Winter Quarters

“With Fort Bridger as the northeastern anchor, the various units of the [Utah expedition] stretched up Black’s Fork for a number of miles, the entire settlement  assuming the name of Camp Scott in honor of the crusty but able general. Since this high mountain region, 6,600 feet above sea level, lacked forage for the expedition’s remaining stock, the mules and other animals were sent with Cooke and six companies of Dragoons to graze on neighboring streams, where they remained until March 1858. . . .

Camp Scott was a busy community, for some 1,800 officers and men of the regular army occupied it during seven snow-bound months. In addition, other volunteers were recruited during this period. Although the contracting firm of Russell, Majors & Waddell had hired its teamsters for the trip to Salt Lake City with the promise of employment on the return journey if they chose, these contracts were broken when the trains halted at Fort Bridger. . . . For many of these men the only alternative to unprofitable idleness was enlistment for nine months in the army, with the promise of the same pay, allotments of clothing, and provisions given the regulars.”