‘Lord was mindful of his people’

Sunday, Oct. 4, 1846:

Elder Orson Pratt spoke on the first principles of the gospel at a Sabbath meeting at the new Winter Quarters site. The meeting was attended by several non-members. Letters were read to the congregation including some from the Mormon Battalion. After the morning session, Elders Orson Pratt, Amasa Lyman and Wilford Woodruff divided Winter Quarters into 13 wards. Bishops were appointed over each ward.

In the afternoon, the Saints assembled again and listened to President Brigham Young speak. He discouraged paying visiting peddlers inflated prices for goods and proposed that a committee be appointed to purchase goods collectively from the merchants.

Monday, Oct. 5:

President Young visited the sick and finished his 32-foot-deep well.

A St. Louis newspaper reported that Joseph L. Heywood, one of the Nauvoo Trustees, was in the city asking for provisions to help the poor who had recently been driven from Nauvoo. "We know their wretched state, not from report, but from eye witness, of misery which is without a parallel in the country. They are literally starving under the open heavens; not even a tent to cover them – women and children, widows and orphans, the bed-ridden, the age-stricken and the toil worn." The article asked for clothing and money to be donated to help the Saints.

The advance division of the Mormon Battalion marched about 30 miles, and camped near a Mexican town called Las Vegas in New Mexico. Samuel H. Rogers wrote, "When we passed through the men, women and children came into the street to see us. Some climbed upon the roofs of the houses."

Tuesday, Oct. 6:

Work commenced on a dam for the Winter Quarters mill. Almon W. Babbitt, one of the Nauvoo Trustees, arrived at Winter Quarters with 66 letters and 100 newspapers. A newspaper in Nauvoo reported that sadly, the temple had sustained much damage from the mob. "Holes have been cut through the floors, the stone oxen in the basement have been considerably disfigured, horns and ears dislodged, and nearly all torn loose from their standing." Names had been carved in the woodwork of the large assembly room on the main floor.

Wednesday, Oct. 7:

Orville M. Allen, captain of the first rescue teams to help the poor, arrived at the camp on the Mississippi River, across from Nauvoo. He called the Saints together and informed them that he had been sent by the Twelve to help them. He asked the camp to yoke up available teams and prepare to leave. About 42 of the 350-400 people immediately volunteered to go with 20 wagons, 17 oxen, 4 horses, and 41 cows. Sister Mary Fielding Smith, the widow of Hyrum Smith, and her sister, also a widow, Mercy Fielding Thompson, donated $18 for the company's benefit. Mary's 7-year-old son, Joseph F. Smith (later the sixth president of the Church) was with his mother in this group of Saints.

Thursday, Oct. 8:

Elders Wilford Woodruff and Orson Pratt ordained three of the brethren who were called to serve as bishops in Winter Quarters. They observed that the new city was taking shape. Walls were being raised for many of the new log homes.

Friday, Oct. 9:

As the rescue team was organizing the starving Saints on the banks of the Mississippi River, they experienced a marvelous miracle. Thousands of quail descended on the camp, an event similar to that experienced by ancient Israel in the wilderness, as recorded in Ex. 16:13. Joseph Fielding wrote, "They came in vast Flocks, many came into the houses w

hTere the Saints were, settled on the tables, and the Floor and even on their Laps, so that they caught as many as they pleased thus the Lord was mindful of his people."

Mary Field Garner added, "We did not have any bread and butter or any other food to eat, so we ate stewed quail and were very thankful to get that, for we were starving."

This phenomenon extended some 30 or 40 miles along the river. Thomas Bullock knew that this event was a wonderful sign from the Lord. He recorded that it was "a direct manifestation from the Most High, that although we are driven by men, He has not forsaken us, but that His eyes are continually over us for good."

In the afternoon, provisions were brought into the camp from kind individuals from Quincy, Ill. Items such as clothing, shoes, molasses, salt, and pork were distributed throughout the camp. Afterwards, Orville M. Allen started west toward Winter Quarters with a company of 157 Saints in 28 wagons.

On this day, the Mormon Battalion achieved one of its important goals – the first division arrived in Santa Fe. In less than two months, the battalion had marched all the way from Fort Leavenworth, a distance of nearly 800 miles. As they approached, Gen. Alexander Doniphan, longtime friend of the Saints and commander of the post, ordered a salute of 100 guns to be fired from the roofs of the adobe houses in honor of the battalion. They marched in with fixed bayonets and drawn swords to the public square. Altogether there were about 1,600 men stationed in Santa Fe at that time."

Saturday, Oct. 10:

Most of the brethren in the Camp of Israel went to the herd grounds, six miles upriver, where they all worked to round up the cattle together in preparation for sending them north for the winter.

In Santa Fe, many of the battalion soldiers enjoyed their first experience eating Mexican cuisine including red pepper pies and tortillas with beef in hot sauce. They were interested in watching the natives of the city. James S. Brown recorded, "Their costume, manners, habits, and in fact everything, were both strange and novel to us, and of course were quite an attraction."

Sunday, Oct. 11, 1846:

Rain started to fall heavily during the morning at Winter Quarters. Soon, about 2,000 cattle from "the big herd" arrived and almost filled the entire town. The men driving the herd were not able to keep the animals on the prairie. Wilford Woodruff recorded, "And while the rain poured down in torrents, I with many others had to go into the midst of the herd & seperate my cattle. I . . . got thoroughly drenched with water."

Monday, Oct. 12:

Elder Willard Richards' niece, Eliza Ann Peirson, died of chills and fever. Losing loved ones to death was becoming a frequent and sad occurrence in the new settlement of Winter Quarters.

The second division of the Mormon Battalion, consisting of those who were sick, and also the women and children, arrived in Santa Fe during the afternoon, marching in good order to music.

Tuesday, Oct. 13:

On this cold day, Brigham Young, Wilford Woodruff and their families attended the funeral of Elder Willard Richards' niece. A wildfire was burning on the prairie to the south that destroyed six or seven stacks of hay.

Col. Philip St. George Cooke officially assumed command of the Mormon Battalion. Col. Cooke was a graduate of West Point. He had recently led the Army of the West's advance guard to take Santa Fe without bloodshed. Col. Cooke later reflected on the challenge that was presented to him with this new assignment to lead the battalion to California:

"It [the battalion] was enlisted too much by families; some were too old, some feeble, some too young; . . . it was undisciplined; it was much worn by travelling on foot, and marching from Nauvoo, Illinois; their clothing was very scant; there was no money to pay them, or clothing to issue; their mules were utterly broken down." He numbered the battalion at 486 men, included 60 who were invalids or unfit for service. There were still 25 women and many children with the battalion in Santa Fe. Col. Cooke decided to send the sick and all the women and children to spend the winter in Pueblo

Colo.T, about 180 miles to the north.

Wednesday, Oct. 14:

The morning was damp and rainy in Winter Quarters. Brigham Young laid the foundation of his log house and Heber C. Kimball finished the walls of his house. Elder Kimball was constructing the largest home in Winter Quarters. The majority of the homes under construction were smaller log cabins, about 12-18 feet long, with sod roofs, sod chimneys, and no floors. Some would later cover the floors with canvas or carpeting as the weather became stormy.

Col. Cooke appointed Captain James Brown to lead the sick detachment of the Mormon Battalion to Pueblo.The detachment would consist of 86 men, 20 women, and many children.

Thursday, Oct. 15:

Wilford Woodruff experienced what he referred to as "one of the most painful and serious misfortunes of my life." As Elder Woodruff was working on his Winter Quarters home, he traveled to the bluffs to cut some shingle timbers for his roof. He wrote, "While felling the third tree, I steped back of it some eight feet, where I thought I was entirely out of danger. There was, however, a crook in the tree, which, when the tree fell, struck a knoll and caused the tree to bound endwise back of the stump. As it bounded backwards, the butt end of the tree hit me in the breast, and knocked me back and above the ground several feet, against a standing oak. The falling tree followed me in its bounds and severely crushed me against the standing tree. I fell to the ground, alighting upon my feet. My left thigh and hip were badly bruised, also my left arm; my breast bone and three ribs on my left side were broken. I was bruised about my lungs, vitals and left side in a serious manner."

After the accident, Elder Woodruff painfully rode his horse for almost three miles on a very rough road. "I continued on horseback until I arrived at Turkey Creek, on the north side of Winter Quarters. I was then exhausted, and was taken off the horse and carried in a chair to my wagon. . . . I was met in the street by Presidents Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Willard Richards, and others, who assisted in carrying me to [my] wagon. Before placing me upon my bed they laid hands upon me, and in the name of the Lord rebuked the pain and distress, and said that I should live, and not die." Elder Woodruff entirely recovered from this serious accident and would one day become the Lord's prophet.

Friday, Oct. 16:

The council at Winter Quarters wrote a letter to Indian Agent Robert B. Mitchell across the river at Trader's Point. They asked permission to use the government mill to saw boards for the construction of the Winter Quarters flouring mill. Most of the brethren in the city continued to work hard, building houses.

The enlisted members of the Mormon Battalion started to receive pay from the paymaster. The men were paid a small amount in cash and were given checks to cover the balance of their pay. Each man received one and one half month's pay, or about $10 each.

Saturday, Oct. 17:

The weather turned colder at Winter Quarters. There had been a severe frost overnight. Brigham Young and others prepared to send their cattle to the north for the winter.

Sources: Manuscript History Brigham Young, pp. 404-13; Wilford Woodruff's Journal, 3:91-3; The Diary of Hosea Stout, pp. 203-05; Journal of Henry Standage in The March of the Mormon Battalion, pp. 169-71, 175-77; A Ram in the Thicket: The Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War, pp. 165-91; The Journal of Robert S. Bliss, The Utah Historical Quarterly, 4:74; Juanita Brooks, Diary of the Mormon Battalion Mission, pp. 296-99; John Doyle Lee, pp. 101-102; Joseph Fielding Diary in "Nauvoo Journal," BYU Studies 19:165-66; Our Pioneer Heritage 7:407; Journal of Elijah Elmer, quoted in Gibson, Journal of a Soldier, pp. 250-51; Life of a Pioneer, p. 39, 41; Journal of Henry Standage in Mormons at the Missouri, 1846-1852, 96; Women's Exponent 13:139; Faith Promoting Stories, pp. 20-2; Autobiography of Parley P. Pratt, 346; Journal of Horace K.Whitney; A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, pp. 166-67.