Call to raise Mormon Battalion‑‑1; Map of Council Bluffs Area‑‑4; Map of Mount Pisgah to Council Bluffs--5; Thomas L. Kane arrives in Council Bluffs--15; Recruiting at Mount Pisgah--16; Permission granted to stay on Indian lands--20; Thomas L. Kane meets the leaders--21; Mob whips harvesters--22; Brigham Young returns to Council Bluffs--23; Hostages taken by the mob--24; Recruits raised at Council Bluffs--25; Mustering of the Mormon Battalion-- 28; Battalion officially called into service--33; Ezra T. Benson ordained an Apostle-- 34; Brigham Young instructs Battalion--38; Farewell ball--38; Mormon Battalion begins march--44; First Battalion Death--49; Hostages freed--53; Battalion marches through Weston, Missouri--66; Brooklyn arrives in San Francisco Bay--66
Map of Mormon Battalion March to Santa Fe--68; Battalion arrives at Fort Leavenworth--70; Search for Winter Quarters--76; Apostles arrive at Fort Leavenworth--77; Cutler's Park founded--81; Mississippi Company arrives in Pueblo-- 83; Battalion funds to be used for provisions--95; Death of Samuel Bent--101; Eliza R. Snow drives wagon--104; Death of William Huntington--107; Battalion in "Hurricane"--108; Colonel Allen dies--118; Lt. A.J. Smith assume leadership of the battalion--132; Twelve find Old Council Bluffs--137;
Battalion sick forced to take medicine--141; New location for ferry selected--145; Thomas L. Kane leaves camp-- 149; Battalion sees buffalo--149; Mob fires cannon on Nauvoo--153; A site selected for Winter Quarters--155; Emma Smith leaves Nauvoo--159; Battle of Nauvoo--160; First sick detachment--167; John D. Lee visits battalion--172; Nauvoo falls to mob--173; A new location chosen for Winter Quarters-- 174; Alarm sounded in Camp of Israel--181; Bishop Whitney arrives at Poor Camp--181; Nauvoo Legion again organized--183; Camp of Israel moves to Winter Quarters--187; Teams raised to rescue Poor Camp--195; Mormon Battalion marched into New Mexico--198; Mob fires cannon on Poor Camp--199;
Battalion divides into two divisions 204; Orville M. Allen arrives at Poor Camp--211; Miracle of the quail--213; Battalion arrives at Santa Fe--215; Colonel Cooke takes command of the battalion--221; Second sick detachment
organized--224; Wilford Woodruff injured--225; Cattle sent to the north--233; Battalion leaves Santa Fe--234; John D. Lee leaves Santa Fe--234; Battalion arrives in Albuquerque--242; Teams sent for goods in Missouri--249; Governor Ford arrives in Nauvoo--253
Map of Mormon Battalion March to San Diego--258; Indian agents visit Winter Quarters--259; Third sick detachment organized--275; Second sick detachment arrives in Pueblo--287; Police guard organized--289; John D. Lee returns to Winter Quarters--294; Winter Quarters wards to be divided--301
Pond family deaths--314; Winter Quarters cemetery surveyed--314; First snow in Winter Quarters--316; Kearny defeated at San Pascual--318; Attack on Omahas--322; Omaha Indians slaughtered by Sioux--329; Battle of the Bulls--325; Council House to be constructed--332; Second sick detachment leaves Santa Fe--232; Battalion arrives in Tucson--338; Battalion arrives at Gila River--350; Third sick detachment arrives in Pueblo--350; Foundation laid for Council House--351; John Tippets and Thomas Woolsey head for Winter Quarters--355; Map of Mormon Battalion march to San Diego--258; General Council meeting held--359; Fire at Fort Ponca--361; Plans for a pioneer company--365;
First meeting held in Council House--373; Bitter cold weather--377; Battalion reaches Colorado River--381; Word and will of Lord received (D&C 136)--389; High Council sustains revelation--393; Battalion arrives at Warner's Ranch--400; First emigration company organized--408; Battalion arrives at Pacific Ocean--414; Battalion arrives at San Diego--417
As this second volume goes to print, a great celebration it taking place all over the world to recognize the sesquicentennial anniversary (150 years) of the arrival of the pioneers into the Salt Lake Valley of Utah. Communities both small and big are recognizing events the occurred exactly 150 years ago.
In October 1995, I started to write daily articles that looked back 150 years ago from the day. I shared these articles with several friends on the computer internet. I thought that I would only write these articles for a week or two, but eighteen months later, I am still researching and writing.
In February, 1996, I joined forces with David Kenison of Orem, Utah, to establish an internet electronic mail (e-mail) distribution list which we named LDS-Gems. I continued to distribute these daily articles to subscribers of this free service. LDS-Gems started with about 100 subscribers, and has exploded to more than 73,000 subscribers as of March, 2000.
During the writing of this volume, I was asked by the Church News to write a less-detailed weekly version, “Camp of Israel: on the Pioneer Trail.” I thank the Church News staff, especially Sarah Jane Weaver for a wonderful four-month experience working with them on this column.
Over the months, I received frequent requests to compile the LDS-Gems articles into a book that could be kept and shared with others. In December, 1996, I published the first volume of this LDS-Gems Pioneer Trek Series, Saints in Exile: A Day-By-Day Pioneer Experience. And now, four months later, the second volume, Saints in the Wilderness: A Day-By-Day Pioneer Experience is ready for publication. A third volume, Saints Find the Place: A Day-By-Day Pioneer Experience is underway, to complete this historic journey to the Great Salt Lake Valley.
There are many people to thank for making this second volume possible. First to thank again is my wife Linda, who no doubt looks forward to “this journey’s end.” David Kenison’s encouragement kept me going. Will Bagley, of Salt Lake City, offered many historical insights and corrections, and sent me invaluable sources of information to help make this volume more interesting. Chris Grant, of the Brigham Young University Math Department, made numerous trips for me to the Harold B. Lee Library on campus, which houses a wonderful collection of pioneer sources. Bruce Van Orden, Associate Professor of Church History and Doctrine at BYU, has been a great source of pioneer inspiration and encouragement. I appreciate the help from the Institute of Religion at the University of Arizona for making their library facilities available for my research. I thank several individuals who volunteered their time and effort to help proof and edit this volume: Karen B. Dupaix of Salt Lake City, Utah, Scott & Kelly Peterson of Houston, Texas, Dave Edmonds of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Howard C. Bybee of Brigham Young University, and Scott McGee of Farmington, Utah. Last, but not least, I thank the many faithful readers on LDS-Gems who have sent letters and kind notes of appreciation. You have all made this publication possible. I hope you further enjoy walking in the daily footsteps of the Mormon Pioneers by reading this book.
Volume one, Saints In Exile, presented the tragic expulsion of the Saints from their homes in Nauvoo, Illinois during the winter months of 1845-46. Thousands left behind their unsold homes, the beautiful temple, and were exiled across the Mississippi River into Iowa. Saints in Exile followed the laborious trek of the main Camp of Israel across the Iowa prairies. Near the end of the first volume, the Camp of Israel reached the Council Bluffs area at the Missouri River. As the weeks continued to pass, Brigham Young was starting to realize that even a small pioneer company would have difficulty crossing over the Rocky Mountains that season. Thousands of Saints were scattered across Iowa, many still making their way to the Missouri River. Where should they spend the long winter months? How would they be able to obtain provisions to subsist on during the winter and to outfit a journey over the mountains in the spring?
At the close of Saints In Exile, the Lord opened up a way for the Saints to better survive the winter months in the wilderness. Captain James Allen, of the U.S. Army, arrived at Council Bluffs to enlist a Mormon Battalion of five hundred men. They would all receive pay for their service. Brigham Young quickly realized that raising the battalion would provide desperately needed funds that could be used to buy provisions, and that the enlistment would improve relations with the government. As Saints in the Wilderness opens, the Church leaders are faced with the difficult task of convincing five hundred men to enlist in the Army within two weeks. Henry Bigler summarized the feeling of the men regarding this difficult decision: “Here were the Saints with their wives and children in Indian country, surrounded by savages, without a house, and a scanty supply of provisions . . . to leave them thus to go at the call of our country, to say the least, was rather trying.”
After the battalion was raised, the Church leaders needed to quickly find a way to help thousands of Saints survive the coming winter in the wilderness. As this volume opens, the Church was led by Brigham Young and the other members of the Twelve consisting of Heber C. Kimball, Orson Hyde, Parley P. Pratt, Orson Pratt, John Taylor, Wilford Woodruff, George A. Smith, Willard Richards, Lyman Wight (away in Texas), and Amasa M. Lyman. There was one vacancy which soon would be filled.
These dedicated Latter-day Saints believed that they were living in a modern-day Camp of Israel in the wilderness. Mary Lightner, later that season reflected on this thought when she saw the Camp of Israel near the Missouri River. “When the camp fires are lit at night it is a beautiful sight. It makes me think how the children of Israel's camp must have looked in the days of Moses when journeying in the wilderness.”
Saints In the Wilderness follows the day-by-day struggles of these Saints as they built up Winter Quarters and passed through the trials of sickness and death. John R. Young, nine years‑old at the time, later recalled living in Winter Quarters: “Our home was near the burying ground; and I can remember the small mournful‑looking trains that so often passed our door.” Parley P. Pratt asked the Saints in England to “Pray for us and for the camp of the Saints in the wilderness.”
Saints In the Wilderness also describes the day-by-day march of the Mormon Battalion from Council Bluffs to San Diego, California. These courageous men, full of faith, departed from their families, and placed their trust in God that they would be protected in the wilderness. Margaret Phelps recalled the day when she last saw her husband Alva, who later died early into the march:
I was very ill at the time, my children all small, my babe also extremely sick; but the call was pressing, there was no time for any provision to be made for wife or children; no time for tear; regreat was unavailing. He started in the morning. I watched him from my wagon-bed till his loved form was lost in the distance; it was my lst sight of him.
Day after day the soldiers of the Mormon Battalion marched, hoping for safety and longing for the day when they could be reunited with their families. Private Robert S. Bliss wrote: “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."
Saints in the Wilderness shares the tragic last days of Nauvoo. After defending the City of Joseph bravely against the cannons of the mob, it was time for the remaining Saints to flee their beloved city. William Cutler shared his feelings on this difficult day. “The time has come for us to depart. God has called upon us to go and if we will not he will let the mob loose upon us to drive us out. . . . I hope the day will come when we shall not have to suffer from the Mobs as we have done.”
Nauvoo fell to the mob. Edwin D. Woolley recorded: “All that beauty, all the grandeur and all the loveliness that once was there has fled. It has gone and gone forever.” During the autumn months, rescue efforts would be undertaken to bring the destitute, sick, widowed, and fatherless from the shores of the Mississippi River to winter settlements in western Iowa.
We’ve left the City of Nauvoo
And our beloved Temple too,
And to the wilderness we’ll go
Amid the winter frosts and snow.
-- Eliza R. Snow