Letter from Samuel B. Reed to Wife and Family, July 24, 1864

In this letter from July 24, 1864, Samuel Reed writes to his wife and family detailing the party's lack of food. He sent a team to Salt Lake City for provisions 8 days before, but they have not returned and the food has run out. Reed again describes his difficulties with workers striking for higher wages and shares plans for his upcoming three-day scouting trip.

Eight days ago I started a team to Salt Lake for provisions expecting they would get back last Friday night, but he has not returned yet. Last Tuesday we ate all the fragments of meat about camp. Friday, the last ounce of flour was baked and eaten for supper. Saturday we had a full supply of beans without bread or meat, except a sparrow-hawk. This Sunday morning the last bean disappeared. We are looking anxiously for Dick the teamster, hoping he may come before we all famish with hunger.

I have been to Salt Lake City-stayed there one day; the reason of my going was on account of the dissatisfaction among the men about wage. They had all been talking about leaving the work for some time and I agreed with them to remain until we could get to Muddy, which empties into Green River, which would be over the most difficult part of the work and I would go in and see the President. The result was that he wrote as I expected he would, a severe letter to the boys bidding them to complete all the work I have for them to do before showing themselves in Salt Lake City, since which I have not heard a word about pay.

Tomorrow I start on a three days trip with an old explorer in this country who says he knows every pass from the stream I am now camped on to Green River. I want if possible to find a place to cross the divide without being obliged to follow this stream to its junction with the Green River, which will take us at least 40 miles out of our direction. I hope to reach the eastern end of my line in two weeks, after which I have to go to Salt Lake and run from the city to the place where I commenced this line. After which I have to run another line through the Wahsatch mountains from Utah lake to head waters of Bear River near the Uinta mountains. I have not much faith in that line, but it is on the program and must be examined. Perhaps I shall only go through on horse or mule back.

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: July 24, 1864