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Parley P. Pratt, History of the Late Persecution, 1839

some ten or twelve miles mostly through extensive prairies. It was October, the night was dark, and as we moved briskly on, (being forbidden to speak a loud word.) no sound was heard but the rumbling of our horses hoofs over the wide extended and lonely plains. While the distant plains, far and wide, were illuminated by blazing fires; and immense columns of smoke were seen rising in awful majesty, as if the world was on fire. This scene of grandeur can only be comprehended by those who are acquainted with the scenes of prairie burning. As the fire sweeps over millions of acres of dry grass in the fall season, and leaves a smooth black surface, divested of all vegetation. The thousand meteors blazing in the distance like the camp fires of some war host, throw a fitful gleem of light upon the distant sky, which many might mistake for the Aurora Borealis. This scene added to the silence of midnight—the rumbling sound of the prancing steeds—the glistening of armor—and the unknown destiny of the expedition—all combined to impress the mind with deep and solemn thoughts; and to throw a romantic vision over the imagination, which is not often experienced, except in the poet’s dream, or the wild imagery of sleeping fancy. In this solemn procession we moved on for some two hours, when it was supposed that we were in the neighborhood of danger. We were then ordered to dismount and leave our horses in care of part of the company, while the others should proceed on foot along the principal highway, to see what discoveries could be made. This precaution was for fear we might be suddenly attacked, in which case we could do better on foot than on horse back. We had not proceeded far when as we entered the wilderness, we were suddenly fired upon by an unknown enemy, in ambush. First one solitary gun, as was supposed, from some out post of the enemy, brought one of our number to the ground, where he lay groan [p. 34]
some ten or twelve miles mostly through extensive  prairies. It was October, the night was dark, and  as we moved briskly on, (being forbidden to speak a  loud word.) no sound was heard but the rumbling of  our horses hoofs over the wide extended and lonely  plains. While the distant plains, far and wide, were  illuminated by blazing fires; and immense columns  of smoke were seen rising in awful majesty, as if the  world was on fire. This scene of grandeur can only  be comprehended by those who are acquainted with  the scenes of prairie burning. As the fire sweeps  over millions of acres of dry grass in the fall season,  and leaves a smooth black surface, divested of all  vegetation. The thousand meteors blazing in the  distance like the camp fires of some war host, throw  a fitful gleem of light upon the distant sky, which ma ny might mistake for the Aurora Borealis. This  scene added to the silence of midnight—the rumbling  sound of the prancing steeds—the glistening of ar mor—and the unknown destiny of the expedition— all combined to impress the mind with deep and sol emn thoughts; and to throw a romantic vision over  the imagination, which is not often experienced, ex cept in the poet’s dream, or the wild imagery of  sleeping fancy. In this solemn procession we moved  on for some two hours, when it was supposed that  we were in the neighborhood of danger. We were  then ordered to dismount and leave our horses in care  of part of the company, while the others should pro ceed on foot along the principal highway, to see what  discoveries could be made. This precaution was for  fear we might be suddenly attacked, in which case  we could do better on foot than on horse back. We  had not proceeded far when as we entered the wil derness, we were suddenly fired upon by an unknown  enemy, in ambush. First one solitary gun, as was  supposed, from some out post of the enemy, brought  one of our number to the ground, where he lay groan [p. 34]
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Parley P. Pratt

12 Apr. 1807–13 May 1857. Farmer, editor, publisher, teacher, school administrator, legislator, explorer, author. Born at Burlington, Otsego Co., New York. Son of Jared Pratt and Charity Dickinson. Traveled west with brother William to acquire land, 1823....

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, History of the Late Persecution Inflicted by the State of Missouri upon the Mormons, in Which Ten Thousand American Citizens were Robbed, Plundered, and Driven from the State, and Many Others Imprisoned, Martyred, &c. for Their Religion, and All This By Military Force, By Order of the Executive; i–vi, 7–84 pp.; Detroit, MI: Dawson & Bates, 1839. The copy used for this transcription is held at CHL.

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