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History Mormon Battalion Chapter 03 Section B

A Missouri farmer, learning that “Joe” belonged to the Mormon community, informed him that he had had the honor of having his colonel to dine with him, and represented him as being a fine appearing man and a gentleman. On receiving a description of the colonel’s person and dress, “Joe” concluded that it could have been no other than our eccentric friend, C. An hour or two after “Joe’s” arrival, but not until the story of the fine dinner had been pretty well circulated through our camp, in came the missing man, C. No sooner did he enter the lines than one of the boys swung his hat, crying out at the top of his voice, “Three cheers for Colonel C.,” which, we believe, were several times repeated, accompanied with loud hurrahs throughout the camp. Col. Allen, who was lying on the ground in his tent, hearing the noise, sprang to his feet and hastily inquired what was the cause of it. On being informed, instead of being angry and ordering him under arrest, as many a stiff-collared fourth corporal would have done, the noble, high-minded commander settled himself down again and laughed and shook his sides until he almost wept. To this day there are many members of the Battalion to whom our friend is known only as Colonel C.

I trust my genial friend, for whom I entertain a high regard, will pardon me for taking away a portion of the monotony of our narrative at his expense.

The distance from Council Bluffs to Fort Leavenworth is in round numbers two hundred miles, directly down the Missouri river.

On the day of our arrival at the garrison we received the following:

(ORDER No. 4.)

“HEAD QUARTERS, MORMON BATTALION,

FORT LEAVENWORTH,

August 1, 1846.

“Dr. George B. Sanderson, of Platte County, Missouri, is hereby appointed a surgeon in the United States Army, to serve with the Mormon Battalion of volunteers. This appointment is subject to the approval of the President of the United States.

Surgeon Sanderson will, on his acceptance of this appointment, make his proper requisition on the medical officer of this post for such medical supplies as he may deem necessary for the service of five hundred men for six months, or the march of these men to California.

J. ALLEN, Lt. Col., Commanding.”

On the 3rd of August, companies A, B and C drew their arms, which consisted of U. S. flint-lock muskets, with a few cap-lock yaugers for sharp shooting and hunting purposes. The usual accoutrements were also drawn, as well as camp equipage and provisions, the want of which had been seriously felt on the way.

Quite a crowd gathered around the arsenal before it was opened, each seeming desirous to get the first gun issued Col. Allen accompanied the officer who was to issue the arms, and, seeing the crowd around the door, in his good-natured, humorous way, said, “Stand back, boys; don’t be in a hurry to get your muskets; you will want to throw the d-d things away before you get to California.”

On the 4th, companies D and E drew their arms, accoutrements, etc.

Volunteers from different parts of the country arrived at the garrison daily, to get their outfits. Many of them were rough, desperate-looking characters. Quarreling and fighting were not unusual among those from Upper Missouri. While we remained at the Fort, one of the Missouri volunteers, from Platte Co., struck a comrade with a hatchet, inflicting a dangerous, perhaps mortal, wound.

On the 5th we drew forty-two dollars each, as clothing money for the year. Most the money was sent back by Elder P. P. Pratt and others for the support of the families of the soldiers, and for the gathering of the poor from Nauvoo. There was also a donation to aid Elders P. P. Pratt, O. Hyde and John Taylor, of the quorum of the Twelve Apostles, in pursuing their mission to England, and to assist Elder J. C. Little to go upon his mission to the Eastern States. The paymaster was much surprised to see every man able to sign his own name to the pay roll, as, according to a reliable journal in my possession, only about one in three of the Missouri volunteers, who drew their pay previously, could put his signature to that document.

The members of the Mormon Battalion, too, were not only more intelligent than their fellows, but they were more submissive and obedient to their commanding officers. Col. Allen was heard to say, in conversation with a prominent officer of the garrison, that he “had not been under the necessity of giving the word of command the second time. The men, though unacquainted with military tactics, were willing to obey orders.” While at the garrison a company election was held, resulting in the election of one 3rd Lieutenant, one 4th Lieutenant and one 4th Corporal for each company.

Private John R. Murdock, of company B, (now President of the Beaver stake of Zion and member of the Utah Legislature) while endeavoring to train a six-mule team was run over by the wagon while the hind wheels were locked, and seriously hurt.

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