Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Family, August 2, 1864

In this letter from August 2, 1864, Samuel Reed writes to his wife and family describing his three-day scouting trip. After his teamsters returned with provisions, Reed left and quickly encountered a barren desert and desolate mountains. He also notes recent Indian activity 80-100 miles northeast of their party.

I wrote last week when we were out of grub. Soon after my team came in from Salt Lake with a supply and a more welcome messenger could not have made his appearance. After receiving our supply of food, I started the line from Ham's Fork, crossed over to Green River, thence across the country without wood or water twenty miles, which took three days and all the water used was hauled from the river at the springs which I named Providence Springs. We rested one half day and then resumed the line for this place where I shall connect with the line run by Evans and return to mouth of Weber Canon and run line from there to Salt Lake City where I hope to arrive in about three weeks.

The country I have been in the past month is almost a barren desert, no timber or vegetation excepting upon the banks of the streams. Occasionally there are a few patches of grease wood or wild sage brush but generally the whole country presents a most desolate appearance. The mountain sides are composed of gray, slaty sandstone on which no vegetation relieves the barren, desolate view.

The Indians have been committing some depredations on the emigrant road via South Pass, about 100 miles east of here and 80 to 100 miles north. The Sioux and Cheyennes are the tribes that do most of the mischief stealing horses, mules, etc. from emigrants and freight trains.

About this Document

  • Source: Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Family
  • Citation: Nebraska State Historical Society, Samuel Reed Papers (Union Pacific Railroad Collection), MS 3761, Unit 1, Subgroup 14, Series 1, Box 2, Letters to Wife and Family
  • Date: August 2, 1864