Sunday, June 7, 1846:
Elder Heber C. Kimball spoke at the Sabbath service convened in the middle of the circle of wagons. He cheered the assembled Saints by reminding them they were like the ancient children of Israel going to an unknown land, and they had already been greatly blessed. He also indicated that some of the travelers were too selfish. If the Saints sought each other's interests, they would prosper.Brigham Young followed at the improvised stand. He commended some of the brethren's nobility of soul for moving forward and unhesitatingly leaving behind the farms they had commenced. President Young predicted that once this Vanguard Company reached Council Bluffs there would be one continuous train of Mormons crossing Iowa from Nauvoo.
President Young recommended that the companies travel the rest of the way to Council Bluffs in groups of tens. The camp started that very evening and traveled seven miles. The lead wagons were now in Pottawatomi Indian country and often met up with some Native Americans.
Monday, June 8:
At 8 a.m. the camp started on this beautiful day and soon passed Pottawatomi Village. One of the braves approached the Mormon leaders and asked them to pay duty for passing through their village and for the grass the stock would destroy. But President Young informed the Indians that instead of injuring them, the Saints would do them good by making bridges and other improvements. Then the Indians readily let them pass. Generally speaking, positive relationships prevailed between the Camp of Israel and the Pottawatomi Tribe.
Later in the day the camp reached the Nishnabotna River that could not be forded. Bishop George Miller and his pioneers had gone in advance to locate roads and build necessary bridges. Fortunately this river did not slow the camp down.
Elder Jesse C. Little had his last interview with President James K. Polk in the White House in Washington D.C. The president assured Brother Little that he regarded the Mormons as good citizens and had every intention to see that they were protected on the plains. He instructed the Department of War to make out the orders for a Mormon battalion. The Mormons' friend, Col. Thomas L. Kane, helped work out the arrangements with Secretary of War W. L. Marcy.
Tuesday, June 9:
This was another warm, dry day that facilitated faster travel. In spite of a delay because of stock that had strayed, Brigham Young's company made 13 more miles and still had time to inspect roads and bridges in the afternoon and evening. In the evening the part of the brass band that was with the Vanguard companies held a merry concert until 11 p.m. Many spectators were present.
Sadly, back in Hancock County, Ill., opponents of the Mormons renewed their mob hostilities in and around Nauvoo.
Elder Little and Col. Kane left Washington D.C. for St. Louis. From there they would divide, Kane to head for Fort Leavenworth with the orders from President Polk and Little to Nauvoo and then across Iowa.
Wednesday, June 10:
Bishop George Miller superintended the building of a flood bridge across the middle branch of the Nishnabotna River. This was the most difficult of the three forks to cross. Another 100 men of the camp were engaged in blazing a road through the woods. Lorenzo Dow Young reported in his journal, "Bro. Brigham and wife came over in their carriage and Bro. Kimball, Bro. Whitney and myself with our wives went a strawberring, and had a rich repast, being liberated from the bustle and cares of the camp. Found a table spread with the luxuries of life such as biscuit and butter. . ., plenty of strawberries sweetened, together with a little pickled pork."
William Clayton and his company were several miles back on the trail. This day they passed through Pottawatomi Village. He recorded, "It seemed that the whole village had turned out, men, women and children, some on horses and many on foot. Their musicians came and played while we passed them. They seemed to escort our wagons and asked if we were Mormons. When we told them we were they seemed highly pleased. It took us some time to cross the bridge over the river and we were then perfectly surrounded by the Indians apparently from curiosity and friendship."
Thursday, June 11:
The camp crossed the middle fork of the Nishnabotna and traveled 10 miles to the west fork. They had to stop in order to construct yet another bridge. All these bridges would prove beneficial for other Saints who would follow. The weather was getting hot. At least there was no more mud, and they were able to pass on the dry Indian trail.
Friday, June 12:
The main camp passed over the west fork of the Nishnabotna and traveled nine miles to Keg Creek, located only about 17 miles from the Missouri River. The banks of the creek were miry. Some 40 or 50 cattle had to be pulled out of the mire. Back in Nauvoo the remaining leading brethren met in the temple to discuss how to defend themselves against the hostilities of the mob. They were joined by Col. Stephen Markham of the Nauvoo Legion who had come back with letters and instructions from Brigham Young, but whose presence was appreciated.
Saturday, June 13:
The brethren of the main camp built a bridge across Keg Creek and hastened on the 10 miles to the hill near Mosquito Creek. There they built another bridge. From these bluffs the brethren could look over the flood plain to the Missouri River. Many bushels of wild strawberries were gathered in the afternoon and enjoyed in the evening. President Brigham Young and Willard Richards went fishing in the early evening.
In Nauvoo the brethren began military training to be prepared to fight against their enemies. When the anti-Mormon mob heard reports that Col. Markham was back in Nauvoo, they figured that he had brought back men and arms to fight, so they temporarily dispersed.
Sources: Journal History; Manuscript History of Brigham Young, pp. 179-83, 585; Stanley B. Kimball, Heber C. Kimball, p. 137; CHC, 3:5-6, 74; Mormons at the Missouri, pp. 44, 55; The Journals of William Clayton, p. 280-81; Ensign to the Nations, pp. 38-39.