In answer to the call from President Brigham Young to bring in the members of the handcart companies stranded on the plains, the first rescue teams left the Salt Lake Valley on October 7, 1856. The advance rescue party would not find the Martin handcart company until October 28 at Red Bluffs where a snowstorm stranded them for nine days.
Although this advanced rescue party had insufficient supplies to adequately bring relief to so many in need they brought with them strength, courage, nobility, honor and would perform many heroic acts in order to preserve the lives of the stranded saints. These men would truly become angels sent from heaven which the company had long prayed for.
On November 4, 1856, with snow levels recorded anywhere from twelve to eighteen inches deep and temperatures recorded as low as eleven degrees below zero it was determined to move the company to an area that would provide a more plentiful source of firewood and better protection from the elements. Because of the physical and emotional condition of the company, this river crossing would prove to be a ®severe operation® and would be the ®worst river crossing of the expedition®. Many, including men, wept at the prospects of crossing the river which was approximately two feet deep, from 90 to 120 feet across and flowing with sharp ice floes. Although many performed heroic acts David P. Kimball, George W. Grant, Stephen W. Taylor, and C. Allen Huntington were recognized for there efforts spending the day in the Sweetwater River assisting others across and into an area which would later be known as Martin's Cove.