THE UTAH EXPEDITION.
Progress of the Army—Condition and Hard-ships of the Service—Miscellaneous Inci-dents
Extracts Of a Letter to a Friend from an Officer in the Utah Expedition.
CAMP SCOTT, NEAR FORT BRIDGER, U. T.
Wednesday, Dec. 30, 1857.
Mr DEAR : I remember to have received your very kind letter a short time before leaving Fort Leavenworth, but pressing business matters, preparing for this expedition, prevented me then, fatigue and care, anxiety and responsibility since, from replying.
We have had a long and tedious march through sands, rivers, rain and dust, over almost boundless plains, hills and mountains, and are now passing a dreary, desolate and uncomfortable Winter in the midst of the snow-clad Rocky Mountains.
The Mormons seem determined to resist us to the last, and commenced their treasonable and re-bellious course in the early part of October. Be-fore the Commanding Officer arrived, and when we did not think it possible that the Mormons could undertake overt acts of treason, they passed into the road in rear of all the approaching col-umns, and burned three contractor's trains, drawn by oxen and freighted with supplies for the Army. They sent us also a proclamation of martial law, and an order to leave the Territory, or, if we de-sired to remain on account of the lateness of the season, a permission to do so, provided we would put our arms in possession of one of their so-called generals. Of course no particular notice was ta-ken of so absurd a proposition, and as all the troops at that time expected had joined us, we concluded that if they desired to fight, we were more than equal to any force they could send out to drive us from the country.
We were constantly annoyed by them in various ways, and not until their conduct became so un-bearable did we attempt any decided measures. They drove off cattle within two miles of camp, captured straggling teamsters, wagon-masters and soldiers ; yet, having no instructions, the com-manding officer (Senior present at that time) would not permit us to pursue them or fire on them. At length, when these rascalities were be-coming too frequent, the earnest appeals of the young officers were received with an attentive ear, and we obtained the permission so long desired. We fired upon them whenever we saw large par-ties, captured prisoners, letters and dispatches of the most treasonable character, put the creatures in irons, and, as soon as the civil authorities came up, placed them in their hands. They are now being indicted for treason by the Grand Jury.
The commanding officer will remain here until Spring and then commence his onward march. He arrived on the 6th of November, too late for any active operations. A few days after his ar-rival a snow-storm overtook us, six inches deep and the thermometer fell to 16° below zero. We crossed streams with the artillery carriages and wagons upon the ice. I froze my feet, and many a poor soldier frosted his hands, feet and ears. We are now 113 miles from the great Salt Lake City.
Old BRIGHAM, in his impertinent audacity, occa-sionally sends papers into camp—late numbers of the Deseret News.
These papers are interesting to us because they are a medium through which we hear all his threats and ranting slang about the army, the "pets educated at West Point," "the armed mob," &c., but I could not send one to a friend, on ac-count of the obscenity and vulgarity which they contain. The sermons which he and "the twelve" preach on Sunday in the "Bowery," could not be published entire in a paper in civilized society, for that reason. No editor would dare to publish some of these sermons, abounding as they do with blasphemy, profanity and vulgarity—low-bred vul-garity, which would disgrace the forecastle of a ship or the squad-room of a barrack. The ex-tracts which you see in the New-York and other papers are genteel compared with some that I have seen. These sermons are preached in the presence of their wives and daughters, and I have not char-acterized them as they merit. In fact, I could not find words to express the disgust which comes over one cognizant of all the attendant circum-stances when he reads them. You may conjec-ture the morality of such a community, where the leaders make use of such language in the pre-sence of ''ladies," in a church and on a Sunday. You may imagine what religion they profess whose only aim seems to us "Gentiles" (meaning all outside of the pale of their Church) to give the holiest sanction to secret murder, adultery, and every immorality and crime which the Christian religion teaches the denizens of a civilized district to abhor. I am of opinion that the roaring flames of burning trains on Green River were the death-knell of their power.
If the community in the States do not share our sentiments in regard to their treasonable conduct, then I have miscalculated the patriotism of our men and the virtuous indignation of our women. I believe it to be the destiny of this little army to "wipe them out" next Spring, and I can assure you that no set of men were ever more eager to commence than those composing this command. Were it not for the guards and escorts by which they are protected, when they come here, by our Colonel's orders, they would none of them live to reach Salt Lake.
The trains which they burned contained many of the most valuable stores, one flour and sugar, another clothing, and the third all the stationery and tools sent out for the expedition.
The loss of the sugar, flour and salt, causes us some inconvenience, as the ration has been re-duced in consequence, and the only additional sup-plies are in the trains belonging to citizens transport-ing them to Salt Lake, which we have stopped here, permitting them to go no further. Mr. LIVING-STONE, our sutler, who had a store in Salt Lake City, and was acquainted with them all, sent some Indians in and procured several packs of salt, for which he paid $125 per bushel. Yesterday I pur-chased two pounds from him at $2 50 per pound, and then was compelled to grind it in a coffee mill to make it fit for cooking purposes. Ten pounds of sugar cost me $5 ; one dozen nutmegs, 75 cents; a pair of ordinary overshoes $2 75 ; a common tin coffee- pot $2 ; a pair of common buckskin gaunt- lets $8 ; a pair of boots $16 ; a coat, which costs $4 in the States, $16, and everything else in like proportion. In addition to all this there are many little luxuries which you would call necessaries at home, that money cannot procure. The Doctor's Solidified Milk has been received every where with screams of delight, and I heartily regret that mine has disappeared so soon. There are several ladies with us, the wives of officers to whom I have given a can: it has been considered a great luxury by all who have tasted it, and should most certain-ly have been better known in St. Louis, the great furnishing dépôt for all Western expeditions. I have distributed it in small quantities along the road among all the officers, by whom it has been pronounced an article indispensably necessary to a traveler on the "Plains."
When I left Leavenworth, I supposed that the period of my banishment was only two years, but since the necessity of troops in Kansas, and the necessity of more out here, I greatly fear that the rest of my regiment will join us next Summer. In such an event, you may not expect to see me again in less than five years. However, some lucky turn of fortune's wheel may relieve me from so long an exile. I hope so for many reasons, though the gentlemen here, with cheerful disposi-tions like my own, agree with me that we seem quite as contented here as anywhere else. There are so many of us here that the time passes quite rapidly, though we have yet four months of cap-tivity before us. My great fear now is, that we may, some of us, lose our sweethearts before we return. There was a genteel young fellow flitting around mine when I last saw her, and I greatly dread lest she will not wait five or six years for me!
You would be much amused to see our ingeni-ous arrangements for comfort in this camp. Some officers have burrowed under ground ; some are in log-huts, and others in tents. I have a tent, conical-shape, which admits of building a fire in the centre, after the manner of our Indian lodge. I have a stove, bedstead, table, and clothes-rack, for furniture. My bedstead is made of two rough horses, with two boards transversely placed, sur-mounted by a huge pile of old worn-out cotton comforters, blankets, and buffalo-hides, which I call my bed. My carpet is the undressed hide of slaughtered beeves. Stove is conical, like my tent, and the smoke leaves at the vertex. Wash-stand, three sticks set in the ground so as to catch a tin-pan, which I call basin, in the interval. Clothes-rack is made of two notched sticks in the ground, with another laid across them. My sad-dles, bridles, &c., hang upon one of similar con-struction, but of smaller dimensions. Trunks, boxes, &c., make the whole look comfortable and cozy. Then my chairs are the cushioned seats of the ambulance in my train. Now, imagine a half-dozen sitting in a circle around the little stove, and you have the interior of my house, provided you notice every one with a pipe in his mouth, and a dense volume of smoke making its way to the aperture at the top. *****
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