Brigham Young letter in Historical Department journal history of the Church, 1830-2008, 28 August 1848, 2-4.
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Camp of Israel on the banks of the Sweetwater, 764 miles from Winter Quarters,
August 28, 1848.
To Elders Orson Hyde, George A. Smith and Ezra T. Benson and the saints scattered abroad in Pottawattamie county and neighborhood.
Dearly Beloved Brethren; It seems good unto us, to send unto you an Epistle at this time, in order to give you an understanding of our movements and transactions up to the present date.
That portion of the camp which was led by Pres. Brigham Young arrived at the last crossing of the Sweetwater on Sunday the 20th August inst. where they tarried to return the borrowed wagons and teams to Winter Quarters, but on hearing of the in
hability of <Pres. Heber C. Kimball> to arrive at the same place for want of help, he returned back <25 1/4> miles to this place, in order to make necessary arrangements, and also to enter into further arrangements to continue our journey to the Valley.
We have been sixty-three days in travelling from the Elkhorn to the last crossing of the Sweetwater at an average of 12 miles per day, resting 22, including Sundays, to recruit and strengthen our cattle. The very dry season, the scarcity of grass, the heavy dragging, dusty roads and inhaling so much of the alkali by breathing, eating and drinking has been the cause of our losing many of our cattle; some have died with appearances of the bloody murrain, others by the hollow horn and a few by an unusual swelling of the melt which, on examination, was generally putrid; Several worn-out animals have been devoured by the wolves which abound in great numbers on the route; the cattle that have died without any appearances of sickness were the best and fattest.
The health of the camp has been generally good, although there have been some 20 cases of the mountain fever, all of which are recovered or recovering.
When all the camps have arrived at the last crossing of the Sweetwater, it is our intention to take into consideration the best method of removing those of the brethren who are there without wagons, cattle, or even tents to shelter them from the stormy blast, and the chilling frosty nights (on account of their returning the borrowed teams to Winter Quarters) to Green river; where they can build huts, and have plenty of fire wood to keep themselves warm until our teams can return to their aid and remove them into the Valley. Although you will see by the Epistle from the council in the Valley, that they are endeavoring to send us all the assistance they can; yet we don't anticipate that they will send enough to unlock our fetters and enable us to go to the Valley in a body.
As we are fully aware of the arduous duties they have had to perform, in building houses, making their twelve miles fence, ploughing, planting, watering and harvesting their crops, building mills, fighting crickets, digging ditches, exploring the country, etc., but we do hope they will send us some help.
When we are all arrived in the Valley, we shall make arrangements to send to Winter Quarters, another mail by Captain Egan Captain Roundy and others, when we shall be able, to send letter to individual persons, in addition to another General Epistle in which we expect by the blessing of heaven to say. Come ye that are weary and heavy laden, and ye that are seeking a rest, a peace for your souls. Some ye with grain sufficient to last you thro and we shall have enough to for and to spare, to supply your wants; At the same time we expect to send some light wagons and mules, if practicable, and make a calculation what to do another season. We shall also be able to give you a pretty correct history of the year that is past, and that which is to come and plighting our faith in the kind Providence of Heaven.
We would say to those, who have their faces set towards the setting sun, and who are preparing to come west the next season, <to> bring with you young cattle, cows, heifers, sheep, turkeys, geese, pea fowl, <guinea> fowls, etc., for by all we learn, the turkeys, etc., are great preservations to crops, by destroying the crickets and other insects.
We have a proposition to make unto you, which is this: As teams that have been <inured> to the low country, approach the mountains, they become deseased and die, and as we believe that teams <that> have been acclimated to the mountain air, can come to Fort Laramie, and return to the Valley in a healthy condition, we propose that when the Saints have done their spring work, they can remove themselves to Fort Laramie, at which place we will meet
with them with our teams, exchange the loads and again separate the low land teams returning to Pottawattamie county and the teams with the Saints to pursue their journey to the Valley, we now leave this with you to decide and by your decision we shall be governed. Another plan has suggested itself to <us>; it is this to send our teams <in> the <fall> to Fort Laramie and winter them there, and then come all the way to you, load up and return; but this would deprive us of all their labor in the winter and spring and would be a heavy tax upon us.
We have quite a number of the brethren with us, who have been in the service of the United States and who expect to return with the ox teams; they are in good spirits, and carry an excellent spirit with them. We hail them as brethren who have been long from us; give them a hearty welcome and wish them a safe journey to their families.
Our teams have come down to this place, and we are now organizing them into a company under Captain Allen Taylor, to return to Winter Quarters; the particulars of which accompany the Epistle.
are now say to all the saints, observe the instructions <which> have been given to you, hearken to and obey the counsel of those who are placed over you; prepare to come west, get and retain the spirit of the Lord; be patient under your trials and tribulations; travel in peace and be ye blessed; travel as though your only desire is to carry out the principles of the kingdom, while at the same time we hear that there are some returning back to the States, to bear them burdens in sorrow and in tribulation, and we are willing they should until they return unto the Lord, and will serve him with an humble heart and be willing to do His will in all things. We remain dearly beloved brethren,
Heber C. Kimball.
P. S. Since writing the
following foregoing Brother Lorenzo <D. Young> Snow and Abraham O. Smoot have arrived from the Valley and bring us the cheering intelligence of fifty wagons and 150 yoke of oxen. Coming out to meet us; they anticipate the teams will be at the last crossing of the Sweetwater on Wednesday evening next, which will in a great measure relieve us from our distress, enable those who are houseless to take up their beds, in joy and gladness.