History Mormon Battalion Chapter 10 Section A


Captain Higgins’ Detachment-Norman Sharp Accidentally Shot-Left to be Doctored By An Indian and Dies-Colonel Cooke Takes Command of the Battalion-His Orders

We will leave the main army for a season and return to the Arkansas river and follow Captain Higgins’ detachment to Pueblo, their winter quarters. This detachment left the Battalion at the last crossing of the Arkansas river on the 16th of September.

Our narrative will necessarily be very brief, having received no journal and but a few items by letter and verbally from members of the party.

After four days’ travel up the river, private Norman Sharp accidentally shot himself in the arm. He was so badly wounded it was deemed advisable to send him back a few miles to a friendly Indian village for treatment. The medicine man appeared very friendly and seemed almost certain he could cure him in a very few days. His treatment, however, was against his recovery. A warm fire was kept up day and night for about three days, when mortification set in and he died a stranger in a strange land. Mrs. Sharp and her sister, about ten years old, and Thomas Woolsey remained with him and did all their circumstances would permit for his recovery but to no avail. Woolsey and a squaw buried him. Peace to the remains of the faithful martyr until the resurrection morn, when he will be crowned with eternal life. Mrs. Sharp, the now bereaved widow with a sorrowful heart, her young sister and Wolsey, soon overtook the detachment, which had stopped to set wagon tires.

We have nothing more of importance until the arrival of the company at their destination; hence we will return to Santa Fe and accompany Captain James Brown, with a detachment of the sick to the same point.

Immediately after the arrival of the Battalion at Santa Fe, Colonel Cooke, who was there awaiting our arrival, assumed command, having been appointed to do so by General Kearney, who left Santa Fe some time previously. He greeted us with the following:

(Orders No. 7.)



October 13, 1846.

By virtue of my appointment, as Lieutenant Colonel of the Battalion of Volunteers, by the General commanding the Army of the West, and pursuant to his instructions contained in Order No. 33, of the 2nd of October, I hereby assume the command of that Battalion now encamped in this city.

First Lieutenant A. J. Smith, 1st dragoons, will receive actg. A. C. L., from Captain Grier, 1st dragoons, A. A. C. L., eight hundred dollars of specie funds belonging to the subsistence department.

Brevet Second Lieutenant George Stoneman, 1st dragoons, will perform the duties of Assistant Quartermaster on the expedition to Upper California. He will give the proper receipts for transportation, etc., not issued to the Captains of companies.

(Signed.) P. ST. GEORGE COOK.

Lieutenant Colonel Commanding.

(Orders No. 8.)


SANTA FE, October 15, 1846.

Agreeable to instructions from the Colonel commanding, Capt. Jas. Brown will take the command of the men reported by the assistant Surgeon as incapable, from sickness and debility, of undertaking the present march to California. The Lieutenant Colonel, commanding, deems that the laundresses on this march will be accompanied by much suffering and would be a great encumbrance to the expedition; and as nearly all are desirous of accompanying the detachment of invalids which will winter near the source of the Arkansas river, it is ordered that all be attached to Captain Brown’s party. The detachment will consist of Captain James Brown, three Sergeants, two Corporals, and sixteen privates of company C; First Lieutenant E. Luddington and ten privates of company B; one Sergeant and Corporal and twenty eight privates of company D; and one Sergeant and ten privates of company E, and four Laundresses from each company. Captain Brown will without delay require the necessary transportation and draw rations for twenty-one days. Captain Brown will march on the 17th inst. He will be furnished with a descriptive list of the detachment. He will take with him and give receipts for a full proportion of camp equipments.

(2) The commanding officer calls the particular attention of company commanders to the necessity of reducing the baggage as much as possible; transportation is deficient. The road most practicable is of deep sand and how soon we shall have to abandon the wagons it is impossible now to ascertain. Skillets and ovens cannot be taken, and but one camp kettle to a mess, of not less than ten men.

(3) Company commanders will make their requisitions on the Assistant Quarter Master, Captain W. M. D. McKissock, for mules and wagons, provision bags, pack saddles complete, and such other articles as are necessary for the outfit.

By order of


(Orders No. 9.)


SANTA FE, October 15, 1846.

(1) Sergeant Major J. H. Glines having been reported incapable of performing the march to California, he is assigned to company A, and will be borne on the rolls of that company accordingly.

(2) Sergeant James Ferguson, of company A, is appointed Sergeant Major of the Battalion. He will be obeyed and respected accordingly.

By order


(Signed) GEORGE P. DYKES, Adjutant.

(Orders No. 10.)

Sergeant J. J. Terry and D. Wilkin and Corporal J. Nowlan, of company C, preferring to accompany the detachment for Fort Pueblo, are hereby reduced to the rank.

(2) On recommendation of their company commander, Corporals Edward Martin and Daniel Tyler are promoted to the rank of Sergeant, and privates R. G. Brownell, Wm. Squires and John Fife are appointed Corporals, all in company C. They will be obeyed and respected accordingly.

By order


(Signed) G. P. DYKES, Adjutant.

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