The Lost and Forgotten History of
Johnston's Army, the Utah War, and Camp Floyd
by John Mount, Utah Civil War Association
I. Setting the Stage - The Mormons vs. Everybody
All history is a continuum, and this four-year period is no exception. Taken out of historical context, individual events in it, and even this period itself is difficult to understand. The back-story centers on the fate and fortunes of the Mormons. The US Army’s stay Camp Floyd itself, in turn serves as a prequel to the Civil War.
By the late 1840s, the Mormons had been kicked from pillar to post by one community after another. From New York, through Ohio, Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois they were chased, picking up converts as they went. It seemed no sooner had they got settled in one place, than they were driven out. From their very beginnings in 1830 in New York, they had been steadily driven westward before mobs. The previous summer, Joseph Smith had been killed while in jail on trumped up charges. They watched from the far side of the frozen river in December 1846 as a drunken Missouri mob pillaged and burned down their town of Nauvoo and their brand new temple. In that mob were some of the same men who had killed Smith. The Mormons had no food, no shelter, and no where to go. After a short conference, Brigham Young was sustained as their new leader and they headed west into Spanish territory, out of reach of the mobs and the double-dealing US government. There would be no going back.
The Mormons’ temporary settlement in western Iowa was called Winter Quarters. It was far enough from the mobs, but it a temporary home. Their new home, they were promised, was westward, in Mexico, somewhere in the wastelands between the Rocky Mountains and California, away from even the immigrant trails. Behind them lay the smoking ruins of their city of Nauvoo, a 17 year legacy of mob violence, perpetual persecution, corrupt backstabbing politicians, threats, murder, lies, and whispered rumors that just wouldn't die.
Here’s how it started. Wa-a-ay back in the mid 1830s, Joseph Smith committed an unforgivable sin. In an age of rigidly enforced social and religious conformity, their leader, Joseph Smith, chose a religious philosophy which rejected key elements of both the classic Calvinist, and the newer Arminian religious philosophies, upon which all Protestant churches in the country were based. In doing so, Smith rejected the protective umbrella of established religion. He forever alienated his new church from every other Protestant sect in America. To make matters worse, Smith published several unusual and miraculous events including visitations of angels and stories about a gold Bible. Whether the events happened or not is not relevant. The fact that he claimed they were true evoked a jealous murderous hatred, sometimes preached from the pulpit, beyond anything since France’s eviction of the Hugenots. Following his stories up with a slap in the face, Smith publicly claimed that his church was the only true church on earth. Adding injury to insult, he then started making converts of members of other church memberships. Preachers with established congregations, whose livelihood depended upon donations from their members, took extreme exception to this. After all, everybody knew you were supposed to make converts out of people with no religious affiliation yet, not go poaching out of other congregations.
So now, no matter where Mormons settled, no matter how honest and neighborly they were, mobs and persecution was never far behind. Popular stories about the Mormons, viewed in light of historical fact, are always genuinely entertaining. They twist, stretch, and spin the truth so comically that any novice student of history could pick them apart, buy why bother. They’re in magazines, religious tracts, and books of the period, some quite scholarly. Always containing just a grain of truth, they primarily highlight peculiarities of the Mormon faith such as polygamy, temples, and their unusual devotion to their prophet. Ironically, some are still repeated even today. They spread fastest in places where the Mormons had just been chased out. The Mormons were no longer there to defend themselves, but the mob that chased them out and took their property was still around. In the absence of hard facts, this hearsay evidence became the established fact.
In July of 1847, the first groups of Mormons arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. At last they could start their settlement beyond the reach of the mobs, the government and the press. They began building their “City of Zion,” but they would not remain unmolested for long. By the time the first Mormons reached their "State of Deseret," the entire region had been annexed by the United States. In fact, the Mormons helped in this effort by raising the "Mormon Battalion." It missed fighting in the Mexican War proper, but played an important role by swinging the balance of power in California at a critical and highly interesting time in the state’s history. But that’s another story.
The Mormons' first ten years in the Utah Territory were relatively peaceful. Unfortunately, the lies and rumors they left behind them had not disappeared, but instead, as Tolkien wrote in the foreword of “The Hobbit,” they had “grown with the telling.” Rumors became hearsay, hearsay became established fact, which became part of the congressional record, and this fact became a political crisis. The government sent a long string of political appointees to the Utah Territory between 1850 and 1857 to fill territorial posts. Each was tolerated as long as the Mormons’ patience could endure, then packed off back to home by Brigham Young. History reveals these marshals, judges, and petty bureaucrats to be, almost to a man, incompetent, drunken, dishonest, self-righteous, power-hungry, thoroughly corrupt, and all-around unpleasant men. Fully indoctrinated by their peers on the "Mormon Question," each came to Utah with a pre-conceived deep contempt for the people among whom he was to live. Upon returning, each swore before congress that they had been ignored, mistreated and cast out by the Mormons. They all pointed the finger at Brigham Young as the arch villain. A hue and cry now went up from Congress to settle “The Mormon Question,” by force if necessary.
The 1859 Tribune Almanac carried the complaint from Brigham Young's point of view, which in light of established historical fact, is closer to the truth:
"For the last twenty-five years we have trusted officials of the government, from constables and justices to judges, governors, and presidents, only to be scorned, held in derision, insulted and betrayed."
But nobody back east cared about the truth or anything written in a Mormon newspaper. Indeed, for each category of Brigham Young's claim, there are specific individuals who can be documented.
Associate Justice W.W. Drummond deserves special mention. You could easily make a very entertaining mini-series out of this story. Though Drummond’s story is rather more colorful than most, he could well serve as the poster child for the caliber of representatives sent by Washington to run the territorial government. Drummond was thought the perfect choice by President Franklin Pierce on the basis that his wife’s sister was married to a Mormon. You can see how much thought was given to the selection process. Ironically, no sooner had he been assigned as Chief Justice then he abandoned his wife and children in his home town of Oquawka, Illinois and took up with a prostitute from the fleshpots of Washington named Ada Carroll. He transported Ada to Salt Lake City with him, introducing her around as "Mrs. Justice Drummond." (Ada Carroll thus had the distinction of being the first prostitute in Utah Territory.) Ada’s manners, appearance, and language were so offensive that it was obvious to everyone she was not what she appeared to be, nevertheless they were gracious enough to overlook her obvious lack of breeding. Naturally, there wasn't much in a Mormon community to interest a woman of Ada's social background, so she spent her time beside her "husband" on the bench, where she would give him advice and sometimes hand out sentences. She took great pleasure in banging his gavel for him. To keep peace with the government, Brigham Young continued to swallow his pride and allowed Drummond to hold court, though it galled Young. He often referred to Drummond as "a rotten hearted loathsome reptile." Drummond, for his part, considered Mormons to be lower than horse thieves, and said so frequently in his court.
Isn’t this just the greatest wild west story? I’m thinking Glenn Shadix as Drummond (he played Otho in Beetlejuice). Oh, and how about Goldie Hawn as Ada – no, wait, I think Cher would be more appropriate in that role. Both can be trashy, but Goldie has a sweetness that Cher is entirely lacking. We’ll save Goldie for Brigham’s 27th wife. Oh yeah, and Gordon Jump from WKRP as Brigham Young.
Wait, I’m not done yet. The story gets better. Hold onto your spurs. Remember, this really happened.
Well, pretty soon, Drummond's real wife back in Illinois discovered her husband's whereabouts. She also found out about Ada Carroll. She wrote to her Mormon sister in Salt Lake City, appealing to the Mormons to help in exposing "his general perfidy." With a great deal of glee, I'm sure, the letter somehow found its way into the very next issue of the Deseret News and got top billing. By 1856, the Mormons had had their fill of Drummond, and Brigham Young's sometime bodyguard "Wild" Bill Hickman let it be known that if Drummond continued on his present course, Hickman would "deal him a painful bodily injury." Familiar with Hickman’s reputation, Justice Drummond suddenly decided it was in the best interests of the United States government that court relocate to Mottsville, near Carson City (still technically in Utah Territory). After practicing his brand of 'law' on the Mormons out of Mott's barn for a short time, Drummond heard that Hickman was on the way to pay him a social call. He and Ada picked up and left for San Francisco on the next stage, booking passage on the next ship bound for the east coast.
Justice W.W. Drummond reported to congress that Utah was in "open rebellion against the U.S. Government." This was the trigger that started the "Mormon War." Without the Drummond report, the Johnston's Army expedition never would have been contemplated. Like all the other reports, his report was so full of outrageous claims, and colored by the most extreme adjectives, that it seems surprising Congress didn't attempt to verify even the smallest part of it before they took action. But they didn't.
Like a naughty child who has gotten away with something, Drummond just couldn’t keep his mouth shut about the things he had done to the Mormons. Even when the truth about Drummond's malfeasance in office, his blatant persecution of Mormons, and his extramarital activities with his 'prostitute de jour' hit the papers, those in the seats of power paid no heed. "Most of them," as the newspaper story went, "were guilty of the same or worse improprieties, and there is honor among thieves."
This is what the Mormons were up against in 1856.
The Drummond Report was presented to Congress against the backdrop of the run-up to the critical 1856 election, so I will take a short digression. Remember the biggest issue in the country was slavery, not Mormons. The Republican Party had just been formed from the wreckage of the Whig party at the 1854 Ripon convention. The party was started for the express purpose of stopping the spread of slavery into the Kansas & Nebraska Territories, and any new territories, and featured John Fremont as its candidate. Nevertheless, a plank was inserted into the 1856 Republican presidential platform which condemned Mormons in the same breath as slavery, "it is both the right and the duty of Congress to prohibit in the territories those twin relics of barbarism--polygamy and slavery." Anti-Mormon sentiment was not limited to the Republicans. In an act of political one-upmanship, Democrat Steven A. Douglas, once a friend of the Mormons, came out even more stridently against "Brigham Young and his confederates" (though not against slavery, you'll notice). In his 12 June 1856 Democratic Party nomination speech in Springfield, Illinois he stated:
"Under this view of the subject, I think it is the duty of the President, as I have no doubt it is his fixed purpose, to remove Brigham Young and all his followers from office, and to fill their places with bold, able, and true men; and to cause a thorough and searching investigation into all the crimes and enormities which are alleged to be perpetrated daily in that territory under the direction of Brigham Young and his confederates; and to use all the military force necessary to protect the officers in discharge of their duties and to enforce the laws of the land. When the authentic evidence shall arrive, if it shall establish the facts which are believed to exist, it will become the duty of Congress to apply the knife, and cut out this loathsome, disgusting ulcer."
The Mormons felt betrayed, and rightfully so. Suddenly they were a "loathsome, disgusting ulcer" in the eyes of their supposed friend and ally. But this was the politics 1856-style (biting my tongue here). In the final analysis, this declaration more or less reflected the sentiments of the voting population and the candidates were basically out for votes. Douglas was only after votes and no doubt would have sold his mother for them. There is no proof he would actually have carried through on his threats against the Mormons once elected.
James Buchanan, the pro-Southern, pro-slavery Democrat who became president, saw the anti-Mormon frenzy as an opportunity to draw attention away from the country’s real problems: the festering political controversy over slavery, the Kansas-Missouri War, and what some saw as the widening gap between the Southern states and the Northern states.
II. The Expedition
Political appointees had failed to pacify the Mormons, so now James Buchanan chose the Army as the agent to carry out the government-sponsored holy war to overthrow the evil Brigham Young and destroy the rebellious polygamist Mormons and their unholy sham of a church, and to finally bring law and order to the openly rebellious Utah Territory. Units began to assemble under the command of General W. S. Harney at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas Territory, in 1857. The expedition initially consisted of the 2nd Dragoons from Fort Leavenworth, the 5th Infantry from Florida, the 10th Infantry from Minnesota, Phelps's Battery of the 4th Artillery, and Reno's Battery. These units represented the vast majority of viable combat-strength units in the U.S. Army, which had been allowed to atrophy to almost nothing following the Mexican War. It took some time to assemble enough men and acquire or repair enough equipment to make even these units functional.
In late 1857, the expedition, described as “the flower of the American Army” struck out from Ft. Leavenworth for Fort Bridger, Wyoming along the Platte River route. It was commanded by Colonel Edmund Alexander, who did not join the expedition until later on. 1,500 soldiers, led by the 16 twelve-pounder bronze Napoleon cannon, with 70 men in the 2 batteries led the procession. They were followed by 2,000 head of cattle and 2,500 ox-drawn wagons carrying six months' supply of bacon, ham, desiccated vegetables, flour, coffee, tea, sugar, soap, candles, hard bread, 250 Sibley tents (a canvas teepee invented just two years before), and other assorted baggage. And this was just the initial column. The Second Dragoons were retained at Ft. Leavenworth to suppress the increasingly bloody Kansas-Missouri war. Reinforcements and supply trains continued for the next four years, turning Fort Leavenworth into a major recruiting and transshipment depot supporting Camp Floyd and points west. Lead columns started west from Kansas Territory even as recruits, wagons, volunteers, conscripts, laggards, and fortune seekers dribbled into Leavenworth. Among them was a large complement of Irish who, according to the records, proved a real discipline problem due to their propensity for drinking and fighting. Men were enlisted on the spot where required and equipped with a uniform taken from what was available at the time. The uniform included a high-collar blue frock coat with or without shoulder scales, sky-blue (later dark blue) trousers, an 1855 felt Hardee hat of variable design and quality of manufacture, and the tapered conical 1851 shako. The new solders were then assigned to a temporary unit. Dragoons were armed with .54 caliber Sharps rifles, pistols, and a saber, infantry was armed with the .69 caliber 1842 Springfield caplock musket, or an earlier model which had been converted to caplock. Artillery had a complement of short-barreled flintlocks. Manufacture of the .58 caliber 1855 Springfield musket had not yet begun. Conscripts were accumulated until there were enough to fight off an Indian attack, then amalgamated into a "column," assigned a provisional commanding officer for the march, and sent west over a well-worn trail. This process continued through the spring of 1860.
The Rules of Engagement for conduct of the Army during the Mormon War were given to Colonel Alexander in a "Letter of Instruction" written to him by General Harney dated 29 June 1857, giving the views of General Winfield Scott and the War Department. It stated first that the civil government in Utah was in a state of rebellion. The expedition was not to attack citizens, however, except by the order of the federal officials, who could use the troops as a "posse comitatus." The expedition was ordered to enforce "a jealous, harmonious, and thorough cooperation" with the governor. And finally, "prudence requires that you should anticipate resistance, general, organized, and formidable, at the threshold." The first part of this letter would guide the conciliatory tone of Colonel Alexander's communications with Brigham Young. The second part would guide Colonel Johnston's actions. Johnston was a hard-line Southern Calvinist and already thoroughly detested the Mormons, sight unseen. He couldn't wait to invade the territory and wreak holy vengeance on them.
Colonel Alexander's Mormon Expedition must have been a sight to behold as it struck out from Fort Leavenworth headed west. Carl Heinrich, a Prussian immigrant with the expedition with prior military experience in the highly disciplined Prussian Army wrote later in life in the 21 December 1912 Deseret News. He described Johnston's Army as:
". . .an untrained horde, ragged in drill, regardless of discipline, and ridiculous in its pretense at guard duty. There never was a time from the first day out of Leavenworth until the mountaineers began to test their mettle near Green River, when an active raiding party either red men or white, could not have made off with all the stock and left the command afoot and at the mercy of any foe. The personnel of the troops was also inferior, the newly enlisted men especially being of the roving, shiftless class for whom the small stipend paid was less a temptation than was the opportunity for adventure."
III. The Cat's Out of the Bag
Delivery of mail and freight to Salt Lake City at this time was unreliable due to a disagreement between the Mormons and the U.S. Government over the carrier. The result was that Mormons went back east to pick it up themselves. The alternative was to send the mail by ship South America to San Francisco, then to Sacramento. Mail going that way was routinely lost. It was on a trip from Salt Lake City to Kansas City to pick up the mail that Abraham Smoot ran into a traffic jam of wall-to-wall freight teams. In Kansas City, he learned the details of the expedition from the teamsters and drifters headed to Fort Leavenworth. The teamsters and men headed to the fort to volunteer said they were going to Utah Territory "to scalp old Brigham," "massacre Mormon leaders," and "drive the hated Mormons from their homes." On 18 July 1857 at Ft. Laramie, Smoot joined Orrin Porter Rockwell and engaged a light wagon and two fast horses. After traveling 513 miles in five days, they got back to Salt Lake City. On 24 July 1857, riding at breakneck speed, they found Brigham Young at a picnic up Big Cottonwood Canyon celebrating the Mormons' tenth anniversary in the valley. Young refused to let Smoot ruin the picnic with the bad news, and waited until 25 July to announce it. From this point forward, every activity was directed toward frenzied preparation for the upcoming battle with the entire US Army. During these preparations, for instance, the Mormon colony of San Bernardino California sent a total of six tons of gunpowder and a never-ending supply of firearms to Salt Lake City. Other Mormon settlements sent wheat, cloth, dried meat, and manufactured goods. Brigham Young commissioned a highly organized, dedicated, and fanatically obedient "Nauvoo Legion" of 1000 men under Lot Smith, sometimes referred to incorrectly as "Danites," who were mobilized on 15 August 1857. The Legion built defensive works in the canyons between the Salt Lake Valley and Wyoming. Taking a lesson from the Russians during Napoleon's invasion, detachments were sent east to keep an eye on the expedition's progress. They were also to destroy every house, tree, and blade of grass in the path of the advancing Army and for miles around, and to harass the army by attacking its supply train.
At this time, Deseret News articles became increasingly defiant against the U.S. Government. Here is an excerpt from one article, written by Brigham Young himself. It more or less covers the Mormon point of view:
"Our opponents have availed themselves of prejudice existing against us, because of our religious faith, to send out a formidable host to accomplish our destruction. We have had no privilege or opportunity of defending ourselves from the false, foul, and unjust aspersions against us before the nation. The government has not condescended to cause an investigating committee, or other persons, to be sent to inquire into and ascertain the truth, as is customary in such cases. We know those aspersions to be false; but that avails us nothing. We are condemned unheard, and forced to an issue with an armed mercenary mob, which has been sent against us at the instigation of anonymous letter writers, ashamed to father the base, slanderous falsehoods which they have given to the public; of corrupt officials, who have brought false accusations against us to screen themselves in their own infamy; and of hireling priests and howling editors, who prostitute the truth for filthy lucre's sake. The issue which has thus been forced upon us compels us to resort to the great first law of self-preservation, and stand in our own defence [sic], a right guaranteed to us by the genius of the institutions of our country, and upon which the government is based. Our duty to ourselves, to our families, requires us not to tamely submit to be driven and slain, without an attempt to preserve ourselves; our duty to our country, our holy religion, our God, to freedom and liberty, requires that we should not quietly stand still and see those fetters forging around us which were calculated to enslave and bring us in subjection to an unlawful, military despotism, such as can only emanate, in a country of constitutional law, from usurpation, tyranny, and oppression."
This sentiment was reiterated from the pulpit. One example from Tullidge's History of Salt Lake quotes Brigham Young at the pulpit. It is typical, but not the most extreme example: "I am not going to permit troops here for the protection of the priests and the rabble in their efforts to drive us from the land we possess.... You might as well tell me that you can make hell into a powder house as to tell me that they intend to keep an army here and have peace.... I have told you that if there is any man or woman who is not willing to destroy everything of their property that would be of use to an enemy if left, I would advise them to leave the territory, and I again say so to-day; for when the time comes to burn and lay waste our improvements, if any man undertakes to shield his, he will be treated as a traitor; for judgment will be laid to the line and righteousness to the plummet." (That ‘line & plummet’ reference was pretty obvious Mason-speak, but that is yet another story.)
IV. A Hard Winter and Lasting Resentment
As the Army approached Green River, Wyoming, the trouble started in earnest. Some Mormon mountain boys started off by stampeding the livestock every night with cow bells and gunfire. This was light harassment, but it was more than Colonel Alexander could handle. Colonel Albert Sydney Johnston was now ordered from Fort Leavenworth to take command of the expedition. His column had the honor of escorting the new crop of federally appointed politicians being sent from Washington to run Utah after it had been conquered, the rebellious Mormons vanquished, their church destroyed, all their leaders in prison, and Martial Law established. To see what Uncle Sam had in mind for the Mormons, fast forward to the post-Civil War “Reconstruction” years of 1866-1870 in the conquered South.
As Colonel Johnston headed west, he was brought up to speed on the dispatches between Colonel Alexander and Brigham Young. The more he read, the less respect he had for Colonel Alexander’s handling of the situation. Early dispatches from Colonel Alexander to Brigham Young were somewhat conciliatory and seemed to be seeking Young's permission. Later ones seemed to say 'Well, we're coming anyway, whether you want us to or not. Is that okay with you?' Replies from Brigham Young stated flatly that he would not permit any of Colonel Alexander’s troops to enter the Salt Lake Valley, and furthermore, that if the Army pushed past their present position, it would have to fight the entire way because all the passes were fortified, and in the unlikely event that a remnant of the Army actually made it all the way to Salt Lake City, it would find the city deserted, desolate, and burned, without food or supplies. Young's defiant tone absolutely incensed Colonel Johnston. The fact that Colonel Alexander was not being more forceful with Young enraged him even further. As word about the correspondence between Young and Alexander spread through the rumor mill, the soldiers became demoralized. It was a dangerous game of brinksmanship that Brigham Young was playing, and he knew it. He didn’t have the men or weapons to make a serious stand against the Army. He was also well aware of the penalty if the Army took complete and unchallenged control of the Salt Lake Valley after he resisted their advance. It was at this point that, in a fit of despair, he began seriously discussing picking up again and migrating again, to Canada, Mexico or perhaps to a Pacific island. But his followers had increased in number so much in the past ten years that there were now just too many Mormons to even think of another emigration.
As Colonel Alexander got closer and closer to strategically placed Fort Bridger, they entered Mormon territory. Harassment increased and the going got much slower. Back in 1855, Lot Smith had purchased this entire valley for the Mormons and there were a couple of settlements there, but now the residents retreated before the Army, leaving scorched fields and burned buildings for miles around. Attacks on the supply train and the nightly cattle stampedes were now taking their toll on the Army. By day, the column could see pillars of smoke ahead in the distance. By night, their cattle, horses, and oxen were run off, and supply wagons were burned. Soon, the men were down to eating mule meat, and mighty lean mule meat at that. As the Army finally arrived at Fort Bridger, they found it, too, in smoking ruins. The agricultural settlement at Fort Supply had also been entirely destroyed and the crops burned or plowed under. Every tree and all the forage for miles around was cut down and burned. Winter was coming on, and it was going to be a long, cold, hungry one for the soldiers.
The Army settled two miles from the ruins of Fort Bridger and built Camp Scott on Black's Fork of the Green River. Scouting parties sent to scout out Echo Canyon, the only path from Bridger to the Salt Lake Valley, found the easily defended canyon heavily fortified. Boulder and log avalanches were set toward the top of the ridges on either side, and strategically placed fortifications and breastworks strong enough to repel any invader had been constructed. Brigham Young had been true to his word.
On 17 September 1857, against advice to the contrary, the Second Dragoons set out from Fort Leavenworth. It was late in the year and there was no forage for the animals along the way. It took them until 19 November for them to reach Fort Bridger. Of the 144 horses which started out, only 10 reached Camp Scott.
Colonel Johnston arrived at Fort Laramie on 5 October 1857. When he left Fort Laramie, he was provided with an escort of two companies of infantry, and the famous Jim Bridger as a guide. During the journey, Johnston had been doing a slow burn as he read copies of the correspondence between Colonel Alexander and Brigham Young. Based on the contents of the letters, he concluded that Brigham Young was a tyrant of the most evil kind, in perpetual defiance against the U.S. government and had to be removed from power by force as soon as possible. He also concluded that Colonel Alexander was a first class wimp and likewise needed to be replaced. Johnston, who viewed himself as the ‘good guy,’ took personal offense when in one letter Brigham Young likened the expedition's mission to the role played by the British Army during the Revolutionary War, and swore it would meet the same fate. Young further warned that, contrary to the Army’s information, he had the willing cooperation and support of every man, woman, and child in the Utah Territory, and that he would continue to use guerilla warfare to destroy the army until he, or they, were extinct. Neither the warnings in Young’s letters, nor the pitiful state of his troops at Camp Scott changed Colonel Johnston's mind.
On 11 October 1857, with Johnston between Fort Laramie and Camp Scott, Colonel Alexander decided to strike out for Salt Lake City via an alternative route, a move which convinced Colonel Johnston that Alexander was totally incompetent. The alternate route bypassed Echo Canyon by way of Soda Springs toward the Bear River Valley, a roundabout trip of 300 extra miles to Salt Lake City, and the Army would have to cut a new road the entire way. The snow had begun to fall, and his hungry, cold, and demoralized troops could only cut 3 miles a day though the difficult terrain instead of the expected 10 to 15 miles. After advancing 35 miles in nine days, Alexander abandoned the project and ordered everybody back to Camp Scott, absolutely destroying what was left of morale.
On 27 November, Captain Marcy and 35 volunteers set off through the snow toward New Mexico to procure replacement animals. On 10 January they reached Fort Massachusetts in the Rio Del Norte Valley and spent the winter acquiring enough animals to replace the Army's losses. On 17 March, the party started back to Camp Scott with 1500 horses and mules, escorted by five companies of infantry and mounted riflemen.
The civil officials finally arrived at camp with Colonel Johnston. They spent a miserable winter in log covered dugouts chinked with mud at Ecklesville, newly built for the civilian appointees a short ways from Camp Scott. During the winter, dispatches were exchanged between Brigham Young and Colonel Johnston. Brigham Young would not budge from his demand that the Army should not come any closer, and that if it tried to it would be resisted by the most extreme measures. Young’s dispatches are replete with references to the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, particularly in regards to freedom of religion, and protests that the Mormons had done absolutely nothing to provoke this aggression, but now they were forced to act in their own self-defense against a government to whom they had been loyal, even going so far as to provide troops for the Mexican War. Later records indicate that Brigham Young had no intention of actually fighting the U.S. Army if it could at all be avoided, but he found saber-rattling the only language the Army understood. At any rate, it had the desired effect. The bluff completely stalled the Army's progress at Camp Scott.
On 30 December, Judge Eckles convened the Utah Supreme Court at Camp Scott. His grand jury indicted Brigham Young, Kimball, Wells, Taylor, Grant, Locksmith, Rockwell, Hickman, and many others for treason based upon their actions and Brigham Young's threatening letters.
During the winter, a steady trickle of deserters from Camp Scott kept the Mormons supplied with information. During the entire winter of 1857-1858, the Army had been on the verge of collapse, and desertion was rampant - an observation confirmed by the Mormon scouts. Deserters heading west were forced to sign a pledge respecting the rights and liberties of the people of the territory, but then allowed to pass down Echo Canyon. Deserting soldiers found the Mormons friendly, generous, and living according to the highest standards of cleanliness, morality, and ethics – in stark contrast to stories they had heard from the Army and the folks back home. A few decided to stay with the Mormons on a permanent basis, but most headed to San Francisco or the nearest gold or silver strike.
News of the Army's desperate situation finally reached Washington. Congress made an appropriation, passed over the objections of the Republicans, authorizing the enlistment of two additional regiments of volunteers. The vote was along party lines and was hotly contested, but in the end it passed. Three thousand additional regular Army troops and two artillery batteries were ordered to be raised and sent the territory post haste to crush the Mormons as soon as possible. General Winfield Scott was directed to sail for the Pacific coast with sweeping powers over the people of the Utah Territory under martial law.
If this buildup had actually happened, it would surely have spelled doom for the Mormons, but the whole thing fizzled. General Scott did not sail. The army contracts were given out to relatives and prominent secessionists without advertisement, subdivision, or bid, creating a huge scandal. The largest contract was handed to a Missouri firm famous for defraying the costs of the Democratic Party. Contracts were never fulfilled, and about a million dollars earmarked for the project disappeared, much of it reappearing in the pockets of prominent pro-slavery secessionists favored by the Democratic administration. Nothing resulted from these preparations except embarrassment to Buchanan's administration. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
On 23 March 1858, with spring just around the corner and Johnston's Army making preparations to move, Brigham Young began what he called the "Move South." Over the winter, he had ordered all the Mormons outside the territory to gather to Salt Lake City. Now he ordered all outlying settlements from Canada to San Bernardino to be abandoned completely and prepared to be burned, and everyone to gather to Provo. This was a continuation of what was being referred to as his "Sebastopol" policy, after the Russian's scorched-earth tactics during the Crimean War, and had already proved effective in Wyoming. In obedience to Young's order, 30,000 Mormons immediately left their farms and homes and headed south, dwarfing all previous Mormon migrations. They, and the residents of Salt Lake City, settled into temporary makeshift housing in Provo for the remainder of the war. Costs incurred to raise and maintaining Young's 1000-man "Nauvoo Legion" and to conduct the "Move South" were astronomical. They almost broke the Mormon Church financially, even though much of the burden was willingly absorbed by uncomplaining individual members and families as a demonstration of their sacrificial zeal and obedience to their prophet. These debts would nevertheless haunt the Mormon Church for years to come.
V. Ready or Not, Here We Come
In late 1857, Thomas Kane, an influential politician respected by the President and known and respected by the Mormons, offered to be a mediator between these two intractable parties to end the standoff. President Buchanan assented. Kane, though not himself a Mormon, nevertheless had experience dealing with Mormons and knew them as honest, trustworthy, and totally dedicated to their faith. In the past he had intervened on their behalf in the newspapers and in political circles. In April 1858, Thomas Kane arrived at Camp Scott, and just in time, for Johnston was planning his attack on the Mormons in Echo Canyon as soon as the weather broke. Having traveled by ship via Panama and San Francisco with his mandate from the president, he now unknowingly committed the treasonous crime of approaching Camp Scott from the west, where the Mormons were. As he approached the pickets, he was shot at, arrested, and physically abused by the soldiers, who dragged him before Colonel Johnston (recently brevetted to Brigadier General for his service against the Mormons). Being an Army officer on a mission from President Buchanan, Kane challenged Johnston to a duel for insulting his honor. In one of his few recorded public instances of humility, Albert Sydney Johnston actually apologized to Thomas Kane. Kane then struck up an immediate friendship with Governor Cumming and, completely snubbing General Johnston, invited Cumming to accompany him to Salt Lake City.
Kane found his old friend Brigham Young depressed, dreading the death and destruction that would surely accompany the Army's inevitable spring march into Salt Lake City. He confided to Kane that he was contemplating another Mormon migration to Mexico, or to a Pacific Island. Kane introduced Cumming and vouched for him, suggesting the bloody war could now be avoided. Young slowly came to the realization that both Kane, whom he already knew and trusted, and Cumming, whom he was beginning to respect, were the answer to his prayers. Relieved beyond words, Brigham Young invited Cumming to speak to the Mormons in the Tabernacle, where Cumming had to answer some pretty pointed questions about the conduct of the US government. Young then welcomed him officially and turned over the office of governor to him. This reception was far more than the skeptical Cumming ever expected from Young based on everything he'd been told about Brigham Young and the Mormons. Cumming found, as Kane knew all along he would, that the Mormons were a friendly, hard-working, modest, unusually clean-living and moral people, but totally devoted to their prophet and their faith.
Brigham Young, with Cumming now backing him, now sent Thomas Kane to tell Johnston, in so many words, to take his band of cutthroats and turn around and go back to Fort Leavenworth. Colonel Albert Sydney Johnston, who by now despised Young and was not accustomed to taking orders from civilians, was absolutely livid – first for repeatedly dictating terms to him, and now sending him packing like a naughty schoolboy. His officers were frustrated beyond words with the Mormons for their effective guerilla war against his supply columns, and the effective blockade of the only road to Salt Lake City. But worst of all, Colonel Johnston and his officers could feel their chance for glory in bloody combat against the Mormons slipping through their fingers.
Johnston took this opportunity to remind Cumming that the letter from General Harney had ordered the Army to act as the Governor's personal "posse comitatus," and he would enter the territory and act in that role whether Cumming wanted him or not, and furthermore, Cumming had better find, or make, a way for the Army to proceed, or there would be the devil to pay. After some negotiations, Kane assured Brigham Young that the Army would pass through Salt Lake City peacefully. Young sent Kane back one last time to tell Johnston he had permission to proceed. Just to tweak his nose one last time, Young dictated Johnston's route and destination in detail. Johnston was directed to make camp 40 miles to the southwest, in the Cedar Valley. It was far enough from Salt Lake City and Provo that his soldiers wouldn't be a problem, but close enough for the Mormons to keep tabs on him. This partially satisfied Johnston's honor, since he had sworn in his wrath the previous winter that when spring came he would march through the streets of Salt Lake City. It also satisfied Brigham Young, who was really a peaceful man and not the bloodthirsty warrior he had portrayed himself as in his letters. He showed no end of gratitude for Kane's services and Cumming's honesty. He never really wanted to fight the entire U.S. Army, and he sure didn't want to burn his brand new city (and partially completed temple) down.
It was a hungry, ragged and dispirited Army, led by an officer corps burning with thoughts of revenge that marched through an almost deserted Salt Lake City on 26 June 1858. I say almost deserted, because as the Army proceeded through the town on South Temple Street, beside each building stood a man with a lighted torch, with orders to burn the city to the ground if the Army deviated from its course. Passing through the city, The Army turned south to Cedar Valley, where they would stay for the next three years. The Utah War was over, but culture clashes and bitter feelings over Young's guerilla tactics the previous winter would persist for decades.
With the situation resolved, President Buchanan, still smarting from last winter’s scandals which were still being published in the papers, and with the Kansas-Missouri War in full swing, now attempted to throw a wet blanket over the entire "Mormon Question." He appointed Lazarus Powell and Ben McCulloch to carry an amnesty proclamation to Young and the other key figures named in Judge Eckles' indictment the previous December. It was basically a loyalty oath. Upon reaching Utah in early June, they found Young more than willing to accept forgiveness for "past offenses" in exchange for accepting Cumming and the establishment of a Territorial Army garrison. There was still the issue of polygamy, but that would have to wait until later.
VI. Back To Business As Usual - Well, Sort Of
In the book “To Utah With The Dragoons” edited by Harold D. Langley, a soldier known as “Utah” describes the site at the north end of the Cedar Valley chosen by Brigham Young for Johnston’s Army to camp:
“Camp Floyd is one of the most miserable, disagreeable and uninteresting places that ever disgraced the earth. It is built upon a dry plain, entirely destitute of grass, or, indeed, any vegetation, except the sage, that flourishes where nothing else will grow. The dry clay, pulverized by the numerous wagons passing in and about the camp, forms a fine dust that drifts with blinding fury for miles around. … There is no water near here except a little dirty stream that runs near the west end of camp, scarcely large enough to drown a mouse. To obtain wood we have to send nearly twelve miles, and there they have nothing but light cedar. And yet this place is the head quarters for the departments of Utah and four regiments of the army – 2d Dragoons, and the 5th, 7th, and 10th Infantry. Besides these regiments there are four companies of Artillery here.”
Richard F. Burton likewise described the site:
“It lies in a circular basin, surrounded by irregular hills of various height, still wooded with black cedar, where not easily felled, and clustering upon the banks of Cedar Creek, a rivulet which presently sinks in a black puddly mud.”
Johnston had two problems in the construction of his fort. First, most of the soldiers were shiftless fortune-seekers who had no idea how to build a fort. Many were Irish immigrants, and the records show them to be heavy drinkers and real discipline problems. Second, there was no wood available, besides stunted cedar fit only for firewood. Skilled Mormons were hired as masons, with the soldiers used for labor. The buildings were built from adobe bricks and mud, or “Mormon mortar,” as it was called. Adobe bricks can only be made from June to August, so there was a certain amount of urgency to complete the work before it became too cold to dry the bricks. Soon a very acceptable “Dobie Town” supplemented the Sibley tents for quarters, and started to be occupied by the troops, who by now had become impressed with the fact that Mormons were not at all the evil, rebellious sort, but just the opposite: honest and hard working, supported by a deep and unshakable Christian morality. On 9 November 1858, amid gun salutes and patriotic music, the flag was hoisted over Camp Floyd, Utah Territory, named for Secretary of War John B. Floyd. This settlement now represented Utah's third largest city and the largest military post in the country.
Along with the constant supply of new recruits and supply wagon sent from Fort Leavenworth, a second army of civilian “camp followers” began to trickle into the Cedar Valley. They settled east of the creek, opposite the fort, pitching tents or building ramshackle adobe huts in a settlement the soldiers would call Frogtown, in reference to the frogs found in the creek. At its peak in the summer of 1858, Frogtown housed 1000 sutlers, saloon keepers, laundresses, and prostitutes. It was often said of the residents that those who were not washer women were gamblers or whores, and some were all three, the professions not necessarily being decided by gender. Frogtown was a dangerous place for both residents and young soldiers looking for excitement and a place to spend their pay. All the services for soldiers were right there next to the Fort, and it was dangerous for a soldier to wander into the town any further than they had to. There were several murders every week, though the residents, fearful of reprisals from the Army, didn't murder any soldiers. They did, however, cheat and rob them of their $12 a month, and give them diseases.
Camp Floyd, together with Frogtown, represented the first sizable non-Mormon resident population in Utah, ending the Mormon dream of a Zion isolated and separated from the world. Now Johnston's Army, encamped more or less permanently in the Cedar Valley, was forced to trade with the Mormons, and there was an influx of hard US currency in Utah - a godsend for the Mormons who, though they resented the soldiers' presence, nevertheless happily accepted their money. This cash flow also provided much-needed relief for the Latter Day Saint Church, which tithes its members at ten percent of their "increase," which, thanks to the Army, now included at least some hard currency. The Church, straining under debt incurred by Brigham Young's "Move South" and the mobilization of the "Nauvoo Legion," took this opportunity to remind its members of their obligation.
Many of the Army officers had been Masons back east, and now 23 of the officers got together and established the first Masonic Lodge in Utah, chartered by the lodge in Nevada. They ordered a 30 x 60 adobe building that became Masonic Lodge 205. Ironically, only a few years hence many of these Masons of Lodge 205 would find themselves doing their utmost to kill each other on the battlefields of Virginia and Pennsylvania.
Having Masons in their midst was a trial for the Mormons since Joseph Smith had also been prominent Mason, yet was killed by a mob consisting of what turned out to be mostly fellow Masons. When Brigham Young, a former Mason himself, became the new prophet he declared that any Mormon who joined the Masons would be summarily excommunicated. The enmity went both ways. In 1862, when congress made polygamy illegal, the Masons immediately jumped on the chance to exclude Mormons from joining on the basis that polygamy was against the law.
Though Johnston finally got his way and was allowed to march through Salt Lake City, that's as close as the Army ever came to being an occupying force. While they were there, Brigham Young tried his best to become friends with the Army leadership, but bad feelings and prejudice among many against everything Mormon would keep the groups apart and the Army at arm's length for the duration of their stay.
Though an outsider and a non-Mormon, Governor Cumming turned out to be just what the territory needed at the time, acting as a much needed bridge and mediator between the government in Washington and the Mormons. After his eyes were opened to reality, he became friendly, and was more popular with the Mormons than with the military forces in Cedar Valley, some of whom were still spoiling for a fight. Governor Cumming turned out to be an honest and forthright man – too honest for the Democratic Party. He couldn’t be swayed and he couldn’t be bought. In addition to this, he had one fatal political fault: though he was from Georgia, he didn’t approve of slavery. Because of this, Cumming had to endure attempts to remove him from office by his fellow Democrats, some of which were quite underhanded.
The Army at Camp Floyd kept busy. They escorted Army Paymasters and immigrant trains from the Great Plains, through the Rocky Mountains, to California. There were fights with the Indians in western Utah and surrounding territories. Army scouts mapped new roads in the territory which shortened immigrant routes. Army Engineers improved existing roads and trails and built new ones. Scientists used Camp Floyd as a base as they collected samples of flora and fauna. Cartographers and surveyors filled in the unknown spaces on US maps. In their spare time, soldiers went prospecting for gold in the hills nearby, opening several mines. Along with its Masonic Lodge, Camp Floyd also boasted a theatrical company and a Temperance Society, proof that both alcohol and officers' wives were present. The camp had irrigation and gardens, and plots of land were farmed. By the time of the Civil War, the post had grown to 3500 soldiers, and Frogtown to 1000.
During the entire time of the Utah Expedition from 1857 to 1861, new deposits of gold were constantly being discovered throughout the west, and each new deposit triggered its own gold rush. Many of the new soldiers had this foremost on their mind as they signed on, and had every intention of taking “French leave” at the first opportunity to seek their fortune. The columns of reinforcements, and the Army at Camp Floyd would lose many soldiers to desertion over the next four years. Early on, deserters were hunted down and disciplined. Later, desertion from Camp Floyd became so common that soldiers would just pack up and leave in broad daylight and nobody bothered to stop them. When the Southern states seceded one by one, desertion became epidemic among those with Southern sympathies. Officers were required to resign their commissions to keep their gentlemanly honor, but the soldiers just walked away.
VII. I'll Take the High Road and You Take the Low Road
As 1860 approached, Secretary of War John B. Floyd became ever more vocal about his Southern sympathies. It was revealed that at the same time he and Buchanan were whipping Congress into a frenzy over the "Mormon Question" and sending the entire US Army on a wild goose chase into the Utah Territory, he had quietly been transferring massive amounts of money and war materiel to Army posts in the south, which were now manned by skeleton crews. Many of those posts were commanded by Southern sympathizers. There was also the matter of $860,000 which had somehow found its way into the hands of pro-secession contractors for doing more or less nothing. As the 1860 election came closer, and everyone could see the Secession coming, and knew the Southern states confiscate all the US property within their borders. The proper place for the Army should have been in the southern states to suppress the growing rebellion, and in Kansas and Missouri, who were now conducting a Civil War in miniature against each other. When all this came out in the press, Floyd was forced to resign and flee to the Virginia. He was replaced for the last few months of his term by a new Secretary of War named Crittenden. Camp Floyd was then renamed Camp Crittenden for the last few months of its life. When the rebellion started, Floyd was commissioned a Brigadier General in General Pillow's division and had an undistinguished military career.
Sporadic skirmishes and the seizure of all U.S. assets in the southern states by secessionist rebels soon escalated into full-blown Civil War. In the summer of 1861, the Union Army in the east, hastily cobbled together from state militias, untrained volunteers, and irregular formations, lost the battle of Bull Run, and lost it badly. The Army stationed at Camp Crittenden was recalled, and the units disintegrated as it became every man for himself. By late summer of 1861, Fort Crittenden was completely abandoned and left derelict. The Army left in great haste - literally overnight - and the camp followers with them. As expected, each of the soldiers had his own set of loyalties - some to the North, some to the South, and some to the gold fields. Some had found Mormons to be good neighbors, and a whole lot more wholesome company than soldiers and saloon keepers, and decided to stay in Utah.
Even after destroying tons of arms and ammunition, Johnston's Army left behind tons and tons of supplies, locked in every available building and buried in caches the ground. Soldiers walked away from their prospecting claims, some with considerable mine shafts, without a quit-claim. Completely furnished homes, farms with ripening crops, and vegetable plots were all abandoned. Livestock, chickens, and work animals were left to wander in the hills. By the time Brigham Young obtained legal title to the fort and everything in it, much had already been scavenged. Zions Cooperative Mercantile Institution (ZCMI) was incorporated as a retail institution for the purpose of receiving and selling off the supplies from Fort Crittenden to the public. Local residents hauled away bricks, stones, lumber, logs for use in their farms, until almost nothing of the camp was left.
VIII. Echoes Of the Past
When the Army left, some of the Frogtown residents decided to stay and started the new town of Fairfield, a bit to the north of the fort. A shadow of its former self, Fairfield still exists on the road between Lehi and Tooele, but no visible evidence remains on the 100 acres which once contained 400 buildings and housed 3500 soldiers. A tiny state park, just to the west of Fairfield and well off the beaten path contains the post cemetery and one surviving storehouse. It's all that remains of this forgotten but important chapter in both Utah and U.S. history which has been overshadowed and pushed into the background by the immensity of the Civil War. The Stagecoach Inn, still standing, has been restored and is used as a museum. It boasts a fully restored and functional (just add horses) stage coach. Built later, the inn was used as a stop for the Pony Express in 1860-1861, and as a way station on the overland stage routes until the completion of the transcontinental railroad in 1869.
The Mormons were now temporarily free of the effects of the Army in their midst (and more importantly, temptation from the intemperate, immoral residents of Frogtown), but this was a temporary respite. In October 1862, Camp Douglas was commissioned in the foothills above Salt Lake City where the University of Utah stands today. Just downhill from Camp Douglas, overlooking and Salt Lake City, the camp followers established Salt City. It was Frogtown all over again, complete with every vice a soldier from the Camp, or a Mormon from the City could imagine, and several neither would want to. This time it was within sight of downtown and the Mormon Temple. The fleshpots and gambling halls in old Salt City would prove an irresistible temptation for many of Brigham Young's followers over the years, and many fell victims to temptation there, but that's another story and I've used up my quota of digressions. In time, Salt Lake City grew and annexed Salt City, then completely absorbed it. The Old Salt City Jail, still standing, is now a pricey upscale restaurant where diners eat in jail cells equipped with the original iron bars and doors that can still swing closed on their ancient hinges, though the locks don't work any more.
The list of officers in Johnston's Army reads like a "who's who" of famous Civil War generals. Here are a few.
Albert Sydney Johnston graduated from West Point in 1826. He joined the Revolutionary Army of Texas and rose to Senior Brigadier. He served as the first Secretary of War in the Republic of Texas and commanded the First Texas Rifles during the Mexican War. Johnston rejoined the Army in 1849 as a Major. In 1855, he commanded the 2nd Cavalry regiment as a Colonel. In 1857 he was breveted a Brigadier for his services in the Utah War. Posted to California after Camp Floyd, he resigned in 1861 and made his way to Richmond to join the Confederacy, where he was a very effective and highly regarded General. During the battle of Shiloh in 1862, a bullet nicked his leg severing his femoral artery, and he bled to death.
Henry Heth's grandfather had been a soldier in the Revolutionary War, and his father fought in the War of 1812. He graduated dead last in the West Point class of 1847. In Johnston's Army, Heth was a Captain of Infantry. He resigned his commission the day Fort Sumpter was attacked and left for the Confederacy. Under Robert E. Lee, Henry Heth (pronounced "Heeth," if you please) rose from Quartermaster General to Colonel of the 45th Virginia Regiment. In 1862 he was promoted to Brigadier General, then General of the Third Corps of the ANV. He was wounded at Chancellorsville and on the first day of Gettysburg, but survived the war, surrendering with Robert E. Lee at Appomatox.
Brigadier General John Robinson commanded the Second Division under Major General John Reynolds' First Corps at Gettysburg. Fighting alongside the famed "Iron Division," his division took terrible casualties north of town on the first day of Gettysburg.
John Buford was born in Kentucky. He was a Captain with the Second Dragoons while in Utah. Early in the Civil War, he rose from Captain to Major to Assistant Adjutant, and finally to Brigadier General in 1862. He was wounded at Second Bull Run. With his cavalry, he held off an entire Confederate division north of Gettysburg on the first day in one of the key actions of the battle before finally being relieved by the First Corps just as he was running out of ammunition. Buford died of Typhoid six months later. He was promoted to Major General of Volunteers on his death bed.
John Reynolds was breveted twice during the Mexican War. He was a Captain of Artillery while in Utah. In the early part of the Civil War, he rose from Lieutenant Colonel to Brigadier General, and finally Major General. In 1862, he fell asleep at the battle of Gaines Mill and was captured, but later exchanged. In 1863, after the loss at Chancellorsville, Reynolds became disgusted with General Meade's leadership. After hearing rumors that Lincoln was considering him for command of the Army of the Potomac, he rushed to Washington and told Lincoln he would not accept the post unless the strings to Washington were severed and he was given free reign to do as he saw fit. Reynolds was killed by a Confederate sharpshooter in the cupola of a church while directing the First Division after relieving John Buford's cavalry north of Gettysburg on the first day of the battle.
Randolph B. Marcy graduated West Point in 1832. He served as a captain in the Mexican War, and participated in many exploratory expeditions in the southwest from 1847 to 1859 and wrote books about his experiences which were very popular among immigrants to the west. He was promoted to Paymaster Major in 1859 and served in the northwest. He served as brigadier general during the Civil War and had a long post-war career.
Dabney H. Maury graduated West Point in 1846 and served as a first lieutenant and regimental adjutant at Fort Leavenworth from 1858 to 1860. He was dismissed from the army in 1861 when his pro-southern sympathies began to interfere with his official duties. He was a major general in the Confederate Army.
William S. Harney graduated West Point in 1818 and fought in the Seminole War and Mexican War. He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1858. He was first choice to head the Utah expedition, but later kept behind to oversee operations at Fort Leavenworth to try to quell the Kansas Missouri War. For a brief time, he commanded Department of Utah, the Department of Oregon. He caused an international incident when he occupied San Juan Island in the Straights of Juan de Fuca and was recalled. He was suspected of southern sympathies while commanding the Department of the West in 1861 and removed. He did not get another active command during the Civil War.
Thomas L. Kane was a Colonel when he first met the Mormons in 1846. It was he who suggested the idea of a Mormon Battalion. Traveling to Council Bluffs, Iowa, after recruiting had started, he became impressed with their organization and dedication, and acquainted with Brigham Young. From then on, as both military and civilian, he spent most of his life intervening in Washington on behalf of the Mormons. Many times, as their advocate he swept aside the political prejudice and delusions and suggested the proper course for the people of the Territory of Utah. In 1850 it was he who convinced President Fillmore to appoint Young as Territorial Governor. Though Kane suffered from frail health his entire life, it did not stop him from becoming a Major General in the Civil War, fighting in many battles, including Gettysburg.
Though not involved in the expedition itself, Henry Sibley was a Captain when he invented of the Sibley Tent in 1856, copying it from the teepees the plains Indians used. The Utah expedition was the first use of these tents in the field. They were 12 feet high and 18 feet at the base, and extremely useful for a semi-permanent camp, though somewhat cumbersome for campaigning. The men slept radially around a center stove. They were greatly praised by the soldiers and used through the first years of the Civil War, when they were replaced by smaller, more portable A-tents and shelter halves. Henry Sibley fought as a Brigadier General on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and after the war attempted unsuccessfully to collect a $5.00 fee for each of the 44,000 Sibley tents used by the Union during the war.