Christensen, Anders, Letter, in Journal History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 21 Aug. 1863, 1.
The "Millennial Star" published <the following>
a letter from <Elder Anders> Christensen dated this date from Sweetwater, 26 miles above Devils Gate, addressed to Pres. Geo. Q. Cannon, concerning immigration News. (see Mill. Star 25:670 or Doc. Hist., 862) <Following is the text in full:>
Sweetwater, 20 miles above Devil's Gate, August 21, 1863.President Geo. Q. Cannon.
Dear Brother,—Our party from the Consignment left Florence with Bishop [William B.] Preston's Cache Valley train, which had been waiting for us for some time. At Florence quite a number of Danish Saints joined us on their way to Zion; and brother Little having loaded up the balance of the wagons with Church freight, we left that place on the 10th of July. Our company consisted of fifty-five wagons, and we have since been joined by about a dozen independent ones. We number about three hundred, independent of the teamsters. [John R.] Murdock's and [John F.] Sander's companies had left some time before, as well as J. [John] R. Young's and [Alvus H.] Patterson's independent trains. We have traveled at a moderate rate, and our cattle are in excellent condition; they had been taken good care of while waiting at Florence for our arrival, and very few have since died.
The season has been a dry one; the Platte, Sweetwater and other streams are very low, but the grass was tolerably good until we struck the arid regions around Laramie. The country around that place looks dreary and desolate, as though vegetable and animal life were insecure; yet we felt very well while passing through it. We have seen a few Indians on the route, but no buffalo. The Saints have enjoyed, and are still enjoying good health, while their spirits are buoyant and cheerful.
We passed J. R. Young's company encamped a few miles below Independence Rock,—it was in good travelling condition, all the people being well. We have not had much warm weather since we left Florence; the first week or two the sky was clouded most of the time. Captain Sander's train is two days ahead—Murdock's has passed Pacific Springs. We have just passed two merchant trains bound to Utah. Our Captain is a very energetic and kind-hearted man, and he has the confidence of all in camp. The teamsters have had experience in driving and in the management of cattle, and are well suited to the trip, giving no occasion to the cattle of stampeding.
Green River, 29th. Sander's and Patterson's companies are at about the same distance from us as they before were. The nearer we approach our place of destination the better the country appears, and our travelling becomes more pleasant—all faces look cheerful, and songs of Zion ascend as we roll along. We have truly realized that the hand of an over-ruling Providence has been over us, and the elements have not been permitted to conspire against our interests and prosperity. With deep emotion we praise God for permitting us to cross the vast ocean and this huge continent, with its deserts, in peace, whilst the wicked are warring on the right hand and on the left. The people of America must now atone for rejecting the Gospel—for slaying our Prophets, the servants of the Most High; and bitterly are they doing so, for its inhabitants are being quickly wasted away.
The operations of the Church Trains are remarkable. The more I look at them the more I rejoice at the additional facilities offered for the gathering of the Saints. We mingle with our brethren from the mountains, which causes union and a glad spirit to prevail, and it increases all the way. There is not as much inclination to quarrel, or to transgress the rules of camp here, as there would be to do so in an independent train, where we owned or drove our own teams. We take our provisions from various stations of deposit as we go along. It is remarkable to see the care manifested by the young boys in behalf of their brethren and sisters who come from every nation up to the gathering place for the Saints. Their management in every respect excels all, and the Gentile travellers are highly astonished to see this unity, and to witness our successful journeying.
With respect, I remain your brother in the Gospel,