By William Smedley
Ebook by way of Smedley, William
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Extra resources for Across the Plains: An 1862 Journey from Omaha to Oregon
May 6. M. took a packet going south. The night was clear, moonlight, beautiful. The broad bosom of the "Father of Waters" was spread out like a silvery sheet before us. Some five or six intelligent, pious-looking Germans assembled on the hurricane deck and enchanted us with the most delightful vocal music I thought I had ever heard. To me there is no music more charming than the singing of German hymns. A moonlight scene on the Mississippi is, of itself, magnificent and the music rendered it perfectly sublime.
Page 39 July 18. As we knew nothing of what had befallen our friends, we journeyed on, feeling confident that they were but a few miles back. Had we known our situationour isolationsix days' travel behind one train and indefinite space before the other, we would, possibly, have shrunk from the danger that we knew surrounded us. Crossed several deep and difficult streams during the day. In the afternoon the road entered the mountains and for a few miles was the most beautiful, romantic and picturesque we had met, as well as the roughest and most difficult to travel.
Having heard much of the salubrity of the Pacific climate I had long desired to visit its coast and this spring, there being some excitement in Salmon River gold mines, almost en route for Oregon, and as a company of Illinois farmers were starting for that place, I determined to start, too, for the gold region, thence to Oregon. On the 5th day of May I left my Illinois friends and took the cars for Fulton, on the Mississippi. The river at this time had quite o'erspread the limits assigned it by nature and extended far out over the adjoining country, almost submerging the railroad in places.