Transcript for "From the Plains," New York Daily Times, 3 July 1855

From the Plains.
From the St. Louis Democrat, June 29.

Mr. MAGRAW, U. S. Mail Contractor between St. Louis and Great Salt Lake City, has just returned from the Blue River, having accompanied so far the outgoing mail for the present month. There went out as passengers, Judge DRUMMON (DRUMMOND), recently appointed as associate Justice of Utah Territory, accompanied by his lady, and BRIDGER, the mountain trader, with his Indian wife and child. Mr. BRIDGER is going for the purpose of resuming possession of his trading post on Black's Fork, from which he was summarily ejected by the Mormons a year or two since. At the Blue Mr. MAGRAW met Lieut. HEATH, late in command of Fort Kearney, and direct from that point. He spoke of having received dispatches from Laramie immediately previous to his departure, and later he is confident, than any intelligence which can have crossed the plains, which mad no mention of any disaster having befallen that post, nor of hostile demonstrations by the Indians anywhere. There were considerable numbers of what are called two-faced Indians loitering about the posts, who profess friendly intentions, but are distrusted by those in command, and believed to be in constant communication with those who are avowedly hostile.

Of the United States troops now en route across the plains, a body of four hundred infantry crossed the Blue on the 5th inst. They had suffered considerably from sickness, having buried nine men on the march from Leavenworth. On the 11th about a hundred more crossed the same river, generally in good health. Returning Mr. MAGRAW met encamped on the Nemaha three hundred and fifty mounted dragoons, who were in good health, with the exception of a few cases of dysentery and fever. Mr. MAGRAW speaks in admiration of the excellent quality of the horses belonging to this corps, their fine condition and the excellence of its appointments generally. He also met numerous trains belonging to MAJORS & RUSSELL, Government freighters, all enjoying good health and doing remarkably well. Those gentlemen have established a discipline amongst their employes—stricter than is usually enforced in the military. They permit no drinking, gambling, or swearing; their movements and their encampments are of the most quiet and orderly description, whilst their work is done with unprecedented celerity, and with perfect safety with the property entrusted to them. Some trains made the trip form Leavenworth to Kearney and back in 31 days, without having lost an ox or overturned a wagon. One train, which has been partially abandoned at Oak Point in consequence of an alarm of sickness, has been remanned, and was moving on well.

About a thousand Mormons have thus far set out on their route to Salt Lake. Three hundred and fifty, principally form Nova Scotia and St. Louis, were encamped on the Nemaha, in charge of Mr. HANLY, emigrating agent. They were in good health and getting along well. About an equal number were met forty miles this side the Nemaha, under the charge of Mr. SECREST {Jacob F. Secrist). These had suffered somewhat from sickness, and one man had died the day before Mr. MAGRAW passed them of cholera. About ten miles this side of the last named party, another considerable band from Texas was met, in good health and moving on well. At the point where the road form Atchison falls into the mail route, Mr. M. met two gentlemen just from Atchison, who informed him of the arrival of five hundred Mormons at that place, on one boat, in a wretchedly filthy condition, and suffering much from sickness. Twelve had died of cholera during the evening and night succeeding their arrival.

Mr. MAGRAW has no information of any mishap having befallen the outgoing mail train for April; but, as it has not been heard from, he apprehends that the mules may have been stampeded or otherwise lost, so that no intelligence can be received until the return of the escort which went out with the May train. It is said that, but for the Mormon emigration and commerce, and the movement of Government troops and stores, the Plains would present a desolate appearance this season,—very different from anything that has been seen since 1849. There is not known to be any overland travel to California or Oregon, nor is any stock being driven in those directions.