* See his remarks as contained in his History of Illinois, page 269.
Ford’s History of Illinois, page 246.
* Deseret News, No, 29, Sept. 23, 1857, p. 226.
* Ford’s History of Illinois, page 330, 331.
* Deseret News, No 30, Sep. 30, 1857, page 233.
* Ford’s History of Illinois, page 333.
* The Deseret News gives the following account of Joseph and Hyrum Smith’s passing through the troops in Carthage:
“Carthage, June 25th, 1844.
“Quarter past 9. The governor came and invited Joseph to walk with him through the troops. Joseph solicited a few moment’s private conversation with him, which the governor refused.
“While refusing, the governor looked down at his shoes, as though he was ashamed. They then walked through the crowd, with Brigadier General Miner, R. Demming, and Dr. Richards to General Demming’s quarters. The people appeared quiet until a company of Carthage Grays flocked round the doors of General Demming in an uproarious manner, of which notice was sent to the governor. In the meantime the governor had ordered the McDonough troops to be drawn up in line, for Joseph and Hyrum to pass in front of them, they having requested that they might have a clear view of the General Smiths. Joseph had a conversation with the governor for about ten minutes, when he again pledged the faith of the State that he and his friends should be protected from violence.
“Robinson, the post-master, said, on report of martial law being proclaimed in Nauvoo, he had stopped the mail, and notified the post-master general of the state of things in Hancock County.
“From the general’s quarters Joseph and Hyrum went in front of the lines, in a hollow square of a company of Carthage Grays. At seven minutes before ten they arrived in front of the lines, and passed before the whole, Joseph being on the right of General Demming and Hyrum on his left, Elders Richards, Taylor and Phelps following. Joseph and Hyrum were introduced by Governor Ford about twenty times along the line as General Joseph Smith and General Hyrum Smith, the governor walking in front on the left. The Carthage Grays refused to receive them by that introduction, and some of the officers threw up their hats, drew their swords, and said they would introduce themselves to the damned `Mormons’ in a different style. The governor mildly entreated them not to act so rudely, but their excitement increased; the governor, however, succeeded in pacifying them by making a speech, and promising them that they should have `full satisfaction.’ General Smith and party returned to their lodgings at five minutes past ten.” Deseret News, No. 35, Nov. 4, 1857, page 274.
* -“Deseret News,” No. 38, Nov. 25, 1857, p. 297.
* -Nine children were born the first night the women camped out. “Sugar Creek,” February 5.
* -“One of the company having a copy of Mdme Cottin’s “Elizabeth,” it was so sought after that some read it from the wagons by moonlight. They were materially sustained, too, by the practice of psalmody, “keeping up the songs of Zion, and passing along Doxologies from front to rear when the breath froze on their eyelashes.”
* -Reverend Dr. Morton, of Philadelphia.
-It is certain that there is no sickness among the present inhabitants of this region comparable to that of 1846.
-This camp was moved by the beginning of October to winter quarters on the river, where, also, there was considerable sickness before the cold weather. I am furnished with something over six hundred as the number of burials in the grave yard there.
-I knew an orphan boy, for instance, who came on by himself at this time afoot, starting with no other provision than his trowser’s pocket full of biscuit, given him from a steamboat on the Mississippi.
A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War. 1846-1847.
Mormon Battalion History. By D. Tyler. Chapter I.
From a perusal of the foregoing chapters, the reader will be somewhat acquainted with the condition of the Latter-day Saints previous to and at the time of the mustering of the Mormon Battalion; and indeed, with some subsequent events also, which are anticipated in the address of General Kane. However, that the circumstances connected with the raising of the Battalion may be fully understood, some further explanation should be given.
From the time the Saints first consented to leave Nauvoo in order to secure freedom from persecution, rumors and speculations were rife as to their probable destination. It was confidently asserted by many persons in authority that the Government would interfere to prevent them, if they attempted to journey west of the Rocky Mountains. Governor Ford, in writing to Sheriff Backenstos as early as Dec. 29, 1845, expressed the belief that the Government would prevent their removal, as they would be likely to “join the British.” Soon afterwards Amos Kendall, ex-Postmaster General, who claimed to be familiar with the plans of the President and Cabinet, also informed Elder Samuel Brannan that such was the intention. They were to be prevented upon the plea that it was contrary to law for an armed force from the United States to invade the dominion of another government. Of course, the Saints did not propose to go as a hostile force, but as peaceable citizens, seeking a home. They had, however, suffered so much in the past without cause, that this new threat was regarded with apprehension. Conciliatary letters were therefore written from Nauvoo to Hon. Stephen A. Douglas and several other members of Congress to secure their influence in opposition to such a measure. Efforts were also made by the authorities of the Church to obtain Government patronage while journeying westward with a view to securing protection from persecution as well a means of subsistence.
Oregon at that time was in possession of the United States, and President Polk had recommended to Congress that stockade forts be built along the overland route to that distant part, as a protection to emigrants. In anticipation of a law being passed to this effect, the Saints endeavored to secure the work of building the forts. They knew they could do the work as well and as cheap as any others, as they expected to travel some distance in that direction. Besides, the means to be earned by such work would greatly aid in supporting them; and the fact of their being in the employ of the Government might serve as a guaranty of their good faith.
In alluding to this, in a circular issued by the High Council, at Nauvoo, Jan. 20, 1846, it was stated that, “Should hostilities arise between the Government of the United States and any other power, in relation to the right of possessing the territory of Oregon we are on hand to sustain the United states government to that country. It is geographically ours; and of right no foreign power should hold dominion there; and if our services are required to prevent it, those services will be cheerfully rendered according to our ability.”
President Young also wrote to Elder J. C. Little who was presiding over the Saints in the New England States on the 26th of Jan., 1846, as follows: “If our Government should offer facilities for emigrating to the western coast, embrace those facilities if possible. As a wise and faithful man, take every honorable advantage of the times you can. Be thou a savior and a deliverer of the people, and let virtue integrity and truth be your motto-salvation and glory the prize for which you contend.”
On receipt of this letter, Elder Little obtained letters of introduction to Vice President Dallas, Hon. George Bancroft, Secretary of the Navy, and other officials at Washington, and soon afterwards proceeded to the seat of government. He obtained an interview with President Polk, and also called upon Hon. Amos Kendall, ex-Postmaster General, who promised to take an interest in his case and see the President about it.
Two days subsequently he was informed by Mr. Kendall that the President designed to take possession of California by the aid of the “Mormons,” who would receive orders to push through, take the country and fortify it in the name of the United States.
To execute his design Elder Little was to go forthwith to the camps and raise one thousand picked men to make a dash into and take possession of the country as before stated. They were to have their own officers except the commander, who was to be an appointee of the President. Another thousand were to be sent by way of Cape Horn in a U. S. transport, for the same service.
This was the plan which the President laid before the Cabinet.
Elder Little remained at Washington several days, awaiting definite instructions in regard to the matter, and in the meantime addressed an appeal to the President, setting forth some of the grievances of the Saints, alluding to their intention to journey westward and testifying to their loyalty.
Afterwards Elder Little had another interview with the President, which lasted about three hours. The President informed him that he had read the petition with interest, and that his people should be protected as good citizens, which he believed them to be.
Before leaving, however, the Elder learned, by a subsequent interview, that the design of the President had been changed, and that only five hundred men would be called for. He also learned that the President had instructed the Secretary of War to make out dispatches to Colonel Kearney, commander of the Army of the West, relative to the contemplated Mormon Battalion.
The foregoing will perhaps be sufficient to give the reader a general idea as to how the plan of raising the Battalion was at first conceived.
I now give Colonel Kearney’s order to Captain Allen.
“HEAD QUARTERS, ARMY OF THE WEST,
“June 19, 1846.
“It is understood that there is a large body of Mormons who are desirous of emigrating to California, for the purpose of settling in that country, and I have, therefore, to direct that you will proceed to their camps and endeavor to raise from among them four or five companies of volunteers to join me in my expedition to that country, each company to consist of any number between seventy-three and one hundred and nine; the officers of each company will be a captain, first-lieutenant and second lieutenant, who will be elected by the privates and subject to your approval, and the captains then to appoint the non-commissioned officers, also subject to your approval. The companies, upon being thus organized, will be mustered by you into the service of the United States, and from that day will commence to receive the pay, rations and other allowances given to the other infantry volunteers, each according to his rank. You will, upon mustering into service the fourth company, be considered as having the rank, pay and emoluments of a lieutenant-colonel of infantry, and are authorized to appoint an adjutant, sergeant-major and quartermaster-sergeant for the battalion.
“The companies, after being organized, will be marched to this post, where they will be armed and prepared for the field, after which they will, under your command, follow on my trail in the direction of Santa Fe, and where you will receive further orders from me.
“You will, upon organizing the companies, require provisions, wagons, horses, mules, etc. You must purchase everything that is necessary, and give the necessary drafts upon the quartermaster and commissary departments at this post, which drafts will be paid upon presentation.
“You will have the Mormons distinctly to understand that I wish to have them as volunteers for twelve months; that they will be marched to California, receiving pay and allowances during the above time, and at its expiration they will be discharged, and allowed to retain, as their private property, the guns and accoutrements furnished to them at this post.
“Each company will be allowed four women as laundresses, who will travel with the company, receiving rations and other allowances given to the laundresses of our army.
“With the foregoing conditions, which are hereby pledged to the Mormons, and which will be faithfully kept by me and other officers in behalf of the government of the United States, I cannot doubt but that you will, in a few days, be able to raise five hundred young and efficient men for this expedition.
“Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
“To CAPTAIN JAMES ALLEN, (Signed) S. F. KEARNEY,
“First Reg. Dragoons, Colonel of First Dragoons.