FOURTH OF JULY IN AN EMIGRANT PARTY -- OPEN LETTER OF LANSFORD HASTINGS -- GEORGE DONNER ELECTED CAPTAIN OF PARTY BOUND FOR CALIFORNIA -- ENTERING THE GREAT DESERT -- INSUFFICIENT SUPPLY OF FOOD -- VOLUNTEERS COMMISSIONED BY MY FATHER TO HASTEN TO SUTTER'S FORT FOR BELIEF
ON the second of July we met Mr. Bryant returning to prevail on some man of our company to take the place of Mr. Kendall of the bridle party, who had heard such evil reports of California from returning trappers that his courage had failed, and he had deserted his companions and joined the Oregon company. Hiram Miller, who had driven one of my father's wagons from Springfield, took advantage of this opportunity for a faster method of travel and left with Mr. Bryant.
The following evening we encamped near the reenforced bridle party, and on the morning of the Fourth Messrs. Russell and Bryant came over to help us to celebrate our national holiday. A salute was fired at sunrise, and later a platform of boxes was arranged in a grove close by, and by half-past nine o'clock every one in camp was in holiday attire, and ready to join the procession which marched around