George Washington Taggart's Writings
|N.B. The following transcription and notes were prepared by
George Washington Taggart's grandson, Spencer L. Taggart:
Note: ...four of Grandfather's letters to his wife, Fanny, are in the Church Historian's office. I have included them here as they are a part of the story of Grandfather's service in the Mormon Battalion. He explains, for example, simply but eloquently, why he volunteered and how difficult it was for him to do so. He also expresses his deep love and abiding concern for his wife and young daughter whom he had left in Nauvoo to fend for themselves. in short, the reader is able to get a glimpse not only of the pathos and emotional upheaval that he experienced but also of his personal integrity and pure devotion as he expressed it - to "the roling on of the Kingdom of God."
The letters were written in ink on 20 1/2" X 17 1/2" sheets of paper, folded to form an envelope, on which Grandfather wrote his wife's name and address.
Mount Pisgah July 8th 1846
Beloved and respected Wife, it is with grief, and disapointment although mingled with bright prospects of the future that I sit down to pen a few lines to you concerning the sudden change that is about to come across My calculations, I expect the disappointment wil be as great to you as to Myself, I have calculated from the time that I stoped at this place until this morning that I should see you and Eliza Ann before I left, but Brother B Young and Kimball came here yesterday from Council Bliffs for the purpose of raising out of the Camp 500 young Men to send over the Mountains this summer as united States troops under U,S, Officers the object of which you wil learn when you arive here I went to the Council this, Morning and stated your situation as near as I could calculate that it might be at this time and asked Council concerning the disposal of Myself and the council to Me was that I had better go Brother Brigham says that the families of those that go shal be taken care of, My faith is that you wil not murmur at My volunteering to absent myself from you for so long inasmuch as I go by council of the church, you may be asured Fanny it is a great disappointment and a wound to My natural feelings to tear Myself as it were away from My Family that I have not seen for five months, and when I have been immagining to Myself for the last week that you were almost in sight, but I believe that the God of Israel will order all things right for those that act through a pure desire for the welfare of his Kingdom this is the motive through which I hope always to act, My health is good and I hope the Lord has blessed you and Eliza Ann with this-blessing since I last heard from you which was by your letter of the 2d of June, take good care of Eliza Ann and tell Her that Her Father is sorry to go away and not see Her and Mother, but tel Her to be a good girl and not forget her Father, the articles of clothing that I left do not dispose of except the coat and that you may keep unless needcesity requires Sister Julia is well and wishes Me to give Her love to you and say that She wished to see you very much William is wel also, they expect to start from here soon, when you arive here go to Father Huntington or whoever may be the Councelers tel them your situation and they wil tel you what to do and help you if you need help which I expect you wil, I shal leave My tool Chest with the-Council of this place I shal leave tne things that you sent with Julia with some others in the tol Chest, it is now night and I must close for I have to start tomorrow morning, If I go with the expedition We probably shal not see each other for at least one year this wil seem a long time but the work and the will of the Lord be done I now say goodbye Fanny and Eli za Ann and may the Lord bless you with life and health and with every nesecary blessing and keep you steadfast in the principles of truth and virtue until We meet again, this is and shal be the prayer of your absent but afectionate Companion
George W Taggart to
Ps - if you can I wish you to keep the Chest of tools along with your other things,
Note: This was added in pencil -- When you arive here you wil find Sister Julia about 2 miles Southeast from Father Huntingtons if She is not gone She wil be with Father Parishes folks
|[Table of Contents]||A Short Sketch of his Travels with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints|
|N.B. The following transcription and notes were prepared by
George Washington Taggart's grandson, Spencer L. Taggart:
GEORGE W. TAGGART - A SHORT SKETCH
Introductory note: The above title is one that Grandfather George Washington Taggart himself used to describe a journal that he wrote during 1846-1847.
Lucy Goodrich Lind, a granddaughter, deposited this journal in the Church Historian's Office in Salt Lake City. It was written in two small notebooks (3 X 4½ inches and 4 X 6 inches); small enough, in fact, to have been carried easily in a jacket or shirt pocket. It was written more in the form of notes, possibly suggesting that Grandfather may have intended to complete the text sometime later.
The first entry was dated February 17, 1846; the last January 11, 1847. As the latter entry was ended in the midst of a sentence, the question may be raised as to whether Grandfather had written more and it was lost. There is no certain answer, but it is doubtful that he did, as several blank pages immediately follow. But three pages have been cut from the back of the notebook (Volume II). Further, it was customary for Grandfather to skip from one part of the notebook to another, leaving blank pages in between. After writing seventeen pages in volume is for' example, he turned it over and then proceeded from the back as if starting a new notebook for an additional eighteen pages.
Altogether, Grandfather wrote sixty-three pages, twenty-one in ink and forty-two in pencil. The latter are sometimes so light that they can be read only with care and difficulty. In addition, they can be neither machine-copied nor photo-copied satisfactorily. Moreover, the notebooks themselves are fragile and susceptible to becoming damaged when handled.
In view of these considerations and to assist future readers, I have made a typescript of the text exactly as it was written by Grandfather. I have retained his spelling (often different for the same word), capitalization, punctuation, style, phrasing, and sentence structure. I have also done the same with four of his letters of this period to his wife, Grandmother Fanny Parks Taggart, the originals of which are also on deposit in the Church Historian's Office.
George W. Taggart a short sketch of His travels with the Church of Jesus Christ of latter day Saints on their journey from the City of Joseph to the (space left blank) which commenced Feb 1846 Feb 17 I left Nauvoo in the Company commanded by John Scott leaving My family which consisted of My Wife Fanny and My Daughter Eliza Ann in Nauvoo, this I did by council of the Church William Huntington in particular who was Captain I think of the 25th hundred of which I was a member under the first organization of the Church into emigrating companies, the first day the 17th We crossed the Missippi and encamped for the night on the priary about one mile from the river the next day We travelled to shugar creek, where We came up with the body of the camp, here We remained until the 1st of March during which I returned to My Family in Nauvoo where I remained for 2 days in which time I received better title to some property which I held and put into the hands of the Trustees of the Church for disposal, I returned again to camp where our time was mostly spent in hearing council from the Twelve, gathering up provisions keeping up guard around the encampment and cutting wood and keeping fires, these things all being verry necessary, and the latter on account of it being very cold and snowy March lst the most of camp started from shugar creek and traveled westward over a broken country of priary with here and there small portions of timber we sufered concidderable in consequence of cold and wet weather and muddy roads, but we were encouredged and strengthened by the twelve and others of the brethern which kept us in good spirits and I thought that I could endure almost anything that might come although My health had been very bad the most part of the winter, but it came to pass that we traveled on and worked by the way for corned meat as oportunity presented and thus the Lord prospered us on our journey and gave us favour with the people that sojourned in the land, the camp of Israel kept togather as much as the nature of the case would admit, the camp crossed the shariton river about the 20th of March where We remained something like about 2 weeks in which time there was some prety severe weather, the camp after leaving the Shariton did not make any conciderable stop until they arived at locust creek, here We stoped again something like 2 weeks in consequence of rainy weather and bad roads, during our stay at this place the Company to which I belonged with Myself accomplished 30 or 40 dollars worth of labour for one fowler for which We received our pay and also kind treatment, after leaving this place our company under Capt Scott kept with the body of the Camp as much as possible until we arived at a small brook called Medicen here We pitched Our tents near a pleasant grove of small timber which was named Council grove for there Israel received council from some of the Twelve Apostles, after stoping at this place some 4 or 5 days between 20 and 30 of Capt Scotts Men with Myself were sent out into the neighbourhood of grand River in the State of Misouri in search of labour for the Company was nearly out of provisions, We started about 9 oclock in the morning 16 or 17 in number with nothing to eat but a small loaf of bread made of parched corn meal and 5 or 6 hard biscuit, the rest of the company was left to follow in our track in the After noon for they wished to stay at a council which was held in the morning, We travelled over the priary until about 4 oclook in the afternoon when We came to timber one of the Company was there lucky enough to shoot a wild hog and another a turkey, We were then provided with something for our Supper, We encamped for the night in a small point of timber cooked and eat our meat called on the Lord and retired to rest, the next morning before We got ready to start the rest of our company came up and took breakfast with us, after which We started for a settlement, after traveling about 3 hours We came to what is called Duncan settlement, here We immediatly got a job of work of one Harvey Duncan of hewing and raising a log house, the people were very much excited in consequence of having so many Mormons come into their neighbourhood, some were in favour of driving us out of the place by force and held 2 publick meetings to council on the expediency of such a plan, but the Duncans being Men of influence and not being in favour of such measures brought about so much oposition that the game of driving was frustrated, We were therefore permited to stay and prove ourselves which We did and got a good name, We laboured in this place six or seven weeks in which time We gathered up a good supply of oxen Cows and provisions, it was now concidered best to move for the main camp in as much as we had been sent for two or three times, We acordingly started about the first of June for Mount Pizgah a place where the Church were puting in crops, We started from Mo leaving 5 or 6 Men to finish up some grinding We arived at Scotts encampment on Rattlesnake hill on the evining of the same day that We left Misouri the next MornIng We riged up and started for pizgah We pased through a place called garden grove where some of the Saints had stoped for the season for the purpose of raising crops, We pased on makeing no stop at this place except to receive one the blue wagons which had been previously sent to garden grove, We met with no axidents on our way but arived at Pizgah about the 10th of June We here found A Stake organized for the time being with William Huntington President and Charles C Rich and Ezra T Benson Councel Scotts Company stoped here 8 or 10 days in which time I received a letter from My Wife stateing that She expected to start from Nauvoo about lst of July with Brother B Mills with wom I had Made a contract to this effect before I left Nauvoo, Myself with some other of the Company in a similar situation in regard to our families received council to stop at Pizgah or go back for our families as the nature of the case seemed to require I therefore taried for the space of one month which time I stoped and worked with Father Parish William and Ephreaim Lindsay and Henry Stevens, I planted a garden at this place hopeing that My Family might receive some benefit therefrom, while I was stoping here there was 2 or 3 calls by the Authorlties of the Church for all the young Men that could be spared the best to gather at Council Bliffs in order that a company of five hundred Men might be fitted out to cross the Rocky Mountains this year, while in the accomplishment of this fitout Brother Jessy C Little came to Pizgah from N H by way of Washington with a mesage from the President of the United States James K Polk, He staid here I think 2 nights and then started for the Blufs with His mesage to President B Young and Council He went about 10 miles & met President B Young W Richards & H C Kimball with some attendants comeing to pizgah to raise volunteers for the U, S. Army Consequently Brother Little came back with them, Notice was immediately given for the brethren to -come togather on the flowing day at 10 oclock & hear the mesage which President Young had to deliver, accordingly those that got the word asembled at the Meeting ground on the day apointed ready to hear the council that might be given, in consequence of not getting the nesecary information I was not present at the meeting but learned in season that the Council was that every Man that posibly could should volunteer for the space of one year in the Service of the United States to go to Santafee & then to Californy & there receive our discharge, & that a Family or property must not be named as an excuse for not going, in consequence of My not Hearing the council given by President Young I went to Wm Huntington Senrr & E T Benson and Counciled with Them concerning the expediency of my volunteering in this expedition stating to them the situation of my Family & also My own feelings on -the subject, which were that I wished to do that which would be productive of the most good in building up and establishing the Kingdom of God, but did not wish to go inconsiderately at work at anything that Might cause Myself and Family to suffer, but the council of these two Men was that the importance of the case required that every Man should go that posibly could and that it was best that I should go
June about the 10th arived at Pizgah Left Pizgah for Council Bluffs July 9th July 16th arrived at the Bliffs 21st left Bluffs for fort-Leavenworth 22d Samual Boley died Aug lst arrived at the Fort 13th left the Fort 15th Evening I was called to mount guard and being the fifee it was something rather new l9th about 6 oclock evening had a severe shower and gale of wind - which upset many of our wagons - blew over the most of our tents this hapened at a place near the fork of the roads leading to santa fee and oragon, the Batalion her had some council from Brother L Hancock and others after leaving this point We traveled over a beautiful priary country but scearce of timber, We arrived at a place called Council Grove on the 27 this was on the big John creek about 130 miles from ft Leavinworth, while stoping at this place We learned that Lieut Col J Allen had died at the Fort, Brother Boscah and Wife Died and was buried at this place near the bank of the creek, Lieut Smith came up with the batalion on the 29th and claimed the command which was given up to Him for the time, We left the big John on the 31st and traveled a southwesterly course towards Fort Bent over a vast level priary of near 80 miles with but 4 or 5 watering placeses no timber worth mentioning on the evening of the 4th Sept the batalion encamped on the botom of the Litle Arkansra, nothing of unusual interest came under My observation during this 5 days march except that many of the Brethren were sick with fevers & agues, & many of Capt Hunters company in particular, (one thing however I wil here mention (on the authority of William Evans (and others) one of my mess mates who was begining to recover from an atack of the chills & fever & had been riding in the bagage wagons, the only way provided for carrying the sick) & that is, the principle Surgeon Sanderson by name came up with the wagons in the afternoon of the 4th & ordered the Sick to get out of the waggons and swore that not a Man should ride except by His permission & His permission would not be given except those returned sick would take his medicine He also said that if he knew of anyone prescribeing any medicine to any sick Man without His orders that He would cut His damned throat, We continued our journey on the 5th and found neither wood or watter until We got to cow Creek where We encamped for the night, continued our journey on the 6th and on the 7th encamped on Walnut Creek near its junction with the big Arkansas river, here We feasted on Bufalow beef for the first time since commencing our journey our 8 last days travel was over a beautiful priary Country but with but very little wood or watter, the land in places looked like a Salughter yard by reason of the multitude of bones of Bufalow on the 8th We traveled over a more beautiful priary than I had ever Seen before & it was fed so close by the Buffalow that it looked like an old pasture, We saw 4 or 5 emence herds of Bufalo this day I judge from 3 to 5 hundred, this caused Me to refflect back uppon a time ancient from this when Cattle might have been comon among the inhabitants of North America on the night of the 8th the Battalion Encamped on the East side of a Creek called the Pawnee fork near its junction with the Arlkansara, crossed the Creek on the Morning of the 9th & travelled about 4 miles & encamped on the bank of the same creek where We stoped until the next day when We struck our tents and took a Southeasterly course toward the big Arkansara, We travelled about 15 miles and encamped on the priary at a wattering place and for lack of wood We burned Bufalow dung to do our cookeing, on the 11th We came to the Arkansara and encamped on the bank of this river the same Evening, distance from the fort about 200 miles, the Arkansas at this point is probably one half mile wide the bed of the river is sand and gravel the watter at this season mostly runs below the surface of its bed leaveing but very little watter in sight, so little that a person with tight shoes could pass over at almost any place without wetting His feet, We travelled up the Northern bank until the 15th when We crossed over to the other side, here the Battalion stoped until the 17th, while stoping here Brother Felps who had been under the Surgewons care for some time Died and was buried, just as We were Striking tents on the Morning of the 17th Brother J D Lee, H Egan and Pace came in sight of our encampment the Bretheren mostly expressed their ioy at seeing Them, the battalion bing already prepared to take up the line of march started forward on the most direct rout for Santifee leaveing Bento fort the place by which We first expected pass at the Northwest, the Battalion took a Southwesterly course across the great North American desert, we arived at the Semirone on the forenoon of the 19th where We found good Watter, this is 60 miles from the crossing of the Arkansara, We found but one wattering place in this distance, but Bufalow were plenty 29th traveled about 10 miles and encamped for the Night where We found plenty of watter by diging into the Sand, We continued our march up the Semirone about 60 miles and had to dig for all our watter and for a substitute for wood We took Bufalow dung which is a pretty good substitute on the day of the 24th 'We passed the skeletons of 90 Mules which our pilot said were frozen to death one year ago, the skull bones which I counted were laid in regular order alond the side of the road on the 25th We came in view of a small growth of timber the first We had seen for 9 days this timber was a small growth of red and white Cedar on the 25th 26th 27th We traveled from 50 to 60 miles the face of the Country begins to present a very different senery from anything We have seen since We left fort Leavensworth, We begin to see sudden and abrupt eminences and nobs riseing up from the roleing priaries, and Mountains begin to be visible in the distance, the rock about these broken and scattering Mounds (for such I shall call them) is a soft sand stone, 28th 29th and 30th Our march is onward the Country grows more and more broken and Mountaineous as We aproach the Chain of the Cordileras, on the last day of Sept We came in view of the regular Chain of of the Cordilleras wood and watter is still scarce, on the lst of Oct the Battalion pursuid their journey as usual, 2d traveled 2 miles before breakfast and halted at the foot of Mountain probably from 3 to 5 hundred feet high, here is a good Spring of water, and here We took breakfast while the most of the Battalion were prepareing and takeing breakfast Brother Levi Hancock Brother John King and Bro John Seshens (or Sespens) ascended the highest peak of the Mountain (while Myself & Brother Redock Alred and one or two others stood in their view on a lower peak near 1/4 of a mile distant) where they built an Altar and called on the name of the God of Isreal and gave the Mountain the name of the three Friends, Brother Hancock broke the highest branch from the highest Cedar and another lower branch both of which He brought down and distributed to His Friends, he presented Me with a sprig saying I have brought these to give to my friends, We travelled on and encamped on what is said to be the Canadian fork of the Arkansara, this Stream has been suposed until of late to have been the Northern tributary of the Red Rivver but according to Capt Sumners report this is incorect, on the 3-of Oct We travelled about six miles and encamped on the bank of a small stream the name of which I did not learn, at this place the Battalion divided into two divisions, about 250 of the most able Men were detailed by order of Lieut Smith of the command to take a more forced march for Santifee, this was acknowledged to be a judicious moove by most of the company commanders, Capt J Hunter said publicly to His Men that He thought this to be the best move that could be made, but many were opposed to this proceeding, for one I did not feel like volunteering to go on and leave the sick behind consequently I did not go with the first division, Our Councillers expressed their disaprobation at the course that was taken but said the thing would come out right in the end on the Morning of the 4th We drove up our Beef Cattle and yoked several pairs of them in order to strengthen the teams that We might be able to move forward, for the main strength of the teams were taken with the first division of the Battalion, We got ready for a moove about ten oclock in the Forenoon and started forward and travelled about 20 miles to a place called Waggon rock Mound where We encamped for the Night, here We found plenty of good watter and feed for the teams 5th struck our tents and travelled about 26 miles and encamped on a beautiful stream of watter called the Moro here We found the first Spanish settlement here We stoped and rested our teams until the 7th when We again resumed our march and travelled 18 miles and encamped near a Spanish village called Labagus, in this region of Country pine and cedar is tolerable plenty, in this latter place We saw immence herds of Sheep Goats and Cattle, the inhabitants appear friendly and courteous 8th this day We passed through two Mexican vilages the first Laplasah about 60 miles Norheast of Santifee the 2d Tacalatah here We again encamped for the night on the Morning of the 9th Lieut Omer the oficer in command of the 2d division gave orders to strike tents and pursue our march, but in consequence of Lieut Ludington getting his wagon broke the Night before about 5 miles from camp camp He was terefore not in a situation to obey the order but had to go back and repair His wagon before He could go forward, Lieut Omen However gave orders to Seargent William Hyde to take charge of Ludingtons Company and proceed forward contrary to Ludingtons orders notwithstanding, this however Seargent Hyde refused to do, and Omen was not disposed to stop and see Lieut Ludington under way consequently there was another division took place, Omen went forward of the 4 Companyes and left Ludington and Company B to get along the best way they could, Myself with eight or ten others of Company B started forward on a slow pace expecting to be overtaken by the rest of the company in the course of a day, however in this We were disapointed for We travelled slowly all day and were not overtaken neither did We overtake the companyes in advance, We travelled until about 7 oclock in the evening when We concluded to light up a fire and wait until the rest of the Company came up, this We did, and the next day about 3 oclock Lieut Ludington came up with the rear of the Company, We were all very much pleased to get togather again and We would not scatter of any more but keep togather, We travelled 2 miles after getting togather and encamped for the Night, on the 11th and 12th We traveled through amon the Mountains and on the Evening of the 12th We went into the long looked for Citty of Santifee, We were about six hours behind Lieutenant Omen, here We found the first division of the Battallon in good health and spirits this place like all others that I have seen of the Mexican Towns is built of mud, the Battalion staid in Santifee 6 days after our arival, before leaving Santafe it was concidered expedient by the Comanding Officers to take a detachment from the Battalion and send them back with those that were Sick by way of Fort Puebelow there to take up winter quarters, the number Sent back was about fifty these under command of Captain Brown of Comp C,
Oct l9th 1846 at about 11 oclock the Battalion left Santafee and took up the line of march for California We travelled about 6 miles and encamped, on the 20th We travelled ten or twelve miles, Oct 21st this day We travelled about 25 miles, when We came to the Rio Delnorte where We aggain encamped, for the Night this place is about 40 miles from Santafee, the land from Santafee to this river is very sandy and poor, Oct 22d This morning we took our course down the rivver Delnorte, We travelled about 15 miles each day down this rivver takeing nearly a South course, the Bottom land on this river is very good, the bottom of this river is probably from 4 to 15 miles in width and pretty thickly settled, the people as We passed through were fond of tradeing and were quite friendly, these Mexican Settlements extend down the river about 120 miles Their Buildings are all Made of Egyptian bricks or mud On the last of Oct We passed the last Mexican Town which We have to pass on this river, Nov lst this Morning Lieut Philemon C. Merrill of Company B was apointed by Lieut Col Cook to act as Adjutant of the Battalion, Nov 10th We are yet on the Rio Delnorte about 280 miles below Santifee, this day We have been living in Camp, today there has been a company of fifty taken out of the Battalion and put uppon the back track for Fort Puebelow by the way of Santifee, this 3d detachment is under the command of Lieut Willis of Company A, this detachment was sent back by council and concent of the Comanding officers in consequence of there not being provisions enough taken in at Santifee for the trip, the amount of provisions taken in at Santifee for four Months journey was 60 days Soldiers rations, why there was not a greater supply I know not, the Battalion have now been uppon half rations for somethi6g like ten days, there is now about 30 days rations in camp to serve the Battalion for a three Months journey through the unsettled and barren Country of Mexico, on the Morning of the 13th We left the Rio Delnorte and took a Southwesterly direction in search of a pass through another Chain of the Rocky Mountains We travelled about 15 miles over A very Broken and desolate lokeing Country and entirely destitute of timber We encamped for the Night at a very good and a very romantick lookeing wattering place
Nov 14th 1846 struck our tents and took nearly course towards the Mountains We travelled about 15 miles over a beautiful valley of good soil but no timber, the water from the mountains sinks directly after comeing into the valleys this Night We pitched our tents at a beautiful little riverlet, here We found the ruins of an old building about 36 feet square and five rooms on the ground this building was of rough Cobble stones, it has the apear ance of being verry ancient the walls are all down, ther is no appearance of mechanism about the premises excepting an old stone Mortar which was found near the ruins which was probably used for pounding Corn, We staid encamped on the l5th this day was cold and squally the most uncomfortable day We have witnessed since leaveing fort Leavensworth, We have seen no Snow as yet@ except at a distance uppon the tops of the Mountains, We are now in latitude about 31 degrees Nov 16th -- took up the line of March took nearly a South course for about 15 miles and encamped at a spring of watter near the foot of the Mountains,
Nov 17th turned our course Westward and went through a pass of the Mountains which is not known to have been travelled by. white Men before, I have learned that We were intended for an exploreing party and our movements proves the fact for We are takeing an entire new route, We travelled this day 5 miles and encamped at another wattering place
Nov 18th Travelled this day 20 miles in nearly a Norwest course came to a beautiful small stream of watter here We found also a gove of small timber where We encamped for the Night this Morning as We passed out from among the Mountains We came past a bed of Sand Stone Which lay close to our track which had 32 or 33 .-.holes worked into it in the form of Mortars from 6 to 10 inches in diametar and from 5 to 16 inches in debth, these holes or Mortars ocupy a space on the surface of the rock 10 or 12 feet square, they have the apearance of being worked out Senturies ago, it was generaly believed by our Company that they were made and used to pound gold ore in for the country aroun this place had the adearance of being rich with gold Mines, Nov l9th took up the line of march this Morning and travelled about 23 miles in nearly a due West course when We came to a watering place where We again encamped for the Night, for the last two days We have travelled over a beautiful Valley Country of a rich lookeing Soil and wel adapted to farming purposes, but one great convenience is lacking in All this Southwest world as far as I have yet travelled and that is timber, there is hardly any timber in this Country worth mentioning,
Nov 20th lay encamped
Nov 21st took up the line of March this Morning took a South course for about 2 miles expecting to keep this direction for 5 or 6 days through the Town of Sonorah and near some other Mexican settlements and this in consequence of there being an old track this way whereas if We took a more direct course We would have to make the first track through an unexplored Country from this to the Healy River, however after comeing ner 2 miles Col Cook brought the Battalion sudenly to a halt and said He would be damned if He should go that course any farther, for He did not receive any orders neither did He agree to go through Sonorah, but California was His place of destination and He should take a more direct course, consequently We made a short (turn) and took a direct course Westward, and travelled about 12 miles here We found a small supply of watter where We encamped for the Night Nov 22 took up the line of march this Morning and travelled South of Southwest about 15 miles and encamped in a valley but found no watter Nov 23rd Continued our narch this day in nearly a Southwest course for near 30 miles before We found any quantity of watter sufficient for Our needcesities, the Company suffered considerably for want of watter, Nov 24th this day the Battalion remained in Camp, We found at this place a small Company of Mexican traders with whome there was an experienced guide or who was said to be such, being acquainted with the different passes through among the numberless mountains that present themselves to the view of the traveller who passes through this region of Country, Col Cook employed this guide to go with the Battalion through the Mountains, Nov 25th took up the line of march this Morning in nearly a Southwest course for about 20 miles where We again found watter and encamped for the Night
Nov 26th the most of this days travell was down a valley in nearly a South direction, distance about 14 miles, fund watter and encamped
Nov 27th and 28th travelled the last two days about 18 miles down another valley in nearly a Southwest course, the Valleys here are from ten to thirty miles wide, the Mountains are in regular chains running Northward and Southward
Nov 29th travelled 5 miles came to another Chain of the Mountain at a place which apeared as though there might be found an easy (way) to go through with our wagons, but on examination it was found to be imposible to go over this Mountain (which is called the backbone of North.Amerlca) with our lodded waggons, consequently We encamped, Nov 30th this Morning there was a Company of Pioneers started of with the pilots to clear a road so that We might go down the Mount with the empty wagons, there was also a part of the loading taken from the wagons and packed uppon Mules and Company D under Command of Liet Dykes were sent over with the Mules this day, and a part of the Men were to return witn the Mules in the evening
Dec lst, this Morning after unloading the rest of the wagons and packing the loading upon the Mules, We all started uppon the march to cross the back bone of North America, this chain of Mountains I suppose is-called the back bone on acount of its being the highest chain of the Rocky Mountains, consequently divides the watters which flows to the Atlantick and Paciffick, this day We travelled about 8 miles, the 2 first miles brought us to the sumit of the Mountain, it was judged With our decent this day was about 4000 feet the most of which?l was in the first 4 miles after leaving the Summit encamped this evening among the Mountains,
Dec 2d travelled this day about 10 miles, come to an old Mexican Town which had been vacated in consequence of the hostility of the Pache Indians, We encamped near this Old Town, We here found about 30 of these Indians from one of their Towns not far distant, and they were here waiting to see us for they had been aprised of our comeing, by our pilots who had been to their Town and had given them an invitation to come and trade they said they were our Friends and showed no signs to the contrary,
Dec 3d remained in camp today Several of Soldiers of the Battalion went out this day to hunt wild Cattle which were plenty at this place, in the course of the day there was as near as I could learn about 15 bulocks killed, the most of which were dressed and brought into Camp, this circumstance it might be supposed caused caussed some joy among the Soldiers inasmuch as We antisipated gratifyeing Our apetites once again with a full meal of beef Soup. and in this our antisipations were realised Dec 4th 5th and 6th continued our march for the last 3 days We have travelled 36 miles among Mountains and Valleys in nearly a West course this course We have been travelling for the last 6 days, the Country is stil almost entirely destitute of timber, or of what would be called timber, there is in many places an abundance of small Shrubbery which in its apearance goes to prove that the earth has surely been sorely Cursed for there is hardly a shrub or plant to be seen that is not covered with thorns, several wild Cattle have been killed in the last 3 days, the meat of which We have saved by sitting up Nights and barbicuing it, Dec 7th remained encamped Several more wild Cattle were shot and brought into camp the meat of which was Jerked or dried, thil supplied us Dretty abundantly with meat for 5 or 6 days,
Dec 8th and 9th these two days We have travelled 36 miles, our course Northwest on the Night of the 8th had to encamp without finding watter on the 9th came to a pretty stream of watter large enough for a Mills stream, on this stream We encamped for the Night
Dec 10th and llth these two days we have continued down the stream which We came to on the 9th, the name of this Stream is Sanpedro, Our course the last two days has been about North, distance for the last two days about 28 miles wild Cattle are plenty I think there has been 12 or 15 killed this day, the llth two of the brothren were badly hurt and two Mules were gored to death this day by the Wild Buls Dec 12 & 13th travelled these two days about 25 miles in a Northward course, encamped on the River San Pedero for the last time on the Evening of the 13th
Dec 14th travelled 18 miles Our course this day was nearly west, the Country is still mostly destitute of timber except in Shrubery, Dec 15th travelled this day about 14 miles, We passed a establishment this Morning which the people manufactured whiskey from A sort of plant which they call Muscall at this place We found 3 Mexican Dragoons which had come from a Town called Tubson where there was a force of about 80 Men which were garisoned here to defend the Town, the Inhabitants of this Town had been informed of Our approach by the Pachy Indians and also by one of Our guides who had gone forward in advance of the Battalion for the purpose of learni'tg the force of the Town and to learn whether it would be judicious for Our little force to pass through, these three Soldiers were taken prisoners this day We travelled about 20 miles Dec 16th resumed Our march this Morning travelled about 15 miles this day We went into the Town without molestation and found it evacuated by the soldiery who had fled to the Mountains wi'th their horses and cattle and all the Citizens that they could pursuade to leave with Them, posession was imediately taken of the Town on entering and a search made for publick Stores, but orders were issued by Col Cook that all private property should be held Sacred by the Soldiers which order was obeyed, the peoole of the Town did not apear to be atall displeased at our presence but rather the contrary, there was about 2000 bushels of wneat found Stored in the Town, this was taken posession off and what was needed was fed out to Our Mules and Balance was left, nothing else of any great value was found, Dec 17th this day We ley encamped at the Town before named, this is in the Province of Sonora, on the evening of the 17th about twelve oclock there was an alarm given by the Fireing of two of the Picket guard uppon a company of horsemen who were approaching upon the oposite side of the Town from where We were encamped, in about 15 minutes the Battalion was formed in order for battle, and the First Company under Command of Capt Hunt was sent to reconoirter the Town, but it was found that the Company had taken affright and had left Dec 18th left the Town of Tubson travelled about 25 miles and encamped without watter Dec l9th travelled about 30 miles and found no watter except 2 or 3 small puddles of 30 or 40 gallons each which was very muddy and bad but it was swallowed with eagerness by everyone that passed it, Dec 20th travelled about 12 miles and came to watter where We encamped Our Mules were suffering very much for watter it being the 3rd day since they had had any watter or but very little grass, for the country for the last 3 days was an entire desert without anything growing of any amount except scattering shrubery, Dec 21st We travelled this day about 12 miles and came to the Healy River which divides Sonora from upper California We were met by a party of near one hundred of the Pemaw Indians who came out with corn beans and other little articles for the purpose of trading, They had been aprised of our aproach by some of our pilots who had been sent on in advance of the Battalion for the purpose of buying Corn for Our teams and of trading for such other articles of provision that could be found and that was nesecary for Our expedition.
Dec 22d travelled this day about 8 miles down the Healy or Geild and came to Pemaw Indian Vilage where We encamped these Indians were very familiar and friendly, They brought some Melons into Camp one of which Brother D, P, Rainy purchased I enjoyed the pleasure of helping to eat it which was something quite new to Me for Chrismas, the weather is here very warm, many of the Shrubs are putting forth new leaves while the old ones are yet green uppon the trees Dec 23d travelled 15 miles when We again encamped We lay encamped at this place until the 25th, in which time great numbers of the Pemaw Indians visited our Camp for the purpose of trading, acording to the best information that I could obtain there is from 15 to 30 thousand Indians in this settlement which is said to extend about 30 miles up and down the river I judge that their principal business is tilling the Earth, their principle articles of produce apears to be Wheat Corn and Cotton, their Cotton they manufacture Themselves, Dec 25th This Morning We struck Our tents and pursuid Our journey, We left the river Bottom and pursuid our course across a valley of 40 miles where there was no watter, on the Evening of the 26th We again struck the river Bottom and encamped Dee 27th and 28th Continued our course down the Healy which runs North of West travelled about 20 miles, Dee 29th 30th and 31st for the three last days We have travelled about 48 miles, course west, Jan lst and 2d the 1847 travelled about 24 miles, for the last Week We have travelled over a barren and desolate looking countryt there is hardly a blade of grass to be seen, the most of the upland country that We have travelled over for the last Week in passing from one bend of the river to another is either almost entirely sand or else it is gravel Covered with little Stones, We pass now and then a rich little valley as We pass near the river, there is a great variety of Mountain senery which continually presents itself to the Eye of the Traveller as He passes through this part of the Countryt January 3d 4th and 5th For the last 3 days We have travelled about 30 miles, the face of the Country is the same as has been before described, Jan 9th for the last four days We have travelled about 45 miles, this Evening the 9th We are encamped uppon the Bank of the RioColorado about ten miles below the mouth of the Guila or Healy, We are now 200 miles from the firs settlement and 250 miles from Sandiego and We have about 6 or 7 days half rations to last us to where We can get more, our Mules are worn out and are dying almost every day, I wil here say that since We left Santifee, I think that We have not had more than half rations, however according to the best information that I have had this might have been otherwise, Jan 10th this day the Battalion commenced crossing the Rio Colorado, the course of this Rivver at this point is South of Southwest, the course of the Healy River is nearly West, We travelled down the South side of this stream, We Ferryed the Colorado with two Waggon boddies lashed togather which were made watter tight on purpose for this kind of business Jan llth this Morning the Battalion got safely across the Colorado with the teams and wagons, and We resumed our Journey westar, We travelled 15 miles & Encamped at
|Home Page||Who Are We?||GWT Biography||Beloved Wives|
|Visitor Comments||Forum||Newsletter||GWT's Writings|
Copyright © 1997-2006, George
Washington Taggart Family Organization
John M. Taggart, Coordinator
All rights reserved
Site Design: Steven L. Berlin
For questions or comments regarding this website please contact by e-mail: Webmaster
Last updated: 07 Jul 2008