 350‑400 people immediately volunteered to go with twenty wagons, seventeen oxen, four horses, and forty‑one cows. Sister Mary Fielding Smith, the widow of Hyrum Smith, and her sister, also a widow of Hyrum, Mercy Fielding Thompson, donated eighteen dollars for the company’s benefit. Even though these devoted sisters suffered from lack of food and shelter, they stepped forward to help those even less fortunate than themselves. Mary’s seven‑year‑old son, Joseph F. Smith, later the sixth president of the Church, was with his mother in this destitute camp.
The vanguard battalion companies passed through the town of San Miguel, a large Mexican town of about 150 homes.14 They observed a large two‑story Roman Catholic Cathedral. While in the town, many of the soldiers traded goods with the Mexicans. Daniel Tyler wrote that they were amused at watching the process of milking goats. “It was generally done by boys, who sat at the rear of animals, and the milk pail caught frequent droppings . . . which were carefully skimmed out with the fingers. Possibly, this may in some degree account for the extreme richness of the goat’s milk cheese.”
As they marched on, they passed through mountains and saw some snow. They made their camp on the Pecos River near the present‑day town of South San Ysidro. The rear companies arrived at Las Vegas, where they saw fine gardens along with 3000 sheep, 200 goats, and numerous cattle.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 408‑09; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:92; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:149; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 96; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 170; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 167‑68; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:74; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 164; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 39; “Orval M. Allen Diary,” LDS Archives; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal,” Bagley (ed.), Pioneer Camp of the Saints
In the morning, Brigham Young and other members of the Twelve met with Almon W. Babbitt and discussed the affairs at Nauvoo and California. Wilford Woodruff and Orson Pratt went out into the streets of Winter Quarters and ordained three of the men called to serve as bishops in the settlement. The city was taking shape. With the help of several men, Lorenzo Dow Young, raised the walls of his house.
In the evening the brethren heard letters read, including a thirteen‑page letter from Elder John Taylor, written from New York to his wife before he sailed for England. They also read a circular written by Elder Taylor while still in the States which condemned Strangism, and a letter written in May by passengers from the ship Brooklyn while on the Island of Juan Fernandez. This was the first news received of the voyage.
A son, William Heber Pitt, was born to William and Cornelia Pitt.15 Maryanne Bruce, age thirty-six, died.
A son, Hyrum Rich, was born to Charles C. and Sarah Rich.
A son, Thomas Miller, was born to John and Janet Miller.16
The battalion marched eighteen miles up the valley of Pecos until they came to the Abbey of Pecos which was built about 250 years earlier. Henry Standage wrote, “The walls are in a ruined state, still some of the rooms are in good repair.” Some of the buildings in the town were about thirty feet high and contained many rooms with curious carvings. They rested at a spring nearby that “gushed” out of the north bank of Pecos Creek, around which was silver ore. They proceeded two more miles west of the ruins and camped for the night.
The officers received news that General Kearny had instructed Captain Philip St. George Cooke to take over command of the Mormon Battalion at Santa Fe. John D. Lee wrote: “This information struck Lieut Smith and Adj Dykes as well as many others of the officers almost speechless as they had been anticipating something very different.”
The rear companies of the battalion left Las Vegas, traveled about twenty‑one difficult miles, and camped about a half mile from the present‑day town of Blanchard, New Mexico. The soldiers complained that Lt. Oman was “unfeeling” for driving this weaker detachment so hard.
Brother Tarleton Lewis received permission to cross back over the river to Nauvoo in order to obtain a yoke of cattle for his journey to the west.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 409‑10 Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:92; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:149; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 170; Jaunita Brooks, Diary of the Mormon Battalion Mission, 296‑98 Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 168‑69, 174; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:74
Almon W. Babbitt left Winter Quarters and started back for Nauvoo with a package of letters for many of the Saints spread across Iowa. Hosea Stout went out to search for his mare. He traveled over hills and through valleys but could not find it. He did find a grove in a prairie that was full of walnuts.
Eliza Hall Cook was born to Phineas and Ann Cook. Her sister Harriet later recorded: “On the 9th day of October another little daughter was born to them while in a tent and during a heavy rainstorm. They had to hold umbrellas over Mother’s bed to keep her dry. She was very sick and came so near dying, her baby had to be taken from her and weaned at the age of three months, and for the want of proper food and nourishment it died May 12, 1847.” Patty Sessions helped with the delivery of this baby. She wrote: “I put Sister Cook to bed with a daughter. Went horseback five miles.” Later, Sister Sessions baked some pies with Sister Kimball.
Patty C. Hakes, age seventeen, died of chills and fever. She was the daughter of Weeden V. and Eliza A. Hakes. Lehi M. Vance, age twenty-seven days, died of fever. He was the son of John and Elizabeth Vance. Hannah Jones, wife of Alonzo Jones, died.
As the rescue team was organizing the starving Saints on the banks of the Mississippi River, a wonderful miracle was experienced. Thousands of quail descended on the camp which was an event similar to that experienced by ancient Israel in the wilderness recorded in Exodus 16:13.
Henry Buckwalter wrote: “So tame were they that one could pick them right up alive. And I assure you that they were greatly appreciated by one and all as what few effects of this world’s goods they were in possession of were mostly left behind in their bustle to get away from Nauvoo.”
Joseph Fielding recorded: “They came in vast flocks. Many came into the houses where the Saints were, settled on the tables, and the floor and even on their laps, so that they caught as many as they pleased. Thus the Lord was mindful of his people.”
Mary Field added, “They were so tame we could catch them with our hands. Some of the men made wire traps so they could catch several at a time. We did not have any bread and butter or any other food to eat, so we ate stewed quail and were very thankful to get that, for we were starving although we were in a land of plenty, because our enemies were in possession of our food.”
This phenomenon was said to have extended some thirty or forty miles along the river. Some later believed that the birds became so exhausted from a long flight that they landed on boats in the river and all along the banks.
Thomas Bullock left this graphic account:
On the 9th of October, several wagons with oxen having been sent by the Twelve to fetch the poor Saints away, were drawn out in a line on the river banks, ready to start. But hark! What noise is that? See! The quails descend; they alight close by our little camp of twelve wagons, run past each wagon tongue, when they arise, fly round the camp three times, descend, and again run the gauntlet past each wagon. See the sick knock them down with sticks, and the little children catch them alive with their hands. Some are cooked for breakfast, while my family were seated on the wagon tongues and ground, having a wash tub for a table. Behold, they come again! One descends upon our teaboard, in the midst of our cups, while we were actually round the table eating our breakfast, which a little boy about eight years old catches alive with his hands; they rise again, the flocks increase in number, seldom going seven rods from our camp, continually flying around the camp, sometimes under the wagons, sometimes over, and even into the wagons, where the poor sick Saints are lying in bed; thus having a direct manifestation from the Most High, that although we are driven by men, He has not forsaken us, but that His eyes are continually over us for good.
At noon, having caught alive about 50 and killed some 50 more, the captain [Orville M. Allen] gave orders not to kill any more, as it was a direct manifestation and visitation from the Lord. In the afternoon hundreds were flying at a time. When our camp started at 3 p.m. there could not have been less than 500 (some say there were 1500) flying around the camp. Thus I am a witness to this visitation. Some Gentiles who were in the camp marvelled greatly; even some passengers on a steamboat going down the river looked with astonishment.
The Council of the Twelve several months later wrote about this event to the missionaries in England:
Tell ye this to the nations of the Earth! Tell it to the Kings and nobles and the great ones ‑‑ tell ye this to those who believe that God who fed the Children of Israel in the wilderness in the days of Moses, that they may know there is a God in the last days, and that his people are as dear to him now as they were in those days, and that he will feed them when the house of the oppressor is unbearable, and he is acknowledged God of the whole Earth and every knee bows and every tongue confesses, that Jesus is the Christ.
During the morning, a message had been sent over the river to the Nauvoo Trustees telling them that Captain Allen was about to leave with a company of the poor. In the afternoon, provisions were brought to the camp from the Trustees. Items such as clothing, shoes, molasses, salt, and pork were distributed throughout the camp. Afterwards, Orville M. Allen started west toward Winter Quarters with a company of 157 Saints in 28 wagons.17
Thomas Bullock wrote:
Captain Allen called out my Wagon to take up the line of March for the West, when I left the banks of the Mississippi, my property, Nauvoo and the Mob for ever, and started merrily over a level prairie, amid the songs of Quails and Black Birds, the Sun shining smilingly upon us, the cattle lowing, pleased at getting their liberty. The Scene was delightful, the prairie surrounded on all sides by timber. All things conspired for us to praise the Lord.
The company traveled three miles and then camped for the night.
The battalion achieved one of its important goals ‑‑ the first division arrived in Santa Fe. In less than two months, the Mormon Battalion had marched all the way from Fort Leavenworth, a distance of nearly eight hundred miles.
As they approached, General Alexander Doniphan, longtime friend of the Mormons and commander of the post, ordered a salute of one hundred guns to be fired from the roofs of the adobe houses in honor of the battalion. They marched in, during a storm of rain and hail, with fixed bayonets and drawn swords to the public square. After an inspection, they made their camp, east of the Santa Fe Cathedral. Altogether there were about sixteen hundred men stationed in Santa Fe at that time. Historian John Yurtinus mentioned that one of the men from another unit wrote about the battalion: “They are well drilled, a shabby‑looking set.”
Still on the road toward Santa Fe, when Lieutenant Oman gave orders for the second division of the battalion to strike their tents and march, Lieutenant Elam Luddington of Company B refused. He had broken his wagon the night before and wanted to repair it. Oman wanted to turn over the command of Company B to Sergeant Hyde, but Hyde insisted on honoring Lt. Luddington’s request to keep the company together with him. Thus, the battalion again was divided, with a company led by Lt. Oman and another led by Lt. Luddington. The second division, led by Lt. Oman, traveled through the town of San Miguel and camped after a twenty-mile march. Their camp was located near present‑day Rowle, New Mexico.
John Steel wrote:
We soon went on through the great forest of cedar wood and came to San Miguel where ladies were on top of the house, and when they saw that I had women in my wagon they hastened down and sent their old father to invite us in. Then when the women got out of the wagon there was such a hugging as I had never seen before, as that was their manner of saluting. We did not stay there long as I discovered skulking around the corrals a great number of men, and as my team was the last and I was alone, I must hasten on. It was well I did as I was told they were planning to steal my little girl Mary.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 410‑11, 497; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 204; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846‑1852, 84; “Henry Buckwalter, autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 3‑4; Joseph Fielding Diary in “Nauvoo Journal,” BYU Studies 19, 165‑166; Mary Field Garner, Our Pioneer Heritage, 7:407; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:136; Our Pioneer Heritage, 1:506, 8:236, 19:355; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 252‑53; Journal of Elijah Elmer, quoted in Gibson, Journal of a Soldier, 250‑51; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 170‑71; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 169, 175; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:74; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Patty Sessions diary in Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:62
Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards went to administer to Eliza Ann Peirson, who was very sick.
Most of the brethren in the Camp of Israel went to the herd grounds where they all worked to gather the cattle together in preparation to sending them north for the winter. Many were still missing.
Hosea Stout received an order from Stephen Markham to appoint men each night to stand guard over Winter Quarters. Eight men would be needed to fill two five‑hour shifts during which they would guard the city against fire, accident, and from those who might try to cause harm on the city. Brother Stout tried in vain during the day to raise a guard for the night but so many men were away at the herd grounds.
Jacob Gates, James Case, and others arrived at Cutler’s Park from the Pawnee village.
Mary Richards continued to write a letter to her missionary husband, Samuel W. Richards, in England. She had recently read a letter he had written to a friend and she was feeling very lonely. She wrote:
It gave me much comfort to hear from you although I often wonder why it is that I cannot have a letter from you as well as others. I am sure if you thought half as much about me as I do about you, or felt half so lonely, you could not forbear writing so long. I would just as soon you had wrote 6 letters before you sailed, as to have waited till the last day, it would not have hurt my feelings the least mite. But perhaps I am finding fault without cause, you may have wrote to me. If so I ask your forgiveness and will try to wait patiantly for the proof of your rememberance.
Thomas Bullock wrote: “About 10 we started, on a cold, dull morning, up a very steep hill, thro’ a Wood, which proved a regular teazer to a many teams. The trees begins to cast their leaves and begins to show like autumn. On the road I picked up a nice dish of mushrooms which was sufficient for our dinner.” The company camped on the east side of Sugar Creek after traveling about thirteen miles. In the evening a loud crash was heard as a tree fell in the camp. Luckily, no one was hurt.
During the day, four companies of Colonel Stearling Price’s Missouri Cavalry arrived at Santa Fe. The battalion took great pride in knowing that they had arrived a day before the Missouri Volunteers even though these men had a two-day head‑start from Fort Leavenworth. The Missouri Volunteers were not greeted with a gun salute as had been given to the Mormon Battalion which did not sit well with Colonel Price.
Many of the soldiers in the battalion were able to go out into the city and become acquainted with the customs of the people. The town of Santa Fe was situated in a valley nearly surrounded completely by mountains. The houses were generally flat‑roofed adobes and the streets were crooked and narrow. Many felt that the whole city looked very much like an extensive brick‑yard. A large American flag made of silk flew gracefully near the fort which was under construction. The Mexican inhabitants had many flocks of goats and cattle.
John D. Lee observed, “A stranger at the first glance would conclude that there was not a room in the whole city that was fit for a white man to live in but to the contrary, some of their rooms are well furnished inside ‑‑ floors excepted.”
The town was full of activity. The men found goods that were priced very cheap. All over town, women and girls were selling pine nuts, apples, peaches, pears, grapes, bread, onions, boiled corn, and melons. Brother Lee was impressed to watch a team of four small burros who were fastened together, carrying a load of wood on their backs. They were driven without bridles or lines.
The men were very interested in watching the Mexicans. James S. Brown recorded:
Their costume, manners, habits, and in fact everything, were both strange and novel to us, and of course were quite an attraction. Many of the people looked on us with suspicion, and if it had been in their power no doubt they would have given us a warm reception; others appeared to be pleased, doubtless because it made trade better for them, and on that account they seemed very friendly. They brought into camp, for sale, many articles of food; the strongest of these red pepper pies, the pepper‑pods as large as a teacup, and onions (savoyas) as large as saucers, to be eaten raw like turnips.
The men also enjoyed penuche (fudge candy) and torillas with Chile Colorado (beef in hot sauce). Some men were very daring in trying out new Mexican cuisine. Abner Blackburn wrote:
On the end of a board was something which looked good to eat. One of our crowd began to eat it, who soon found it to be stringy. The Mexican woman looked wild at him and putting her hands to her stomach exclaimed; “Corambo Americano!” The fellow tried to throw it up and caught hold of the end and pulled it out like a snake. We supposed it to be some kind of rat poison as there was plenty of rats around. We were a little careful about eating their ammunition afterwards.
There was much gambling activity going on. Several soldiers went on a gambling spree and were put in the guard house. Some of the Missouri volunteers were determined to release their fellow soldiers and broke down the guard house in a struggle. One of the guards fired and killed two of the volunteers.
John D. Lee urged Captains Jefferson Hunt and Jesse Hunter to visit to paymaster. Brother Lee had been sent from Winter Quarters to retrieve the battalion pay. Paymaster Jeremiah Cloud agreed to pay the soldiers for one and one half months’ service when the second division of the battalion arrived in Santa Fe.
The second division continued their march toward Santa Fe. They marched to the Pecos Ruins where they rested and then continued on for about two more miles. They camped in mountains covered with pine trees and evergreens. The sick continued to openly condemn Lt. Oman for the pace of the forced march.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 411; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:92; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 204; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 175‑76; “Thomas Dunn Journal,” typescript, 8; Juanita Brooks, John Doyle Lee, 101; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 170‑71, 176; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:74 Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 39; Bagley, Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, 43; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 253; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 96
Rain started to fall heavily at about 10 a.m. and continued into the afternoon. During that time, about two thousand cattle from “the big herd” arrived into Winter Quarters and almost filled the entire town. Those driving the herd were not able to keep them on the prairie. Wilford Woodruff described: “And while the rain poured down in torents, I with many others had to go into the midst of the herd & separate my cattle. I was quite unwell with the auge but got thoroughly drenched with water. I laboured hard in the rain through the day.”
John Cummings, age four, died of chills and fever. He was the son of George and Jane Cummings. A son, Samuel B. Flake, was born to James and Agnes Love Flake.
Thomas Bullock wrote: “We started again having a beautiful Sky over our head [and] a delightful breeze from the West in our teeth, over a very level prairie.” They traveled on a windy road, full of stumps, and soon arrived at the banks of the Des Moines River. They crossed the river in pouring rain. It was impossible to light a fire that evening. At Bonaparte, a daughter, Emily Wilson, was born to Bradley B. and Agnes Hunter Wilson.18
The battalion members went out into the city of Santa Fe. Many of the men attended a Mass at the Catholic Church which was a curious ceremony to them. They marvelled at the many pictures and images that were hanging inside the church. Violins, triangles, drums, and other instruments were used to play beautiful religious music. Sergeant William Coray commented about the daily Masses, “I dare say there is enough holy water administered in Santa Fe every morning to swim an elephant.”
An express arrived with a message from General Kearny for the Mormon Battalion. The General gave official orders that Captain Cooke was to take over command of the battalion. He should fit the battalion with sixty days of rations and follow General Kearny’s trail to the Pacific where they would wait for further orders. The battalion would then probably be taken by ship to the Bay of Monterey. Captain Cooke invited the Mormon officers of the Battalion to meet with him. He proposed that the sick, women and children in the battalion be sent to Pueblo for the winter. In the spring they would be taken, at the expense of the government, to the west where they would rejoin their families. The officers agreed with this proposal.
A battalion member, Philemon C. Merrill wrote a letter to his wife. “It is hard times. I tell you, some times I think that I never can stand it on my part. I could stand any thing on my part, but to see my brethren suffer as they do is hard. It pains my heart to behold it.”
The second division of the battalion marched eighteen miles through Apache Pass and camped seven miles beyond Gold Dust Springs. The third division started their march at 4 a.m. and ate their breakfast at the Pecos Ruins. Robert S. Bliss wrote, “The temple was a great curiosity. No one knows when it was built. It was in ruins 200 years ago & it has every appearance of an Old Nephite City. The rooms, doors, carvings, painting & hireoglifics were a great curiosity, the bones of their dead also.”
Elder Addison Pratt preached a farewell discourse on Temarie, administered the sacrament, and baptized six people. In the evening, he performed a marriage.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 411; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:93; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 204; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 291; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 176; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 171‑72, 176; Philemon C. Merrill letter to Mrs Cyrena Merrill, LDS Church Archives; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:74; “Norton Jacob Autobiography,” BYU, 43‑4; “William Coray Journal”
Hosea Stout finally found his mare that had been missing for six weeks. Wilford Woodruff spent the day riding around the lake and through the river bottoms in search of cattle. Willard Richards’ niece, Eliza Ann Peirson died of chills and fever. She was the daughter of William and Nancy Richards Peirson.
A son, Samuel Bulkley, was born to Newman and Jane Draper Bulkley.19
Because of heavy rains, the company stayed in their camp on the banks of the Des Moines River, across from Bonaparte, Iowa. The town contained 40-50 houses and a saw mill which was not working at the time. Thomas Bullock observed: “It appears a snug place.” Captain Allen purchased some provisions in the town while the camp was busy washing clothes. The weather cleared and it turned out to be a pleasant day.
The second division of the battalion arrived in Santa Fe during the afternoon, marching in good order to music. A soldier from the regular army wrote:
The remainder of the Mormons came up, and when the wagons containing the women stopped at the place, all the Mexican women near went up and shook hands with them, apparently both rejoiced and surprised to see them. . . . I saw one very pretty Mormon girl who seemed highly pleased at her reception in Santa Fe and received the Mexicans with as bland a smile as they could have wished.
The third division, led by Lt. Elam Luddington, arrived later in the evening.
Addison Pratt was called upon to go and see a very old brother in the Church. Elder Pratt wrote:
I saw he was verry weak and feeble. Said I, “You are verry weak and low, and in all probability near your end,” for I saw the lamp of life was nearly extinguished. “Yes,” said he, “I am, and what is to become of me? I have been a warrior and a man of blood. I have sacrificed the lives of many of my fellow creatures.” Said I, “You did it in a time when you was swallowed up in heathenish superstition and ignorance. You did it to revenge upon your enemies. And Paul says, Acts 17:30 ‘The times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.’ And when this his word came to you in the gospel of his son Jesus Christ, you obeyed it, you have been adopted by baptism into his kingdom, and since that, you have kept his commandments, and now your trust must be in him whose blood is able to cleanse you from all sins. And now do not let your mind waver, but place your hope and faith on him, and he will lead you safely through the dark valley which you are now about to pass, to that blissful abode of eternal rest, prepared for all that love and keep his commandments.”
A few days later he died.
Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 204; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:93; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 292; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 176‑77
On this cold day, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff, and their families attended the funeral of Elder Willard Richards’ niece, Eliza Ann Peirson. A son, Isaac Cutler Kimball was born to Heber C. and Emily Kimball. A large number of the brethren were busy making brick which would be used for chimneys.
A wildfire burned on the prairie to the south which destroyed six or seven tons of hay. In the evening a large company of men was successful in putting out the fire. The wind had made controlling the fire difficult. Horace Whitney wrote: “The wind was so high today that my tent, together with a number of others, was blown down, and we were not able to put them up again until evening, when the wind ceased.”
It was discovered that each day a few beef cattle were being stolen by their neighbors, the Omaha Indians. Horace Whitney explained, “They have had for some time in contemplation a grand buffalo hunt, which they have abandoned in expectation of living and sustaining themselves by the killing of our cattle instead.” At times, they would even try to sell the meat back to the Saints.
In the afternoon, Thomas Bullock went with Captain Allen over to Bonaparte to obtain meal and beans. Brother Bullock wrote: “Altho’ the River is wide and shallow the Water is the most beautiful that I have seen, for the size of the River. The bottom is solid Rock, with loose Stones on it.”
Colonel Philip St. George Cooke officially assumed command of the Mormon Battalion.20 Colonel Cooke later reflected on the challenge that was presented to him with this new assignment. “It [the battalion] was enlisted too much by families; some were too old, some feeble, some too young; it was embarrassed by many women; it was undisciplined; it was much worn by travelling on foot, and marching from Nauvoo, Illinois; their clothing was very scant; there was no money to pay them, or clothing to issue; their mules were utterly broken down.”
He numbered the battalion at 486 men, included 60 who were invalids or unfit for service. There were still twenty‑five women and many children with the battalion in Santa Fe. Colonel Cooke understood that the journey ahead would be rugged and only the healthiest men would be able to accomplish the march. He decided to send the sick and all the women and children (without husbands) to spend the winter in Pueblo [Colorado]. The plan was protested by a number of the men. John Steel confronted the captain. He wrote that he did not want to have his wife “left there with only a squad of sick men, I would not stand it, and the more I talked the more angry I got until at last I could have thrashed the ground with him.” General Doniphan later had the order changed to allow a few husbands to go with their wives to Pueblo.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 412; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 204; “Journal of Horace K. Whitney”; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Brooks, John Doyle Lee, 102; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 178‑89; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 41; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 255-56
The morning was damp and rainy. Brigham Young laid the foundation of his log house and Heber C. Kimball finished the walls of his house.21 Wilford Woodruff’s division spent most of the day building a bridge over Turkey Creek. Elder Woodruff also worked to mend his tent.
Several brethren arrived from Nauvoo after a three-week trip. Horace Whitney wrote of their report:
It appears by their statements that the mob have been pretty busy, plundering houses, ripping open feather beds and scattering the contents in the streets. They have also defaced the Temple considerably, inside and out, such as knocking horns from the oxen in the font, running about the streets and imitating the blowing of horns with them and doing other acts of sacriledge too numerous to mention. . . . The mob have torn down the altars and pulpits in the Temple and converted that edifice into a meat market.
Hosea Stout crossed over the river at the new ferry crossing, traveled to Henry W. Miller’s camp and then on to his mother‑in‑law’s camp. The traveling was very difficult over hills and down ravines. He found his family doing well and settled next to many of his old neighbors from Nauvoo. Several of the brethren were away on a bee hunt.
A daughter, Amanda Jane Rogers, was born to Ann Doolittle Rogers.22
The company attempted to attack a steep hill near Bonaparte that so many other companies had had great difficulty climbing during the past months. It was no different for the poor camp. Thomas Bullock wrote:
We started on the side of a hill, sideways, and slipping almost every yard, thro’ a wood among stumps and logs. It had commenced raining during dinner and continued all the journey, which, with the dreadful road itself, made it most decidedly the worst travelling we have yet had, and may the Lord preserve us from worse; after much difficulty we got to the top of the hill where we halted, until every one of the teams got up without accident.
They camped after six miles. The camp had been having trouble with pigs coming into their campground. “This is the first night that we have been free from pigs, and that we had a little peace, not being troubled with the brutes.”
A son, Joseph Hyrum Armstrong, was born to John and Mary Kirkbride Armstrong.23
John M. Bernhisel wrote a letter to Brigham Young while on the steamboat, Fortune. He was on the way to visit towns to seek food and clothing for the destitute Saints. He reported that there were only about 8‑10 non‑resident members of the mob left in Nauvoo. However, they still did not permit any of the brethren to enter the city. A mob meeting was scheduled to be held the following week in Carthage. He felt that the mob would decide to withdraw from the city because public opinion was against them all over the country.
He also wrote:
There is still quite a number of our people encamped along the shore for about two miles above Montrose, some have tents, some have quilts or blankets put up for a shelter, some lodge in wagons, and some few have nothing but a bowery made of brush. The health of the people is better than it has been, but still there is considerable sickness among them, but the most of it is chills and fever.
Colonel Cooke appointed Captain James Brown to lead the second sick detachment to Pueblo, about 180 miles to the north. Private James S. Brown described how the sick men were selected.
We were drawn up in line, and the officers and Dr. Sanderson inspected the whole command. The doctor scrutinized every one of us, and when he said a man was not able to go, his name was added to [the] detachment, whether the man liked it or not; and when the doctor said a man could make the trip, that settled the matter. The operation was much like a . . . butcher separating the lean from the fat sheep.
The detachment consisted of 86 men, 20 women, and many children.
At first, all the men assigned to the sick detachment were going to be discharged from the battalion and would lose their pay. However, after an appeal to General Doniphan the men were told that they would not be discharged after all, but be put into “detached service.”
Colonel Cooke made a very controversial change in the battalion leadership. He appointed Lieutenant A.J. Smith as the battalion quartermaster in place of Quartermaster Samuel Gully. Levi Hancock and John D. Lee started a petition requesting Brother Gully to be reinstated. The petition was presented to General Doniphan who agreed with the petition but he explained that he could not help. John D. Lee then counseled Samuel Gully to resign from the army in protest and return with him to Council Bluffs.
A fandago24 was put on by the Mexicans and the Missourians. Most of the members of the battalion attended at a cost of two dollars per person. John D. Lee refused to go, feeling that it would be a violation of his covenants if he associated with unbelievers. He also disliking seeing about one thousand dollars spent foolishly when it could be sent back to help the poor.
William Coray wrote:
The officers were requested to attend a party and bring their ladies with them. I was against the operation but I was finally persuaded to go for curiosity. Our accommodations were poor, and the whole affair sickened me. I saw them dance their waltz or what they called Rovenas. Their music was tolerable, but the ill manners of the femailes disgusted me. . . . I thought I would stick it out till supper but had I known before what I knew afterwards the supper would have been no object as it proved to be a grab game all the way round, and the man that waited for manners lost his supper.
James Emmett, Joseph Holbrook, and William Matthews left Ponca for an exploring expedition. They wished to explore a route to Fort Laramie.25
Elder Parley P. Pratt and fellow missionaries, Samuel W. Richards, Franklin D. Richards, and Moses Martin arrived in Liverpool, England after a twenty-two-day voyage. They were in good health and spirits. Soon they found Elders Orson Hyde and John Taylor, and were kindly received by the Saints.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 412, 433, 487‑88; Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, 221; Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 346; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:93; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 204‑05; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 41; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 176; Woman’s Exponent 13:139; Brooks, Mormon Battalion Mission: John D. Lee, 204‑05 Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 256‑57; Ricketts, Melissa’s Journey with the Mormon Battalion, 36‑7; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Wilford Woodruff experienced what he referred to as “one of the most painful and serious misfortunes of my life.” As Elder Woodruff was working on his house, he traveled to the bluffs to cut some shingle timbers for his roof. He recorded:
While felling the third tree, I stepped back of it some eight feet, where I thought I was entirely out of danger. There was, however, a crook in the tree, which, when the tree fell, struck a knoll and caused the tree to bound endwise back of the stump. As it bounded backwards, the butt end of the tree hit me in the breast, and knocked me back and above the ground several feet, against a standing oak. The falling tree followed me in its bounds and severely crushed me against the standing tree. I fell to the ground, alighting upon my feet. My left thigh and hip were badly bruised, also my left arm; my breast bone and three ribs on my left side were broken. I was bruised about my lungs, vitals and left side in a serious manner.
After the accident, Elder Woodruff painfully rode his horse for almost three miles on a very rough road.
My breast and vitals were so badly injured that at each step of the horse the pain went through me like an arrow. I continued on horseback until I arrived at Turkey Creek, on the north side of Winter Quarters. I was then exhausted, and was taken off the horse and carried in a chair to my wagon. . . . I was met in the street by Presidents Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, and others, who assisted in carrying me to [my] wagon. Before placing me upon my bed they laid hands upon me, and in the name of the Lord rebuked the pain and distress, and said that I should live, and not die.26
Eliza Partridge Lyman recorded in her journal: “We went into our log house, the first house my three-month-old baby has ever been in.”
As Hosea Stout was searching for oxen that he had lost many weeks earlier, he visited the former headquarters of the Camp of Israel which had been located on Mosquito Creek.27 He wrote, “This country presented to me a dreary appearance and especially my old tenting ground on Hydes ridge. I passed down by Taylor’s camp which was now but a deserted point all dreary & lonesome.”
Brother Stout continued on down to Council Point, near the river. He spent the evening with George and Joseph Herring, Indians, who were members of the church. He had a wonderful evening with them and was treated with much kindness.
The company did not travel on this cold and windy day. They waited for Brother Fisher to catch up and also sent men back to Bonaparte to hunt for stray cattle. They returned in the evening with three teams.
The officers in the battalion started to receive their pay. Colonel Cooke issued the official orders for the sick detachment.
Agreeable to instructions from the Colonel commanding, Capt. Jas. Brown will take command of the men reported by the assistant surgeon as incapable, from sickness and debility, of undertaking the present march to California. The Lieutenant‑Colonel, commanding, deems that the laundresses on this march will be accompanied by much suffering and would be a great encumbrance to the expedition; and as nearly all are desirous of accompanying the detachment of invalids which will winter near the source of the Arkansas River, it is ordered that all be attached to Captain Brown’s party.
The detachment will consist of Captain James Brown, three sergeants, two corporals, sixteen privates of company C; First Lieutenant E. Luddington and ten privates of Company B; one sergeant and corporal and twenty‑eight privates of Company D; and one sergeant and ten privates of Company E., and four laundresses from each company. Captain Brown will, without delay, require the necessary transportation and draw rations for twenty‑one days. Captain Brown will march on the 17th inst. He will be furnished with a descriptive list of the detachment. He will take with him and give receipts for a full portion of camp equipments.
The commanding officer calls the particular attention of company commanders to the necessity of reducing the baggage as much as possible; transportation is deficient. The road most practicable is of deep sand and how soon we shall have to abandon the wagons it is impossible now to ascertain. Skillets and ovens cannot be taken, and but one camp kettle to a mess of not less than ten men.
Company commanders will make their requisitions on the Assistant Quartermaster, Captain W. M. D. McKissock, for mules and wagons, provision bags, pack saddle complete, and such other articles as are necessary for the outfit.
An editorial appeared in the Millennial Star announcing the mission of Orson Hyde, John Taylor and Parley P. Pratt in England.
During last winter, the council of the church in America under guidance of the Holy Spirit, deemed it necessary to send to you a number of fellow laborers in the gospel. . . . Since the above arrangements were made, and in some measure carried into effect, it hath pleased the Lord to direct the council by his Spirit to send unto you, in addition, a deputation of three of their own number, with instructions to regulate and set in order the various departments of the church.
Nibley, Faith Promoting Stories, 20‑22; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:93; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 205; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 176; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 166‑67; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:123; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Amasa Mason Lyman, Pioneer, 157
The weather was chilly. The Council wrote a letter to Indian Agent, Robert B. Mitchell at Sarpy’s Point, asking permission to use the government mill to saw boards for the construction of the Winter Quarters flouring mill. Most of the brethren in the city continued to work hard building houses. Horace K. Whitney had completed enough of the roof on his house that his family was able to move into it. They shared the house with several others. He wrote, “We cleared out the inside of it and the family moved into it in the evening. Brother K took two of his tents down and spread them over the roof.”
A daughter, Caroline Rocealy Hunter, was born to Edward and Laura Hunter. Patty Session helped with the delivery.28
Sarah A. Coventon, age nine months, died of chills and fever. She was the daughter of Robert and Elizabeth Coventon.
Hosea Stout traveled to Sarpy’s Point and wrote, “there was not much going on because of the cold. There was many large companies of Indians there waiting for their annual payment.”
Sister Joan Campbell died during the night, a few hours after giving birth to a stillborn child. When the mob attacked Nauvoo, she had been in good health. But after being forced to leave the city, her health became poor because of the exposure to the wet and cold weather. The company felt that she had died a martyr’s death. Captain Allen sent men to Bonaparte to get wood to make Sister Campbell’s coffin. It was constructed and she was buried that day.
Members of the camp were detained from moving on because a constable from Van Buren County put a lien on a yoke of cattle because of a supposed debt of eight dollars owed by one of the members of the camp. At 8 p.m., snow flurries were seen, but melted as they hit the ground.
One of the Nauvoo Trustees, Joseph Heywood wrote a letter to Brigham Young from what he called, “Hell Town, formerly Nauvoo.” He wrote about his concern for the graves of Joseph and Hyrum Smith. The location of the graves was a carefully guarded secret. Brother Heywood believed that a Mr. Van Tuyl, who was Emma Smith’s renter, had learned the location of the graves from Emma.29 Brother Heywood asked for Brigham Young’s permission to remove the bodies to another location.30
During the night, someone broke into Doctor Sanderson’s trunk and stole his gold watch valued at $300. Also stolen was Pilot Phillip Thompson’s watch worth $80. In the morning, each company furnished ten men to guard their company while others searched the entire camp. Nothing was found.
The enlisted members of the battalion started to receive pay from the paymaster, Jeremiah H. Cloud. They had to be paid in checks, rather than cash. Each man received one and one half months’ pay, or about $10 each. John D. Lee and Captain Jefferson Hunt worked to try to convince the men to send their checks to the Church.
Elder Addison Pratt heard that a sister in the Church, married to a Catholic man, was dangerously ill and heavy with child. He sent a message to her, asking if she wished to receive a blessing, and if her husband would permit it. He wrote: “Her husband received me very cordially, and said we were of different denominations, but that ought not to disturb our friendship as neighburs, and it was customary in his church to send for the clergy in times of sickness. But still he did not believe it was in man to do anything for her or anyboddy else.” After he left the room, Elder Pratt administered to her. The following day he learned that the sister delivered a stillborn child but she was doing fine. She believed that the Lord had saved her life because of the blessing she received.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 413; Ellsworth, The Journals of Addison Pratt, 292‑93; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 205; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 176; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 190‑91; Newell and Avery, Mormon Enigma Emma Hale Smith, 240‑41; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Patty Session Diary in Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:62
The weather continued to turn colder. There had been a severe frost overnight. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards prepared to send their cattle to the north for the winter.
The brethren wrote a letter to a Mr. Logan Fontenelle, an Indian interpreter, explaining that they wished to meet with the chiefs of the Omaha Indian nation. They wished to address the ongoing problem with stealing of cattle. This subject needed to be addressed carefully, “We want such an understanding with the Omaha as to prevent any collision or trouble for our feelings are kind toward them and al men.”
Robert H. Brinton, age eleven months, died of chills and fever. He was the son of David and Elizabeth Brinton.
The company was still detained by Constable Avery. Finally, Captain Allen agreed to pay him $16 in goods from the camp, to enable the camp to continue to move on. Almon W. Babbitt, one of the Nauvoo Trustees, passed the camp on his way back to Nauvoo. He gave Thomas Bullock a letter from Willard Richards. Brother Bullock wrote that this “caused my Soul to rejoice, and desire more and more to be with him, that I might unpack the Records and enjoy the ‘good days together’ as he speaks of.” Sister Joan Campbell and her baby were buried in one coffin. Thomas Bullock observed: “Thus have I seen the Saint laid low in the Wilderness, followed by one single mourner, having been banished from the land of their adoption by a brutal mob (sanctioned by Governor Ford the Governor of Illinois) on account of her religion.”
The company held an evening service at which Captain Allen exhorted them to say their prayers, be unified, follow their leaders, help one another, and take care of the sick. They closed the meeting by singing “How Firm a Foundation.” Right after the meeting, a cry of “Wagon on fire” was heard. Sister Mary Smith’s wagon was in flames but was quickly put out.
The battalion members made preparations to leave Santa Fe. Colonel Cooke received his beef cattle and pack saddles.
A General Conference of the Church was held in Manchester attended by several thousand Saints. Elder Parley P. Pratt addressed the congregation. The conference minutes recorded, “He observed that there was danger of one’s lagging behind in this work. The only way to insure our happiness was to keep up with it. The river may roll on and the ship be left on the sand. This kingdom shall roll on till all the kingdoms become the kingdom of Christ.”
Elder Orson Hyde added:
The traveler in our country who keeps up in front rank breathes a pure air, his vision is clear, and his garments free from dust; but if he lags behind, the dust gets into his eyes that he cannot see, and into his ears that he cannot hear. He also inhales the dust with every breath, is choked and stifled, and perhaps stumbles and falls; yet, if by chance he finds his way through to the inn, he is so completely disguised and covered with dust and dirt that he is not recognized or known.
It was agreed that Elder Orson Hyde, would attend to the business of publishing the Millennial Star at Liverpool. John Taylor and Parley P. Pratt were assigned to visit the different conferences across the British Isles. Elder Franklin D. Richards was appointed to preside over the mission in Scotland, with his brother Samuel W. Richards as his assistant. Dan Jones reported there were one thousand Saints in Wales. The Twelve were sustained as the authorized authorities of the Church.
Reuben Hedlock, who had fled before the arrival of the brethren, was excommunicated from the Church for practicing fraud and deceit, and for neglecting to comply with counsel. Elder Hyde commented that Hedlock’s actions were dishonest and unrighteous. The “Joint Stock Company” was dissolved and it was discovered that the company’s receivers could only pay one shilling and three pence for every pound that was paid into the company.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 413‑14, 418; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846‑1852, 96; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails, 67; Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 346; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 3:127‑28; Jenson, Church Chronology, October 17, 1846; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
A Sabbath meeting was held at the stand in Winter Quarters, but it was poorly attended. Brigham Young asked the Saints to be more faithful regarding resting on the Sabbath and attending their meetings. He also addressed some recent concerns. The Omaha Indians had been killing a number of the camp's cattle. He counseled the Saints to be cautious in their associations with the Omahas. They should stop selling their dogs to the Indians because the Indians were trying to decrease the number of dogs in order to make it easier to steal from the camp. He warned the brethren to not shoot at the Indians, even if they were caught stealing cattle. For protection, the Saints resolved to organize their wagons and tents into a more compact ring.
Homebuilding in Winter Quarters was well underway. President Young understood that the Saints also needed to care the thousands of cattle which would be used for the journey west. Arrangements were made for a cattle drive to the river bottoms in the north, where there were rushes (marsh plants) for the cattle to feed on during the winter. Brigham Young and others wanted to hire brethren to herd their cattle during the winter for a fee of two dollars per head. Hundreds of the livestock were still missing. Companies would be organized for a two day search.
President Young discussed the building plans for each block in Winter Quarters. The houses should be built on the outside of the block, with the yards on the inside. Five wells on each block should be enough.
The camp guard was discussed. The brethren wished that each of the thirteen wards would provide their own guards. Each ward would need two guards. Brigham Young objected to this idea, feeling that this plan would require too many men. Instead he proposed that the guard continue to be managed by Colonel Stephen Markham and Hosea Stout. His proposal was sustained.
A daughter, Frances Maria Russell, was born to Samuel and Mary Abigail Thorne Russell. Patty Sessions helped with the delivery.
A letter had been received in Garden Grove from Brigham Young asking for teams to be sent back to bring the poor from the banks of the Mississippi. Luman Shurtliff was chosen to lead a company of eighteen yoke of oxen, wagons, and teamsters. In the morning they started out with 75 cents of expense money for a journey of about 340 miles. He wrote: “This was the best we could do so we loaded in some squashes and pumpkins for the teams and rolled out, thus equipped to gather home the poor Saints. . . . We traveled on cheerfully as though we had been rich and plenty of money at our command.”
The camp experienced a severe frost during the night “which caused the ground to be white [all] over and a thickish Ice on the Water.” They participated in the daily pioneer activity of cattle hunting and headed out in the afternoon “with a beautiful blue sky over a prairie.” They passed over Indian Creek on a bridge in terrible shape.
Gustavus Hills, age forty-two, died. He was the husband of Elizabeth Manfield Hills.31
A son, Thomas J. Hall, was born to Thomas and Ann Hughes Hall.32
The Mormon officers in the battalion wrote a letter to Brigham Young and the Twelve. They gave a short report of their situation as they prepared to march on, to California. They reported that Colonel Cooke had taken over the command. Brothers Samuel Gully and James H. Glines had been removed from their offices. “We are sorry for this but cannot help it.” They blamed Adjutant George P. Dykes, “whose conduct has rendered him odious to the whole Battalion.” Their report continued, “We are going to march this day for California. We shall travel down the Rio Grande, by the copper mines, thence to the nearest point on the Pacific, thence to the Bay of San Francisco, where we expect to join General Kearny’s army.” They apologized that they could not send back more money, because they were paid very little, “but if you should see fit, in your wisdom and judgment, to send someone to meet the army in California, we shall be able to send you much more, as there will be two months pay due the first of November.”
At 10 a.m., Captain James Brown led the sick detachment out of Santa Fe. The parting was difficult. Henry W. Bigler wrote: “In that detachment I had a dear sister and brother‑in‑law, John W. Hess. I felt lonesome after they left for I liked their company very much.”
Shortly after leaving, Adjutant Dykes reported to Colonel Cooke that James H. Glines (who had recently been demoted) had taken with him his sword and other items that pertained to his former office. Colonel Cooke sent a file of men to retrieve the items and ordered that Glines be put under guard. Several of the men felt that Dykes had driven Glines from his office because of personal jealousies. Captain Brown’s detachment had only one baggage wagon which carried twenty‑seven men who were so sick that they could not walk. The teams were so broken down that the other men had to often help pull the wagon.
The rest of the battalion, at Santa Fe, received their sixty days’ rations. Colonel Cooke recorded, “I have reluctantly consented to take five women‑‑the wives of officers and sergeants. They are transported and provisioned at their own expense.” These women were Susanna Davis, Lydia Hunter, Phebe Brown, Melissa Coray and Sophia Tubbs.33 There were also at least four children remaining with the battalion.
William Coray recorded:
Col. Cooke . . . was about at the point of giving an order that all the laundresses should go back to Pueblo with the sick and invalids of the Battalion, but Capt. Hunter chanced to hear of the calculation and informed Capt. Davis, Sgt. Brown and myself of it. We concluded to go over and make a contract with the Col. to let our wives go with us. To this he consented after some parleying, but said we must take them at our own expense, that they must be no detriment to the company. In the meantime the women were moaning and crying about the camp, thinking that their husbands might be separated from them, and that they would be left in the care of sick men among savage tribes of Indians. Many of our brethren swore they would not leave their wives, orders or no orders. I thought so myself, but finally the Col for some purpose gave the men the privilege of going with their wives.
Azariah Smith described his activities for the day: “I went to another Catholic meeting. They performed the same as before only the Priest delivered a speech. After the meeting I stayed to see the Ladies, some of which looked very pretty, others looked like destruction. I then went down in town and saw a Bear, which was spry as a cat.”
The General Conference continued with a morning session held at the Hall of Science. Various Elders were appointed to serve as presidents over the conferences (districts). Ireland was organized as a conference. Elder John Taylor preached “an excellent sermon” in the evening.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 414‑17; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 205; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 258‑59; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 267‑68; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 67; “Extracts from the Journal of Henry W. Bigler” in Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:41; Talbot, A Historical Guide to the Mormon Battalion and Butterfield Trail, 27; Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 41; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 67; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Patty Session Diary in Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:62
The cattle drive to the rush bottoms in the north began. At noon, Heber C. Kimball sent about 130 head of cattle and Brigham Young sent 110. Many other brethren also sent their cattle to the north. The Church’s cattle would be sent in the morning. Brigham Young wrote a long letter of instruction to Brother Asahel Lathrop, who was about seventy miles to the north, at the rush bottoms.
President Young instructed him to create a large yard for his cattle. The cattle should be introduced to the rushes gradually until they had been accustomed to eating them. He wrote:
The Missourians are raising the price of wheat and eatables, but we shall find some means of sustenance when we get our mill in operation, and will be able to assist the herdsmen if they want, of this you will apprize us. It will be a blessing to the brethren to organize themselves, have their social meetings and pray with and for each other, and bless each other but never curse. Pay all that attention to the Sabbath that your situation will possibly admit of and you will be doubly prospered, the remaining six days.
He counseled the Saints to be kind to one another and to work hard. He mentioned that the cattle that were being sent were “as a drop to the ocean” compared to the number that have to be wintered for the entire Camp of Israel. “If you have examined the country and learned anything new about locations, rushes, etc., inform us.” The letter closed with, “The health of our camp is improving, though the cold has been severe the past two days, and nights the frost was hard, and scarcely a house tenanted as yet, though many are under way.”
In the evening the brethren administered to Joseph Young’s sick wife.
A son, David W. Clark, was born to David P. and Sarah E. Clark.34 Patty Sessions helped with the delivery and also mentioned helping Sister Fullmer, Sister Pickett and Sister Pitt.
As the camp arose, they discovered that Captain Allen’s cattle had strayed. A number of men went to search for them. When Captain Allen returned, he discovered nine men in the camp who were sitting around the fires, doing nothing. He chastised the men and they all went out to look for the cattle. They were not found until 3 p.m. It was too late for the camp to travel that day, so they lost another day because of stray cattle.
John D. Lee had collected about $1,200 of checks from the battalion and started his journey back to Council Bluffs. He was accompanied by Howard Egan, Samuel Gully, and Roswell Stevens. The men of the battalion prepared to start their journey to California. William Hyde wrote:
My feelings on leaving Santa Fe were of no ordinary kind. The Battalion had been divided, and thus I had been called to part with many of my brethren whose health was feeble, and also with those [John D. Lee’s group] who had been the bearers of letters from my family and the families of my brethren, and should, in turn were to carry news to our families, which was probably the last opportunity of the kind with which we would be favored for at least one year.
At noon, Colonel Cooke ordered the Mormon Battalion, now numbering 397, to start their march toward California. An officer in the regular army, George Gibson watched them leave. “They left without noise or confusion and I watched them from Fort Marcy as they slowly gained in distance until they were entirely lost to view. Their departure has considerably thinned the town, but we still have more troops than are needed at this point, as they only create confusion and disturbance.”
The battalion marched six miles along the Santa Fe River to Agua Fria. They left with 3 mule wagons for each company, 6 large ox wagons for heavy equipment, 4 mule wagons for the battalion staff, and 5 private wagons. Colonel Cooke left Santa Fe later and arrived into camp at sunset. He wrote, “Here I found all huddled in the sandy creek bottoms; no grass. . . . The battalion were never drilled, and though obedient, have little discipline. They exhibit great heedlessness and ignorance and some obstinacy.” Colonel Cooke discovered that there were five women with the company instead of the four that he had agreed to. He ordered that lots be cast to determine which of the women would return to Santa Fe. However, Ebenezer Brown reminded Colonel Cooke about a previous agreement and the Colonel decided to let all five women remain with the battalion.
Reuben Miller, who had left the Church and followed after James Strang, was accepted back into the Church and rebaptized. (See January 20 and June 27, 1846.) Brother Miller had served for a time as the Voree Stake President in the Strangite Church but soon became convinced the James Strang was a fraud. He returned to Nauvoo and confessed his errors. He planned to return to Voree, home of the Strangites, to “enlighten his benighted and deluded brethren.”35
Addison Pratt and Benjamin Grouard wrote a letter of report to Brigham Young. “Since we came to these seas, the Lord so ordered events with us, that our labors have been scattered among a number of islands, consequently the members added to the Church are scattered also.” They reported that a conference had been held on September 24. The conference minutes reported there were 852 members of the Church on 9 islands. Several European members had left for America.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 417‑20, 435, 439, 450; “William Hyde Journal”; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 67‑70; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 207‑209; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
The Church cattle were sent off to the north with a group of herdsmen. A general hunt was conducted for lost cattle and many were found. The prairie to the south of Winter Quarters caught on fire, burning several tons of hay and a large amount of feed. Men were quickly raised to fight the fire. They successfully put it out in the afternoon. However, there was some disorganization. Hosea Stout explained: "Some, in order to save their hay put fire in the grass without any judgement & burnt up their own and others hay which would not have been injured but for themselves."
The members of the Twelve wrote letters of appointment for Elders Andrew Cahoon and William Mitchell who were called to serve a mission to the British Isles. The Council also wrote a letter to Orson Spencer (leaving Winter Quarters for a mission to England) intended for the members of the Twelve in England, sharing the news of the Battle of Nauvoo and other recent events.
The company got an early start. They passed through Mechanicsburg at 11 a.m. Afterwards, Thomas Bullock saw something unique to him:
After a mile or two journey, an extraordinary sight came in view‑-a whirlwind was passing over an immense field of corn. It was curious, yet wonderful to see the blossoms, leaves and pieces of Corn Stalks shoot up in the air some thirty feet, as if shot from some gun, and then whirl away round and round to about 200 and 300 feet high, keeping aloft like so many Sky larks and then again descend with a whirling motion to within 20 or 30 feet of the ground, when they would again reascend, and repeat the same whirling journey.
The company continued on and met Charles Decker heading to Bonaparte for provisions. In the afternoon, they reached Richardson’s Point. They continued on for several more miles and camped near the Fox River.
The battalion marched on for twelve miles, passed through some Mexican settlements, and camped along the San Marcos Arroyo. The ground was barren, “hardly fit to sprout black eyed peas.” Colonel Cooke became angry when he discovered that water buckets had not been obtained in Santa Fe. The men were trying to get used to their new commander and discovered that he was a hard disciplinarian. Captain Jesse Hunter had returned to Santa Fe to search for one of his lost mules. Colonel Cooke ordered him to be arrested for leaving without permission and made him march in the rear for a few days without a saber.
In the evening, Colonel Cooke issued a long order of regulations. He cut the rations to three quarters. The men were prohibited from having the public wagons carry their muskets or knapsacks. No one could stray from their company over a quarter of a mile without permission. No muskets could be fired in the camp. At reveille, all would assemble for roll call, carrying their arms. The morning routine was defined to the detail and those who don’t follow the regulations would be put under guard. Daniel Tyler wrote, “The officers and soldiers were brought to the letter of the law. The discipline enforced was quite as strict as that of the regular army.”
The Nauvoo Trustees wrote to Brigham Young informing him of the rebaptism of Reuben Miller. They also reported that the keys of the temple had been returned by the mob to Brother Paine.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 420‑21, 439; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 206; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 175‑77; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 209‑11; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 70‑1; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Brigham Young gave Dr. Samuel Sprague money to buy medicine on a trip to St. Louis, Missouri. A package of letters was prepared to send east with William Pickett who was returning to Nauvoo. Willard Richards wrote a letter to Joseph Young and the Nauvoo Trustees asking them to send on the Seventies' Quorum library.
Three Otoe Indians came into camp and reported that twenty Indians were on the way for a visit. They wanted a cow.
In the evening, John Benbow, Joseph Fielding, Mary Fielding Smith and families arrived at Winter Quarters after a quick, two‑week journey across Iowa. Joseph Fielding wrote about their approach to Winter Quarters. “The lights of the camp of the Saints as we saw the lights at a distance were interesting. It reminded us of Israel of old in the wilderness . . . there were few houses; nearly all were in their tents upon about a square half mile.”
Barbara Heath, age fifty-two, died of chills and fever. She was the wife of John Heath. Also died was Edward Rigby, age fifty-seven. He was the husband of Susannah Hartliff Rigby. A son, Richard Lyman, was born to George and Rosanna Lyman.36
The company traveled fourteen miles. Eight more Saints joined their wagon train. Flies were starting to be annoying on their journey. They camped on the west fork of the Fox River.
Colonel Cooke ordered an early reveille in order to make a long march. He learned that nineteen beef cattle and fourteen mules were missing. He immediately sent off men to find them. After an hour they were all found and brought back. The battalion marched on difficult roads leading to the Galisteo River bottom near present‑day Cerillos, New Mexico.37 After a weary, hot, twenty‑four mile march, they camped a mile northeast of San Felipe Pueblo, near La Mesita. Doctor Stephen Foster was sent out to purchase corn, but could only buy twenty‑four bushels. Some San Felipe Indians brought melons, apples, and onions to sell, but they would not accept American dollars. There was no wood where they camped and it had to be brought from a hill three miles away.
The second sick detachment reached Pecos River. A daughter, Betsy Prescindia Huntington, was born to Private Dimick B. Huntington and Fanny Allen Huntington.38
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 421; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 211‑13; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 71‑2; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 179; Corbett, Mary Fielding Smith, Daughter of Britain, 202; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Another large rush bottom was found about twenty‑six miles up the river that could be used to winter additional cattle. Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, and Willard Richards met with several of the Otoe Indians and gave them some beef from the meat market run by Lorenzo Dow Young and others.
In the afternoon, several of the brethren rode to Cutler’s Park grove to help load some logs for Willard Richards’ unusual octagon shaped house that was under construction in Winter Quarters. Brigham Young, with humor, referred in his history to Elder Richards as, “Dr. Octagon.”39
In the evening, Brigham Young and others went to bless Sister Jane Benbow who was sick and recently arrived from Nauvoo. She gave them a cake that she had made before being expelled from the city, one month earlier.
Heber C. Kimball and his wife had supper with Stephen Markham’s camp that included Eliza R. Snow. They had a “splendid pot‑pie made of veal.” Patriarch John Smith reminded Sister Snow that she had promised to write a poem for him. A few days later she wrote a poem which included:
Great glory awaits thee, thou father in Israel
To reward all the toils & the labor of love:
The angels that guard thee‑‑that watch o’er the pathway
Are proud to report thee in council above.
The pathway that leads to the mansions of glory
Where freedom & justice eternally reign:
The Lord God of Jacob has chose for the footsteps,
To bring thee to dwell in His presence again.
Caroline Roccaly Hunter, age six days, died. She was the daughter of Edward and Laura Hunter. Also, Angelina Elizabeth Lawrence, age three years, died. She was the daughter of John and Rhoda Sanford Lawrence. Peter Williams, age thirty-five, died. He was the husband of Elizabeth Williams.
After the usual morning cattle hunt, the Poor Camp continued their journey at 9 a.m. On the way, they met Luman Shurtliff’s rescue teams from Garden Grove. Captain Allen’s camp now included 28 wagons, 47 yoke of oxen, 31 cows, and 157 people.
The battalion assembled quickly when reveille was sounded. They were ready for roll call before the music was finished. Colonel Cooke noted that this was a great improvement. The day before, they only started to assemble when the music finished. Sergeant William Coray explained:
The buglers would blow the assembly and the drummers would set immediately and play a reveille not to exceed two minutes in all and if the men were not in the ranks to answer to their names, they were ordered on an extra tour of guard. Every man was to be in the ranks before the drum ceased. The teamsters would scamper for their mules and have scarce time to hitch up before the advance signal would be given when every man must quit all, even his breakfast, and come in to ranks.
They started their march at 9 a.m. and reached the Rio Grande where they saw plenty of wild geese, beautiful peach orchards, and grape vineyards. They traveled along the river and passed by several Mexican villages. The Mexican women were amazed to learn that the troops had women with them and they lined the roads to get a glimpse of the sisters. The battalion arrived at the village of San Bernalillo, where they camped in some cornfields. The traveling was difficult because the men had to push to the wagons nearly all day over sandy roads. Colonel Cooke released Captain Jesse Hunter from his punishment for returning to Santa Fe without permission. He had been made to travel in the rear of his company. Sergeant Coray wrote: “But the Capt., being a humorous fellow, cared very little about it and appeared as well contented in rear of his company as in the front.”
Colonel Cooke wanted to purchase oxen and mules from the San Bernalillo citizens, but they had ill feelings against the government because of the recent conquest, and refused.
John D. Lee’s group overtook the sick detachment.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 422; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 77; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 72‑3; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 179; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly 4:75; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 213‑14, 269; Ricketts, Melissa’s Journey with Then Mormon Battalion, 40; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 144‑45; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints.
A meeting was held at the stand at Winter Quarters. Brigham Young gave directions regarding the cattle drive. One hundred brethren volunteered to hunt for cattle to the north of the settlement and they were immediately sent out. Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball rode north on horseback to help with the search. They were successful in find many of the cattle.
On their return, they found Big Elk, the Omaha chief and twenty of his braves camped beside President Young’s new house.
In the evening, members of the Twelve met with the High Council. It was decided that all the stray cattle and sheep belonging to the battalion families should be gathered up and wintered for two dollars per head. The same counsel would be given to the Saints on the east side of the river.
The company started early, with a cold wind at their faces. They came to one of the most terrible roads encountered so far and then traveled over a prairie, camping on the west bank of Soap Creek.
The battalion marched eleven miles and passed through a town. They found apples, grapes, bread and other items for sale. Colonel Cooke and others were sick with influenza. The march was difficult. It took one company seven hours to travel the eleven miles. Colonel Cooke wrote, “For several days before today, the heat and dust has been great, whilst I have been kept awake at night (sleeping under three blankets) by cold.” They met a number of the Missouri Volunteers who had left Santa Fe four days before the battalion. These Volunteers were on a mission to go against the Navajo Indians. Their company had been delayed for two or three days collecting lost animals. The battalion camped near present‑day Alameda, New Mexico.
The second sick detachment neared Las Vegas, New Mexico. They were scattered along the trail. By evening the wagon carrying the knapsacks did not arrive, so the men had to spend the night on the muddy ground without even a blanket over them. Private Abner Chase died at Purgatory River. He was thirty-three and the son of Abner and Amy Scott Chase.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 422‑23; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 206; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 73‑4; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 214‑15, 270; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Brigham Young and other members of the Twelve met with the Omaha chief, Big Elk and his delegation. Big Elk said that he understood there were some bad feelings between the Omahas and the Saints. President Young explained to him that about fifty oxen and many sheep had been killed. Big Elk replied that the destruction to game and timber by the Saints was more than the value of the cattle taken, but he admitted that he had some bad young men among the Omahas, that he was old and could not restrain them. He said that the young men could not help themselves when they saw all the Saint’s cattle scattered about. They did not like having white men on their grounds and did not respect Big Elk. He advised Brigham Young that the cattle and city should be fenced in to deter the stealing. He said, “I can not guide all of my people; they are wild; they are just like the wolves of the prairie for when they are hungry they don’t know better than to take what is handiest.”
Brigham Young stated that the Saints were the friends of the Omahas. They were ready to help them by harvesting corn and trading with them. Big Elk said that he came to settle this difficulty and also wanted to use some of the timber that the Saints had cut.
In the evening, a council meeting was held with the bishops of Winter Quarters. They reported on their stewardships to help the poor and sick. Several had been supporting families out of their own pockets. They expressed their determination to attend to their callings faithfully. Brigham Young pledged that the families of the battalion should be taken care of. He asked the brethren to make a special effort in this area. He asked the bishops to number the people in their wards. Houses should be built for families that wanted them. He encouraged the bishops to appoint counselors to help if they were needed.
President Young reported on his meeting with the Omahas. He counseled the brethren to picket the city for protection.
John Akley, age thirty-four, died. He was the husband of Jane Akley.
A company meeting was held in the morning. Captain Allen spoke about the need for working. He made specific work assignments for men to serve as blacksmiths, traders, hunters, and other needed roles. Many of the men took on their assignments and spent a very busy day at work.
Colonel Cooke sent men ahead to the Ranches of Albuquerque to trade or purchase mules. They were able to trade three of the worst mules for good ones, plus sixty-five dollars. When Colonel Cooke reached the Ranches, he exchanged thirty additional broken-down mules for fifteen good ones. He additionally purchased twelve other mules.
At the Ranches of Albuquerque, he met Baptiste “Pomp” Charbonneau, the son of Toussaint Charbonneau and Sacajewea. He was famous for his birth and cradle‑board trip with Lewis and Clark. Colonel Cooke and Charbonneau briefly discussed the routes ahead.
The battalion soon reached the city of Albuquerque. Colonel Cooke purchased twelve bushels of corn ears. He found a Captain John Henry K. Burgwin’s camp stationed in the area to protect the Mexican settlements from Indian attacks. From Captain Burgwin, he was able to exchange mules, purchase twenty oxen, and exchange some heavy wagons for lighter ones.
The soldiers crossed the Rio Grande, wading in chilly water that barely reached their knees. Mexicans also provided mule rides across the river for five cents. After marching south on the west bank for three miles, the battalion camped on a grassy spot near the road. They had marched for a total of eleven miles.
Abner Blackburn observed: “The Rio Grande Valley is furtile and thickly settled with watter ditches running where needed for irigation and numerious towns and villeges.” The soldiers were somewhat shocked at the lack of clothing worn by the natives. Daniel Tyler wrote, “Many of the men were as nude as when born, except a breech‑cloth . . . tied around the loins.”
Samuel Brannan published an “extra” in advance to his newspaper that would begin regular publication two months later. The paper was called the “California Star.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 423‑26; Journal of Heber C. Kimball; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846‑1852, 96; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 74‑6; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 215‑18; Bagley (ed.), Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, 44; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 178; Cowan and Homer, California Saints, 55‑6; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Brigham Young spoke at an afternoon meeting. He encouraged the Saints to remember the Sabbath day and to keep it holy. "Revelation required us to worship God one day in seven, and when we have traveled on the Sabbath, since we left Nauvoo, we have been sure to stop two or three days during the week. It is wisdom to rest on the Sabbath and partake of the Sacrament."
President Young announced plans to fence in the city for protection. He remarked that the Lord had been blessing them with good weather. Typically by this time of the year, a snow storm has usually appeared. He prophesied that within tens years that the tale of their journey and sufferings would be one of the most interesting histories in the world.
He mentioned that Addison Everett was asking sisters to make willow baskets that could be sold in the western markets. Wool stockings and leggings made from skins were also in demand. Heber C. Kimball asked the Saints to save their rags and which could be sold for flour.
The High Council decided to appoint ten men to gather up all the remaining stray cattle that had not been claimed and to hire men to winter them for two dollars per head. There were still several hundred head of cattle on the plains that needed to be gathered to protect them from the Omahas. The congregation sustained this proposal and the ten men were appointed.
Bishop George Miller arrived from the Ponca village, about 150 miles up the Missouri River. He reported that the camp was in good health but there had been six deaths. The Saints there were in good spirits and he reported that the farming land was better than at Winter Quarters. There were good rushes near their camp for wintering their cattle. The Indians had killed some of their cattle, but the Ponca chief had severely whipped those who committed this crime. John Kay had gone with the Poncas on their winter hunt, serving as a gunsmith. Bishop Miller had returned with forty wagons, some to sell, and others to haul provisions. He claimed that his camp location would be the best launching point for a journey to the west, that the road from there to Fort Laramie was flat and good. The meeting was dismissed.
Hosea Stout wrote, "I think President Young some what doubted his [Bishop Miller's] report, for he said that he had felt all the time to pray for Miller's company, that they might be delivered from the violence of the Indians and that he felt so yet."
In the evening, a Council meeting was held at Daniel Cahoon's house. A committee was appointed to survey a stockade for the city. President Young also spoke at length on the policy of brethren settling together.
The Council then went to Harrison Burgess' home to meet with George Miller and his men. Bishop Miller reported that he wanted to purchase provisions for his company, but didn't want his actions to raise local prices. Brigham Young counseled him to leave his teams near Winter Quarters and send a few traders quietly to Missouri to sell his wagons. While they waited, his other men would be employed to help build the mill. Bishop Miller's men were asked not to go to Sarpy's Trading Post. There were many traders there from the Missouri settlements who were waiting for the Pottawatomies to be paid by the government for their lands. If these traders learned that Miller wished to buy many provisions, word would quickly be spread to the settlements and prices would rise. President Young wanted to have a long talk with Bishop Miller about the policies that he was using at the Ponca camp. His company was trying to live with all things in common.
As many of the Saints were retiring for the evening, a cry of "fire" was heard across the city. Lorenzo Dow Young wrote, "I sprang out of bed and looked out and beheld Sister Ashby's waggon cover all on fire and she with some of her children in bed in the wagon. I ran to their relief, caught hold of the cover that was in a flame and burned my hands very bad, but succeeded in putting out the fire." Sister Ashby also burned one of her hands so severely that she could not use it for awhile.
Wilford Woodruff was finally starting to recover from his accident of October 15. He still could not even sit up in bed, but he was starting to feel better.
Late into the evening, members of the Twelve chatted with Orson Spencer, who was about to leave for his mission to England. He had been called to serve this mission many months ago. However, he had tragically lost his wife and brother to sickness and death as they made the trek across Iowa. A letter of authorization was written, appointing Elder Spencer to preside over the missions in Europe after he arrived. Elias Smith had been called to go to England with Elder Spencer, but he could not longer leave because of the sickness of his mother and father.
Rhoda Almira Lawrence, age one, died. She was the daughter of John and Rhoda Sanford Lawrence. This was the second young daughter to die in the family in three days. Hirum McCord, age one, also died. He was the son of Alexander and Syble McCord. Charles Parcket, age six days also died. He was the son of Charles and Achsah Parcket. A daughter, Mary Ann Fullmer was born to John S. and Olive Smith Fullmer.40
The company remained camped on the west side of Soap Creek, near present‑day Unionville, Iowa. The day was warm, with large clouds floating in the air. Thomas Bullock's wife was very sick. He wrote, "My Wife washing, altho' so very sick that she had to leave the wash tub to vomit, and when spreading her clothes on the ground to dry, had to lie full length on the prairie, and had to go and wash again." A significant dispute arose in the camp when a man came into the camp to trade corn for goods. Sister Savary offered six plates to Bishop Joseph Knight to sell to the man. When Brother Savary came back into camp, he became angry when he heard that they were only being sold for forty‑eight cents. The sale was made but Brother Savary was very angry with the brethren. At 10 p.m., a cry of "fire" was heard. The prairie was on fire and was threatening to destroy a fence and corn field of a local citizen. Several men went to the rescue. Soon, some rain fell which helped to put out the fire. The farmer gave the men a pumpkin to reward them for their help.
At reveille, one company was not ready for roll call. Colonel Cooke asked the Sergeant Elijah Elmer for the reason. He replied that it was not yet light enough for him to call roll. Colonel Cooke reduced the man in rank. Daniel Tyler wrote that the true reason Sergeant Elmer was late, was that he stopped to lace up his shoes. He also added, "Sergeant Elmer, like Pharaoh's butler, was subsequently restored to his office."
Colonel Cooke assembled his officers and issued strict orders regarding the care, feeding and herding of the animals. Trumpet signals would be used morning and night to coordinate this activity. Also included in this order was: "The guard must hereafter be kept more strictly at their post. When the guard is stationed, death is the punishment awarded by law to a sentinel who sleeps on his post in time of war, which now exists." Thomas Dunn wrote that even though Colonel Cooke was more strict with the battalion than any of their former commanders, he dispensed justice equally.
Before the battalion broke camp, U.S. Army Captain Burgwin, stationed near Albuquerque received a message from five or six American merchants asking for protection. They believed the Mexican General Armijo was marching up to seize their property. Colonel Cooke felt that they report might be true and advised Captain Burgwin to go offer help.
During their previous day's march, Colonel Cooke noticed a large herd of good mules in a field. During the morning he sent men back to try to exchange or buy mules from the owner. The men returned in the afternoon and reported that their offers were treated with contempt. The battalion marched on for about fifteen miles and camped near Isleta Pueblo on sand without any wood nearby. The citizens of Isleta brought in corn, apples, grapes, and other goods to try to sell, but the prices were very high. The Mexican women were delighted to see the Mormon women. William Coray wrote that they "would crowd before us in such multitudes that I could hardly press my way through. They would cry out: 'Mericany Cairy Musins,' and give them apples."
John D. Lee met Captain P.B. Thompson along the Santa Fe Trail. Captain Thompson was on his way to take command of the Mormon Battalion by order of Washington, D.C. As Brother Lee and his companions were hunting antelope, they saw this group heading toward them. Fearing that they might be hostile Indians, the men drew their guns. But they soon learned that the riders were soldiers. Captain Thompson told Brother Lee what his orders were. Brother Lee indicated that the battalion would probably accept his leadership if he pledged to fulfill the promises made by the late Colonel James Allen.
The second sick detachment of the Mormon Battalion continued their slow journey to Pueblo. They met a settler from Carolina who sold a dinner to Joel Terrell. His dinner consisted of "bread, milk, and butter of the best kind. I took 3 pints of milk." He had only drank milk two times since leaving Missouri.
Watson ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 426‑29; Brooks ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 206‑07; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:150; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:94; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 76‑7; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 109, 219‑21, 270; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 179; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
A meeting was held in the morning, at which the brethren were organized to build a picket in Winter Quarters. Lorenzo Dow Young went to visit his brother Phinehas and discovered that his twenty-two‑year‑old nephew, Brigham H. Young was very ill. They felt he was dying. Late into the night he seemed to revive and felt better.
In the afternoon, Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball left Winter Quarters. They were taking some livestock up to the rush bottoms, north of the Old Council Bluff ruins.
They later returned and learned that Bishop Newel K. Whitney and Edwin D. Woolley had returned from purchasing provisions in St. Louis. They reported that many dry goods had to be left in a store at St. Joseph, Missouri, because the water on the Missouri River was too low to bring them by boat. The salt and iron were left about 50 miles down the river. Teams were needed immediately to be sent for the goods. A meeting was planned for the morning to raise volunteers.
George Miller decided to go to Sarpy’s trading post, contrary to the counsel given by Brigham Young.
William Angus, age seventy-four, died. He was the husband of Agness Angus.
A son, Henry Quayle, was born to John and Catherine Quayle.
The company remained camped at Soap Creek while Brother Meeks and Bishop Joseph Knight were out trading. The brethren in the camp were very busy making yokes, blacksmithing, and hunting. A load of pumpkins was distributed to the camp from the commissary.
The battalion took up their line of march at 8 a.m. During the day they passed through several villages. The road was difficult, taking them through deep mud from irrigation canals. The Quartermaster was sent to do some trading at Otero’s store at Valencia, but the prices were outrageous. Otero mentioned that he had lost about six thousand sheep to Indians. He also had two shepherds killed. Most of the men in the village had gone after the Navajos. Abner Blackburn wrote, “The Navajo Indians are the inhabitants’ greatest dread. They descend on them like the wolf on the fold and drive off herds of stock, slay and capture.”
The day was cool as the battalion marched about fourteen miles along the Rio Grande. They camped near the village of Los Chavez and had to use a cartload of wood for fuel. Some of the mules shoulders began to become sore. Colonel Cooke called the officers together and gave them a lecture on caring for the mules.
The valley they were camped in was “thickly settled” by both Mexicans and Indians. William Coray wrote about the natives in the area. “I perceive a striking difference between the climate here and Illinois state. This is much healthier, the inhabitants are robust and strong and could doubtless endure more hardships than we could. Most of them live on scrimpy allowance of food and clothing and see nothing but hardships from the beginning.”
Thomas L. Kane wrote to Brigham Young and apologized for his long silence in writing, but explained that he had a relapse from the sickness that he had experienced while visited with the Saints during the summer. Despite this hindrance, he was seeking to get official permission for the Saints to stay on Omaha Indian lands. He mentioned that he obtained information in St. Louis that there was a large company of Mormons near the upper waters of the Arkansas River. He wrote: “I have no doubt to be that of Lyman Wight.”41
He closed his letter with, “I would take a pleasure in saying many words of friendly kindness personally to you, as well as through you to those by whom you are surrounded, for so many of whom I have also a great regard. Discretion orders me to content myself, however, with giving you a general commission to say for me to them, all which you can believe I would wish to say; as well as credit me.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 429‑30, 470; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 206‑07; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:150; “William Coray Journal”; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 77‑78; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 219‑21; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:75; Bagley, Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, 44; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 1846‑1842, 107
At sunrise, the brethren were called to a meeting at the stand. Thirty‑five teamsters volunteered to go after the goods in St. Joseph, Missouri. They met at Willard Richards’ tent with Bishop Newel K. Whitney. Fifteen of the men would be ready to leave the following day, the rest would leave on Thursday.
Willard Richards visited Wilford Woodruff, who was getting better. He also visited Sister Jane Benbow, who was very sick. Hosea Stout made arrangements to send off his oxen and a wagon to the Des Moines River for flour.
Lyman Caleyham, age one, died. He was the son of Thomas W. and Lucinda Caleyham.
At George Miller’s camp, a son, James Erastus Glines, was born to James H. and Elizabeth Myers Glines.42
A severe frost fell during the night. The company left Soap Creek at 10 a.m. and ascended a very steep hill. They traveled through a forest of oak adorned with yellow, autumn leaves. Then they passed over a prairie that was still smoking from a recent fire. At sundown, after a journey of fifteen miles, they camped near a spring and observed fish swimming in the hole.
Luman Shurtliff, leader of the relief team from Garden Grove, arrived at Montrose. He wrote:
As I came onto the highland, in sight of the river and once again saw our lovely city, Nauvoo, I could not help weeping aloud with joy. Not that I wished my family living in Nauvoo, no, but thankful that my life was spared to me that I might again behold the city of the prophets. I turned from Montrose up the river. I came to the camp of the poor, sick and persecuted Saints. Many places where there had been camps were now desolate and without inhabitants. In others, a ragged blanket or quilt laid over a few sticks or brush comprised all the house a whole family owned on earth.
Among the occupants lay stretched on the ground either sick or dying, others perhaps a little better off had a few boards laid up on something and had more sick than well. Others not well ones, took care of the sick. While looking about among these poor helpless people, I was not a little surprised to hear them relate the blessings of God in the deliverance from disease, death and starvation.
Brother Shurtliff spent the first day in the camp learning of their circumstances and trying to figure out who should be taken with his company. He decided to take the “poorest of the poor and the sickest of the sick.”
The battalion marched twelve miles in the cold rain. Snow could be seen falling in the Manzano Mountains. They passed through the village of Belen with many cottonwoods. The church was very large with steeples and bells. The flat‑roofed houses were displayed with many large red peppers. Large herds of goats, sheep, and hogs could be seen along the way. Henry Bigler recorded, “We passed large flocks of sheep and goats herded by Mexicans dressed in leather with blankets around their shoulders. They carried bows and arrows in their hands and had dogs by their sides. Some had staffs on long sticks with sharp spear points in the ends. The sight was novel.”
The battalion camped about two miles north of Bosque, New Mexico. There was hardly even a weed within two miles of the camp, only dry grass. Colonel Cooke had to send a cart to bring some wood for the campfires. The mules were taken to an old corn field to eat the broken fodder.
During their travels, the soldiers would have to cross many tributaries and canals from the Rio Grande. They were sometimes waist-deep. The men were not allowed to take their shoes off, or any clothes. James S. Brown explained:
An officer, perched on his white mule on some point or eminence overlooking the whole command, with a hawk’s eye for keen military experience, calls to this or that squad of men, with a horrid oath, as if they were brutes; often he curses the men until they long for a battle where perchance someone would remember the tyrant with an ounce ball and three buckshot. . . . But, praise God, that feeling quickly passed off as the men marched along, their clothes wet, and their thick soled cowhide army shoes partly filled with sand.
The Sick Detachment reached Cimarron. They had passed two small salt lakes. Joel Terrell wrote: “The one immediately on our way seems to issue immediately out of the most splendid and furtile valley I think I ever saw all around this lake where the water has left it white as snow with salt.” Private Milton Smith died and the next day was buried on the prairie.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 429‑30; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 207; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 78‑9; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 180; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 222‑23, 271; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 43‑4; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 67; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
Sixteen teams crossed the river, starting their journey to St. Joseph, Missouri, to retrieve goods. One of the wagons taken was the one that had been used by Eliza R. Snow. She wrote:
The house we move into, having been built of logs, with openings only partly chincked and mudded--the wind cold and blustering, found plenty of crevices on the sides through which to play; while the roof was shingled only on one side, with a tent-cloth thrown over the other; and besides, it was minus a chimney, and when a fire was kindled, the smoke so filled the house, that a breathing apparatus was of little use, and the fire was put outside.”43
Willard Richards visited the sick, including William Clayton. Elders Orson Spencer and Andrew Cahoon started for their mission to England.
Orpha Knights, age one, died of canker. He was the son of Cornelius and Permelia Knights. Mary Ann Simmonds, age thirty-six, died.
Luman Shurtliff crossed over the river and went into Nauvoo. He later wrote:
I crossed the river into Nauvoo, walked up through the thickest part of town, saw but few inhabitants. I went to the temple and took a view of the beautiful homes of the Saints, but are now a desolation. From here I walked to my former place of residence, viewing the premises, shed a few tears over the grave of the partner of my youth and mother of all my children, and bore my testimony that she was a good woman and a kind wife and mother. From here I walked east on Main Street to the east part of the city where the last battle had been fought and viewed the destruction of the mobs and the desolate, deserted village.
The company met William Pickett, who was returning to Nauvoo with letters. He had left Winter Quarters one week earlier. He told Thomas Bullock that Elder Willard Richards was anxiously asking about him. The camp had heard about Brother Bullock’s long illness. Later, the company met three other wagons from Mount Pisgah, heading to the Mississippi. The Allen company pressed on, crossing an immense prairie which had been burned. After eighteen miles, they camped by moonlight in some woods.
It rained all night and into the morning. The battalion marched at 9 a.m. They had great difficulty with the wagons, which became stuck in the sand and mud. Geese, ducks, cranes, and pelicans were seen flying over the valley. The battalion only traveled eight miles. They made their camp one mile south of Sabinal, New Mexico. Colonel Cooke made arrangement to purchase 300 sheep and 14,500 pounds of beef which would complete what was needed for sixty days of rations. He also purchased a cartload of wood to help dry out the wet men. During the night, several men sneaked out of camp and went into the town.
Milton Smith, a young man who had a fever, died in the morning. The soldiers made a bed of rushes for the body before covering the gravesite.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 430; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 79‑80 Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 223‑24, 271; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 68; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 24
Fourteen additional teams started for St. Joseph, Missouri. Willard Richards worked on his house. Lorenzo Dow Young had a man put up the chimney on his house. George Miller sent word that his teams should go to Trader’s Point, contrary to Brigham Young’s counsel. However, his men did not have money to pay for the ferry and were not allowed to go on credit. Lyman Littlefield arrived in camp with mail from Bonaparte, Iowa.
In the evening, the brethren of the Twelve and the High Council met together. It was reported that the ten herdsman who were appointed to gather the stray cattle completed their assignment and were driving about 150 cattle to the north.
The Council also discussed the actions of Bishop George Miller. Bishop Miller had again ignored the counsel of the brethren. He had gone to do trading at Sarpy’s trading post, even after specifically told he should not do trading there. Brigham Young was very direct. He said that George Miller and James Emmett had a delusive spirit and anyone that would follow them would end up in hell. They would sacrifice the people to get power. Bishop Miller’s actions were raising the price of local grain which would cause the Saints in Winter Quarters to suffer because of his actions, long after he returned to Ponca. He prophesied that George Miller and James Emmett would yet apostatize.44
The company was delayed because of some missing cattle and did not start out until 10 a.m. Thomas Bullock described, “The Country being all knolly and undulating, the prairie was burnt for scores of miles and appears only one blackened mass. In many places the burnt prairie is covered with the webs of Spiders which has a pretty gauze like appearance.” After twelve miles, they stopped at Wild Cat Grove where they found five new log houses which had been recently built by some Saints. In the evening, a beef was cut up and distributed to the camp. Captain Allen called the camp together and issued some instructions.
Thomas and Elizabeth Rhoads and family arrived in Sacramento. They were the first known Mormon pioneers to migrate overland to California. They traveled in a wagon train led by former Missouri Governor, Lilburn Boggs.45
The battalion marched ten miles to La Joya. The road was still wet and muddy. They camped in a nice cottonwood grove, with plenty of fuel for the first time since Santa Fe. Rumors were flying around that General Kearny had been taken prisoner, but the men did not believe it. Word came in the evening that Lt. Smith had been able to purchase three hundred sheep.
James S. Brown wrote:
One night, while camped near the Rio Grande del Norte, we heard a great noise as though a band of horses were crossing the river. This created quite an alarm, as there had been rumors of Mexicans revolting. For a short time it was thought it was Mexican cavalry crossing to attack us by night, but on the colonel making inquiries of the guides it was learned that the noise proceeded from beaver playing in the river. After watching and listening for a time, all settled down, contented that there was no enemy at hand.
The detachment passed through present‑day Raton, New Mexico, and camped in a small valley at the foot of the mountains.
John Brown, William Crosby, and others arrived back to their homes in Mississippi to bring their families west. They had been away for nearly seven months and had traveled all the way to Fort Laramie, Pueblo, and back. During that time, they had not heard a word from their families, but they were fine during their long absence.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 431‑32; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:150; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 207‑08; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 80‑1; Cowan and Homer, California Saints, 56; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 45
Brigham Young spent the day, giving counsel to the brethren. In the afternoon he rode out into the country in his carriage.
In the evening, President Young met with Heber C. Kimball and others to write some letters. They wrote a letter to Brother Joseph A. Stratton, the branch president of many Saints who had been gathering in St. Louis, Missouri. Brethren in St. Louis were asked to set their families in order with one to two years’ provisions, and then to go to Winter Quarters. They shared with the brethren the current plans. “By next March, prepared with teams, plows and seeds [a group will] go over the mountains and help to put in crops and build houses, so that there might be crops raised that when we return and take our families over the mountains we need not have so much provision to haul, and that we may have some preparations for our families to come over the mountains.”
They also wrote letters of authority to Charles Chrisman and Bryan W. Nowlin to go to the States on a mission to gather up young, strong men who could leave their families and go over the mountains in the Spring.46
Melissa Kelsey, age five, died. She was the daughter of Stephen and Rachel Kelsey.
The company arrived at the Chariton River. They stopped to water the cattle and then ascended a very steep hill on the other side. As Edward Gabbott’s wagon ascended the hill, his wife, Sarah Rigby Gabbott, was trying to get into the wagon. She grabbed onto a “churn dasher” which broke off, causing her to fall against the oxen. This startled the animals, who started off at a full run. Sister Gabbott fell to the ground and was run over by the wagons. She cried out, “Oh dear, I am dying.” After five minutes she was dead. They made an early camp near at Little Pigeon Creek and prepared a grave for Sister Gabbott.
A daughter, Harriet Electa Hales, was born to George and Mary Ann Hales.47
Luman Shurtliff’s teams arrived. He learned that one of his men had shot one of the oxen by accident. As they were discussing how to replace the ox, a steamboat landed at the river. A man was sent to sell three‑quarters of the beef for money that could be used to buy another ox. The other quarter would be used to feed the sick. The hide was sold for a barrel to put the rest of the meat in.
Governor Thomas Ford arrived with two hundred troops in order to restore the peace in Nauvoo (a few weeks too late.) The new non‑Mormon citizens (who were being called “Jack‑Mormons”48) had pled with Governor Ford to use his influence to allow them to return to their homes and retake their possessions. When the anti‑Mormons heard that the governor was on the way, they made threats that they would toss both the Jack‑Mormons and the Governor across the river. This was an idle threat. The troops arrived and the Jack‑Mormons returned to their homes.
Governor Ford later wrote, “Very much to my astonishment I encountered a hostility and bitterness of feeling from the Anti-Mormons which was truly surprising and unlooked for.” He reported that the Anti-Mormon just couldn’t believe anyone would come into their county to see that the laws were executed there, that their judgments had been clouded by mob rule for so long.
The battalion started their march early. They had to ascend a steep sand bluff, about four hundred yards, which took them two hours to climb. These sand dunes of Loma Blanca ran from the bank of the Rio Grande westward toward Sierra Ladrones, which formed an obstacle to those traveling to the south. The teams needed to be doubled and also twenty men needed to help haul each wagon. Daniel Tyler wrote: “We had to leave the river for a time, and have twenty men to each wagon with long ropes to help the teams pull the wagons over the sand hills. The commander perched himself on one of the hills, like a hawk on a fence post, sending down his orders with the sharpness of‑‑well, to the Battalion, it is enough to say ‑‑ Colonel Cooke.”
They marched along the grassy bottom near present‑day San Acacia where they had to cross an immense canal. The men had to dig a road in the banks in order to cross it. After a twelve-mile march, their camp was established in a valley where the grass was good, south of Polvadera. Mexicans entered the camp in the evening to trade.
Christopher Layton wrote of their hunger as they marched:
We were ready to eat anything that would furnish any nourishment; the rations issued to us did not satisfy the cravings of hunger. When one of the fat cattle was slaughtered for beef, the Colonel gave positive orders that no more of them should be killed as we needed them for work; only those that were unable to work from sheer exhaustion and weakness could be used for beef, and from that time the carcasses were issued as rations. Nothing was wasted that could possibly be utilized for food: even hides, tripe and entrails, all were eagerly devoured, sometimes without even water to wash it down. The marrow bones were considered a luxury, and rich indeed would be the dinner of the mess whose turn it was to receive them.
Levi Hancock wrote a song that the men would sing, entitled: “The Desert Route.”
While here, beneath a sultry sky,
Our famished mules and cattle die;
Scarce aught but skin and bones remain
To feed poor soldiers on the plain
How hard, to starve and wear us out,
Upon this sandy, desert route.
We sometimes now for lack of bread,
Are less than quarter rations fed,
And soon expect, for all of meat,
Naught less than broke‑down mules, to eat.
Now, half‑starved oxen, over‑drilled,
Too weak to draw, for beef are killed;
And gnawing hunger prompting men
To eat small entrails and the skin.
Sometimes we quarter for the day,
While men are sent ten miles away
On our back track, to place in store
An ox, given out the day before.
And when an ox is like to die,
The whole camp halts, and we lay by:
The greedy wolves and buzzards stay,
Expecting rations for the day.
Our hardships reach their rough extremes,
When valiant men are roped with teams,
Hour after hour, and day by day,
To wear our strength and lives away.
The teams can hardly drag their loads
Along the hilly sandy roads,
While trav’ling near the Rio Grand,
O’er hills and dales of heated sand.
We see some twenty men, or more,
With empty stomachs, and foot‑sore,
Bound to one wagon, plodding on
Thro’ sand, beneath a burning sun.
Some stand the journey well, and some
Are by the hardships overcome;
And thus the “Mormons” are worn out
Upon this long and weary route.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 434, 448‑49; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 81‑2; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 181‑83; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 225‑26; Talbot, A Historical Guide to the Mormon Battalion and Butterfield Trail, 29; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography, typescript,” 68; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 2:322; Hallwas and Launius, Cultures in Conflict, 346
Heber C. Kimball sent about one hundred head of cattle north to the rushes. Brigham Young helped Willard Richards raise the frame of his octagon house. Lorenzo Dow Young finished his chimney and moved into his house.
Elizabeth Sprague, age three weeks, died. She was the daughter of George and Sarah Sprague.
Luman Shurtliff’s company loaded up and started heading west. His teamsters took about sixty of the poor and sick. He wrote:
All the provisions put together would have made only one good meal and we were now about to start . . . with this poor sick company on a journey of 170 miles through an uncivilized and mostly uninhabited wilderness. I felt like crying, ‘O, God, help us’ as we left. I looked back and saw a few weeping Saints left behind; how to live through the winter I knew not, but God knew. The first night 9 in camp our souls actually rejoiced like the children of Israel after their deliverance from the Egyptians.
Sister Sarah Rigby Gabbott was laid to rest by Little Pigeon Creek. The company moved on and had to travel up the steepest hill that they had thus far encountered. The prairie was seen on fire as they traveled. Thomas Bullock wrote: “At one time had a fine view of the flames rolling over and over again and leaping high in the air as if conscious of its power, and sweeping the dry grass into oblivion, leaving nothing but its black track for a remembrance.” After ten miles, they camped at White Oak Spring.
The day was cold for the battalion’s march of thirteen miles. They had to cross a portion of the river to get around a bluff. The water was quite high and many men had to get in the cold water for a long time, helping the teams get wagons across. James S. Brown wrote:
The stream had to be crossed twice within quarter of a mile. There were very heavy quicksands, and if the teams were allowed to stop one minute it was doubtful whether they could start again; consequently the precaution of having men close at hand was very important, though the average soldier did not understand the real reason for forcing him into the water without stripping off at least part of his raiment. The crossing was made early in the day, and the water was very cold, as I had ample evidence, being one of those detailed to attend the wagons. Our comrades took our muskets over the point while we lifted at the wagons. As the water was waist deep, when the men would stoop to lift it would wet our clothing very nearly to the armpits; our shoes also were filled with sand.
After six wagons had difficulty, Colonel Cooke ordered the rest of the men over a steep hill. James S. Brown continued, “Wet and cold, almost chilled, we continued our march through deep sands, pushing and pulling at the wagons till our clothing dried on our bodies, our shoes became so dry and hard that walking was very painful and difficult, and our feet became raw.” They then marched through Socorro, which was the largest town visited since Santa Fe. They camped three miles to the south, near some old ruins. Captain Cooke wrote about their campsite, “There is more variety and beauty in the scenery; the broken bluffs and mountains hem in the river more closely, and there is more woods. I am encamped on the border of a forest.”
The march was taking its toll on the oxen. During the past two days’ march, ten oxen had to be left behind. After supper, Colonel Cooke mustered and inspected the entire battalion.
Captain P.B. Thompson reached Santa Fe and learned that the Mormon Battalion had already left under the command of Colonel Cooke. Captain Thompson had been given orders from Washington D.C. to take over the command of the battalion, but evidently he received new orders when he arrived in Santa Fe from General Doniphan. Colonel Cooke outranked Captain Thompson.
Orson Hyde, presiding over the British Mission, received a letter from Elder Wheelock in Birmingham reporting that Martin Harris, one of the Three Witnesses, was in England as a missionary for the Strangite Church. He had come to a Church conference in Birmingham and asked if he could speak at the conference. After being rejected by “the united voice of the conference,” he went out into the street and began to preach against the Twelve Apostles. He was promptly led away by two policemen.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 434‑35; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:150; Philip St. George Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 82‑3; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 226‑27, 110; “Luman Shurtliff Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 68; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 45‑6; Orson Hyde, “Notices,” Millennial Star 8 (15 Nov 1846):128
1Mary would later die on August 1, 1847 at Winter Quarters.
2The Clark family later settled in Millville, Utah.
3Point of Rocks is a southern portion of the Teton Range in southern Colfax County, New Mexico.
4Robert Pixton was away with the Mormon Battalion. He would later serve a mission to England in 1862-66 and settled in Leeds, Utah.
5This was near present‑day Wooton, New Mexico.
6This rumor proved to be false
7This creek is now called Mora River, and is near present‑day Watrous, New Mexico.
8William Ewell was away in the Mormon Battalion.
9In reality, Joseph Heywood had already returned to Nauvoo by this time. See October 2, 1846.
10Little Charlotte would die the following month. The Cole family would later settle in Willard, Utah.
11Their route followed present‑day highway 85 in New Mexico.
12Ephriam would die in Winter Quarters on July 31, 1847.
13The Holman family later settled in Santaquin, Utah.
14In 1841, a Texan force under General McLeod was captured at San Miguel by Mexican troops.
15The Pitt family later settled in Salt Lake City, Utah.
16The Miller family later settled in American Fork, Utah.
17This journey would take fifty days and only one or two deaths were experienced in the company.
18The Wilson family would later settle in Ogden, Utah.
19Newman Bulkley was away serving in the Mormon Battalion. The Bulkley family later settled in Springville Utah. He cut thousands of feet of lumber in the “slide” above Springville, for the first houses in that town.
20Colonel Cooke was a graduate of West Point and had served most of his military career on the Great Plains frontier. He had recently led the Army of the West’s advance guard to take Santa Fe without bloodshed. General Kearny had a deep respect for Colonel Cooke’s abilities and knew that the battalion would need a strict disciplinarian.
21Elder Kimball was constructing the largest home in Winter Quarters for his extensive family. When finished, it would have four ground‑level rooms, two rooms upstairs, and many windows for light. The majority of the homes under construction were much smaller houses, about 12‑18 feet long, with sod roofs, sod chimneys, and no floors. Later, the floors would be covered with canvas or carpeting as the weather became stormy.
22Amanda’s father, Amos Philemon Rogers had earlier died on June 26, 1846 in Mount Pisgah.
23Joseph Armstrong later settled in Cedar City and Enoch, Utah.
24A festive Mexican dance.
25The explorers would travel about two hundred miles to the west and then return after a six week journey without reaching Fort Laramie.
26Elder Woodruff would entirely recovered from this serious accident.
27Today this site is referred to as the “Grand encampment.” It was the site where the Mormon Battalion was raised.
28Caroline would die six days later.
29Emma left Nauvoo a month earlier and relocated to Fulton, Illinois.
30This request apparently was never granted.
31Gustavus Hills was a watchmaker and served as an associate justice at a trial involving Joseph Smith in Nauvoo.
32Thomas Hall joined the Church in 1840, in England. He later settled in Salt Lake City, Utah, Las Vegas, Nevada, Wellsville, Utah and then sent to St. George, Utah. He served a mission in Canada. Their son Thomas was a rancher in St. George.
33Sophia Tubbs would later join the other Saints in Pueblo. She was part of the third sick detachment.
34Little David died in Winter Quarters on November 9, 1846
35Reuben Miller would later go to Utah in 1849. He served as the bishop in Mill Creek for the rest of his life. He served as county commissioner for many years and helped plan the roads around Salt Lake City.
36Little Richard Lyman would die in Winter Quarters on August 4, 1847.
37They followed the sandy bed for eight miles and left the river near today’s Galisteo Dam. From Galisteo, they marched over flat land crossing present‑day route 85 at the Mormon Battalion marker.
38Dimick Huntington would arrive in Utah on July 28, 1847. He served as a missionary to the Indians for many years. He was an early settler of Provo, Utah.
39The house would serve as an office and a private residence. It would have a sloping roof of puncheon logs that reached to a window, at the center of the raised ceiling, providing daylight. The roof would be covered with straw and forty‑five loads of earth (see Bennett).
40John S. Fullmer was one of the Nauvoo Trustees.
41He was mistaken. Lyman Wight was in Texas. This group would have been the Mississippi Saints, along with the first sick detachment of the Mormon Battalion
42James Harvey Glines was away in the Mormon Battalion. He was traveling with the second sick detachment led by James Brown. Later he organized the first water company in Utah County.
43Later in November, a chimney would be built onto the house and the logs would be chinked to keep out the cold.
44They both did.
45Thomas Rhoads, an ordained elder had remained in Missouri after the exodus of the Saints in 1839. On hearing that the Saints were leaving Nauvoo, he gathered his family to travel to California where they hoped to join the main body of the Church. The Rhoads family settled east of Sutter’s Fort near Dry Creek and Consumnes River.
46These missionaries would go to Mississippi and inform John Brown who recently returned from Pueblo, to leave his family in Mississippi, and go to Winter Quarters to prepare for the expedition in the spring.
47The Hales family later settled in Beaver, Utah. George Hales was one of the earliest workers in the Deseret News printing office at Richfield, Utah.
48Thomas C. Sharp, a notorious anti‑Mormon, is credited with inventing the term “Jack‑Mormon” about 1844. He was the editor of the Warsaw Signal during the Nauvoo period. B.H. Roberts wrote that he “coined the phrase ‘Jack‑Mormon,’ an opprobrious epithet applied to such non‑’Mormons’ of Illinois who did not favor the illegal procedure and mob violence of Sharp and his associates against the ‘Mormons.’” Later in Utah, the term evolved into a reference to “inactive” Mormons who were friendly to the Church and lived many of its teachings.