Townsend's Across the Rockies to the Columbia


CHAPTER I

Arrival at St. Louis - Preparations for the journey - Saque Indians - Their appearance, dress, and manners - Squaws - Commencement of a pedestrian tour - Sandhill cranes - Prairie settlers - Their hospitality - Wild pigeons, golden plovers and prairie hens - Mr. P. and his daughters - An abundant repast - Simplicity of the prairie maidens - A deer and turkey hunt - Loutre Lick hotel - Unwelcome bed-fellows - A colored Charon - Comfortable quarters - Young men of the west - Reflections on leaving home - Loquacity of the inhabitants - Gray squirrels - Boonville - Parroquets - Embarkation in a steamboat - Large catfish - Accident on board the boat - Arrival at Independence - Description of the town - Procure a supply of horses - Encampment of the Rocky Mountain company - Character of the men - Preparation for departure - Requisites of a leader - Backwoods familiarity - Milton Sublette and his band - Rev. Jason Lee, the missionary - A letter from home - Mormonites - Military discipline and its consequences.

On the evening of the 24th of March, 1834, Mr. NUTTALL and myself arrived at St. Louis, in the steamboat Boston, from Pittsburg.

On landing, we had the satisfaction to learn that Captain WYETH was already there, and on the afternoon of the next day we called upon him, and consulted him in reference to the outfit which it would be necessary to purchase for the journey. He accompanied us to a store in the town, and selected a number of articles for us, among which were several pairs of leathern pantaloons, enormous over-coats, made of green blankets, and white wool hats, with round crowns, fitting tightly to the head, brims five inches wide, and almost hard enough to resist a rifle ball.

The day following we saw about one hundred Indians of the Saque tribe, who had left their native forests for the purpose of treating for the sale of some land at the Jefferson barracks. They were dressed and decorated in the true primitive style; their heads shaved closely, and painted with alternate stripes of fiery red and deep black, leaving only the long scalping tuft, in which was interwoven a quantity of elk hair and eagle's feathers. Each man was furnished with a good blanket, and some had an under dress of calico, but the greater number were entirely naked to the waist. The faces and bodies of the men were, almost without an exception, fantastically painted, the predominant color being deep red, with occasionally a few stripes of dull clay white around the eyes and mouth. I observed one whose body was smeared with light colored clay, interspersed with black streaks. They were unarmed, with the exception of tomahawks and knives. The chief of the band, (who is said to be Black Hawk's father-in-law) was a large dignified looking man, of perhaps fifty-five years of age, distinguished from the rest, by his richer habiliments, a more profuse display of trinkets in his ears, (which were cut and gashed in a frightful manner to receive them,) and above all, by a huge necklace made of the claws of the grizzly bear. The squaws, of whom there were about twenty, were dressed very much like the men, and at a little distance could scarcely be distinguished from them. Among them was an old, superannuated crone, who, soon after her arrival, had been presented with a broken umbrella. The only use that she made of it was to wrench the plated ends from the whalebones, string them on a piece of wire, take her knife from her belt, with which she deliberately cut a slit of an inch in length along the upper rim of her ear, and insert them in it. I saw her soon after this operation had been performed; her cheeks were covered with blood, and she was standing with a vast deal of assumed dignity among her tawny sisters, who evidently envied her the possession of the worthless baubles.

28th.- Mr. N. and myself propose starting to-morrow on foot towards the upper settlements, a distance of about three hundred miles. We intend to pursue our journey leisurely, as we have plenty of time before us, and if we become tired, we can enter the stage which will probably overtake us.

29th.- This morning our Indians returned from the barracks, where I understand they transacted their business satisfactorily. I went on board the boat again to see them. I feel very much interested in them, as they are the first Indians I have ever seen who appear to be in a state of uncultivated nature, and who retain the savage garb and manners of their people. They had engaged the entire covered deck for their especial use, and were lolling about in groups, wrapped in their blankets. Some were occupied in conversation, others seemed more contemplative, and appeared to be thinking deeply, probably of the business which brought them amongst us. Here and there two might be seen playing a Spanish game with cards, and some were busily employed in rendering themselves more hideous with paint. To perform this operation, the dry paint is folded in a thin muslin or gauze cloth, tied tightly and beaten against the face, and a small looking-glass is held in the other hand to direct them where to apply it. Two middle aged squaws were frying beef, which they distributed around to the company in wooden bowls, and several half loaves of bread were circulating rapidly amongst them, by being tossed from one to another, each taking a huge bite of it. There were among the company, several younger females, but they were all so hard favored that I could not feel much sympathy with them, and was therefore not anxious to cultivate their acquaintance. There was another circumstance, too, that was not a very attractive one; I allude to the custom so universal amongst Indians, of seeking for vermin in each other's heads, and then eating them. The fair damsels were engaged in this way during most of the time that I remained on board, only suspending their delectable occupation to take their bites of bread as it passed them in rotation. The effect upon my person was what an Irishman would call the attraction of repulsion, as I found myself almost unconsciously edging away until I halted at a most respectable distance from the scene of slaughter.

At noon, Mr. N. and myself started on our pedestrian tour, Captain Wyeth offering to accompany us a few miles on the way. I was glad to get clear of St. Louis, as I felt uncomfortable in many respects while there, and the bustle and restraint of a town was any thing but agreeable to me. We proceeded over a road generally good, a low dry prairie, mostly heavily timbered, the soil underlaid with horizontal strata of limestone, abounding in organic remains, shells, coralines, &c., and arrived in the evening at Florisant, where we spent the night. The next day Captain Wyeth left us for St. Louis, and my companion and myself proceeded on our route. We observed great numbers of the brown, or sandhill crane, (Grus canadensis,) flying over us; some flocks were so high as to be entirely beyond the reach of vision, while their harsh, grating voices were very distinctly heard. We saw several flocks of the same cranes while ascending the Mississippi, several days since. At about noon, we crossed the river on a boat worked by horses, and stopped at a little town called St. Charles.

We find it necessary, both for our comfort and convenience, to travel very slowly, as our feet are already becoming tender, and that we may have an opportunity of observing the country, and collecting interesting specimens. Unfortunately for the pursuits of my companion, the plants (of which he finds a number that are rare and curious) are not yet in flower, and therefore of little use to him. The birds are in considerable numbers, among the principal of which is the large pileated woodpecker, (Picus pileatus.)

Mr. N. and myself are both in high spirits. We travel slowly, and without much fatigue, and when we arrive at a house, stop and rest, take a drink of milk, and chat with those we see. We have been uniformly well treated; the living is good, and very cheap, and at any house at which we stop the inhabitants are sure to welcome us to their hospitality and good cheer. They live comfortably, and without much labor; possess a fruitful and easily tilled soil, for which they pay the trifling sum of one dollar and a quarter per acre; they raise an abundance of good Indian corn, potatoes, and other vegetables; have excellent beef and pork, and, in short, every thing necessary for good, wholesome living.

31st.The road to-day was muddy and slippery, rendered so by a heavy rain which fell last night. This morning, we observed large flocks of wild pigeons passing over, and on the bare prairies were thousands of golden plovers; the ground was often literally covered with them for acres. I killed a considerable number. They were very fat, and we made an excellent meal of them in the evening. The prairie hen, or pinnated grouse, is also very numerous, but in these situations is shy, and difficult to be procured.

Towards evening we were overtaken by a bluff, jolly looking man, on horseback, who, as is usual, stopped, and entered into conversation with us. I saw immediately that he was superior to those we had been accustomed to meet. He did not ply us with questions so eagerly as most, and when he heard that we were naturalists, and were travelling in that capacity, he seemed to take considerable interest in us. He invited us to stop at his house, which was only a mile beyond, and as night was almost upon us, we accepted the invitation with cheerfulness. Upon arriving at his mansion, our good host threw wide his hospitable doors, and then with a formal, and rather ultra-dignified politeness, making us a low bow, said, "Gentlemen, my name is P., and I am very happy of your company." We seated ourselves in a large, and well-furnished parlor. Mr. P. excused himself for a few minutes, and soon returned, bringing in three fine looking girls, whom he introduced as his daughters. I took a particular fancy to one of them from a strong resemblance which she bore to one of my female friends at home. These girls were certainly very superior to most that I had seen in Missouri, although somewhat touched with the awkward bashfulness and prudery which generally characterizes the prairie maidens. They had lost their mother when young, and having no companions out of the domestic circle, and consequently no opportunity of aping the manners of the world, were perfect children of nature. Their father, however, had given them a good, plain education, and they had made some proficiency in needle work, as was evinced by numerous neatly worked samplers hanging in wooden frames around the room. Anon, supper was brought in. It consisted of pork chops, ham, eggs, Indian bread and butter, tea, coffee, milk, potatoes, preserved ginger, and though last, certainly not least in value, an enormous tin dish of plovers, (the contents of my game-bag,) fricasseed. Here was certainly a most abundant repast, and we did ample justice to it.

I endeavored to do the agreeable to the fair ones in the evening, and Mr. N. was monopolized by the father, who took a great interest in plants, and was evidently much gratified by the information my companion gave him on the subject.

The next morning when we rose, it was raining, and much had evidently fallen during the night, making the roads wet and muddy, and therefore unpleasant for pedestrians. I confess I was not sorry for this, for I felt myself very comfortably situated, and had no wish to take to the road. Mr. P. urged the propriety of our stopping at least another day, and the motion being seconded by his fair daughter, (my favorite,) it was irresistible. On the following morning the sun was shining brightly, the air was fresh and elastic, and the roads tolerably dry, so that there was no longer any excuse for tarrying, and we prepared for our departure. Our good host, grasping our hands, said that he had been much pleased with our visit, and hoped to see us again, and when I bid good bye to the pretty Miss P., I told her that if I ever visited Missouri again, I would go many miles out of my way to see her and her sisters. Her reply was unsophisticated enough. "Do come again, and come in May or June, for then there are plenty of prairie hens, and you can shoot as many as you want, and you must stay a long while with us, and we'll have nice times; good bye; I'm so sorry you're going."

April 4th. I rose this morning at daybreak, and left Mr. N. dreaming of weeds, in a little house at which we stopped last night, and in company with a long, lanky boy, (a son of the poor widow, our hostess,) set to moulding bullets in an old iron spoon, and preparing for deer hunting. The boy shouldered a rusty rifle, that looked almost antediluvian, and off we plodded to a thicket, two miles from the house. We soon saw about a dozen fine deer, and the boy, clapping his old firelock to his shoulder, brought down a beautiful doe at the distance of a full hundred yards. Away sprang the rest of the herd, and I crept round the thicket to meet them. They soon came up, and I fired my piece at a large buck, and wounded the poor creature in the leg; he went limping away, unable to overtake his companions; I felt very sorry, but consoled myself with the reflection that he would soon get well again.

We then gave up the pursuit, and turned our attention to the turkies, which were rather numerous in the thicket. They were shy, as usual, and, when started from their lurking places, ran away like deer, and hid themselves in the underwood. Occasionally, however, they would perch on the high limbs of the trees, and then we had some shots at them. In the course of an hour we killed four, and returned to the house, where, as I expected, Mr. N. was in a fever at my absence, and after a late, and very good breakfast, proceeded on our journey.

We find in this part of the country less timber in the same space than we have yet seen, and when a small belt appears, it is a great relief, as the monotony of a bare prairie becomes tiresome.

Towards evening we arrived at Loutre Lick. Here there is a place called a Hotel. A Hotel, forsooth! a pig-stye would be a more appropriate name. Every thing about it was most exceedingly filthy and disagreeable, but no better lodging was to be had, for it might not be proper to apply for accommodation at a private house in the immediate vicinity of a public one. They gave us a wretched supper, not half so good as we had been accustomed to, and we were fain to spend the evening in a comfortless, unfurnished, nasty barroom, that smelt intolerably of rum and whiskey, to listen to the profane conversation of three or four uncouth individuals, (among whom were the host and his brother,) and to hear long and disagreeably minute discussions upon horse-racing, gambling, and other vices equally unpleasant to us.

The host's brother had been to the Rocky Mountains, and soon learning our destination, gave us much unsought for advice regarding our method of journeying; painted in strong colors the many dangers and difficulties which we must encounter, and concluded by advising us to give up the expedition. My fast ebbing patience was completely exhausted. I told him that nothing that he could say would discourage us, -- that we went to that house in order to seek repose, and it was unfair to intrude conversation upon us unasked. The ruffian made some grumbling reply, and left us in quiet and undisturbed possession of our bench. We had a miserable time that night. The only spare bed in the house was so intolerably filthy that we dared not undress, and we had hardly closed our eyes before we were assailed by swarms of a vile insect, (the very name of which is offensive,) whose effluvia we had plainly perceived immediately as we entered the room. It is almost needless to say, that very early on the following morning, after paying our reckoning, and refusing the landlord's polite invitation to "liquorize," we marched from the house, shook the dust from our feet, and went elsewhere to seek a breakfast.

Soon after leaving, we came to a deep and wide creek, and strained our lungs for half an hour in vain endeavors to waken a negro boy who lived in a hut on the opposite bank, and who, we were told, would ferry us over. He came out of his den at last, half naked and rubbing his eyes to see who had disturbed his slumbers so early in the marning. We told him to hurry over, or we'd endeavor to assist him, and he came at last, with a miserable leaky little skiff that wet our feet completely. We gave him a pickayune for his trouble, and went on. We soon came to a neat little secluded cottage in the very heart of a thick forest, where we found a fine looking young man, with an interesting wife, and a very pretty child about six months old. Upon being told that we wanted some breakfast, the woman tucked up her sleeves, gave the child to her husband, and went to work in good earnest. In a very short time a capital meal was smoking on the board, and while we were partaking of the good cheer, we found our vexation rapidly evaporating. We complimented the handsome young hostess, patted the chubby cheeks of the child, and were in a good humor with every body.

6th. Soon after we started this morning, we were overtaken by a stage which was going to Fulton, seven miles distant, and as the roads were somewhat heavy, we concluded to make use of this convenience. The only passengers were three young men from the far west, who had been to the eastward purchasing goods, and were then travelling homeward. Two of them evidently possessed a large share of what is called mother wit, and so we had jokes without number. Some of them were not very refined, and perhaps did not suit the day very well, (it being the Sabbath,) yet none of them were really offensive, but seemed to proceed entirely from an exuberance of animal spirits.

In about an hour and a half we arrived at Fulton, a pretty little town, and saw the villagers in their holiday clothes parading along to church. The bell at that moment sounded, and the peal gave rise to many reflections. It might be long ere I should hear the sound of the "church-going bell" again. I was on to a far far country, and I did not know that I should ever be permitted to revisit my own. I felt that I was leaving the scenes of my childhood; the spot which had witnessed all the happiness I ever knew, the home where all my affections were centered. I was entering a land of strangers, and would be compelled hereafter to mingle with those who might look upon me with indifference, or treat me with neglect.

These reflections were soon checked, however. We took a light lunch at the tavern where we stopped. I shouldered my gun, Mr. N. his stick and bundle, and off we trudged again, westward, ho! We soon lost sight of the prairie entirely, and our way lay through a country thickly covered with heavy timber, the roads very rough and stony, and we had frequently to ford the creeks on our route, the late freshets having carried away the bridges.

Our accommodation at the farm houses has generally been good and comfortable, and the inhabitants obliging, and anxious to please. They are, however, exceedingly inquisitive, propounding question after question, in such quick succession as scarcely to allow you breathing time between them. This kind of catechising was at first very annoying to us, but we have now become accustomed to it, and have hit upon an expedient to avoid it in a measure. The first question generally asked, is, "where do you come from, gentlemen?" We frame our answer somewhat in the style of Dr. Franklin. "We come from Pennsylvania; our names, Nuttall and Townsend; we are travelling to Independence on foot, for the purpose of seeing the country to advantage, and we intend to proceed from thence across the mountains to the Pacific. Have you any mules to sell?" The last clause generally changes the conversation, and saves us trouble. To a stranger, and one not accustomed to the manners of the western people, this kind of interrogating seems to imply a lack of modesty and common decency, but it is certainly not so intended, each one appearing to think himself entitled to gain as much intelligence regarding the private affairs of a stranger, as a very free use of his lingual organ can procure for him.

We found the common gray squirrel very abundant in some places, particularly in the low bottoms along water courses; in some situations we saw them skipping on almost every tree. On last Christmas day, at a squirrel hunt in this neighborhood, about thirty persons killed the astonishing number of twelve hundred, between the rising and setting of the sun.

This may seem like useless barbarity, but it is justified by the consideration that all the crops of corn in the country are frequently destroyed by these animals. This extensive extermination is carried on every year, and yet it is said that their numbers do not appear to be much diminished.

About mid-day on the 7th, we passed through a small town called Columbia, and stopped in the evening at Rocheport, a little village on the Missouri river. We were anxious to find a steam-boat bound for Independence, as we feared we might linger too long upon the road to make the necessary preparations for our contemplated journey.

On the following day, we crossed the Missouri, opposite Rocheport, in a small skiff. The road here, for several miles, winds along the bank of the river, amid fine groves of sycamore and Athenian poplars, then stretches off for about three miles, and does not again approach it until you arrive at Boonville. It is by far the most hilly road that we have seen, and I was frequently reminded, while travelling on it, of our Chester county. We entered the town of Boonville early in the afternoon, and took lodgings in a very clean, and respectably kept hotel. I was much pleased with Boonville. It is the prettiest town I have seen in Missouri; situated on the bank of the river, on an elevated and beautiful spot, and overlooks a large extent of lovely country. The town contains two good hotels, (but no grog shops, properly so called,) several well-furnished stores, and five hundred inhabitants. It was laid out thirty years ago by the celebrated western pioneer, whose name it bears.

We saw here vast numbers of the beautiful parrot of this country, (the Psittacus carolinensis.) They flew around us in flocks, keeping a constant and loud screaming, as though they would chide us for invading their territory; and the splendid green and red of their plumage glancing in the sunshine, as they whirled and circled within a few feet of us, had a most magnificent appearance. They seem entirely unsuspicious of danger, and after being fired at, only huddle closer together, as if to obtain protection from each other, and as their companions are falling around them, they curve down their necks, and look at them fluttering upon the ground, as though perfectly at a loss to account for so unusual an occurrence. It is a most inglorious sort of shooting; down right, cold-blooded murder.

On the afternoon of the 9th, a steamboat arrived, on board of which we were surprised and pleased to find Captain Wyeth, and our "plunder." We embarked immediately, and soon after, were puffing along the Missouri, at the rate of seven miles an hour. When we stopped in the afternoon to "wood," we were gratified by a sight of one of the enormous catfish of this river and the Mississippi, weighing full sixty pounds. It is said, however, that they are sometimes caught of at least double this weight. They are excellent eating, coarser, but quite as good as the common small catfish of our rivers. There is nothing in the scenery of the river banks to interest the traveller particularly. The country is generally level and sandy, relieved only by an occasional hill, and some small rocky acclivities.

A shocking accident happened on board during this trip. A fine looking black boy (a slave of one of the deck passengers) was standing on the platform near the fly-wheel. The steam had just been stopped off, and the wheel was moving slowly by the impetus it had acquired. The poor boy unwittingly thrust his head between the spokes; a portion of the steam was at that moment let on, and his head and shoulders were torn to fragments. We buried him on shore the same day; the poor woman, his mistress, weeping and lamenting over him as for her own child. She told me she had brought him up from an infant; he had been as an affectionate son to her, and for years her only support.

March 20th. - On the morning of the 14th, we arrived at Independence landing, and shortly afterwards, Mr. N. and myself walked to the town, three miles distant. The country here is very hilly and rocky, thickly covered with timber, and no prairie within several miles. The site of the town is beautiful, and very well selected, standing on a high point of land, and overlooking the surrounding country, but the town itself is very indifferent; the houses, (about fifty,) are very much scattered, composed of logs and clay, and are low and inconvenient. There are six or eight stores here, two taverns, and a few tipling houses. As we did not fancy the town, nor the society that we saw there, we concluded to take up our residence at the house on the landing until the time of starting on our journey. We were very much disappointed in not being able to purchase any mules here, all the salable ones having been bought by the Santa Fee traders, several weeks since. Horses, also, are rather scarce, and are sold at higher prices than we had been taught to expect, the demand for them at this time being greater than usual. Mr. N. and myself have, however, been so fortunate as to find five excellent animals amongst the hundreds of wretched ones offered for sale, and have also engaged a man to attend to packing our loads, and perform the various duties of our camp.

The men of the party, to the number of about fifty, are encamped on the bank of the river, and their tents whiten the plain for the distance of half a mile. I have often enjoyed the view on a fine moonlight evening from the door of the house, or perched upon a high hill immediately over the spot. The beautiful white tents, with a light gleaming from each, the smouldering fires around them, the incessant hum of the men, and occasionally the lively notes of a bacchanalian song, softened and rendered sweeter by distance. I probably contemplate these and similar scenes with the more interest, as they exhibit the manner in which the next five months of my life are to be spent.

We have amongst our men, a great variety of dispositions. Some who have not been accustomed to the kind of life they are to lead in future, look forward to it with eager delight, and talk of stirring incidents and hair-breadth 'scapes. Others who are more experienced seem to be as easy and unconcerned about it as a citizen would be in contemplating a drive of a few miles into the country. Some have evidently been reared in the shade, and not accustomed to hardships, but the majority are strong, able-bodied men, and many are almost as rough as the grizzly bears, of their feats upon which they are fond of boasting.

During the day the captain keeps all his men employed in arranging and packing a vast variety of goods for carriage. In addition to the necessary clothing for the company, arms, ammunition, &c., there are thousands of trinkets of various kinds, beads, paint, bells, rings, and such trumpery, intended as presents for the Indians, as well as objects of trade with them. The bales are usually made to weigh about eighty pounds, of which a horse carries two.

I am very much pleased with the manner in which Captain W. manages his men. He appears admirably calculated to gain the good will, and ensure the obedience of such a company, and adopts the only possible mode of accomplishing his end. They are men who have been accustomed to act independently; they possess a strong and indomitable spirit which will never succumb to authority, and will only be conciliated by kindness and familiarity. I confess I admire this spirit. It is noble; it is free and characteristic, but for myself, I have not been accustomed to seeing it exercised, and when a rough fellow comes up without warning, and slaps me on the shoulder, with, "stranger what for a gun is that you carry ?" I start, and am on the point of making an angry reply, but I remember where I am, check the feeling instantly, and submit the weapon to his inspection. Captain W. may frequently be seen sitting on the ground, surrounded by a knot of his independents, consulting them as to his present arrangements and future movements, and paying the utmost deference to the opinion of the least among them.

We were joined here by Mr. Milton Sublette, a trader and trapper of some ten or twelve years' standing. It is his intention to travel with us to the mountains, and we are very glad of his company, both on account of his intimate acquaintance with the country, and the accession to our band of about twenty trained hunters, "true as the steel of their tried blades," who have more than once followed their brave and sagacious leader over the very track which we intend to pursue. He appears to be a man of strong sense and courteous manners, and his men are enthusiastically attached to him.

Five missionaries, who intend to travel under our escort, have also just arrived. The principal of these is a Mr. Jason Lee, (a tall and powerful man, who looks as though he were well calculated to buffet difficulties in a wild country,) his nephew, Mr. Daniel Lee, and three younger men of respectable standing in society, who have arrayed themselves under the missionary banner, chiefly for the gratification of seeing a new country, and participating in strange adventures.

My favorites, the birds, are very numerous in this vicinity, and I am therefore in my element. Parroquets are plentiful in the bottom lands, the two species of squirrel are abundant, and rabbits, turkies, and deer are often killed by our people.

I was truly rejoiced to receive yesterday a letter from my family. I went to the office immediately on my arrival here, confidently expecting to find one lying there for me; I was told there was none, and I could not believe it, or would not; I took all the letters in my hand, and examined each of them myself, and I suppose that during the process my expressions of disappointment were "loud and deep," as I observed the eyes of a number of persons in the store directed towards me with manifest curiosity and surprise. The obtuse creatures could not appreciate my feelings. I was most anxious to receive intelligence from home, as some of the members of the family were indisposed when I left, and in a few days more I should be traversing the uncultivated prairie and the dark forest, and perhaps, never hear from my home again. The letter came at last, however, and was an inexpressible consolation to me.

The little town of Independence has within a few weeks been the scene of a brawl, which at one time threatened to be attended with serious consequences, but which was happily settled without bloodshed. It had been for a considerable time the stronghold of a sect of fanatics, called Mormons, or Mormonites, who, as their numbers increased, and they obtained power, showed an inclination to lord it over the less assuming inhabitants of the town. This was a source of irritation which they determined to rid themselves of in a summary manner, and accordingly the whole town rose, en masse, and the poor followers of the prophet were forcibly ejected from the community. They took refuge in the little town of Liberty, on the opposite side of the river, and the villagers here are now in a constant state of feverish alarm. Reports have been circulated that the Mormons are preparing to attack the town, and put the inhabitants to the sword, and they have therefore stationed sentries along the river for several miles, to prevent the landing of the enemy. The troops parade and study military tactics every day, and seem determined to repel, with spirit, the threatened invasion. The probability is, that the report respecting the attack, is, as John Bull says, "all humbug," and this training and marching has already been a source of no little annoyance to us, as the miserable little skeleton of a saddler who is engaged to work for our party, has neglected his business, and must go a soldiering in stead. A day or two ago, I tried to convince the little man that he was of no use to the army, for if a Mormon were to say pooh at him, it would blow him away beyond the reach of danger or of glory; but he thought not, and no doubt concluded that he was a "marvelous proper man," so we were put to great inconvenience waiting for our saddles.