"From Utah Territory," New York Times, 30 Aug. 1862, 3.
- Related Companies
- Company Unknown (1862)
A Pursuit of Hostile Indians—Interesting Narrative—Arrival of Eastern Mails—Emigration—Coal Mines, &c
Correspondence of the New-York Times.
GREAT SALT LAKE CITY, Wednesday, Aug. 13, 1862.
It will be remembered that Capt. LOT SMITH and a great portion of his company of Mormon Volunteer Cavalry, on service on the eastern mail route, were last week unheard of, on their northern trip after some Indian thieves. Briefly, the particulars of the pursuit appear to be as follows, premising that Capt. LOT did not capture the Indians, though he had a hard time of it:
On the night of July 19, about 200 head of horses and mules were run off from the ranch of one JACK ROBINSON, an old mountaineer, residing near Fort Bridger. Thirty of the animals, however, only stayed away over night. On the 20th Capt. LOT was informed of the circumstances, he being in the neighborhood, and the same afternoon sixty two men, with a few days provisions on packsaddles, carried by twelve animals, were under way in pursuit. They arrived at the Muddy, 35 miles, that evening, and pulled their animals through the stream with ropes, moistening their provisions and clothing. Here two ponies and three colts were found. The Indian track took a northwesterly course. On the 21st the pursuers crossed Ham's Fork, where three more colts were found, and continued on about sixty miles to the Fontenelle Fork of Green River, five miles from Sublette's Cut-off.
On the 22d the party traveled about the same distance. This day they discovered the first Indian camp since they started, and as the Indians were evidently making fast time, Capt. LOT endeavored to purchase provisions from emigrants on the Lander road, but without success. It appeared that the night previous, some Indians had fired on an emigrant train, and wounded one man and stolen a horse and some cattle; also, that on the Thursday preceding, four animals had been stolen from an emigrant train bound for the Salmon River diggings. Seven of the emigrants had pursued the red skins, had a skirmish with them, losing one man killed and having three wounded, but recovering no stock.
On the 23d another ineffectual attempt was made to purchase provisions at any price from the emigrants. The party traveled thirty-five miles to the base of the Green River Mountains, passing an Indian camping place, where a considerable amount of beef was lying around, not very sweet, the Indians having evidently been disturbed at their rations-indications of fight and flight existing, among which was an emigrant's cap, ornamented with a bullet hole.
On the 24th the party traveled over fifty miles, crossing the north fork of Green River, and the south and middle forks of Snake River, (alias Lewis' Fork, Shoshone River.) Thirty miles of the same was down the above south fork, (north side.) over a horrible road, composed of precipices, rocks, land slides, ravines, and everything of that rough nature. Two animals were found this day, and it was discovered from the track that the retreating Indians had considerable stock other than that stolen from the vicinity of Fort Bridger.
On the 25th Lieut. RAWLINGS, with eighteen men, retuned toward Fort Bridger, as many of the animals of the party were "giving out." The main party traveled on about thirty miles, to the north fork of Snake River. This was a hard day's travel—first up a rough and thickly wooded ca√±on, next along a grassy valley, where the trail was so diffused as to require much time to keep it; and then the fording of the Snake River, in one of the deep, swift currents of which, DONAL MCNICOL, with his horse, was drowned. Here eight pounds of flour constituted the stock of provender for over forty men. Three colts and a mule were found this day.
On the 26th the company continued the pursuit over a steep and thickly-wooded mountain, where were signs of white man's travel thirty years ago, one name carved on a tree being "J. M. CRIST, July 11, 1832." After about thirty-five miles' travel, and the finding of four mares, badly used and abused, the pursuing party, having no provisions, and their animals being completely worn out, concluded to give up the chase and return, the Indian trail then leading directly north, at the base of the Snake River Mountains, and the thieves apparently not many hours ahead of the pursuing party. But an Indians will make an animal go while life is left. If its back is galled, the saddle can be removed, a little sand put on the sore, the saddle replaced, and the red-skin has a good as a fresh horse for a few miles further.
The company had a hard time again in crossing the swift, wide, and in some places, deep streams of the Snake River. A horse, a saddle or two, a revolver and a trifle of baggage were lost in the operation, and another horse was killed to feed the hungry men.
On the 1st of August, the horse flesh having passed away, an emigrant company was intercepted, and one hundred pounds of flour, with a taste of bacon and tobacco, were purchased at considerable prices; but when the whole party came up with the emigrants, kindness prevailed. The next day Snake River Ferry was reached, when provisions were at hand in sufficiency.
LOT and his company expect to be mustered out of service to-morrow.
The mails now arrive regularly from the East, bringing newspapers fifteen days from New-York. Confidence in the eastern mail concern has been considerably shaken during the past three or four months, but regular and efficient service will do much toward creating new faith in the stages. The losses to the community has been not a little, but as the Government repairs no mail failure, all the people have to do is to exercise their fortitude and continue to hope for progress and improvement.
As I anticipated, the election resulted in the triumph of the one ticket published the "Opposition" not making itself felt in the returns.
A letter writer in the Mormon emigration now leaving the Missouri country, estimates that emigration at about 5,000 this season, and the California emigration at about 15,000. . . .
E. R. V. WRIGHT.
FOREST HOME, New-Jersey, Aug. 28, 1862.