Transcript for E. L. Sloan letter, 25 September 1863, 2-3.
Brother E. L. [Edward Lennox] Sloan wrote the following:
On the morning of the 25th of Sept. 1863, a little before 9 o'clock a party of 21 mounted men, calling themselves United States soldiers from Fort Bridger, rode into our camp and informed Captain Daniel Mc Arthur that he must go with them to the Fort, taking his train with them. We were traveling along the road known as "Muddy", following the river the road being much superior in many respects, for our cattle in the condition in which they were.
Brother Mc Arthur represented this fact to the posse; and as they stated that we must take the oath of allegiance for citizens and neutrality for aliens, also, that the wagons must be searched for freighted ammunition, he offered to string out the wagons on the road that they might be searched, and to march his men from the "crossing of Muddy" to Bridger, a distance of 12 miles, that they might take the oath, if no other place would answer for the purpose; pointing out the injury it would cause to cattle and wagons to force them over 10 miles of the admittedly worst road between the Missouri River and Salt Lake City. He called their attention to the illegality of the act, no order having been published, nor notice posted, where we could learn of this requirement; neither any official stationed at Ham's Fort to notify us that trains traveling West were required to pass Bridger, calling at it.
These reasonable representations were met with a steady declaration by the officer in charge, that his orders were to convey us to the Fort, and to the Fort we must go; while his men gave utterance to a variety of expressions, intimating their strong desire to pitch into the damned Mormons, one fellow saying, "Why the hell dont he give us the order and let us end the matter, without all this damned palavering"?
The Captain inquired what the result would be if he refused to take the train to Bridger, when another replied abruptly, "We'll take it".
Allowing us time to have our breakfasts and yoke up, during which they remained at a short distance dismounted; they then divided one moiety forming an advance guard, the other following in the rear of Jakemen [Jackman] and Shurtliff's freight train, which had camped with us the preceding night; and thus guarded, the trains moved on to the Fort, occupying about nine hours in making the distance, and most of the passengers and teamsters having, at one juncture, to assist in pushing the wagons up a steep incline, while the whole of the road was much calculated to try severely the cattle, already suffering from sore feet.
On arrival at the camping ground, within a mile of the Fort, our guard, which had been renewed on the road left us, having enjoyed the, to them, satisfaction of indulging in a abundance of jeers, coarse jokes and abuse at our expense, especially while the wagons were being assisted up the steep ascent alluded to before.
The officer in charge at Bridger, in the absence of the officer commanding, who had gone to Ham's Fork to meet the following trains, as he should have done with us, affected to look upon us as Secessionists; but, upon the Captain expressing his feelings and intentions in plain and marked language, suddenly became wonderfully civil, took the Captains word for the contents of the wagons, and postponed the ceremony of swearing until the following morning.
The citizens of the Republic were mustered inside the corral this morning, and not at the Fort and had the oath of allegiance administered to them, after which the aliens were sworn to neutrality between the belligerent North and South. This concluded the entire business for which we were dragged across the country, like prisoners taken in arms, and which could have been attended to where we lay camped and previous morning, with equal ease.
We wrote out a protest and demand for $500 compensation for the Captain, which he handed to the officer in charge, who declared his inability to do anything in the matter.