Near New Orleans, March 13, 1855
Dear Brother Taylor:
I take my pen to inform you of our present position and circumstances, on board the ship Charles Buck, which left Liverpool on the 19th of January for New Orleans, having on board 400 Saints and a few other passengers. The company are in good health, good spirits, and are contented and happy. It is eight weeks tomorrow since we left Liverpool. Provisions began to fail two weeks since, and during the last few days we have been on short allowance of water. The voyage has been longer than was anticipated. Nevertheless, we have had no murmurings. The Saints have been patient and happy.
We are now in the Mississippi River, being tugged up to New Orleans in company with other three ships. We crossed the bar this morning. Yesterday cast anchor, for the night, outside the bar, where one of the sailors fell overboard and was drowned, and where at two o'clock this morning, an old Danish lady died. We buried her on one of the little islands at the mouth of the river. We have lost four children by death during the voyage, and had one birth and five marriages. Three have been cut off from the Church.
We divided the company into four wards, and each one appointed a president with his two counselors and two teachers. We had also a guard to protect property and virtue, which probably saved some from the evil power and influence of ungodly men.
Most of the company will sail for St. Louis. About 70 persons may be obliged to tarry in New Orleans to provide means for further progress. We would gladly have taken them all with us, but this is a poor company and there is no means to help the needy.
A part of the company are Scandinavians. They are a good people, and Elder Eric M. Hogan has had the presidency over them.
I would say for the whole company that for the light they have attained they are as good a people as I ever associated with.
I hardly expect to see you before I return to the mountains, but if we had got here a little earlier I had entertained a hope of making you a visit, both that I might be refreshed with your company and counsel, and benefited in other respects.
We had a conference on board, a few days ago, which lasted two days, and we had a blessed good time. The Saints were much refreshed and encouraged. Praying God, our Eternal Father, to bless and prosper you in your responsible calling.
I remain your brother in the gospel,
March 19, 1855
I write this postscript to inform you that after tarrying at New Orleans two days, the entire company was shipped for St. Louis on board the steamer "Michigan." Last night we left New Orleans. On the previous date I said we probably would have to leave some at New Orleans ; but through the liberality of [p.30] the Saints themselves, and the exertions of Brother McGaw, together with aid which he has liberally proffered, we took the responsibility of putting all of the Saints on board.
There was only one steamboat in port for St. Louis and we had to pay $3.50 per head for passengers over fourteen years, and for children between one and fourteen years, we pay half price, infants free . . . .
Before our people came on board, there were about one hundred and fifty other deck passengers on the boat, which makes it very unpleasant, inconvenient and unhealthy. But the Saints are generally in good health at present and I trust through our efforts and the blessings of the Lord, not many of them will perish.
R. [Richard] B. [Ballantyne] [p.31]
BIB: Ballantyne, Richard, "Arrivals," The Mormon, April 7, 1855, pp. 30-31 (CHL)