THE CAMP-GROUND OF THE UTAH EXPE-DITION.
Years ago, when Fort Laramie was but a small French trading post, and before emigration across the Plains had fairly commenced, the old trappers and "mountain men" used frequently to resort to the up-land valleys of the Rocky Mountains to winter.—There, in the sheltered parks and plateaus, they not only escaped the barren and inclement regions of the Plains, but were enabled to obtain a fair allowance of fresh meat by hunting the buffalo, deer, and other animals, which also resorted thither in winter time, to gain that subsistence which they could not obtain upon the inhospitable prairie. One of the most fa vored of these locations was the "New Park," which receives the waters of the Laramie, Medicine Bow, and Sweetwater rivers, and near which also rises the North Fork of the Platte river. A little to the north of the New Park, and inclosed by the great bend of the Platte, lies the broken tract of country known as the Laramie Plains, which are bounded by the Black Hills on the north, and on the south by the Medicine Bow Mountains. This was also a favorite hunting-ground. From the bend of the Platte, westward, ex-tends an inconsiderable range, sloping gradually until it reaches an elevated plain which forms a break in the Rocky Mountain chain, and affords the easy pas-sage well known as the Great or South Pass. So gradual is this ascent, that, were it not for the majes-tic presence of the rugged peaks towering heaven-ward away to the right and the left, one would scarce-ly realize that he is standing upon the dividing ridge between the waters that flow into the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Still more incredible is the fact that he can stand near by and toss two sticks into two ad-jacent streams, one of which flows eastward to the Gulf of Mexico, and the other in the opposite direc-tion to the Gulf of California.
Through this pass was the usual route of the moun-tain men to the beaver abounding valleys of the Green and Bear rivers and the Uintah country ; and many an Indian and superstitious old hunter has traversed years ego, the well-known path to the mystic Beer or Soda Springs, to smoke the propitia-tory pipe, and invoke the fountain spirits to grant him good luck in the chase.
The wagon trail to Oregon and California, and to the Salt Lake region, traverses all this section of country, following the Sweetwater Valley through the Pass, over to the Big Sandy, across Green river to Fort Bridger, and thence to Salt Lake and beyond. This is the route of the Utah expedition ; and some location between the mountains and Fort Bridger will doubtless be their camping ground for the winter, for it is not at all probable, in the present hostile at-titude of the Mormons, that it will be able to force its way to Salt Lake city until spring. In this con-tingency, they will be far better off in the mountains than on the plains. Indeed, no camp, however well provisioned and protected, could survive the piercing blasts and terrible snow storms that sweep over the exposed and barren prairie, where betimes the hardy mountaineer, overtaken by the unexpected gale, has only saved himself from perishing by killing his horse and crawling into the warm and smoking carcass which he had opened.
Well provided as the expedition is with ammuni-tion and provisions, it will not suffer for sustenance, if unmolested; though its experience of the rigors of a winter among the mountains will be anything but agreeable. A camping ground may be selected where both wood and water are abundant; fresh meat may be obtained by hunting; and even though the horses and mules may perish for want of grain and fodder, the men may weather it through till spring. Magraw's wagon train has already camped for the winter, though at a considerable distance North of the present position of the army, on account of the grass having all been burned off to the Southward.—The old experienced mountaineers have selected just such a location for a camp as that in which fortune has placed the Expedition. So, as has been remark-ed, there need be little apprehension for their condi-tion through the winter, provided they had no fear of molestation from enemies.
From the intelligence received up to date, it is probable that the expedition has gone into winter quarters on the Soda Spring trail—a route which has been much travelled of late by emigrants, to avoid the more direct road through Mormondom. This po-sition would be as safe as any, though farther from Salt Lake than Fort Bridger, which is only 113 miles distant. Still, it is the belief of the best judges, that they will not pass the winter in monotonous peace.—The country has long been frequented by the warlike tribes of Utahs, Sioux, Cheyennes, Crows and Snakes or Shoshones, who have needed no incentive to their natural hatred of the white man, to induce them to seek his blood; and now that, as allies of the Mor-mons, they are urged, commanded, paid, to hunt the white man's scalp (excepting Saints,) they will not refrain from embracing the present unusual and wel-come opportunity. The wild Indian who has contin-ually hovered around the camp of the veteran trapper, seeking plunder, or his scalp as a more desired prize, has ever been the object of the trappers solicitude. His attention has been divided between his traps and circumventing the wiles of the red man, who, like a wolf, lopes around his camp fire, follows him when he hunts, waylays him in his path, or sends an arrow to his breast while he sleeps; and, notwithstanding his vigilance, his backwoods craft, and his bravery when assailed or surprised, many of these veteran trappers have "gone under" betimes, as the numerous creeks, rivers and mountains which bear their names in record of their fate, will testify. We say—when such is the fate of the hardy mountaineer, what can we expect for the greenhorns of the army, when hemmed in and harassed by the Indians, of whom they know nothing, to say nothing of the Mormon backwoodsmen, who will undoubtedly lose no oppor-tunity to cut them off ?
It is well to consider the perilous predicament in which the Expedition will be placed if compelled to encamp in the mountains, provided the Mormons use all the means in their power to harass them. The winter, it is said, has set in with unusual severity; all the grass that has not been burned by the Mormons, is covered with snow, and can profit the animals but little; report says that fodder is almost exhausted, and that a large number of animals have already died. Their first great loss, therefore, will be their live stock; and the whole expedition will thus be put "on foot." As to the men, it is not when in the camp that they will be most likely to be molested, though occasional attacks may be made upon them. Neither Mormons nor Indians would readily venture to en-gage so large a body in fair fight. But their great endeavor will be first to cut off and destroy all pre-sent supplies, and starve out the invaders. Their only resource will then be the wild game, which is said to be unusually abundant this season; and it is when out on the hunt for meat, that they will afford a grand opportunity for the operations of the moun-tain rangers, who will hunt them while they hunt the wild beasts; will cut off the stragglers singly and by scores; or perchance storm their camp when its ranks are deranged, broken up, or diminished in numbers. They will only be safe when intrenched in camp, and then starvation must result. If professional hunters are employed to provide for them, they also will fall under the ban of the Saints and their allies.
All the Indians, however, are not hostile to the ex-pedition. Many of them have hitherto refused all the overtures of the Mormons, and still remain friendly to the United States Government. A chief of the Shoshones, who has nearly 1,000 followers, has alrea-dy avowed his determination to stand by his Great Father at Washington, in the approaching war with the Mormons, which it is believed must take place.—And in this we discern an ominous cloud in the hori-zon of the future, portending a long protracted strug-gle.
Brigham Young, by his proclamation, has placed himself in an attitude of rebellion. The Indian tribes which he has allied to himself against the United States, have been at war for years with other tribes which declare their allegiance to the President. The Mormon war thus involves an Indian war, which is likely to be continued long after Brigham and his fol-lowers shall have been punished or driven from the country. In these conclusions are involved impor-tant considerations, which demand most decisive and energetic movements on the part of the Administra-tion—to be put into operation immediately on the opening of spring.
Gov. Young has undoubtedly entertained the hope that, by pursuing his peculiar policy, he could blind the eyes of Government, and thus retain his position in Utah, and preserve his colony and his creed from outward interference. Bat when, by treasonable acts and outrages, he found that he had at length aroused the indignation of the Government, and was likely to bring down just punishment upon himself, he changed front, hoping by a defiant bearing, to bully the Government into acquiescence with his views and plans, or at least to put off an open conflict to the last moment. At length, perceiving that he must submit peacefully, or be driven to the wall at the point of the bayonet, he has determined, in leaving Utah, to leave a bloody stain behind him. Still hope-ful of success, however, by carrying out his policy of intimidation, he proclaims martial law in the Territo-ry—believing that if he can keep the army out of Salt Lake until spring the Administration may then repent of its determination; but if the army shall at tempt to force its way to the City, he will then use all his powers to exterminate it.
Whatever may be the correct view of the case, it becomes the Government to prepare at once to send out a sufficient additional force as soon as practicable; and also to consider well what description of troops should be employed. As the enemy is composed of both whites and Indians, the force to oppose them should be such as to meet their different modes of fighting. Not only is a large increase of troops ne-cessary, to meet the Mormon forces, but companies of Rangers, sharp shooters, and backwoodsmen and mountaineers, should be brought into service, to en-gage the Indians in their peculiar mode of warfare. With such a force the campaign would be a short one, and not only will the Mormon blot be wiped out, but the Indian tribes which have long imperiled our West-ern emigration, will be summarily chastised into good behavior.—[New York Journal of Commerce.
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