Thomas Bullock woke up near the river, and observed a thick fog hanging in the air. He built a fire and soon several Indians joined him to warm themselves by the flames. Brother Bullock later traveled to Winter Quarters and pulled his team into Willard Richards’ yard. He was immediately seized by a high fever and shakes. Elder Richards laid his hand on Brother Bullock and it helped considerably.
Brigham Young and Heber C. Kimball returned from Trader’s Point in the afternoon. Brother Matthews arrived from Savannah, Missouri, with two hundred bushels of wheat. He needed a place to store all the grain.
Willard Richards gave out notices to the Twelve and High Council that he was going to have a “bee” or a gathering, on Thursday, to help him put the roof on his unusual octagon‑shaped house.
Horace K. Whitney spent the day with William Kimball, Howard Egan, and John Davenport, putting up the logs for George B. Wallace’s house.
In the afternoon the weather turned cold and windy. Lorenzo Dow Young visited Brother Stillman Pond and found his family very sick and destitute. Brother Young returned home and sent the family some beans.
Francis Turley Daniels, age twenty‑one, died from childbirth. She was the wife of Cyrus Daniels. Their infant daughter Francis F. Daniels, also died. Elizabeth S. Boss, age nineteen, died of chills and fever. She was the wife of Alexander Boss. Leah Bostwick, age seventy‑five, died of consumption.
The battalion marched seven miles, winding down a dry creek bed of Guadalupe Canyon. The road was difficult because of immense tufts of grass and sod. They crossed into the far southeast corner of present‑day Arizona. They did not stay in Arizona long. They soon crossed into, and camped in today’s Mexico. Colonel Cooke described: “We passed today beautiful scenery, the broken mountains about, the precipices, and the confusion of the rocks. Amongst them, mescal and Spanish bayonet now become true palm trees ‑‑ the evergreen oaks, the cottonwoods, and sycamores brilliantly colored by the frost.”
Colonel Cooke hiked up a mountain to get a view of the trail ahead. He could not see San Bernardino, which had been thought to be only eight miles ahead. They observed that all the streams headed west, indicating that they were west of the continental divide.
During the night, George P. Dykes, the officer of the day, attempted to spy on the men, hoping to find some to put on report. As he was sneaking around, Henry G. Boyle, who was standing guard, thought he was an enemy sneaking up of the battalion. He cocked his gun, aimed, and almost pulled the trigger. Luckily, he recognized Dykes just in time.
Lieutenant William Willis arrived in Santa Fe, one day ahead of the third sick detachment of the Mormon Battalion. He had traveled ahead to arrange for provisions and wood to be used by the detachment. Stearling Price, now commander of the fort, ordered the detachment to continue on to Pueblo. The Quartermaster was ordered to furnish them with the necessary provisions and mules.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 467‑68; Horace K. Whitney Journal; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:151; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 127‑28; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 382‑83; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 192, 211; Our Pioneer Heritage, 4:436; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 284
Members of the Twelve met with the High Council to review a proposal to levy a tax assessment on all personal property. They were not able to settle on a fixed tax percentage.
Wilford Woodruff worked on his house and also worked with many others, shoveling dirt, working on the mill race.
Martha Angell, age ten, died of fever. She was the daughter of Truman O. and Polly Angell.1 Pleasant D. Noah, age forty‑one, died of chills. He was the husband of Martha Ann Noah. Laura Jane Pond, age fourteen, died of chills and fever. She was the daughter of Stillman and Almira Pond.
The battalion arose and found thick frost on their tents. They transferred all the loads back into the wagons that had been packed down the mountain on the mules, and soon were on their way. They followed a dry creek for several miles and then ascended onto a high prairie which gave them a view for the first time of the San Bernardino Ranch ruins. As they descended the plain to the ranch, they were surprised to see a wild bull rushing by them at full speed.2 Finally they arrived at their long anticipated destination, San Bernardino Ranch.3 They set up their camp near some old houses. The former settlement had a very nice spring.
Apache Indian chiefs arrived and met with Colonel Cooke. He pledged friendship from on behalf of the American government and the Indians said they were their friends. Colonel Cooke wrote that they “wear their hair generally long and in various fashions. They wear a kind of leather skullcap, now and then ornamented with feathers and with chinpieces. The Indians sold to the men baked roots called ‘Mescal.’ This was a sweet and nutritious treat.”
Colonel Cooke decided to stop for several days at this point. The men were in need of a long rest. Henry Bigler wrote, “My health is so poor, I can hardly travel. Every muscle in my body is sore as if I had been beaten with a club.” Colonel Cooke also believed that they could kill some bulls to help their food supply. A few hunters were sent out. Daniel Tyler was among those who killed a bull. After he had shot it several times, it still tried to charge at him with a broken leg. After firing six bullets in fatal places, the bull finally gave up. Sergeant Tyler stayed by the bull late into the night until his mess mates arrived to help pack it out.
John Allen stumbled into camp. Colonel Cooke believed that he had deserted several days earlier. It turned out that he had become lost in the Guadalupe Mountains. Indians had robbed him of his gun, knife, canteen, and clothes. He had survived by eating the carcass of Captain Jesse D. Hunter’s dead horse which had been left behind, and by chewing on hoofs of various creatures.4
General Kearny and his men arrived at Warner’s Ranch, after a difficult journey across the desert. He had run short of provisions. At the ranch, he learned that Commodore Robert Stockton was in possession of San Diego.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 468; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 215; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:97; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 128‑31; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 384‑87; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:47; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 212‑13; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 189‑90; Talbot, A Historical Guide to the Mormon Battalion and Butterfield Trail, 36
The weather was continued cold. So much ice was flowing fast on the river that it stopped people from crossing the river.
Brigham Young ordained Joseph Knight Jr. to the office of bishop. He was set apart to serve the Saints on the east side of the river, near the ferry crossing.5
The leaders turned out in force to help Willard Richards put a roof on his octagon house. They first covered it with straw and then with about fifty loads of earth. It made it look like “a new England potato heap.” Wilford Woodruff was not sure what to call the structure. He said it was a “tower or rotunda. . . . It was framed round or eight square covered with puncheon (wood) & we put upon it 50 loads of dirt.”
Thomas Bullock went with Levi Richards to drive cattle on the prairie. He watched men pull an ox out of the mire by chains. Brother Bullock had lost his cows again because his company had left them on the other side of the river.
A meeting of the Seventies was held at President Zera Pulsipher’s house. The Seventies had been previously charged to take care of the poor within their quorums. However, because there had been numerous bishops recently called, it was decided to refer the poor to the appropriate bishop. The Seventies were still responsible to make sure that the poor were getting attention. It was also proposed that several of the quorums start meeting together in order to have enough numbers to conduct quorum business.
Isabella Alice Rushton, age fourteen months, died of canker. She was the daughter of John and Margaret Rushton. A daughter, Agnes Ann Callahan, was born to Thomas and Lucinda Austin Callahan.6
Four men were sent from each company to hunt wild bulls and more than a dozen were killed. They were as plentiful as the buffalo had been, back on the plains. Many pack mules were away from camp being used to haul the meat back to the battalion. Some of the men spent all night cutting up beef and packing back as much as they could haul. Robert Bliss recorded, “Their meat is fat & tender, the best beef I ever eat. We have plenty of meat now.”
Captain Cooke took an inventory of the rations and discovered that he only had fifty‑one days’ worth of rations. He needed six or seven more days of food. The bull meat would help this situation somewhat.
The third sick detachment was in Santa Fe. The anti‑Mormon feeling among the Missourian soldiers at Santa Fe was as intense as it was when the Mormons were driven out of Far West, Missouri.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 468; Bitton, Guide to Mormon Diaries and Autobiographies (1977), 198; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:151; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:97; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 215; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 131‑33; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:79; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:9; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 387‑88; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 190‑1
Work continued on Willard Richards’ house. In the evening, the Twelve and the High Council met in the new house for a council meeting. Henry G. Sherwood reported that the new Winter Quarters cemetery, on the second ridge to the west, had been surveyed. The Council voted that those who hauled wheat from Missouri purchased by the Church, could receive half of the wheat as payment for hauling. The Council decided to turn over excess money in the wheat fund to be used for the battalion members’ wives. Reynolds Cahoon had found work to build a bridge, to be paid in corn and he was advised to take the contract. Horace S. Eldredge was released from his assignment to collect the police tax. Brother Eldredge had gone to Missouri with some teams to trade, and would not be able to perform this duty. Jonathan C. Wright was appointed in his place. The Church beef committee was instructed to kill some beef for the police. This was greatly appreciated. The police had been living on bread and water.
Hosea Stout wrote: “Br J. C. Wright & I[saac] C. Haight each lost one of their children who had been sick. They were of the police and on guard. Such is the adversity attending police duty.” Among whom died this day were: Enoch Haight, age eleven months. Nathan Kimball Lutz, age two, of canker. He was the son of Albert and Susannah Lutz. Mary Van Wagoner, age forty‑nine, wife of the late Halmagh J. Van Wagoner. Eleven‑year‑old Harriet Pond was also one of at least five deaths in the city during the day. Within a 5‑day period, Stillman and Almira Pond lost three of their daughters, who died of “chills and fever.”
Ursulia Hascall later wrote in a letter,
I suppose you have heard of the deaths in brother Ponds family. The children are all dead but Elizabeth and Loenza. When they were on the way here, they turned from the main road into a settlement where he and Samuel could earn two dollars per day with their teams. It proved to be an unhealthy place. They were all taken sick and they came away as soon as they could, but they were unable to take care of themselves on the road and suffered for the want of care. Lowell died before they arrived, the rest lived to get here and then dropped away one after another. Sister Pond has not recovered and I fear she never will.7
More than fourteen deaths occurred in Winter Quarters during the week. John R. Young, nine years‑old at the time, later recalled: “Our home was near the burying ground; and I can remember the small mournful‑looking trains that so often passed our door.”
A son, Alma Theodore Dayton, was born to Hiram and Syphia Thorton Dayton.
The hunters were successful in bringing in five days’ rations of fresh wild bull meat. The men were very busy in the morning drying the meat in the desert air on scaffolds. But soon Colonel Cooke ordered the battalion to move out.
The battalion marched for eight miles to the west, into a pass of a low range of mountains.8 The prairie behind them caught fire due to someone’s carelessness. They camped at a spring where hundreds of wild cattle watered each day.9 Some Indians came into camp with two hundred pounds of delicious meat for the men. Many men took shifts during the night, laboring to dry their meat.
Colonel Cooke ordered that the men cease shooting at cattle and to remain in the camp during the night.10 He also discovered that company B had been using a private wagon to carry their equipment. He ordered that the company carry their own knapsacks and blankets.
The third sick detachment left Santa Fe, heading toward Pueblo (Colorado) by way of Taos (New Mexico).
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 468‑69; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 30; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 215‑16; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 133‑34; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 282, 388‑90; Stegner, The Gathering of Zion, 107‑08
Brigham Young received a letter from Thomas L. Kane in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (See October 26, 1846).
John D. Lee received a letter from Levi Stewart, who was tending his stock at the rush bottoms, up the Missouri River. He reported that the cattle were doing well and that he would do all he could to take good care of them.
Horace K. Whitney, William Kimball, and Howard Egan spent the day branding Heber C. Kimball’s sheep, with a brand of H.C.K. placed on each forehead. There were also some Church sheep in this corral. Those who took care of the Church sheep during the winter would receive all the wool produced and half of any lambs born.
Lorenzo Dow Young left Winter Quarters for a trip to St. Joseph, Missouri. His son, John R. Young, recalled, “President Young called one day at the door of our cabin, and said to my father: ‘Lorenzo, if you will hitch up your horses and go down into Missouri, the Lord will open the way, so that you can bring up a drove of hogs, and give the people fresh meat and be a blessing to you.’ As I remember, the next day father took me in the wagon, and . . . started on that mission . . .”
In the afternoon, the first snow of the season fell in Winter Quarters. Thomas Bullock was very concerned about his sick son, Willard. He wrote that he was “reduced again almost to a mere Skeleton, but Father [Willard] Richards has said he shall be well in a month, so I trust to the Lord that I shall not lose any of my family. I and Wife went to the burial of John Rushton’s [fourteen‑month‑old] babe. It was buried in grave No.24.”
Jsie C. Hoytes, age 16 days, died of inflammation. He was the son of Jsie C. and Eliza Hoytes. Enoch Wright, age eighteen days, died of spasms. He was the son of Jonathan C. and Rebecca Wright. A son, Alanson Eldredge, was born to Ira and Nancy Eldredge.11 A son, Joseph Smith Turley, was born to Theodore and Sarah Ellen Turley.12
During the night, two mules died, despite the fact that the night was warm and the mules had received two days of rest prior to their march the day before. This indicated just how sickly and weak the mules had become.
The battalion marched up a difficult road that caused one of the wagon tongues to break. Colonel Cooke decided to salvage it for parts and leave it behind. Later in the day, an axle‑tree would break on another wagon. This one was also left behind. The battalion was down to fifteen wagons.
After fourteen miles, they reached a sulphur spring near contemporary Agua Prieta, Mexico. Colonel Cooke wrote:
The wild cattle are very numerous. Three were killed today on the road and several others by officers. . . . I suppose, I myselve have seen fifty. One died (that I saw) only after twenty wounds, half a dozen fired at ten paces‑‑quite as hard as the buffalo. Mr. Hall, with Doctor Sanderson, was chased by one and put in some danger by his obstinate mule. . . . It is thought that as many as five thousand cattle water at this spring. They are much like the buffalo in their habits, etc.; are rather wilder and more apt to attack individuals.
Colonel Cooke had given orders to kill no bulls during the march that day, but a few men had killed one “slyly during the day.” At night, they quietly took some mules and went back after the meat. They arrived back safely, with the beef, before morning.
The sick detachment was having difficulty getting accustomed to traveling with pack mules. Richard Brazier became too sick to travel. Lt. Willis decided to leave him behind with Thomas Burns to care for him. Lt. Willis also planned to leave several more of the sick behind, at Turley’s ranch, near Taos.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 469‑70; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 31; Nibley, Exodus To Greatness, 285; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 134‑35; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 390; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:8; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 192 ; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints
It was a cold day with snow and sleet. No public Sunday meeting was held. Brigham Young instructed John D. Lee to write a letter to William Crosby and John Brown. These brethren had led the Mississippi Saints to Pueblo and then had returned to Mississippi to bring their own families west. Brigham Young wanted Brother Lee to let these brethren know what the plans were for the coming spring. They were to leave their families in Mississippi for another year, but to send all the men who could be spared to go as pioneers in the spring.13
Mary Richards spent the day visiting various friends. She wrote, “Next called at Uncle Willard [Richards] house to see Bros [Thomas] Bullock and [John] Rushtons families who had just arrived. Found Sister [Margaret] R[ushton] mourning the loss of her child [Isabella Hannah Ruston] she having died the day before.”
Eliza Partridge Lyman’s baby, Don Carlos was very ill. She wrote, “My baby is sick and getting worse. . . . “He cried all day but I cannot see what ails him.”
Wilford Woodruff moved his family into his new house. Sister Woodruff was very ill and seven months pregnant.
In the evening the Presidents of the Seventies met and made arrangements to better take care of their poor.
Augustus P. Rolston, age one, died. He was the son of John and Hannah Rolston.
A storm blew in during the night. In the morning, the men could see fresh, new snow on the lofty mountains. The battalion started to head toward the northwest.14 The trail was difficult as they marched up the San Jose Wash. They had to cut their way through thick mesquite brush. After a twelve‑mile march they made their camp near today’s Christiansen Ranch. Colonel Cooke wrote, “Here is a fine grove of ash and walnut, and to make it still more comfortable, an old cattle pen of dry wood. We were thankful, for this afternoon it rained and snowed, with a very cold wind.”
Daniel Tyler had become sick during the march. However, he did not want the doctor to find out, so he hid in some bushes and marched on his own to the next camp. Dr. Sanderson had run out of his supply of calomel medicine and was substituting arsenic. Sergeant Tyler and others would do almost anything to avoid taking this treatment.
Lt. Willis left behind twelve more incapacitated men under the care of Richard Brazier. They were to go to Turley’s ranch, near Taos, at a slower pace, to rest and wait for more help.
As General Kearny and his men approached San Pascual, they encountered a much larger enemy force mounted on horses. Captain Johnston made a furious charge with his advance guard and the enemy started to retreat. Captain Moore led off in pursuit. A fierce fifteen minute battle ensued. In that battle, Captains Moore and Johnston, and nineteen other soldiers died. Thirty-six of the enemy force were killed or wounded. General Kearny was wounded in two places. The opposing force rode off with one of Kearny's brass howitzers.15
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 470; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:87; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 31‑2; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 135‑36; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 215, 257; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 283; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 100; Amasa Mason Lyman, Pioneer, 158; Autobiography of Pioneer John Brown, 71; Talbot, Mormon Battalion and Butterfield Trail, 38; Bigler, The Gold Discovery Journal of Azariah Smith, 66;
It was cold, frosty and cloudy. Those in Winter Quarters were busy at work on their houses. Hosea Stout killed a cow for food. Thomas Bullock visited John Scott’s house, where he was shown a spring of beautiful water. Brother Bullock spent the rest of the day with Willard Richards. Elder Richards gave him twelve pounds of flour. Harriet Young, wife of Lorenzo Dow Young, spent the day dipping more than three hundred wicks, for candles. Mary Richards spent the day sewing, knitting, reading and cooking.
Abigail A. Pond, age eighteen, died of chills and fever. She was the daughter of Stillman and Almira Pond. This was the third daughter in the family to die within five days. Also, Mary Beakly, age eighteen died of chills and fever. She was the daughter of John and Mary Beakly. Mary Jones, age nine, died of chills. She was the daughter of William and Elizabeth Jones.
A daughter, Rachel Almira Caldwell, was born to Mathew and Barzilla Guyman Caldwell.16
The battalion stayed in their camp, drying meat, while the guides went ahead to look for water. They returned in the afternoon, unsuccessful, after traveling about fifteen miles to the west. Colonel Cooke gave orders to have kegs filled with water. The men should plan on camping without water the following day.
One of the battalion’s sheep herders, an Indian, had recently deserted. There was a rumor circulating that a Mexican army of five thousand men was planning to capture the battalion as it traveled toward Tucson.
During the evening, Elisha Smith died.17 Daniel Tyler wrote, “the large wolves, probably scenting the corpse, made the night hideous with their howls. Their grum voices almost rent the air only a few feet from our camp.”
The third sick detachment, led by Lt. Willis continued their journey toward Taos. They marched fifteen miles and camped near a Mexican village. Alva Calkins requested to stay behind and wait for the men traveling at a slower pace. It snowed ten inches during the day.
With their provisions gone, horses dead, and mules broken, General Kearny’s troops took care of the dead and wounded men and marched toward San Bernardo. They encountered the enemy on a hill, who retreated, allowing Kearny’s troops to take the hill. In their starving condition, they ate some broken-down mules.
“Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 216; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 137‑39; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 192, 215‑16; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 392; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:8; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:152
The sun broke through the clouds, making it a pleasant day. Wilford Woodruff wrote: “At half past 3 oclock this morning, Mrs Woodruff was delivered of a son which was untimely six weeks before her time. The boy was alive, smart, and active, yet we cannot suppose him to live but a short time. We call his name Ezra. Mrs. Woodruff is doing as well as can be expected.” Patty Sessions helped with the delivery.
Sister Harriet Young went to visit the mourning Pond family. “Found them in a suffering condition. One of their daughters lay a corpse in the house, and one they buried yesterday and another 5 days previous. They are truly an afflicted family. I sent some beans and some onions to them.”
Bishop Newel K. Whitney opened a “bishop’s storehouse” in Winter Quarters to supply the wives of the brethren in the Mormon Battalion, and other individuals with goods.
It had been very cold overnight. In the morning there was so much frost on the grass that the mules would not drink before leaving. The men buried their fallen comrade, Elisha Smith. Henry Bigler wrote, “We buried him on the banks of this creek. We made a brush heap over his grave and burned it to hide him from savages and hungry wolves.”
Levi Hancock wrote a song in the memory of Elisha Smith:
Death and the Wolves
The Battalion encamped
By the side of a grove,
Where the pure waters flowed
From the mountains above.
Our brave hunters came in
From the chase of wild bulls
All around ‘rose the bin
Of the howling of wolves.
When the guards were all placed
On their outposts around,
The low hills and broad wastes
Were alive with the sound,
Though the cold wind blew high
Down the huge mountains shelves,
All was rife with the cry
Of the ravenous wolves.
Thus we watched the last breath
Of the teamster, who lay
In the cold grasp of death,
As his life wore away.
In deep anguish he moan’d
As if mocking his pain,
When the dying man groan’d
The wolves howl’d a refrain.
For it seem’d the wolves knew
There was death in our camp,
As their tones louder grew,
And more hurried their tramp.
While the dead lay within,
With our grief to the full,
O, how horrid a din
Was the howl of the wolves!
Then we dug a deep grave,
And we buried him there‑‑
Not a stone to tell where!
But we piled brush and wood
And burnt over his grave,
For a cheat, to delude
Both the savage and wolf.
‘Twas a sad, doleful night!
We by sunrise, next day,
When the drums and the fifes
Had performed reveille
When the teams were brought nigh,
And our baggage arranged,
One and all, bid Good bye,
To the grave and the wolves.
The battalion traveled for seventeen miles, marching into present‑day Arizona near Naco. They had to make their camp without finding water. Colonel Cooke recorded: “The road this morning was over very hilly ground and was therefore quite crooked. The ground was barren and hard, and good for a road except in places covered with loose stones. Near the base of a lofty mountain to our left, we struck smooth prairie and were then troubled with mesquite. The snow lay on the mountain nearly to the foot and within a mile of us.”18
The snow continued to fall until about noon. The detachment marched about ten miles and then rented a room from a Mexican. The men bought bread, onions, pork, and other items. Lt. Willis wrote: “Brother William Coleman was seized with an unnatural appetite, and ate to excess. In the night we were all awakened by his groans. Dr. Rust gave him a little tincture of lobelia, the only medicine in camp, which gave him partial relief.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 470; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 32; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:97; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 216; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:152; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 101; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 137‑39; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 15; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 192‑3, 216‑17; Gudee, Bigler’s Chronicle of the West, 80; Talbot, A Historical Guide to the Mormon Battalion and Butterfield Trail, 38; Patty Sessions diary in Our Pioneer Heritage, 2:62
Very early in the morning, at 3 a.m., six guns were heard in the camp in rapid succession, followed by “the most hideous cry” and the barking of dogs. Big Head, an Omaha chief, was camping north of Winter Quarters with his family and relatives. They had been attacked in their sleep by the Iowa Indians. The shots had been fired at random through the lodges.
Hosea Stout and other police came running. Brother Stout wrote: “When I got there, I found his house crowded full of Omahas who had fled there for shelter. One squaw had been shot through the arm which was shattered to atoms & an old Indian picking out the little bones with his fingers.”
Big Head had been shot in the head (the ball entered in right cheek and exited near eye), right shoulder, and he lost his left thumb. The wounded were brought into Winter Quarters to be treated by Doctors Cannon, Sprague, and Levi Richards. Later, Doctor Cannon had to amputate the squaw’s arm at the shoulder. The wounded were cared for in a sod house.
One of the Omaha braves was missing, presumed dead, and carried off by the Iowas. However, later on, he was found and brought to Charles Patten’s house. He had been shot in the eye and was not expected to live. The police went back to the Indian lodges to make sure everything was had settled down. They could hear the Iowas howling on the other side of the river.
During the day, Brigham Young permitted the Omaha camp to be moved near his house. They were very fearful of another attack. Big Head spent the night in Willard Richards’ home. Brigham Young wrote a letter to Major Miller reporting the incident, asking him to inform Omaha chief, Big Elk.
President Young and others spent the evening in Bishop Newel K. Whitney’s store. Sister Harriet Young sent some biscuit and sauce, and a piece of fresh pork to the grieving Pond family.
The river was frozen solid. Three wagons crossed over on the ice. Sarah Elizabeth Packer, age one, died of chills. She was the daughter of Jonathan and Angelina Packer.
The battalion marched on, hoping to find the San Pedro River. They were disappointed to find out that the valley they were in, turned out to be a dry branch. They pressed on. Colonel Cooke wrote:
My anxiety became very great and I pushed on at a fast gait to the guides, and after ascending a hill saw a valley indeed, but no other appearance of a stream than a few ash trees in the midst; but they, with numerous cattle paths, gave every promise of water. On we pushed, and finally when twenty paces off, saw a fine bold stream! There was the San Pedro we had so long and anxiously pursued.19
They crossed the river, followed the west bank north for several more miles, and made their camp for the night. They caught many fine trout which made a great supper.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 471; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 216‑17; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:152 “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 139‑42; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:48
Members of the Twelve met at Willard Richards’ house. They reviewed a letter written by John D. Lee to John Brown and William Crosby in Mississippi. Brigham Young wanted him to add a postscript, giving them directions to the intended location in the spring for the advance group going over the mountains. The current plan was to establish a settlement at the head waters of the Yellowstone River. President Young wrote a letter to W.H. Rodgers of Savannah, Missouri, to make arrangements for the purchase of several thousand bushels of wheat and corn.
The weather was cloudy and cold. Hosea Stout wrote: “Today I made myself a pair of leggins after the real rude Indian fashion which was of more real service against the ‘chilling blast’ than I had before imagines and I confess that I am much taken with them.” His brother, Allen Stout came to visit. His family was camped on the other side of the river and he crossed over the river on the ice.20
Eliza R. Snow’s ward held its first weekly meeting. It was announced that each man in the ward would give every tenth day and a half cord of wood to help the poor and the widows. Mary Richards spent the day sewing a dress and knitting.
During the night, some Indians stole some of Harriet Young’s wood. Wilford Woodruff’s two‑day‑old son, Ezra, died at 9:30 p.m.
A son, Henry Brigham Munro, was born to Henry and Jane Palmer Munro.
The battalion experienced a very cold night, below ten degrees. During the day it warmed up nicely. They had to wind through many hills as they followed the San Pedro River to the north. They camped near the present‑day ghost town of Charleston, Arizona. Nearby, they observed an old Mexican ranch which had been deserted for some time. The afternoon was spent in fishing.
The Californians (Mexicans) tried to drive General Kearny off the hill by driving a band of wild horses over the troops. This didn’t work, but it did provide Kearny’s men with some horse meat to help them in their starving condition.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 471; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 217; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly 14:152; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:97; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 149 “Allen Stout Journal,” typescript, BYU, 27; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 101; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 142; Bagley, Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, 56; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 259
Heber C. Kimball moved into his new, large house. It was a log home, one and a half stories high, with two rooms on each floor, about sixteen by sixteen feet each. The roof was covered with oak shingles and there was a chimney in the middle.
Wilford Woodruff buried his son Ezra. This was the second son the Woodruffs had lost within a short time. Sister Woodruff was still very sick.
Indian Agent, Major Miller and Logan Fontenelle, an interpreter, visited Winter Quarters.
Twins, Benjamin and Joseph Porter were born to Chancy W. and Emma Porter.21
During the morning, the Mormon Battalion experienced its only battle of their long march ‑‑ The Battle of the Bulls. As the battalion marched down to the San Pedro river bottom, a few wild bulls wandered in among the battalion’s beef cattle which started the uproar. One bull trapped Sergeant Albert Smith with his horns. His ribs were severely bruised, but the horns passed harmlessly on both sides of Smith’s body. The bulls were killed and as the men were watering their animals, a number of additional wild bulls, smelling the blood, charged into the ranks of the battalion. Colonel Cooke, sensed the danger, and wisely ordered all of the men to load their muskets. Great confusion soon reigned as guns were fired and soldiers ran for the protection of wagons or trees.
Levi Fifield could not reach the protection of a wagon and was being pursued by a bull. He threw himself flat on the ground. The bull jumped over Fifield’s body and left him unharmed. Other bulls attacked the mules and killed one of Paymaster Jeremiah Cloud’s pack mules. Another bull attacked a wagon belonging to Company D, it tossed a harnessed mule into the air and gored another mule’s stomach.
Daniel Tyler recorded, “Dr. William Spencer, assistant surgeon’s steward, shot six balls into one bull, and was pursued by him, raising and falling at intervals, until the last and fatal shot, which took effect near the curl of the pate, was fired.” The doctor later removed the heart and found two bullet holes. He carried the heart around for several days, telling the tale of the bull that just wouldn’t die.
Amos Cox was also injured. He was gored on the inside of his thigh, and was thrown nearly ten feet in the air. The gash in his leg was four inches long and three inches deep.22 Lieutenant George Stoneman was injured when his rifle misfired and ripped off the upper joint of his thumb.
Colonel Cooke wrote: “I also saw an immense coal‑black bull charge on Corporal [Lafayette] Frost of company A. He stood his ground while the animal rushed right on for one hundred yards. I was close by and believed the man in great danger to his life and spoke to him.” Cooke yelled, “Run, run . . . damn you, run!” But he held his ground. “He aimed his musket very deliberately and only fired when the beast was within ten paces; and it fell headlong, almost at his feet.” Cooke swore, “he’d be . . . damned it that man was not a Soldier.”
The battalion got organized and soon resumed their march. After about a half mile, a bull charged after a horse tied to a wagon. When the horse jumped for safety, the bull charged into the wagon’s tailgate, lifting the rear wheels entirely off the ground.
The casualties of the battle were, about ten to fifteen bulls killed, two mules gored to death, and three men wounded. Thomas Dunn wrote: “This is a day that will long be remembered by some and perhaps most of the Battalion.”
Despite the heated battle, the men marched on and passed the mouth of Babocomari River which Colonel Cooke named Bull Run, in honor of the battle. They made their camp near the present‑day Quiburi Mission Ruins, where the men caught an abundance of trout.
Henry Standage and Sandford Porter had been fishing along the river instead of marching with the battalion. When they came to the site of the battle, they found nine bulls killed at one place. They made a fire and broiled some fat ribs.
Levi W. Hancock wrote a poem entitled:
Bull Fight on the San Pedro
Under command of Colonel Cooke
When passing down San Pedro’s brook,
Where cane‑grass, growing rank and high,
Was waving as the breeze passed by;
There as we gained ascending ground
Out from the grass, with fearful bound,
A wild, ferocious bull appeared,
And challenged fight, with horns upreared.
Stop! Stop! said one, Just see that brute!
“Hold!” was responded, “Let me shoot.”
He flashed, but failed to fire the gun,
Both stood their ground and would not run
The man exclaimed, “I want some meat.
I think that bull will do to eat.”
And saying thus, again he shot,
And felled the creature on the spot.
It soon arose to run away,
And then the guns began to play,
All hands at work‑‑amid the roar
The bull was dropped to rise no more.
But lo! It did not end the fight,
A furious heard rushed into sight,
And then, the bulls and men around
Seemed all resolved to stand their ground.
In nature’s pasture, all unfenced,
A dreadful battle was commenced;
We knew we must ourselves defend,
And each to other’s aid extend.
The bulls with maddened fury raged,
The men a skillful warfare waged;
Though some from danger had to flee,
And hide or clamber up a tree.
A bull at one man made a pass,
Who hid himself amid the grass,
And breathless lay until the brute
Passed him, and took another shoot.
The bulls rushed on like unicorns,
And gored the mules with piercing horns,
As if the battle ground to gain,
When men and mules should all be slain.
With brutal strength and iron will,
Poised on this horns with master skill,
A bull one mule o’er mule did throw,
Then made the latter’s entrails flow.
One bull was shot and when he fell,
A butcher ran, his blood to spill,
The bull threw up his horns and caught
The butcher’s cap, upon the spot.
O. Cox from one bull’s horns was thrown,
Then feet in air: when he came down,
A gaping flesh wound met his eye,
The vicious beast had gored his thigh.
The Colonel and his staff were there,
Mounted and witnessed the war.
A bull, one hundred yards away
Eyed Colonel Cooke as easy prey.
But Corporal Frost stood bravely by,
And watched the bull with steady eye,
The brute approached, near and more near,
But Frost betrayed no sign of fear.
The Colonel ordered him to run,
Unmoved, he stood with loaded gun,
The bull came up with daring tread,
When near his feet, Frost shot him dead.
Whatever cause we do not know,
But something prompted them to go,
When all at once in frantic fright,
The bulls ran bellowing out of sight.
And when the fearful fight was o’er
And sound of muskets heard no more,
At least a score of bulls were found,
And two dead mules upon the ground.
General Kearny’s men were finally rescued by a large company of sailors and marines. When they approached, the enemy that had Kearny trapped on the hill, fled. This relief company brought food and clothing for the poor wounded and starving men.
The third sick detachment reached the Mexican town of Taos.23 Simeon Turley, from Kentucky, had a large distillery Arroyo Hondo, twelve miles north of Taos. Lt. Willis went there to make arrangement with Mr. Turley to leave some of the sick there.
Historian John Yurtinus pointed out that George F. Ruxton, a young Englishman, was also in Taos on this day. He described the place:
Sheep and goats, and innumerable hogs, ran about the corral; his [Turley’s] barns were filled with grain of all kinds, his mill with flour, and his cellars with whiskey ‘in galore.’ Everything about the place betokened prosperity. . . . No one in the country was paid so well, and fed so well, as Turley, who bore the reputation, far and near, of being as generous and kind‑hearted as he was reported to be rich.
Ruxton also observed the poor conditions of the sick detachment:
There were some twelve or fifteen of them, rawboned fanatics, with four or five pack‑mules carrying their provisions, themselves on foot. They started several hours before me; but I overtook them before they had crossed the mountain, straggling along, some seated on the top of the mules packs, some sitting down every few hundred yards, and all looking tired and miserable. One of the party was an Englishman from Biddenden, in Kent, and an old Peninsular Soldier. I asked what could have induced him to have undertaken such an expedition. He looked at me, and without answering the question, said “Dang it, if I only once get home!”
George Miller and James Emmett left Ponca to attend a “grand council” meeting at Winter Quarters. They also took teams to obtain provisions.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 472; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:97; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 218‑19, 259-60; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 192‑94; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 396‑400; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 142‑44; Bigler’s Chronicle of the West, 82; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:8; Ruxton, Adventures in Mexico and the Rocky Mountains, 204‑05; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 288‑90; Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, 221
Major Miller and Logan Fontenelle visited with Willard Richards. They were investigating the shooting of Omaha chief, Big Head, by the Iowas. Afterwards, Fontenelle stayed to discuss the routes to the west. He did not recommend taking the northern route west, to the head waters of the Yellowstone River. He said that the soil there was sandy and contained clay, making it unsuitable for raising grain. Instead, he advised that the Saints travel to the mountains on the Platte River. They would have to build ferries at certain locations because bridges would be quickly washed away. Fontenelle mentioned, “The South side of Salt Lake has the best Soil.”
At 1 p.m., the members of the Twelve met with these men, Big Elk, Big Head, and other Omaha Indians. The brethren asked the Indians to move further down the river, where a house would be built for them.
In the evening, a Frenchman, named La Fras, son‑in‑law of Peter Sarpy, came into the camp and reported that about one hundred Sioux had killed forty Omahas the night before. This tragedy occurred about sixty miles to the north. Only eight were reported to have escaped. The Omahas camping near Winter Quarters mourned greatly on hearing this news. Hosea Stout recorded: “They would weep and howl, cry, writhe and twist and make every gesture of sorrow that could be imagined. They made such a noise that President Young had them stopt.” Harriet Young added: “It was about dusk when they heard of it [the sad news], and there was not rest for anyone that night. Their noise exceeded everything I ever heard.”
It was also a day of mourning for many of the Saints who lost children on the day. Amasa M. Lyman and Eliza Partridge Lyman’s five‑month‑old baby, Don Carlos Lyman, died. Sister Lyman wrote: “I should wish to bid this world farewell for it is full of disappointment and sorrow, but I believe there is a power that watches over us and does all things right.” On hearing the news, Eliza R. Snow wrote: “O, Lord comfort the heart of the mother in this sudden bereavement.”
Eliza R. Snow wrote a poem:
Belov’d Eliza, do not weep
Your baby sleeps a quiet sleep;
Altho’ in dust its body lies
Its spirit soars above the skies.
No more upon your throbbing breast
It lays its little head to rest‑‑
From all the pains of nature freed,
Your fond caress it does not need.
Sweet was its visit but its stay
On earth was short‑‑’twas call’d away
By kindred spirits to fulfil
Its calling & Jehovah’s will.
Then soothe your feeling‑‑do not mourn,
Your noble offspring will return,
With all its loveliness again
And with its friends on earth remain.
Also died this day were Sarah Butlerworth and the Porter twins, born the previous day.
Brother Luke S. Johnson, former member of the Twelve, who recently rejoined the Saints, arrived in Camp. He had just buried his wife at St. Joseph, Missouri. The Journal History of the Church records: “There was quite a rejoicing among the old Kirtland Saints to see Brother Johnson among them again.” He stayed the night at Heber C. Kimball’s home. His sister, Marinda Hyde, wife of Orson Hyde, came to visit him.
News arrived that the new governor of Illinois, Augustus C. French, announced his plans to have the State troops withdraw from Nauvoo. He called upon the citizens of Hancock County to cease violent acts and “show to the world that as the original causes of domestic discord [the Mormons] were removed, they were able, unaided and alone to reinstate the majesty of the laws and thereby prevent many sinister inferences which otherwise would be certain to follow.”
The battalion passed around a canyon and the ruins of the Presidio‑ Fortress of Santa Cruz de Terrenate.24 Colonel Cooke wrote: “The country is broken and rough, and we at times pass behind isolated hills. The bottom grass is very tall and sometimes difficult to pass through.” The guides determined the best spot to turn off the San Pedro River, to head toward Tucson. They had found a group of Apaches and Mexicans distilling whisky. From them, they learned that the Mexican Army garrisons of all the little frontier posts had been collected and were currently at Tucson, numbering about two hundred. They also had two cannons. Guides were sent on ahead, using assumed identities, to find out more information. They would inform the Mexican commander that an American army was on the way. They would try to trick the commander into believing that the Mormon Battalion was just an advance guard for a much bigger army.25
The third sick detachment arrived at Simeon Turley’s ranch. Lt. Willis made arrangements with Mr. Turley to leave a number of the sick at his ranch. He was paid from Lt. Willis’ private funds. In the evening, the men expressed fears of going further into the mountains, full of snow. Lt. Willis said that he had orders to go to Pueblo, and he would go there, even if he had to travel alone. He called for a sustaining vote. All but one supported his decision, but he later changed his vote.
General Stephen Kearny arrived in San Diego. He met with Commodore Robert Stockton to plan an attack on Los Angeles, to retake it from the Californians (Mexicans).
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 472‑73; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 217; Journal History, December 12, 1846; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 149; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 144‑46; Talbot, a Historical Guide to the Mormon Battalion and Butterfield Trail, 47‑8; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 57; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 193; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:48; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:152; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 495-96
The Saints assembled at the Winter Quarters’ stand for a Sabbath meeting. Cornelius P. Lott first spoke on the duty of the Saints in their various capacities, places, and stations. He then testified that they were being led by “a prophet in Israel.” He mentioned that Brigham Young had prophesied in the temple last winter that the Saints would escape into the wilderness and that the temple would be taken over by money changers and thieves. These things had come to pass.
Next, Brigham Young offered a few remarks. He announced that a house needed to be built for the Omaha Indians who had been attacked near Winter Quarters a few evenings previous. They were fearful to leave and needed a house which would protect them from further attacks. President Young said, “I cannot do it all, yet I will need some help. Come, brothers, bear each other’s burdens that you may reap the reward of the faithful.”
He addressed a concern expressed by some that the Mormon Battalion wives were not receiving enough money. Brigham Young informed them that the battalion had sent back only about one fourth of their pay. Also, the goods purchased with the money in St. Louis required extra cost to bring them back. “I see no cause of complaint whatever and had not Bro. [Parley P.] Pratt and those brethren that were with him, happened at the Fort [Leavenworth], at the [time of] payment, and urged the necessity of sending a part of their means back, you would not have had any money to have troubled you about.”
In the evening, a council meeting was held. The Council voted that Reynolds Cahoon, Ira Eldredge, and Stephen Markham be appointed to a committee to build a house for the Omahas. It should be built on Thursday by at least fifty men.26
President Young reproved the High Council and bishops for neglecting their duty and working on the Sabbath. The bishops in Winter Quarters were requested to meet each week with the High Council. Those in the High Council should watch over the bishops “with a fatherly care.” If any of the bishops did not magnify their calling, they should be released, “for it would not do for this people to go into the wilderness and forget their God.” The bishops should hold weekly meetings in their wards and see that no one within their stewardship should suffer from hunger. They were also asked to establish schools. All the leaders should “search this place as with a lighted candle in their hands and put down all iniquity.” Each bishop should lead their ward and instruct the members in their duty. “You can lead a man to do his duty.”
President Young had heard criticism that he was trying to get rich off the Saints. He stated that “If I had been intent on getting riches, I never should have had the knowledge God has bestowed upon me, some one else would have stood in my place.”
Hosea Stout was impressed by President Young’s council. “He had an uncommon portion of the Holy Spirit resting down upon him & was filled with the sublime views of rolling forth this great and mighty work and if the council and Bishops will abide his advice, a great and good work will soon be done here.”
Plans were announced to construct a Council House in Winter Quarters. Each member of the Twelve, High Council, and twenty‑two bishops were asked to bring a log twenty‑five feet long for the Council House.
A meeting of the Council of the First Presidency of the Seventies was held. Reports were given from the various quorums regarding the needy in the quorum. Orville M. Allen reported that Sister Browett was destitute of provisions and did not have a house. President Albert P. Rockwood commented that Sister Browett had an abundance of property. President Allen was instructed to see what articles she could trade in exchange for a house. Most of the quorums stated that they were able to take care all those in their quorum.
The Seventies discussed the idea of employing the poor to make baskets which could be sold. President Jedediah M. Grant was appointed to select a person to open a trade school to instruct people how to make baskets. It was also decided to build a school house where these classes could be held.
Later in the evening, members of the Twelve met with Luke S. Johnson. They discussed items of church history. Brother Johnson mentioned that all those who participated in the tarring a feathering of Joseph Smith and Sidney Rigdon in Hiram Ohio, in 1832, had died an untimely death, expect for one man. But the survivor, Carnot Mason, who had dragged Joseph out of the house by his hair, had been severely afflicted. Dr. Denison had been the man who prepared a vial of poison for Joseph.27
John D. Lee spent two hours talking with Brigham Young. President Young suggested that Brother Lee take 20‑30 brethren into the settlements to on work threshing and cleaning wheat to help raise funds to outfit the pioneer company. Teams could also be employed to haul grain, tallow, butter, lard, soap, and other items from the settlements.
Heber C. Grant, three‑month‑old son of George and Margaret Grant, died. John Lawrence, husband of Rhoda Sandford Lawrence, died at the age of forty‑three. A daughter, Louisa Park, was born to John and Louisa Smith Park.
A daughter, Lydia Standley, was born to Alexander S. and Philinda Upton Standley.28
The battalion marched along the San Pedro River bottoms, which at that point was up to two miles wide. They passed many mesquite trees, that almost looked like they were arranged in orchards. After they made their new camp, one mile northwest of present‑day Benson, Arizona, Colonel Cooke mustered the battalion, inspected their arms, and had a long drill. He instructed them how to properly load and fire their arms, and had them march in columns. This drilling was needed to prepare them for the possible danger that loomed in Tucson. Each man was given twenty‑eight cartridges.
Colonel Cooke issued the following order.
Thus far on our course we have followed the guides furnished us by the general [Kearny]. These guides now point to Tucson, a garrison town, as our road, and assert that any other course is a hundred miles out of the way and over a trackless wilderness of mountains, rivers and hills. We will march, then, to Tucson. We came not to make war on Sonora, and less still to destroy an important outpost of defense against Indians; but we will take the straight road before us, and overcome all resistance. But shall I remind you that the American soldier ever shows justice and kindness to the unarmed and unresisting? The property of individuals you will hold sacred. The people of Sonora are not our enemies.
The third sick detachment, led by Lt. Willis, departed from the Turley ranch and headed toward Rio Colorado, the northernmost settlement along the way in present‑day New Mexico.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 473‑75; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 33‑4; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 217‑18; Lundwall, The Fate of the Persecutors of the Prophet Joseph Smith, 71‑2; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 145‑47; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 285, 402‑03
As the Saints in Winter Quarters arose, they were greeted with about one inch of snow on the ground. Light snow fell throughout the day, but was quickly melted by the sun. Willard Richards walked across the Missouri River on the ice to visit Brother John Neff, who was sick.
Word came to Winter Quarters that sugar, salt, molasses and other items could be purchased for reasonable prices across and down the river, at Trader’s Point. John D. Lee was immediately sent to purchase $300‑1,000 worth of goods.
The Indian interpreter, Logan Fontenelle, returned from the site of the recent Omaha Indian massacre. He reported finding seventy-three bodies, men, women, and children that had been killed by the Sioux. Five had been left wounded, and six had been taken prisoner.
In the afternoon, Brigham Young rode with Ezra T. Benson and others to select a site for the Omahas’ new house. They found a suitable site, six miles to the south.
Thomas Bullock recorded, “In the evening I commenced a School for my Children, which I pray my heavenly Father to bless me in my labors, & enable me to instruct them well, & make them useful in building up His Kingdom on the Earth.”
A son, Joseph Smith Adams, was born to Arza and Sabina Clark Adams.29
The battalion tried to get an early start on their march as they started heading west, away from the San Pedro River, toward Tucson. They wound up the bluffs30 for nine miles until they reached the top After traveling for a total of twenty miles, they made their camp at some water near the contemporary village of Pantano, Arizona. Thomas Dunn wrote, “Marched 20 miles on a plain covered with bush and prickles so bad that it was almost impassable for miles, the pioneers cleared the way and a fatiguing march of 20 miles closed the labour of the day.”
Leroux, a guide for the battalion, was sent to a Mexican distillery ahead (where whiskey was made out of roots called Mescal) to calm their fears, and prevent them from running off. At the stillhouse, were some Mexican officers. Colonel Cooke went ahead to meet with them. They reported that an Apache had been spreading alarming rumors about the battalion and the commandante of the garrison at Tucson had instructed these officers to request that Col. Cooke not pass through Tucson. Cooke told the officers to relay a message quickly that they were not the Sonorans’ enemies, and they were only interested in purchasing flour and other provisions at Tucson.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 475; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 149‑50; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:152; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 148‑50; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 16
The morning was cold and snowy. Charles Bird left in the morning for Trader’s Point to purchase provisions. John D. Lee gave him $250 cash and a load of hides.
The sisters in Winter Quarters always stayed very busy. On this day, Mary Richards baked a loaf of bread, wrote a letter, and spent the evening sewing. Harriet Young, with her husband Lorenzo away, drew a barrel of water, fixed the fence, chopped the wood, tacked a comfort, and maintained her husband’s journal. Susan Young, another wife of Lorenzo, went to her mother’s to quilt a petticoat.
A council meeting was held with the bishops. Reports were heard from several of the bishops. Abraham O. Smoot, the bishop called to serve in the 14th ward was away from Winter Quarters. Elder Wilford Woodruff was asked to act as bishop and choose two counselors to assist him.
Brigham Young was frustrated with the reports given by the bishops. Willard Richards, the historian, was asked to issue a form for the bishops to help them create a concise report. It was felt that each of the twenty‑two bishops should be able to give their reports in two minutes. He commented, “If men who have been in the Church thirteen years cannot do business with dispatch and correctly, the Council must teach them.” Hosea Stout commented in his journal, “It appears from President Young’s teaching & the way he is bringing them to their duty that he is determined to have them do business right & not neglect their duty as has been the case too much in days gone by.”
President Young asked the bishops to raise a team for Joseph and George Herring (Indian members of the Church) that would be used to take their families over the mountains with the pioneer company. He also asked for one more days’ work from the brethren in Winter Quarters on the mill race.
Heber C. Kimball addressed the Council and shared a dream he recently had. He and Brigham Young were traveling very fast and they thought they could fly. They “flew some distance and lit upon a plain, in traveling over which we perceived groups of snakes: we jumped lively from place to place to get past them, they did not molest us.” Brigham Young interpreted this dream. He said the people were full of evil and speaking evil of the leaders, but would not grumble while they were present.
Elder Kimball counseled the bishops to reform and teach their wards to cease their complaining and to seek after the Holy Ghost. If the people did not repent, the Lord would send a plague among them.
Brigham Young instructed the Council.
I told them that unless this people would humble themselves and cease their wickedness, God would not give them much more teaching nor would it be long until the Priesthood would be hunted by those who now call themselves Saints. I told the brethren if the people would do as I said, they would be saved. I asked my Heavenly Father what he had for me to do, and when he dictated, I performed accordingly, and I left the issue with Him, believing that it would come out all right.
He referred to criticism in regards to the handling of the Mormon Battalion money. Thomas Bullock recorded, “[President Young] was ready to night to render an account of his conduct to his Heavenly Father in regard to the goods & he should cry out ‘Hallelujah my work is done.’”
Wilford Woodruff explained in his journal what was taking place in Winter Quarters. “There is beginning to be murmurings through the camp and much wickedness that the Lord is not pleased with. The Saints appear at the present time some as the children of Israel did while in the wilderness & the Nephites on this continent. At times they would forget their God and turn to wickedness.”
Caroline E. Gates, wife of Jacob Gates, died. Also seventy‑year‑old Edman Rosley (Edward Bosely?) died of shortness of breath.
A son, John Thomas Rich, was born to Charles C. and Sarah Pea Rich. Brother Rich was very sick in bed when the baby arrived. Sister Rich wrote: “There we were in one little small room, with a bark roof and a bark floor, for the oak and other trees would peel away easily. The brethren would peel off large pieces of bark, and spread them out and make floors, and cover the house with the same.” Sister Rich was thankful for the kindness of her neighbors, especially Lorenzo Snow. “He lived near us, and himself and family were so kind to us in our time of sickness, and administered words of comfort and cheered us up in our affliction. And at this place we had many testimonies that the Lord had not forsaken us, and that He was mindful of His people who put their trust in Him.”
Roger Farrer wrote a letter to his son William. He reported that his other two sons were working somewhere in Iowa. He added, “I have been sick for nearly five months, . . . and we have suffered for want of provisions on account of my not being able to go to work.”
The battalion took up their march toward Tucson in the Pantano Wash. After one mile, they passed by a distillery. Colonel Cooke wrote that at the distillery, “we saw a dozen or two Indians and Mexicans ‑‑ men, women, and children. They had huts or wigwams of dry grass or reeds, besides a small adobe house. The process of distillation of whiskey from mescal was going on. It was altogether the most muddy, filthy, wretched‑looking place I ever saw in my life.” Henry Bigler observed, “The outfit seemed to be a portable affair, using raw hides for vats or tubs.”
Colonel Cooke was concerned about Doctor Foster’s delay in returning from Tucson. When the battalion met four friendly Mexican soldiers, Colonel Cooke decided to take three of them prisoner, and send one with a message to Tucson, directing that they release Doctor Foster if he was being detained. One of the prisoners was the commandante’s son.
At 11 a.m., they stopped for water at Dienega Springs because they would not have water at their camp in the evening.
The men continued on, admiring the snow in the Catalina Mountains to the north. The road was difficult and they were troubled by the prickly pear cactus. William Coray complained, “We traveled this day through the most prickly, prongy, thorny country I ever saw; the Prickles were in every shape imaginable.”
Colonel Cooke remarked about the giant suguaro cacti which are plentiful near Tucson: “We also saw today another extraordinary variety of the cactus, a green fluted pillar thirty feet high and near two feet in diameter, very straight but sending out (some of them), about midway up, several similar columns, something like the branches of a candelabra. The ridges of the flutes are thickly set with thorns.” Thomas Dunn wrote, “We saw a vegetable curiosity this day. 30 feet high and 18" in diameter covered with thorns hooked.” They also were introduced to the annoying cholla cactus. James S. Brown wrote: “Here a new (to us) species of cactus proved very troublesome It was jointed, and when an animal rubbed against the thorns, it broke loose at the joints, and sections about three inches long would stick fast to the animal.”31
At about midnight, Doctor Foster, with an escort of eighteen soldiers, arrived at the battalion camp. They brought proposals from the Tucson garrison asking for a special armistice to allow the battalion to march on limited roads around Tucson. Colonel Cooke refused the terms. He stated that the battalion would enter Tucson freely to trade. He additionally demanded that the Mexicans surrender two cavalry carbines and three lances. No agreement was reached after two hours.
A large load of grain arrived from Missouri. The wagon had been gone for two months. They had traveled more than seven hundred miles.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 475‑77; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 218; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 40; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:98‑9; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 101; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:152; Rich, Ensign to the Nations, 86; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 150‑51; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 405‑06; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn Journal,” typescript, 16; Gudde, Bigler’s Chronicle of the West, 33; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 59; Gentry; BYU Studies, 21:4:451; Roger Farrer to William Farrer, 15 December 1846, Church Archives; “Sarah Rich Autobiography,” typescript, BYU, 61‑2
A man from Missouri visited Winter Quarters to hire men for a job near St. Joseph, Missouri. Wilford Woodruff put the roof on his father’s house and the family moved into it. Many men worked on the mill race and it was finally completed in the evening.
A son, Meltiar Hatch, was born to Meltiar and Permelia Snyder Hatch.32 A daughter, Alviara Evelette Smith, was born to Thomas S. and Polly Clark Smith.33 A daughter, Margaret Jane Smith, was born to Thomas W. and Sarah Ann Boren Smith.34
The battalion started their long march toward Tucson before sunrise. The road was difficult, “covered with mesquite and prickly pears of every variety.” When they were about six miles from Tucson, they were greeted by a mounted, Mexican soldier. He delivered a letter from the commandant of the Tucson garrison. It stated that Colonel Cooke’s terms could not be accepted. After the soldier left, anticipating a confrontation, Colonel Cooke ordered the men to load their muskets. After traveling a short distance, two Mexican citizens arrived, who reported that the soldiers were evacuating the post. Cooke countermanded his order to load the guns. “They also gave information that the town was nearly deserted of inhabitants, forced off by the military; these had carried off their two brass cannon and all public property but wheat and tobacco.”
After about two more miles, Colonel Cooke ordered the men to march double time. James S. Brown wrote: “At that the whole column moved on a smart trot. Some of us, at least, thought we were advancing upon an enemy that had been discovered by the commander; but when we had gone pell‑mell over cobblerock and gullies, through brush and cactus, for a distance of nearly three quarters of a mile, we received the command to halt.”
The soldiers were soon greeted by a dozen mounted men in plain clothes who accompanied them toward the Presidio. As the men marched, they saw off in the distance, a large stone church, the San Xavier Mission, which was built in the late 1700's. It was learned that the Mexican soldiers were camped at the mission, about nine miles to the south. There was also a rumor that about twenty‑five Mexican soldiers had been sent north, toward Gila, to harass the battalion’s march ahead.
When they arrived at the gates of the Presidio, Colonel Cooke addressed the battalion. He informed them all that the soldiers and citizens had fled, leaving much of their property behind. He reminded them that they had not come to make war on Sonora. The men must not interfere with the private property of the citizens.
The battalion marched impressively into the Tucson Presidio. It was almost deserted except for about a hundred frightened men, women, children, sick and elderly. Henry Bigler wrote: “The few people that were left in the place were old men and infirm, with a few children, who were at our mercy and were badly frightened on our approach but as we showed no sign of fight they became friendly and very sociable, though close in their dealings.” Sergeant Daniel Tyler recalled with fondness a kind, elderly man who gave them water to drink. “When signs of thirst were given, [he] ran to the brook as fast as his tottering limbs could carry him, dipped up his water, and almost out of breath, but with cheerful countenance, delivered the refreshing and much needed draught.”35
Colonel Cooke compared Tucson to Santa Fe.
Tucson is not seen until very close by. Of course, its adobe houses are the same in appearance [as Santa Fe] but inferior. There is a wall with abutments and battlements in bad repair which surrounds the barracks. . . . It is a more populous village than I had supposed, [normally] containing about five hundred; and there are pueblos. . . . There is another very large [church] at a small Indian village close by.36
Henry Bigler later shared his impressions of Tucson: “It looked good to see young green wheat patches and fruit trees and see hogs and fowls running about and it was music to our ears to hear the crowing of the cocks. . . . In the place are 2 little mills for grinding grain and run by jackass power, the upper millstone moved around as fast as Mr. Donkey pleased to walk.”
The march was not halted, but continued through the town. Their camp was established about three‑quarters mile northwest of the Presidio, near an irrigation ditch containing water from the Santa Cruz River. Many of the citizens of Tucson came into camp to sell their wares to the soldiers. A few men were sent back to the Presidio to search for grain. Henry Standage wrote: “We were kindly treated by the people of Tucson who brought Flour, Meal, Tobacco, Quinces to the camp for sale and many of them giving such things to the Soldiers. . . . 2000 bushels of wheat belonging to the [Mexican] Government was found out which we were ordered to feed the Animals.” The food for the men was purchased from the citizens. They traded clothing for wheat, corn, beans, and peas. James S. Brown wrote: “We were near starved that we could not wait for this food to be more than half cooked before we ate it.” Colonel Cooke purchased three bushels of badly needed salt.
A strong guard was placed around the camp during the evening. Corporal Thomas Dunn and Sergeant William Coray went into the town at 9 p.m. and found everything peaceful.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 477; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:99; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; Margaret Maxwell, “The March of the Mormon Battalion” in The Smoke Signal 66 (Fall 1996), 125; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 195‑96; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 151‑52, 157; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 61; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:49; “The Journal of Nathaniel V. Jones,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:9; “Private Journal of Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 16; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 227
Joshua L. Miller delivered a letter to Brigham Young from Joseph Holbrook, who was at Ponca, about 150 miles up the Missouri River. George Miller and nearly four hundred Saints were camped there for the winter. Joseph Holbrook, Joseph Matthews, and James Emmett had recently returned from a trip to explore the road to Fort Laramie. The brethren had been considering Ponca as a launching point for the journey to the west. Brother Holbrook reported that the route was good, but they had to turn back after one hundred miles because the feed had been all eaten by the buffalo.
A council meeting was held in the evening. Willard Richards discussed with the Council about the importance of keeping a good history of the Church. He had “bushels” of papers that needed to be organized and filed safely away. Wilford Woodruff commended Elder Richards for his work. He felt that they were living in the most important era of the world and that a strict history must be kept. He testified that they would be judged out of the things written in the books. Orson Pratt seconded these thoughts and suggested that funds be used to support the historian’s work. These funds could be raised from the tax assessment that was collected to support the police.
Several bishops gave their reports to the Council but they were not yet acceptable. Further instruction was given to the bishops how to create a proper report. About an inch of snow fell on Winter Quarters during the evening.
Charles Bird returned from Trader’s Point with a load of groceries purchased for the Church. John D. Lee spent the evening taking an inventory of them.
At daybreak, Colonel Cooke sent out men to find better grass for the mules. They could only find some poor grass in the creek bed of the Santa Cruz River. Thirty to forty mules were reported missing. Colonel Cooke worried that the Mexican army was stealing the mules, so he decided to march a company of men toward the San Xavier Mission, where the Mexican army was stationed, to display a force and repel the Mexicans. Recognizing the difficulty of the long, hard march ahead, he only asked for volunteers for this mission.
At 9:30 a.m., a company of forty volunteer footmen and a number of men riding mules, started off toward the south. They passed through the Tucson Presidio and then continued south in the Santa Cruz River bed. After four miles of difficult marching, they came to some water and rested. Colonel Cooke discussed with the officers whether they should split up into smaller groups for safety from ambush, or return to Tucson. They all agreed that it was time to turn back. Before they returned, they noticed smoke signals coming from the San Xavier Mission which they believed was a signal informing others that Colonel Cooke’s men were marching toward the mission.
The men felt very blessed that they were able to enter Tucson without a battle. Henry Standage wrote: “Surely the Lord is on our side for when we see the advantages the Spaniards had in this town, their numbers being far greater than ours, the Cavina also and in a walled town, well defended against musketry, I am led to exclaim that the Lord God of Israel will save his people in as much as He knoweth the cause of our being here in the United States Service.”
Colonel Cooke believed that there was little grass between Tucson and Gila River. Wheat was distributed to every man, for them to carry on their backs during the march on the road ahead. Some of the men hid a portion of their personal wheat in the wagons. Colonel Cooke met with some Pima Indians to learn where the water was ahead and they offered to guide the battalion to their village on the Gila River.
In the evening it was reported that the Mexican forces had dispersed. Those who had been stationed at places other than Tucson, returned to their posts. Colonel Cooke composed a letter to be left for the Commandante.
Sir: Having received no orders, or entertained an intention to make war upon Sonora, I regret that circumstances have compelled me to break up your quarters at this post. Making forced marches for want of watering places, and finding no grass or other forage here, I have found it necessary to use about thirty fanegas of wheat from the public granary. None has been wasted or destroyed, and no other public property has been seized.
He also composed a letter to be delivered to the governor of Sonora. Cooke explained that it had been necessary to take the presidio at Tucson. “Be assured that I did not come as an enemy of the people whome you govern; they have received only kindness at my hands.” He made it clear that they were friends of Sonora, who were not supporting the rest of Mexico in the war against the United States.
A strong guard was positioned around the camp and all was quiet until shortly after midnight. A body of Mexicans were spotted marching toward Tucson. A bugle was sounded and the officer of the day, George Oman, rushed through the camp shouting for the drummers to beat their drums. Confusion started to reign. Colonel Cooke quickly took control and ordered the drums to be quiet and the campfires to be covered with dust. The adjutant rushed through the camp, ordering the men to form into lines according to companies.
James S. Brown wrote an amusing description of the great confusion at this point.
The writer had been up relieving his stomach of half‑boiled wheat, corn and peas, and had just got settled back in bed when the alarm was fired, so he heard all that was going on. As we all slept in our pantaloons, the first thing I thought of in that country of prickly pears was my boots; and while reaching for these and bumping heads with comrades, some of the men whose muskets were used for the uprights for the tent thought these the first articles in the emergency and seized them, the tent coming down and the ridge‑pole making another bump on heads. At the same time we were all trapped in the fallen tent, which was pinned down tight. I was trying to get the left boot on the right foot, and my footwear being rather small I had no easy job. All being caught in the tent‑trap, the thought came how easy it would be for a body of Mexican cavalry in a charge to cut us to pieces, and we soon burst through the tent and fell into line.
After the men were assembled, they stood for a few minutes in “breathless silence” but no enemy appeared. Parties were sent out to gather information and the men were held in readiness for an hour or more. After it was determined that all was safe, the men retired back to their tents. It was later learned that the Mexicans who had been spotted were only citizens who were returning to their homes in Tucson. William Pace gave this differing explanation: “It was learned afterwards that our picket guard fired on a herd of cattle in the night killing one, supposing them to be cavalry causing alarm.”
The third sick detachment, led by Lt. Willis, reached a pass in the mountains and started to descend, following the Sangre de Cristo Creek, which wound through a valley. The march was very difficult in two to three feet of snow. One youngster froze his toes and another almost froze to death. Lieutenant Willis wrote, “Before reaching the top, however, I had to detail a rear guard of the most able‑bodied men to aid and encourage those who began to lag, and felt unable to proceed farther, whilst with others I marched at the head of the column to break the road through enormous snow banks. It was with the greatest exertions that we succeeded, and some were severely frost‑bitten.”
A man named George F. Ruxton was traveling about a day or two behind the sick detachment. He wrote:
The next day we struck La culebra, or Snake Creek, where we saw that the party of Mormons had encamped, and apparently halted a day, for more than ordinary pains had been taken to make their camp comfortable, and several piles of twigs, of the sage‑brush and rushes, remained, of which they had made beds. . . . I remarked that in the vicinity of the Mormon camp no watering‑ place had been made for their animals, and as we had seen no holes broken in the ice of creeks we had passed, I concluded that these people had allowed their animals to shift for themselves.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 477‑78; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 40; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 218; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 153‑160; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 196; George F. Ruxton, Adventures in Mexico and the Rocky Mountains; Yurtinus, a Ram in the Thicket, 286‑87; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 63; “Thomas Bullock Poor Camp Journal” in Bagley, ed., Pioneer Camp of the Saints; “William Pace Autobiography,” BYU, 14
The weather was very cold. The few survivors of the massacred Omaha tribe came into Winter Quarters. They left the city with Chief Big Head and his wounded family, and camped to the south. Wilford Woodruff spent the day helping John S. Fowler get ready for a trading expedition to Missouri. Sister Phoebe Woodruff was still mourning the lost of her little boy Joseph. She took out of her family box his portrait to gaze longingly at his likeness.
In the evening, the bishops of the wards were given “a sentimental lecture on the subject of each man and duty, women not excepted.”
Sarah Leavitt recalled:
In December  I moved into a house the boys had built at Trade Point on the Missouri River where steamboats landed. I got able to do my work and went to washing up our dirty clothes. After working nearly a week, I got them done and hung them up at night. I got up in the morning and every article of clothing was stolen and some new cloth that was not made. That left us almost without clothes. Well, I did not complain, but it taught me a lesson not to leave clothes out overnight. I was not discouraged, although it seemed hard after I had worked when I had little strength to wash clothes that had lain dirty for months for want of strength to wash them.
A daughter, Arcina Jane Harrison, was born to Isaac and Sabina Ann Harrison.37
The Mormon Battalion broke camp in Tucson at 8 a.m. and began their anticipated long, hot march across the “Ninety‑five mile Desert” toward Pima Village, to the north. Colonel Cooke began his march at 10 a.m. The battalion traveled for several miles on the river bed of the Santa Cruz River. Some of them, fearing ambush from some Mexican soldiers who were thought to be ahead, left the river bed after about four miles. The battalion was very concerned about finding water between Tucson and the Gila River. Col. Cook wrote: “To my surprise, I found water seven miles from town and plenty of it. . . .The mules were then carefully watered about one o’clock.”38 The men were ordered to fill all their canteens, as this was thought to be the last water for forty miles.
Col. Cooke continued his march along the east bank of the Santa Cruz River. “The next three miles down the dry creek of Tucson were excessively difficult, with deep sand and other obstacles. Then our beautiful level prairie road was much obstructed by mesquite.”
At present‑day Cortaro, the battalion probably crossed the Santa Cruz and continued their march through what today is known as Continental Ranch. At about this point, Col. Cooke reported: “At the base of a low mountain a mile off, we saw the dust of a part of horses at speed, and their tracks were discovered . . . I was at a loss what to attribute it to, wild horses, Indians, or Mexican cavalry.”
The battalion again crossed over the Santa Cruz near today’s Avra Valley Road Bridge. To make better headway, they left the Santa Cruz and marched along the route of present day I‑10 in Marana. Colonel Cooke wrote:
Just at dusk, more deep sand was encountered and then . . . I marched on rapidly over baked clay ground obstructed occasionally by mesquite thickets, and encamped on similar ground with a very little grass in spots. I have surrounded camp and animals with sentinels . . . There is no water, of course, and appearances indicate that it may be very far.39
Guards were carefully posted around the animals and the camp. Robert Bliss wrote: “We are threatened to be attacked by our Enemies; but we trust in Him who has protected us thus far.” The rear guard did not arrive in camp until morning.
Later, it was learned that after they left Tucson, the Mexican troops returned with reinforcements and had decided to try to catch the battalion on the desert. Between present‑day Rillito and Marana, Col. Cooke had built two decoy camp fires. When the Mexican troops came to the second campfire, they surrounded it, but found no one and decided to turn back.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 477‑78; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:99; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 41; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 161‑62 151‑52, 157; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:81; Dan Talbot, a Historical Guide to the Mormon Battalion and Butterfield Trail, 48; “Sarah Leavitt History,” 37
In the afternoon, Brigham Young reported to other members of the Twelve that construction on the flouring mill was making good progress. The lower story was complete. The other brethren also reported about their recent activities. George A. Smith was putting dirt on the roof of his house. Orson Pratt was studying the polarization of light. Heber C. Kimball had built thirteen cabins with the help of his extended family.
John D. Lee left Winter Quarters to go search for his boys who were overdue from returning from the rush bottoms to the north. When he passed by the mill, Brigham Young said, “I bless you in the name of the Lord and say that you shall go and prosper and return back again in perfect safety.” At 1 p.m., he passed by the ruins of the fort at Old Council Bluffs. At 2:30 p.m.. he arrived at rushes where he had sent his sons. He wrote, “Learned from Bro. L[evi] Stewart . . . that my boys missed their way while going and was compelled to take refuge for the night in thick clusters of willows for the night and forced to ascend the branches from the ravages of the wolves who set out a hideous yell while all around them. The night was tremendous cold, yet these sufferers survived it without much serious injury.” The boys had arrived into the herding camp the following morning. Brother Lee found his sons, and they were doing well.
Brother Stewart also mentioned that he had been to the site of the recent Omaha Indian massacre. Nearby he had found a slaughter yard that the Omahas had been using to butcher the cattle that they had taken from the Saints.
At sunset, Brigham Young went to the mill and let water flow into the mill race for the first time. In the evening a council meeting was held. They authorized Cornelius P. Lott to be given one hundred dollars worth of goods from the Church store in compensation for his services herding and farming for the Church. The Council decided to sell some Church cattle to help settle some outstanding debts.
Hosea Stout traveled several miles south to the new Omaha Indian camp, to search for some missing property. He did not find it there, but the Omahas promised to send it back if it was found. While there, he spoke with interpreter, Logan Fontanelle, who told him about the place of slaughter where he had found 73 men, women and children slain. Two of the wounded had died since the massacre.
A son, Joseph Benson, was born to Richard and Phoebe Forrester Benson.40
The battalion took up their march at sunrise. The distance to an unusual‑shaped mountain (present‑day Picacho Peak) was deceptive. It was further than they thought. Colonel Cooke wrote: “About fourteen miles brought us to the foot of a singular‑looking mountain on our left; the other mountain foot was several miles to our right.” Henry Bigler added: “We could see a high peak in the distance, sticking up in shape like a cows horn, the guides called it, ‘The Great Horn.’”
The guides had informed Colonel Cooke that there was a hole of water near the second mountain. “After passing entirely through the gap, I found a note in the road to the effect that they [the advance company] had searched both mountains for two hours without finding water. It was then near four o’clock. The road was good ‑‑ a backed clay plain, with now and then sand mixed.”
Just before sundown, a small hole containing about thirty to forty gallons of rain water was found in some clay near the road. The men were required to lie down and drink. Henry Bigler wrote: “this brought to my mind of Gideon’s Army lapping water like dogs.” (See Judges 7:5).
At 7 p.m., Colonel Cooke established a temporary camp for the men to rest after the long march, but encouraged them to rest no more than six hours. They needed to either find water during the night or continue on. Henry Standage wrote: “I camp’d at the first fire I came to as some had already stopped without leave, being worn out. The Brethren were passing by at all hours through the night, still hoping that the command had found water, travelling two or three miles at a time and resting.”
They soon learned that some men in the rear found water in rock holes near “the Great Horn.” Many returned with the hope to find it. From that point, they traveled about ten more miles that day -- thirty total. They ended up scattered in groups across five miles. Most of the men and animals drank very little water during the very hot and difficult march. Many men searched throughout the night for water. Henry Boyle wrote that day: “None but our selves will ever know how much we suffer.” Daniel Tyler recorded: “To narrate each individual’s suffering this day alone would make quite a book.” The men had marched for twenty‑six hours in a thirty‑six hour period.
The night’s camp was established, but Colonel Cooke was disappointed to learn that more water was located two miles back at the temporary camp than could be found at the main camp. Many of the men chose to return in search of water. Henry Bigler wrote: “One of my messmates and I took our canteens and left camp to hunt water, as good luck had it we found a small hole of standing water from which we quenched our raging thirst, filled our canteens and returned to camp. We met others in search of water and by the time we got back to camp it was nearly daylight.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 478‑79; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 218; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 41‑3; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 162‑64; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:50; Tyler, a Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 231‑2; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 197
During the morning, the members of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles visited various ward meetings in Winter Quarters. Wilford Woodruff was filling in as an acting bishop of the 14th ward while Abraham O. Smoot was away. Elder Woodruff opened his ward meeting with singing, prayer, and then addressed the people. He confessed his sins and expressed concerns about some wrong‑doings he had observed in the ward. He warned the Saints to repent or a scourge would come upon them. Elder George A. Smith next spoke to the ward. He chastised them for not building Elder Woodruff a house while he was recovering from his accident. He prophesied that there would be a time when another temple would be built and they would “be pulling the bottoms off” Elder Woodruff’s coat to get into the temple to receive their blessings.41 Elder Orson Pratt arose and spoke about the trials the Saints were called to pass through. He testified that the hand of God was involved and that it would all work out for the good of the Saints, if they would deal with these trials correctly.
In the afternoon, the Nauvoo Temple bell rang (recently arrived from Nauvoo), signaling the Saints to gather together for a meeting at the Winter Quarters stand. Brigham Young preached a powerful sermon calling the Saint to repentance, asking them to cease murmuring, keep the Sabbath Day holy, stop swearing, refrain from stealing, and to pay their tithing to help the poor. He instructed the bishops to hold meetings in the wards where the Saints could “confess their sins, pray with and for each other, humble themselves before the Lord and commence a reformation that all might exercise themselves in the principles of righteousness.”
He commented that “there are many places we pass through that have been the slaughter ground of the ancient Nephites and Lamanites and the spirits of Devils are hovering around it and if you are not on your guard, they will enter you and lead you captive at their will. For if you are not governed by the spirit of God, you are governed by the spirit of the devil.”
He also gave them a warning, that if they did not abide by their covenants and walk uprightly before the Lord, that those who were faithful would be taken from their midst. The wicked would be smitten with famine, pestilence, sword, and would be scattered on the prairies. He said that those who expected to journey with the Twelve should help the poor, whether they belonged to the Church or not. “If the Saints would reform and act upon the knowledge revealed to them, flood gates of knowledge would be opened to them and they would be filled with light and intelligence.”
He continued, “We cannot be sanctified all at once, but have to be tried and placed in all kinds of shapes and proven to the utmost to see whether we will serve the Lord unto the end so that we may be safe when we come into the Celestial Kingdom of God. . . . And you must not sin, murmur, and complain while in the midst of your trials, because you have been mobbed and tried, even to the utmost.”
He called upon the Camp of Israel to “repent and turn to God and you shall be blessed. Notwithstanding I have thus reproved you, I consider you the best people as a body there is on the earth and if there was any better I would go to them and take you with them that desired to go.”
He spoke of the redemption of the dead: “I would say there are millions that died from the days of Adam to Christ that are waiting for their bodies to be raised. But few arose in comparison to the number at the resurrection of Christ and they were some that had the priesthood or fulness of it sealed upon them.”
Elder Woodruff reflected in his journal that these powerful remarks from President Young “made a deep impression upon the congregation, and I trust there will speedily be a reformation in the Camp of Israel.” Mary Rich wrote: “Bro Brigham preached a sermon that I think will be long remembered by all who heard it.”
In the evening, a council meeting was help in Willard Richards’ octagon house. Henry G. Sherwood was appointed to superintend the building of the Council House. The police were to fill any vacancies in their ranks. Jonathan C. Wright gave to the Council the assessment report for taxes. There was $101,550 of taxable property in the city. A committee was appointed to determine a fixed percentage to be levied for a property tax. John D. Lee was assigned to go to Missouri to cash between $3,000‑$4,000 worth of checks.
The bishops of the wards, gave their reports to the Council. These reports revealed there were 3,483 souls in Winter Quarters, 334 sick, 502 well men, 117 sick men, 138 absent men, 75 widows, 53 battalion wives, 814 wagons, 145 horses, 29 mules, 777 oxen, and 463 cows. It was reported that 561 days labor was donated to work on the mill race.
Brother Smith Workman arrived from Mount Pisgah and reported that some apostates had been stealing from the brethren and carrying the property off to Missouri.
A daughter, Eliza Weir, was born to Thomas and Elizabeth Clark Weir.42
A son, Nathaniel Prentiss Worden, was born to Nathaniel P. and Ann Cowley Worden.43
The battalion was asked to start their march early in the morning. They were in a scattered condition. Some of the mules had died during the night because of the lack of food and water. Henry Standage recorded: “I did not go till day‑light. Found fires all along the trail where the brethren had lain through the night which served for us to warm at by the help of a little more brush, as the morning was cold.”
After three or four hours, one of the guides sent word that some holes of water were two or three miles ahead. When they reached this spot, they discovered that the water was very scarce. Guards had to be posted to prevent both men and animals from rushing to the water. Colonel Cooke wrote: “The weather was very warm ‑‑ almost hot. As I waited for the wagons, perplexing myself how it was possible to give a taste to so many animals out of a few inches of water resting on mud, our prospects were exceedingly gloomy.” Then great news arrived. Their guide, Leroux had found a large pond of water one or two miles ahead. They marched on and indeed found plenty of water and even some mesquite on which the mules could browse. The last two miles were very difficult. William Hyde wrote: “On arising from the ground, we felt that we were not much less than 90 . . . years old, but we succeeded in waddling along about 2 miles where we reached . . . water.”
Colonel Cooke understood the great suffering endured by his men. William Hyde wrote: “He believed that any other company under like circumstances would have mutinized.” Robert S. Bliss wrote: “Our men have suffered much for water, but our way continues to open as we go, for which we are thankful to our Father who led us until now.”
Colonel Cooke saw in the distance some mountains and wrote: “But everywhere in the dim distance, fantastically shaped mountains appeared. It is a gold district, said to be the most extensive, if not richest in the word, but can scarcely be worked for its barrenness.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 479‑80; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 219; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:99‑103; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 44; Ensign to the Nations, 86; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 164‑67; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 197‑98; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:81; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 102
The brethren were busy drawing logs for the Council House. Wilford Woodruff cared for his sick wife, Phoebe. He wrote that she “is passing through afflictions and trials.” Mary Richards went to visit the Henry Grow Jr. family. They were very glad to see her and talked about pleasant days in the past.
About this time, Louisa Pratt went to the Winter Quarters store for items that she had thought were purchased with some money she had given to Edwin Wooley and Bishop Newel K. Whitney on their trip to St. Louis. She was sad to find out that they had lost her bill and would not let her have the goods. She wrote: “Returning after dark, I fell on the frozen ground and sprained my knee. I had to be helped home and was on my bed for two weeks. My limb swelled to an astonishing size and continued swollen during the winter. For several weeks I went about on crutches.”
Elizabeth B. Willey, age two, died of canker. She was the daughter of Jeremiah and Samatha Willey. A son, John Milton Bernhisel Jr., was born to John M. and Julia Haight Bernhisel.
The battalion marched at sunrise. As they traveled between two small mountains,44 they viewed for the first time the cottonwoods on the long‑sought Gila River. As they approached the river, they were greeted by many Indians mounted on horses, bringing small sacks of corn, flour, beans, and other items. These Indians were very glad to see them, many ran and took the men by the hand. As the battalion traveled on, they found General Kearny’s trail and could see the tracks left by the cannons. Finally they arrived at the river, about one mile east of present‑day Sacaton, Arizona. The river had a rapid current and was about one hundred feet wide. Henry Bigler noted that many of the tall saguaro cacti had dozens of Indian arrows sticking into their tops for some reason.
Hundreds of Pima Indians greeted them. Colonel Cooke described them:
They are good‑looking and very lively. . . . Their language is rather a pleasant one. The first words I heard, I took for ‘gold watch.’ Some speak Spanish. . . . They were content to live here by hard work on the spot which God had given them, and not like others, to rob and steal. . . . With their large white cotton blankets and streaming hair, they present, when mounted, quite a fine figure.
Robert S. Bliss added: “These Indians are a large Noble looking people, their hair is of jet black & hangs down their backs midway of their body in a large braid or coiled around their heads like a turban.”
Colonel Cooke was delivered a letter that General Kearny left at the nearby village, instructing him to buy as many provisions as they could at this village.
The third sick detachment finally reached Pueblo. James Scott commented about the reunion with those who had arrived earlier in the other sick detachments.
The hearty looks of those who were sick & pale when we parted, assured us of the healthiness of the place. My heart rejoiced that kind providence had at last brought us there.” Thomas Bingham added: “After much suffering from hardships from the journey ‑‑ weak teams, scant supplies of food, illy clad, general sickness among the men . . . this detachment finally arrived in Pueblo.
Abner Blackburn described: “This place is a great rendezvous for trappers, traders, mountaineers and Indians . . . the lofty Pikes Peak in view and crowned with perpetual snow, a paridise for hunters with all kinds of game in abundance. . . . There was about twenty American familys and about one hundred and fifty soldiers wintering here. Which made it appear home like.”
British Army officer George F. Ruxton visited Pueblo during this winter and later wrote this description:
In a wide and well-timbered bottom of the Arkansas, the Mormons had erected a street of log shanties, in which to pass the inclement winter. These were built of rough logs of cottonwood, laid one above the other, the interstices filled with mud, and rendered impervious to wind and wet. At one end of the row of shanties was built the ‘church’ or temple -- a long building of huge logs, in which prayer-meetings and holdings-forth took place.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:104; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 102; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 167‑70; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:81; James H. McClintock, “The Mormon Battalion” radio address, March 26, 1930, typescript, 2; Margaret Maxwell, “The March of the Mormon Battalion” in The Smoke Signal 66 (Fall 1996), 129; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:51; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 288; Bagley, ed. Frontiersman: Abner Blackburn’s Narrative, 33, 48‑9; Louisa Pratt, autobiography in Heart Throbs of the West 8:243; Ruxton, Life in the Far West, 204
In the morning, the brethren of the Twelve, some of the High Council and bishops, met southeast of Brigham Young house, to lay the foundation of the Council House. The building would be twenty‑two feet by thirty‑two feet. They laid one and a half tiers of logs. This Council House would serve as a place for council meetings, public meetings, socials, and dances.
John D. Lee left Winter Quarter at 10 a.m. to do trading in St. Joseph, Missouri. He crossed the river on the ice and arrived at Trader’s Point at 4 p.m. He tried to do some trading with Peter Sarpy, but could not agree to any significant deals on this day. He decided to stay overnight and continue trading attempts in the morning.
In the evening, the Twelve met in council. They read a letter from Reuben Miller, who was fighting against Strangism. Brigham Young remarked, “I considered contending with Strangism like setting up barleycorns to see them fall over.” President Young also shared some thoughts about the love between a husband and wife. “That in this life, much called love was more the effect of passion than principle, but in the resurrection, the love to the man would be according to his exhaltation and glory.”
A number of brethren started for Missouri to trade for goods. They included Stephen Markham, Henry Grow, and Brother Whiting.
Eliza R. Snow received word of her Mother’s (Leonora Snow) death in Walnut Grove, Illinois, on October 12, 1846. Sister Snow wrote: “I feel a sweet consolation inasmuch as she is freed from the ills of the present life ‑‑ having liv’d to a good old age, & been useful all her days ‑‑ She sleep in peace & her grave & father’s [Oliver Snow] who died a year ago the 18th of last Oct, are side by side.” Eliza’s brother, Lorenzo Snow wrote when he heard the news: “She was good, and virtuous benevolent and charitable to all, true and faithful in the New and Everlasting Covenant. Therefore I am comforted in the thought that her spirit rests in the presence of her Great Father.”
Eliza R. Snow wrote that following poem:
They are gone ‑‑ they are gone to a kingdom of rest ‑‑
They are gone ‑‑ they are gone to the home of the blest
Far away from the ills of this lower abode‑‑
They have gone to reside in a mansion of God.
They are gone ‑‑ they are gone to a residence where
Noble spirits rejoice in their presence to share
Who, thro’ all their long absence desir’d them to come
And with shouts of hosanna they welcom’d them home.
They are gone ‑‑ they are gone back again to pursue
And accomplish the work there appointed to do;
Crown’d with blessing & honor they yet will return
And rejoice with the friends they have left here to mourn.
A son, Luther Tuttle, was born to Ezra and Ann Tuttle.
The battalion marched nine miles down the Gila River to the Pima Indian Village, inhabited by more than two thousand people, living in straw thatched huts.45 Colonel Cooke wrote:
The camp is full of Indians of all sorts, and a great many have flour, corn, beans, or some eatables to trade; and they seem only to want clothing, or cotton cloth, and beads. I am sorry that they will be disappointed. It resembles a crowded New Orleans market in numbers and sounds, with the addition of the crying of children. They have watermelons for sale. For the last hundred miles all vegetation is green. There are at least two thousand people in camp, all enjoying themselves very much.
Henry Bigler described:
We saw a great many ponies, mules and donkeys, also poultry; they raise cotton and manufacture it into cloth for blankets and breech clouts . . . I saw their squaws spinning and weaving, their spinning was simply done by twisting a stick, winding the thread around it. Their looms were 4 sticks about four feet long laid on the ground [in a square]. The spinning and weaving was a slow and tedious process.
All the men were extremely impressed by these people. Daniel Tyler wrote, “Our American and European cities would do well to take lessons in virtue and morality from these native tribes.” James S. Brown mentioned that in their trades with the Pima Indians, “one brass button had more purchasing power than a five-dollar gold piece.”
The Pima Chief, Juan Antonio, turned over to Colonel Cooke a number of mules and provisions left by General Kearny. He said that some Mexicans had tried to pose as being part of the army, and tried to convince the chief to turn those things over to them, but the chief saw through their deception.
The Mormon Battalion officers were so impressed with the location that Jefferson Hunt asked permission from Colonel Cooke to speak with the chief regarding a possible future settlement nearby. Colonel Cooke gave them his permission.46
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 481‑82; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:104; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza R. Snow, 150, 284; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 170‑71; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:52; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 234; Talbot, A Historical Guide to the Mormon Battalion and Butterfield Trail, 49; James H. McClintock, “The Mormon Battalion” radio address, March 26, 1930, typescript, 2; Margaret Maxwell, “The March of the Mormon Battalion” in The Smoke Signal 66 (Fall 1996), 129; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 429‑31; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 66; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 44
Wilford Woodruff was not feeling well, but he still attended a meeting in his ward, together with Ezra T. Benson. Work continued on the Council House.
Wonderful joy came to the family of Lorenzo Dow Young. Sister Harriet Young was at work on her spinning wheel when nine-year-old John R. Young ran into the house, announcing that he and his father had returned from their trading expedition to Missouri. Lorenzo was still down at the river. Sister Young quickly prepared a good supper and Brother Young soon returned to a joyful reunion. His son, John R. Young later wrote that his father returned to Winter Quarters with one thousand hogs. His trading expedition had turned out to be very successful. When they had arrived at St. Joseph, they stayed at Polk’s tavern where a Sister Lake was employed. She had been a wonderful example for the Saints and had shared information with patrons about the sufferings the Saints had endured. Brother Young found no difficulty doing business. A merchant loaned him $1,000 that he used $40 to buy a forty‑acre field of unharvested corn. The best corn was gathered and put into bins. He noticed a sale on hogs and he purchased the 1,000 hogs at seventy cents per head.
John D. Lee, at Trader’s Point, purchased $158 worth of salt, sugar, and other items. He assigned William Pace to return to Winter Quarters with these provisions. At 10 a.m., Brother Lee continued on his journey to St. Joseph, Missouri. He traveled thirty miles and camped with a number of other brethren, also on the way to do trading in Missouri.
Joseph Y. Cook, age nineteen, died of chills. He was the son of Aaron and Martha Cook. Also, Philena L. Cox, age seven months, died of whooping cough. She was the daughter of Amos and Philena Cox. Charles H. Bringhurst, age eight months, died. He was the son of William and Ann Bringhurst. A son, Tarleton Lewis Jr. was born to Tarleton and Elizabeth Carson Lewis.47
A son, George H. Graybill, was born to George W. and Mary Smith Graybill.
The battalion marched from Pima Village at 8 a.m. Colonel Cooke paid a visit to the chief and commended him for his wonderful people. “I told him I had traveled much and seen many different nations, and that the Pima were the happiest I had ever seen.” As a gift, Colonel Cooke left him with three sheep and their lambs, to help him introduce sheep herding to his people. Colonel Cooke later stopped at the house of Maricopa Chief Antonio and asked him to look for two mules that had been lost from General Kearny’s company.
As the battalion traveled west, along the Gila River, they were met by Francisco, a guide for General Stephen Kearny. Francisco delivered a letter dated December 3 from Warner’s Ranch, about sixty miles from San Diego. Francisco had been sent back to help guide the battalion the rest of the way to California.
Colonel Cooke discovered that one of the battalion companies only had eight days rations left, when they should have had twenty‑six. This frustrated him, but he went to work finding more cattle and obtaining more provisions. The pack‑saddles that had been used on the cattle were traded away since the roads ahead would be much better for the wagons.
The battalion traveled fifteen miles and camped at Maricopa Wells, two miles south of Gila River. During their travels, they saw plenty of swans and geese, in addition to hundreds of Maricopa Indians who followed them to trade. At the campsite, they found some holes of water previously dug by General Kearny’s company. The Maricopas welcomed the soldiers and enjoyed seeing the Mormon ladies and the flock of sheep.
Battalion members, John Tippets and Thomas Woolsey departed from Pueblo to start a long journey back to Winter Quarters. They left with only four day’s provisions and two mules. Their mission was to take battalion money, mail, and dispatches back to the Saints at Winter Quarters.
Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:104; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:153; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 44; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 219; Young, Memoirs of John R. Young, 43; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 172‑74; Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 3:269; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 431‑33; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:81
The weather was very mild and pleasant. Many brethren continued to work on the Council House. Willard Richards covered the roof of his office with straw and dirt. This office was an extension of his octagon house.
Jane Richards invited her sister‑in‑law, Mary Richards to spend the day at her house doing the wash. Mary Richards wrote, “I went down to her house & washed me out 4 dresses & as many aprons & some other things. Put them out to dry then washed off the floor which is the first time I have washed a floor since the first of April.” In the evening, their in‑laws, Phinehas and Wealthy Richards came for supper. They talked about several things that had happened since they left Nauvoo. Jane Richards became offended by some things that Brother Richards said, but all hard feelings were patched before the night was through.
In the evening, the Twelve and High Council met for a council meeting. Samuel Williams was ordained a high priest. Several decisions were made. The bishops would be asked to report on the number and types of houses that were built in their wards, including their dimensions. A tax would be levied on all assessed property at a rate of 0.75 percent to support the city police and other public services. The assessed property included cabins, wagons, furniture, and animals. Orson Pratt was appointed to be the treasurer. This city tax was in addition to the regular payment of tithing and would bring in an estimated $761.12.
A police report was given by Hosea Stout. There were thirty‑three men on the list to serve as police. Among this number were several who declined to serve and others who had not yet filled a shift. That made nineteen who were actively serving in the police force. Each night ten men would stand guard, in two shifts of five.
Also in the evening, a number of sisters gathered at the Gheens for a birthday celebration for Hannah Gheen and a Christmas Eve gathering. Among those who attended were Eliza R. Snow, Patty Sessions, Phoebe Chase, and Hannah Markham.
Samuel Parker, age sixty-six, died. He was the husband of Hannah Edgecomb Parker, Sarah Bidell Parker, and Mary Treworgy Parker.
John D. Lee continued his journey to St. Joseph, Missouri. The day was warm which caused the ground to thaw, making the traveling difficult for the mules. He traveled twenty‑five miles and stopped in Lindon, Missouri for the night. He deposited a check of $800 to be cashed on his return from St. Joseph. Because it was Christmas Eve, there was much shooting around the town, which was the custom at that time. At 10 p.m., a drunken rabble assembled before the house where Brother Lee was lodged. They sang, danced, and yelled like wild men. Brother Lee commented that it “served in a measure to show the folly and depravity of this Gentile world.” In contrast, Brother Lee and his companions “commended ourselves to our Heavenly Father and retired to rest.”
The battalion rested this day at the Maricopa Wells, but they were very busy preparing for the difficult march ahead. Colonel Cooke gave two orders that were unpopular to the enlisted men. First, he equalized the remaining rations between the companies. Those companies that had carefully managed their rations were forced to give up provisions to other companies who had been careless about stretching the foodstuffs. Colonel Cooke also desired to further lighten the load in the wagons. He ordered that all private provisions could not be transported in the wagons. Many of the men would have to leave items behind. Guy Keysor complained about this order, “consequently obliging us to throw it [our private property] away or carry it on our backs and the penalty of breaking this order is confiscation of property.” The men were also critical of Colonel Cooke for only buying a few days rations, while the men, fearing starvation ahead, had to buy food using their own property. This new order would require them to leave all these things behind. After much persuasion, much of this food was eventually taken along.
Colonel Cooke succeeded in obtaining eight new mules from the Maricopas after difficult negotiations. He spent time with the guides to plan the route ahead, which would cut away from the river for forty miles. This would save about thirty to forty miles because the river made a large bend to the north.
The men enjoyed watching the peculiar customs of the Maricopas. Colonel Cooke wrote, “They parch corn, wheat, etc., in a basket by throwing in live coals, and keep it in motion by throwing it up in the air.” Almost one thousand Indians came into camp to trade. Henry Standage wrote: “I eat some watermelon to day which was a great rarity for Christmas time. Molasses, pumpkins, Corn Meal, Flour Beans, Buckskins, Ponies and various other things brought in for sale.”
Colonel Cooke described one of the Maricopa wigwams:
It was eighteen or twenty feet across, dug slightly below the ground, only about five feet pitch inside, made of rank grass or reed, resting on props and cross poles, and partially covered with earth; the door, a simple hole about three feet high; the fire in the middle; the hole above very small. They are thus smoky and uncomfortable, and seemingly very ill suited to so warm a climate.
There were some poor feelings among the battalion members. John Steele wrote that some of the men “made themselves very busy running to the Captain [James Brown] carrying all the news they could rake up and raising all the bad feeling among the men they could.”
Battalion members, John Tippets and Thomas Woolsey continued their journey back to Winter Quarters. Unfortunately, they became lost and it took them all day to find the road again.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 482‑83; Bennett, Mormons at the Missouri, 281; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 219‑20; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 44‑5; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 102‑03; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 176‑77; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 314, 433‑35; Journal of Henry Standage in Golder, The March of the Mormon Battalion, 199; “Private Journal of Thomas Dunn,” typescript, 18
Christmas Day in Winter Quarters started off with a bang. John Scott fired the cannon three times at sunrise to recognize this important day. Wilford Woodruff recorded: “The dawn of Day was saluted in the Camp of Israel by the report of cannon from the hills by the artillery.”
It was a day for joy, a day to count many blessings. Harriet Young wrote: “This morning we were saluted from every quarter with ‘Happy Christmas’ or ‘Christmas Gift.’ We staid at home, retired from the busy crowd.”
The weather was beautiful, sunny, and relatively warm. Hosea Stout, head of the city police guard, patrolled the streets, looking after the safety of the Saints. He wrote that “a man can be comfortable without his coat while walking the streets.” The sun’s rays thawed the hard ground that had frozen overnight. Smoke puffed out of the sod or brick chimneys of the dozens of newly constructed homes, situated on orderly city blocks. Many more homes were in various stages of construction. Logs, straw, stone and brick were scattered about showing signs of active labor. More than eight hundred wagons were parked throughout the city, many serving as homes while cabins were being raised.
The frozen Missouri river nearby, reflected the bright sunshine as the Saints went to work at their various day’s activities. Among the daily tasks were, fetching water from wells and streams, chopping wood, building houses, patiently caring for the more than three hundred sick in the city, watching the children, and feeding the animals. Mary Richards spent her morning gathering together a large load of clothes. She went to her sister‑in‑law’s house “to spend Christmas over the wash tub.” Mary and Jane Richards washed all day, enjoying their company, and certainly they spoke longingly of their husbands (Samuel W. Richards and Franklin D. Richards) who were away from home on this Christmas Day, serving the Lord on missions in England.
Brigham Young wrote to Indian interpreter, Logan Fontenelle to mention some articles that had been taken from the camp by the Indians. He also wrote to Major Miller, asking him to choose a location for the house to be built for the Omahas. Major Miller had failed to show up at a previous meeting to discuss this matter. A council meeting was held at Willard Richards’ octagon house.
Sister Mary Northrop grieved over the death of her husband, Amos, on this Christmas Day in Winter Quarters. There were more than seventy‑five other widows struggling to care for their families. Mary Northrop and these other dear sisters would be looked after by their family, friends, and certainly by their bishops, who had been given a special calling and charge to look after the widows and the fatherless.
After the labors of the day were complete, time was spent in small, quiet gatherings of family and friends. A small party was held at the home of Elder Heber C. Kimball. His daughter, Helen Mar Whitney, wrote that it “was very enjoyable and passed off in fine style.” A gathering was also held at Edwin Wooley’s home which was attended by many sisters, including Eliza R. Snow, Patty Sessions, Phoebe Chase, Hannah Markham, and Hannah Gheen.
As the night became late, the Saints quietly returned to their homes, wagons and tents, put their children to bed and retired to rest for the important work of the coming day. They knew that their Savior had been born, lived, and died for them. They rejoiced despite their afflictions, that they were blessed to receive the restored gospel in their lives. They retired with the hope of a better day, when they could celebrate future Christmas Days under permanent roofs, in a land far to the west. The faith and sacrifices experienced on that Christmas Day long ago, reaped blessing and rewards for generations to come.
John D. Lee continued his journey at 8 a.m. The roads very muddy and difficult for the mules. He stopped at the home of Marcia Allen in the afternoon. Sister Allen said some critical things about the Twelve and Bishop Newel K. Whitney. Sister Allen’s husband, Albern, was away in the Mormon Battalion. Her criticism was most likely regarding the how the Church leaders used the battalion pay for the good of the Church and the battalion families. After Brother Lee talked to her, she softened her feelings. Brother Lee exhorted her to be careful what she said about the authorities of the Church.
Colonel Cooke obtained six more bushels of corn by trading some wagon covers. The battalion started their difficult march across “The Forty Mile Desert” at 11 a.m. The road was sandy and difficult. After eighteen miles, they reached their camping spot for the night which had no water, but did have some mesquite and grass for the mules to graze on. Sentinels had to be place all around the mules to keep them from wandering off in search of water. Their camp was in present‑day Rainbow Valley, about one and one‑half miles northwest of Moblie, Arizona.
On this Christmas Day, there were frequent thoughts about families so far away and Christmas Days of years gone by. Private Guy Keysor sadly wrote:
I wish I could call this a Merry Christmas; I confess it is as melancholy one as I have ever experienced, not a green bush to attract the eye ‑‑ not a sleigh bell to please the ear ‑‑ not one to greet us with ‘I wish you a Merry Christmas.’ But all around us is a sandy, thirsty shrubbery ‑‑ But either from above greets us with the beauties of a serene atmosphere gently warmed by the sun which invites us on to better days to come.
Sergeant William Hyde recorded:
This is a rather strange Christmas to me. My life with my family in days gone by was called to mind and contrasted with my present situation on the sandy deserts through which pass the Gila and Colorado Rivers. Suffering much at times for the want of water, but still pressing forward with parched lips, scalded shoulders, weary limbs, blistered feet, worn out shoes and ragged clothes; but with me the prospect of the result of my present toils, cheers me on.
Robert S. Bliss commented that this Christmas day was “as warm as summer.” Henry Bigler’s mess feasted on a watermelon for their Christmas meal.
James J. Strang was very interested in having the Emma Smith family get involved with his version of “Mormonism.” In particular, he was interested in getting young Joseph Smith III involved. On this day, William Smith, Joseph’s brother, wrote to James J. Strang that Emma Smith “would not let [Joseph Smith III] have anything to do with Mormonism at present.”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 483; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 293; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:104; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 221; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 103; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:153; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 151, 284; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 45; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 177‑78; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 435‑36; “The Journal of Robert S. Bliss,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:82; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:52; William Smith to James J. Strang, 25 December 1846, document 27b, Strang Manuscripts, Yale University.
A general council meeting, attended by many of the Church leaders in Winter Quarters, was held during much of the day and into the evening. They participated in important discussions and made plans for the “gathering of Israel to the mountains.”
Lorenzo Dow Young went to cross over the river, but couldn’t, probably because the ice was flowing, making a ferry crossing impossible. He returned to Winter Quarters, deciding to try it again in a few days. Hosea Stout helped his brother, Allen, work on his house that was being built next door to his.
In the evening, Eliza R. Snow was invited to have supper at Brigham Young’s home with many of the brethren who attended the council meeting. They had a delicious dinner of baked turkey.
Moroni Brewett, age fifteen months, die of canker. He was the son of Daniel and Eliza Brewett. A daughter, Martha S. Gibbons, was born to Andrew S. and Rizpah Knight Gibbons.48
John D. Lee traveled twenty‑five more miles toward St. Joseph. He stopped at the home of a Mr. Galispie, who invited him to have supper. Soon they were joined by about a dozen other brethren, also heading to the Missouri settlements. They enjoyed a late‑Christmas Eve celebration, talking on various subjects, relating anecdotes, and had a merry time.
The battalion marched through a difficult gap (Pima Pass) in the Maricopa Mountains that slowed their progress. After twenty‑three miles, at dusk, they reached the Gila River again, having to pass through a “wretched, uneven, and entagled bottom.” The river was quite a bit wider than at the Pima village because the Salt River flows into it upriver, near present‑day Phoenix, Arizona.49 During the night, news came to the camp that there had been several skirmishes between Americans and Mexicans near San Diego, California.
The day’s march was extremely exhausting. James S. Brown wrote: “I was so completely worn out . . . that at about eleven a.m. I sought rest by dropping out of the command and hiding from the rearguard behind a clump of brush that grew on a sand knoll. No sooner had I laid down than I fell into a sound slumber, oblivious to all danger.” When he awoke at about 3 p.m., the battalion was long gone ahead. He noticed fresh bear tracks near his resting spot. He hurried ahead and reached the camp just as the night guard was being posted.
William Bird wrote a letter to Council Bluffs complaining about the conduct of Captain James Brown, one of the battalion leaders of the sick detachments at Pueblo. He also reported that many of the battalion members were as ungodly as “the Gentiles.” The men were frustrated because every morning they had to report for roll call or be charged with desertion. John Steele wrote: “There is still a great harshness used by our officers and we are paraded three times per day and all privileges are taken from us.”
The Saints at Ponca, numbering about four hundred had watched a fire burning on the prairies miles to the northwest for several days. The wind suddenly increased and soon the fire, with flames “mountain high” quickly swept down upon them and threatened to destroy their fort. More than two hundred men and women fought the fire by carrying water from the river in a bucket brigade. Many of the Saints quickly carried their belongings down to the river for protection. As Hyrum Clark was carrying some of his items, he suddenly dropped everything, because he remembered that he had left his sick wife back in their cabin. He had forgotten to get her out. She was finally found inside the fort’s gate and was unharmed.
As the fire burned within a few hundred yards of the fort, the cattle and horses panicked and ran in all directions. Smoke became “intensely suffocating and the Saints had to retreat to the river. The fire soon passed and the fort was saved. Five large stacks of hay were burned, a wagon destroyed, many others damaged, and all the grass for thirty miles destroyed. They believe the fort did not burn because it had been built from green logs. Many of the men became over‑exerted and would become very sick.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 483‑84; Nibley, Exodus to Greatness, 295; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 221; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 45‑6; Maureen U. Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 151, 284; Rich, Ensign to the Nations, 86; Hartley, My Best for the Kingdom, 222‑23; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 178; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 303, 307, 437; Brown, Life of a Pioneer, 67
In the morning, the third day of an important General Council Meeting was held. Brigham Young conversed with James Emmett for some time. James Emmett and George Miller had recently arrived from Fort Ponca, about 150 miles up the Missouri River.
Joseph Young, Orson Pratt, Ezra T. Benson, and Wilford Woodruff preached at the Winter Quarters Sabbath meeting. Orson Pratt spoke about the continued evolving plans for a journey to the west in the spring. He said that a pioneer company would travel to the headwaters of the Running Water by the time the grass comes up. They would then go over the Black Hills and put in a crop of corn somewhere on the east side of the Rockies, near the headwaters of the Yellowstone River, north of Fort Laramie, in present‑day southeast Montana. A second group would continue over the mountains to plant a wheat crop in the fall.50
Elder Ezra T. Benson counseled the brethren that none of them should leave Winter Quarters to go further west without receiving permission to do so. A prepared and orderly group of pioneers must press on in the spring as opposed to the rather disorderly trek that was experienced during the year across Iowa. The brethren should fix their wagons and be ready to follow the lead group later.
In the afternoon, another General Council meetings were held. Ezra T. Benson was appointed to accompany George Miller when he returned to Ponca.
After Mary Richards attended the Sunday service, they went home and read for awhile in the Book of Mormon. In the evening a choir practice was held. Stephen H. Goddard led the choir for the first time since the dedication of the Nauvoo Temple. They had a very enjoyable time.51
In the evening, a council meeting was held to address city matters. The Council voted that Orson Pratt should use his own discretion to distribute funds collected from the police tax.
The Ponca Saints inspected the damage caused by the fire. Joseph Holbrook wrote, “The whole country looks black from last night’s burning.” The burned haystacks required the Saints to move their cattle up river to some rush bottoms.
John D. Lee crossed over the Nodaway River at Lackey’s Ferry. He paid a fare of twenty cents for two wagons. By sunset, he arrived at Savannah, Missouri and stopped at the home of General H. Rodgers, a merchant in the town. Mr. Rodgers asked him to spend the night. They discussed the Church’s desire to purchase hogs, but unfortunately the prices had inflated because of the demand from the Saints. In the evening, John D. Lee preached the gospel to Mr. Rodgers’ family. They listened with interest and appeared to be touched by the Spirit.
The battalion continued their march along the Gila River. Colonel Cooke wrote: “This is certainly the most desert, uncouth, impractical country and river of our knowledge.” It took them three hours to travel just four miles because they had to wind their way around mesquite trees. With the understanding that new roads ahead would not be rocky, Colonel Cooke decided to lighten the load by leaving behind 150 pair of mule shoes and sixty pounds of nails. The men camped about five miles northwest of present‑day Gila Bend, Arizona. A few men straggled behind during the day’s march. Colonel Cooke believed they did not want to help pull the wagons on the difficult march, so he put the men under guard.
Corporal Arnold Stevens wrote a letter to his seven‑year‑old son, at Cutler’s Park, near Winter Quarters.
My Dear Little Son: I take pleasure in writing a few lines to you and to present you with a Christmas gift. This little cap will look nice on your head; but not as nice as the crown you shall wear. This leather is an antelope skin for your Ma to make you a pair of pants. If she thinks best she can color them yellow with hickory bark and alum. You must be a good boy and mind your Ma and I will bring you a nice little mule when I come home. Well, my son, may the Lord bless you is the prayers of your affectionate father.
He also wrote to his daughters Lois (age 13) and Rachel (age 10). He apologized for not sending them a present since he had very little. He did send them a lump of spruce gum which he obtained on a mountain during the march. He wrote:
Now be good girls to your Ma and do all you can to favor her. Remember your Creator. Don’t be wild and giddy, but remember you have been baptized; and when your Ma prays with you night and morning, pray for Pa and remember that I am far from you, among strangers, but I hope I shall see you in the spring. Lois Ann, write a few lines to Pa. Let me know how you are situated, if you have enough to eat and what it is; how the oxen and cows are doing. If you have any milk and meat and flour and sugar, and all about it. . . . Farewell, my dear children for the present. I remain your affectionate father.
Gilbert Hunt and Bingham Thomas left Pueblo to go back towards Taos, to rescue the men who at been left at Turley’s Ranch. (See December 11, 1846.) There were many bitter feelings among those of the third sick detachment towards Lieutenant William Willis for leaving those sick men behind in the first place. Lt. Willis also left Pueblo on this day to travel to Bent’s Fort for provisions. Captain James Brown wrote in a letter to Brigham Young that included: “the health of my command is first rate at this time. There is only 4 on the sick list at this time and they are all better.” He defended his conduct which was being criticized by some of the men. “I am undergoing to govern the men under my command by the military laws of the United States and the instructions I received from the president of the Church at Council Bluffs, for I have it imprinted in my heart . . . ”
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 484; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:104; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 221; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 46‑7; Our Pioneer Heritage, Vol. 2, p.237‑38; Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia, 4:705; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 103; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 178‑79; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 288, 296, 304, 438‑39; Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, 194
Work continued to progress on the Winter Quarters Council House. George A. Smith moved into his newly completed house. In the afternoon, a stranger walked into Brigham Young’s home and sat himself at President Young’s table. He announced that his wife and two children had been taken from him at Nauvoo and he demanded that they be returned. President Young asked him if he knew who took his family. He gave some names of people who were not known in the camp. President Young invited him to identify the men if possible. The stranger finally left.
Harriet Young went to visit Sarah Alley Noble, the second wife of Joseph Noble, who was dying. She wrote: “She was an object of pity, truly.” She died later in the day at the age of twenty‑seven. Also, James Crookston died at the age of sixty‑one. He was the husband of Mary Crookston.
In the evening, Hosea Stout held a meeting of the police guard. They discussed the best way to arrange their accounts to receive pay from the police tax which had been started to be collected.
Iowa was officially admitted into the United States of America.
John D. Lee parted with Mr. Rodgers, after he helped Brother Lee cashed checks for $1,600. In the afternoon, Brother Lee arrived in St. Joseph and did some successful trading. He hired Brother Huston to haul 3,000 pounds of goods back to Winter Quarters for $30. These goods included: salt, dried fruit, molasses, honey, tallow, fish, and other items.
Colonel Cooke sent some guides ahead to California with a message for General Kearny. They were also to bring back fresh mules to meet the battalion at the Colorado River. Colonel Cooke seriously considered marching ahead quickly with two hundred of the strong men, without wagons, to aid General Kearny with the rumored battles occurring in California. But he concluded that by the time they arrived, the crisis would be over, and he decided not to split up the battalion again. He reflected on the poor shape of his outfit. The animals were broken down and the men were constantly hungry and tired. Each day presented a very difficult challenge to overcome. He wrote: “I feel as if every day here was to be an experiment or venture ‑‑ a great difficulty to be overcome ‑‑ and to be then rejoiced as one day less of such.”
On the road from Pueblo, Colorado to Winter Quarters:
John Tippets and Thomas Woolsey woke up to four inches of snow and were forced to delay their continued journey for the day.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 484‑85; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:153; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 221; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 47; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 180‑81
A light snow fell on Winter Quarters in the morning. In the afternoon, members of the Twelve met with many of the brethren to discuss the organization of the Camp of Israel during their planned journey in the spring. Brigham Young recorded: “I considered the Pioneers should find a location to put in crops this season, and described the order of building in forts, for safety.” He proposed to form a company of fifty from his extended family and to find out how many more men could go as Pioneers. A field would be plowed in Winter Quarters for those who stayed behind. Wilford Woodruff wrote about the “final decision” that was reached, “that we fit out a pioneer company and follow them as soon as grass grows. The pioneer company to go this winter as far as they could go on rushes and brows then as far as they could on grass until it was time to put in their corn crop.”
In the evening, James Smithies, Jacob Hutchinson, Edward Duzette, and William Clayton played their instruments and the brethren danced. Brigham Young recorded, “At nine o’clock, all in the house united in singing several hymns; afterwards, they followed me in prayer. I felt to thank the Lord for the privilege of praising Him in the song and dance. I spoke in tongues and conversed with Elder Kimball in an unknown tongue.” One more interesting activity: Brigham Young and Willard Richards measured their chests. Elder Richards was forty‑three inches and Brigham Young was forty‑one.
Mary Richards spent the evening with Jane Elsie Snyder. They held a contest to see who could compose the best poetry.
Charles H. Bringhurst, age eight months, died. He was the son of William and Ann Bringhurst.
Reveille was blown very early on this cold morning. A pioneer group was sent ahead to make a road up the bluffs, towards a gap in the Painted Mountains. The battalion started their march before 8 a.m. on a good road that was created with much labor. Their march was twelve miles.
They passed by many petroglyphs that fascinated them. Henry W. Bigler wrote: “To‑day we passed a mass of rocks on our right, covered with pictures of birds, serpents and men.”52 The men rejoined the river and followed it for another four or five miles in deep sand. After they traveled a total of twelve miles, they camped south of Rocking Point in the Oatman Mountains.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 485‑86; Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier, The Diary of Hosea Stout 1844‑1861, 221; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal, 3:105; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 104; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 182‑3; “Journal Extracts of Henry W. Bigler,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 5:2:52; Yurtinus, A Ram in the Thicket, 288, 440‑41
Willard Richards received ten dollars and 170 pounds of pork from the Church to help support him. Elder Richards, in addition to his calling in the Quorum of the Twelve, served as the Church Historian.
In the evening, Hosea Stout called the police together at the home of Horace S. Eldredge. They sustained a procedure for issuing pay to the police from the city tax.
Wilford Woodruff’s day was spent in pitching hay. “I went 4 miles, loaded two loads, turned one over on a side Hill. Had it to load over and stack them both on my return home, was very weary.”
Mary Richards spent the day sewing at her sister‑in‑law’s home, Jane Richards. In the afternoon, they went to Brother Simon Baker’s home and had a nice visit with the family. Also in the afternoon, Eliza R. Snow went with Brigham Young and several other sisters to the home of Robert and Hannah Pierce. They had a very enjoyable time. President Young escorted the sisters home.
Louisa M. Grant, age twenty‑three, died. She was the wife for George D. Grant.
The battalion encountered two difficult hills. The guides found a location with some grass ahead that was desperately needed for the mules. The wagons did not roll into camp until after dark because of the difficult roads. The men marched a total of fourteen miles in a very cold, stiff wind.53
On the road from Pueblo, Colorado to Winter Quarters:
Battalion members, John Tippets and Thomas Woolsey camped for the night on Cherry Creek near the site of future Denver Colorado.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 485‑86; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 104; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 151, 284; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 182‑3; Talbot, A Historical Guide to the Mormon Battalion and Butterfield Trail, 57; Nibley, Exodus To Greatness, 324
The day was cold and windy. Mary Richards went to spend the day with Willard Richards’ family. She did some sewing, made an apron for Sister Amelia Richards and two handkerchiefs for her husband’s uncle, Willard Richards. Elder Richards came in for supper and invited Mary Richards to join him. She had an enjoyable time eating and conversing with him. Elder Richards’ sister, Rhoda came in, kneeled down and asked to receive a blessing. Her humble words prompted Elder Richards to preach a sermon for a half hour on false modesty.
In the evening a council meeting was held at which the bishops made reports about the houses that had been built in their wards. Most of these were log homes made from logs twelve to eighteen feet long. There were a few dugout homes in the side of the hills. The official history stated: “The building of these houses was persecuted with unremitting energy, at any hour of the evening, the sound of the ax or the saw relieved the stillness of the night.” The Council House was still under construction. Seventeen of the leaders attending this council meeting volunteered to personally work on the house until it was completed.
Louisa Pratt, her husband away on a mission in the South Pacific, lived in a 10 by 12-foot sod house. She wrote: “I hired a man to build me a sod cave [for $5]; he took the turf from the earth, laid it up, and covered it with willow brush and sods; he built a chimney of the same. I hung up a blanket for a door, had three lights of glass to emit light. I built a fire, drew up my rocking chair before it, and that moment felt as rich as some persons would to be moved into a costly building.” She had a problem with an ox that kept knocking down her chimney: “Sometimes just as I was preparing a meal and almost famishing for refreshment, down would fall my chimney. I knew not which to condemn, the brute or his owner.”
Eliza R. Snow spent the evening with several sisters. She wrote: “To describe the scene alluded to would be beyond pow’r ‑‑ suffice it to say the spirit of the Lord was pour’d out and we receiv’d a blessing . . . by the gift of tongues.”
Since this was the last day of the year, many diariests would summarize the events of the year and describe the current conditions. Willard Richards wrote:
The weather this winter thus far has been very mild. The health of the brethren at Winter Quarters is better than at any previous time. The Seventies and others have manufactured several loads of willow baskets which are ready for market. Nearly every part of the flouring mill is ready to be put together. . . . Several schools for children have been started in Camp within the last ten day.
Harriet Young wrote: “This is the last day of the year. Our lives have been spared, while hundreds have been called to try the realities of a world of spirits. I could not help asking myself shall we all live to see the close of another year?”
Wilford Woodruff wrote:
1846 has been a day of the sacrafice of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Through the fatigues and labours & exposers of the Saints, many have been laid in the grave. I have myself been called to part with two of my sons which God hath given me. They lie in the dust until the resurrection. And I came nigh being killed by accident by the fall of a tree which broke my breast bone and three ribs. But through the great goodness of God, I was preserved and have recovered and still live for which I feel to render the gratitude of my heart to my Heavenly Father. And I pray my Heavenly Father to lengthen out my days to behold the House of God stand upon the tops of the Mountains and to see the Standard of Liberty reared up as an ensign to the nations to come unto to serve the Lord of Hosts.
Wilford Woodruff also recorded some interesting year‑end statistics. He traveled 7,436 miles, attended 31 council meetings, baptized six people, administered to 56 sick people, wrote 70 letters and received 56 letters.
A daughter, Harriet A. Hart, was born to Joseph and Clarissa Hart.
John D. Lee spent the evening the home of a Mr. Abbott. Brother Lee’s clerk, Truman Gillett was also there. He found Brother Gillett “enjoying himself with singing and preaching. The family were remarkably friendly and strong believers in the faith of the gospel.”
Colonel Cooke mustered and inspected the battalion before sunrise. They marched on this cold day for twelve miles on “pretty good” roads. The Gila River bottom [Palomas Plain] expanded for many miles and the country looked very flat. Colonel Cooke considered the idea of putting one of his wagons in the river to float a load because two men traveled a day’s journey on a raft with no problems. They passed by evidences of volcanic eruptions.
Watson, ed., Manuscript History of Brigham Young, 486‑88; “Diary of Lorenzo Dow Young,” Utah Historical Quarterly, 14:153; Wilford Woodruff’s Journal 3:105‑7; Ward, ed., Winter Quarters, 104; Beecher, ed., The Personal Writings of Eliza Roxcy Snow, 151; Kelly, ed., Journals of John D. Lee, 1846‑1847 and 1859, 48; Cooke, Exploring Southwestern Trails 1846‑1854, 183‑85; Louisa Pratt, autobiography in Heart Throbs of the West, 8:242
1Truman O. Angell (later the Church architect) would bury three of their children in the Winter Quarters’ Cemetery before the family left for the west.
2This ranch had been abandoned in about 1831 when the Apaches went on the warpath. The owner had been Senior Elias. He maintained a ranch of 80,000 head of cattle, but was forced out by the Indians. His Spanish cattle were left to run wild in large numbers throughout the region. Over the years they multiplied in great numbers.
3This ranch is present‑day Old Slaughter Ranch. In 1884, John Horton Slaughter purchased the old ranch. He built two adobe houses. Today the ranch is owned by the Johnson Historical Museum and is open to the public.
4John Allen was the only non‑Mormon enlisted member of the battalion.
5Joseph Knight Jr. was one of the earliest individuals to accept the restored gospel. He worked with Joseph Smith in 1827, on his father’s farm. He was baptized in 1830 and lived through the great persecutions in Missouri. He would eventually settle in Salt Lake City.
6Thomas William Callahan was away with the Mormon Battalion.
7Sister Almira Pond would die in May, 1847.
8A pass between the Sierra Ceniza and Perilla Mountains.
9This camp was located about one mile south of the present‑day Mexico border.
10This new order would soon be ignored because the men were in constant danger from being trampled on by wild bulls.
11Ira Eldredge joined the Church in 1839. He arrived in Utah with his family in 1847. He would later captain three trips across the plains. He was a member of the first High Council of the Salt Lake Stake and served as the bishop in the Sugar House Ward 1858-66.
12Little Joseph later died in Winter Quarters, in March 1847.
13John Brown would return to Winter Quarters and become a member of the lead pioneer group.
14They again passed into present‑day Arizona, about five miles west of Douglas.
15This was the bloodiest battle in California during the war with Mexico. The site of this battle is marked by a monument and it located seven miles east of Escondido on State Highway 78.
16Matthew Caldwell was away with the Mormon Battalion. He later was one of the first settlers of American Fork, Utah. He later settled his family in Fountain Green, Utah.
17Elijah Smith had not been an enlisted soldier, but was a hired teamster for Captain Davis. He had only been sick two or three days, but was quite old. His wife had gone with the second sick detachment to Pueblo. She would later marry Thomas R. Burns.
18The camp was located close to the Southern Pacific tracks, about three and one half miles northwest of Naco.
19They reached the river near present‑day, Palominas, Arizona.
20It was the first time Hosea had seen his brother for many months. Allen had become ill during the trek across Iowa and stayed for awhile at Garden Grove.
21Chauncy Warriner Porter later brought his family to Utah in 1848. He served as the presiding elder over East and West Porterville, Utah.
22Amos Cox was not able to walk for several weeks. Daniel Tyler wrote, “I saw him in Pottawatomie County about a year afterwards and he still felt the effects of his injury.”
23The town was famous for the fine wheat that was grown there. There was also a large whiskey industry.
24This Presidio was founded in 1775 by Hugo O’Conor, commander of Spain’s northern American frontier. After four years in the harsh climate, it was abandoned.
25The battalion camped about one mile southwest of present‑day St. David, Arizona.
26It appears that this house was not built. The Omahas would eventually move their camp north of the old ferry crossing across from Council Point.
27”Miles Norton, who poisoned the Johnson watch dog, was killed by a ram in the barnyard, its spiral horn being thrust through Norton’s body. Warren Waste and Carnot Mason boasted of having bent the Prophet’s legs over his back, holding them in that position as he lay on the ground face downward. Waste was later killed by a falling log while he was building a house. Mason died from a spinal affliction that was more painful than a Boston Crab. The man who tried to pour the poison into his mouth was buried alive while digging a well.” (E. Cecil McGavein, Historical Background of the Doctrine and Covenants, 196) Another interesting point: In 1902, Elder John D. Barber tracted out a farm house in Grand Rapids, Michigan. a Mr. Silas Raymond answered the door and invited the Elders in to see two items, a tar bucket and lantern that he claimed were used the night of the mobbing. Raymond stated that his father was one of the leaders of the mob, who had died a terrible slow death
28Lydia Standley would marry Wallace K. Burnham. They would raise a large family in Richmond, Utah.
29Azra Adams joined the Church in 1835. He served a mission to the Eastern States in 1842-44. He worked on the Nauvoo Temple as a carpenter, and served on the police force. He later settled his family in American Fork, Utah.
30West of present‑day Benson, Arizona.
31They made their camp near the present‑day IBM site at Rita Road, now called the University of Arizona Technology Park.
32Meltiar Hatch was away with the Mormon Battalion. Later he brought his family to Utah in 1849. In 1856, he was called to go to Carson Valley, Nevada, to preside over that settlement. In 1871, he served as bishop in Eagle Valley, Nevada. Later he served on the High Council in Panguitch, Utah.
33Thomas Sasson Smith joined the Church in 1844. He later settle his family in Farmington Utah and in 1884 was one of the first settlers of Wilford, Idaho.
34The Thomas Washington Smith family later settled in Washington, Utah.
35Historian Margaret Maxwell wrote: “Layton family tradition states that here Private Christopher Layton, Co. C, raised the old American flag which had flown over Nauvoo, carried all the way from that city by the Battalion. This was perhaps the first American flag to fly over Tucson.”
36This was a Pima rancheria across the Santa Cruz River from the Tucson Presidio. The ruins of this two‑story church were bulldozed in the 20th century.
37Isaac Harrison was away in the Mormon Battalion. He later brought his family to Alameda County, California for several years and then came to Utah in 1858. He was the presiding Elder over Sandy, Utah from 1872-73.
38This water was found at the junction of the Santa Cruz River and Rillito Creek near present‑day Orange Grove Rd. and I‑10 in Tucson.
39They made their camp in present‑day Marana, probably not far from the Marana LDS Chapel, twenty‑four miles north of Tucson.
40Richard Benson joined the Church in 1837. He later settled his family in Parowan, Utah.
41President Wilford Woodruff would later dedicate the Salt Lake and Manti temples.
42Thomas Weir was away in the Mormon Battalion.
43Nathaniel Prentiss Worden (Sr.) settled his family in Parowan Utah, and later helped settle Arizona settlement.
44Thin Mountain and Sacaton Peak.
45This village was near the site of present‑day St. Peter’s mission, south of Gila Butte on the Gila River Indian Reservation.
46Arizona historian J.H. McClintock speculated that “the idea had something to do with the colonizing by Mormons in later years of the upper part of the nearby Salt River valley.”
47Tarleton Lewis (Sr.) joined the Church in 1836. He was later one of the original pioneers of 1847. After arriving in the valley, he was appointed Bishop of Salt Lake City until the city was divided into wards. In 1850, he was one of the founders of Parowan, Utah, where he served as bishop. He also helped settle Minersville and later was appointed Bishop of Richfield Second Ward.
48Andrew Smith Gibbons joined the Church in 1840. He was later one of the original pioneers of 1847. He later settled in Bountiful. In 1861, he moved to St. George, Utah, where he was elected Sheriff of Washington County. In 1880, he moved to St. Johns, Arizona where he served as a member of the High Council until his death.
49Their camp was located about four miles north of present‑day Gila Bend, Arizona.
50This plan to take a northern route was later abandoned for a route up the Platte River.
51Stephen Hezekiah Goddard joined the Church in 1836. He would later be one of the original pioneers of 1847. He was the first choir director of the LDS choir in the “old tabernacle” in Salt Lake City. He later was second director of the Tabernacle Choir.
52These rocks are presently part of the Painted Rock State Park.
53Their camp was located near present‑day Sears Point where there are many Indian petroglyphs.