Antoine of Oregon - James Otis

We Meet Colonel Kearny Again

On this night, within about a dozen miles of the Narrows, we came upon Colonel Kearny's soldiers, returning from their long march, having come through South Pass. Somewhat of the hardships they had encountered, and which we must face, could be guessed at by looking at those seasoned troopers, who appeared to be completely exhausted by long riding and scanty rations.

No less than twenty of the men were on the sick list, and at least a hundred others looked as if they soon would be.

[Illustration] from Antoine of Oregon by James Otis

I believe nothing could have been shown John Mitchell's company which would have told more eloquently of the hardships to be encountered when we came among the foothills.

Then we pushed onward more sturdily, and I could see that every man in our company was looking forward into the future, understanding that there must be no faltering now, else they would fall by the wayside, as had so many of whom we heard from day to day.

On the seventeenth day of July we felt the first frost of the season, when ice formed a quarter of an inch thick, and this warned our people that there was no time to be lost, if we would win our way through. If winter caught us while we were among the mountains, it would be necessary to make camp until spring, and who could say whether during those long months we would be able to get sufficient game to keep us alive?