Alexander and the Soda Springs Route

“We now moved camp every day or two on account of grass.

In about two weeks Colonel Alexander1 came up with one thousand soldiers, but with no orders. The Mormons burned the grass ahead of us for several miles. After the teams had all arrived, Colonel Alexander con­cluded, as the Mormons had Echo Canyon route so well fortified, he would have to take the Soda Springs route, down Bear River and in by the northern settlements. So he ordered us to move up to Soda Springs, eighty miles north. . . .

We moved on, and in a few days reached Soda Springs. It was now quite cold, and we had some snow before reaching the Springs. In a day or two after eight or ten inches of snow fell and it was very cold weather.

After we had been there about a week an express mes­senger from Colonel Albert Sydney Johnston came riding into camp with orders for us to move back to the crossing on Ham’s Fork, and stay there till he arrived. We started back. It was very cold and our cattle were weak. We could make but eight or ten miles a day. We left some of our poorest cattle at each camp, they not being able to travel.

We arrived at the crossing in eight days. Two days afterwards Colonel Johnston came in with his men. Some of them rode out to old Fort Bridger, and, after looking it over, came back and ordered us to move on to Bridger, and they would go into winter quarters there. . . .

A company of Dragoons came up to camp before we started. This made about two thousand five hundred men-soldiers and teamsters.

It was a bitter cold day that we started. The train was six miles long. The last of the train did not leave camp till noon, and it was dark when they got into camp that night. It was a very cold night and the herders could not stay with the cattle. In the morning we found we had lost one hundred and sixty head which had strayed off in the storm, and sixty head of government mules had died in camp. This weakened our teams so that we could move only a part of our train at a time, many of the cattle left being too weak to work. We were six days getting this train twenty-six miles to Ford Bridger.”