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PDF The Mormon Rebellion: Americas First Civil War, 1857-1858

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Sort order. You know what's worse than charismatic religious zealots? The gullible sheep that follow them. This book has a parade of characters falling over themselves to do the bidding of Brigham Young. Right up to and including mass murder. But the wily Young gets off untarnished and is still revered despite the s revolt and the Mountain Meadows massacre and 55 wives!

One of the book's premises is that President Buchanan has not received the credit he deserved for putting down the rebellion in a "m You know what's worse than charismatic religious zealots? One of the book's premises is that President Buchanan has not received the credit he deserved for putting down the rebellion in a "mostly" bloodless fashion. Polygamy and the Mormon theocracy went underground when the troops were withdrawn. And after Reconstruction, "slavery" basically continued once troops were withdrawn from the south.

Maybe I'm becoming a marshal law fan. Notes: 4 Buchanan ok with polygamy but not theocracy. Jan 22, Socraticgadfly rated it it was amazing. A simply excellent overview of these events, unknown to many Americans, and not fully understood by many who do know. First, ignore the number of 1- and 2-star reviews. If this is like Amazon, every one is nothing other than Mormon apologetics, especially over the fact that Bagley and Bigler have demonstrated Brigham Young's direct connection to the Mountain Meadows Massacre.

And, that's one of the key points of this book. Despite being nowhere near enough population for statehood, Young was deter A simply excellent overview of these events, unknown to many Americans, and not fully understood by many who do know.


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Despite being nowhere near enough population for statehood, Young was determined to have either that or independence, preferring independence, and force the US government's hand on the matter. The massacre was meant to send a message to Washington that Young as Indian agent "couldn't" control Indians hint, hint, read between the lines, President Buchanan. And, if that wasn't enough of a message, then he'd cut California off from the rest of the Union.

This despite Utah still having a largely-barter theocracy that couldn't afford a long confrontation. Fortunately, the "first Civil War" ended without bloodshed. Alex Beam. Devil's Gate. David Roberts. Lincoln's Bishop. Gustav Niebuhr. Scott W. Massacre at Mountain Meadows. Ronald W. The Mountain Meadows Massacre. Juanita Brooks. Forgotten Allies. Joseph T. Brigham Young. John G. The Year Of Decision: Bernard DeVoto. Annie Heloise Abel. Stanley B. The Bitter Waters of Medicine Creek. Richard Kluger.

About the Authors & Contributors

James H. Leonard J. Orrin Porter Rockwell. Benita N Schindler. The Story of the Mormons. William Alexander Linn. Jason Wallace. A Concise History of Nauvoo. Keith Howick. Raymond Bial. Nephi Anderson. Matthias F. The Last Days of the Sioux Nation. Robert M. The Indian Frontier Parley P. American Indian Policy in Crisis. Francis Paul Prucha. Ed Breslin. Brigham's Destroying Angel. William Adams Hickman. The Gods of Prophetstown. Adam Jortner.

The Brink of War

From Kirtland to Salt Lake City. Gene A. Utah: A History. Charles S. The Conflicted Mission. Linda M. A Peculiar Imbalance. William D. The Five Civilized Tribes. Grant Foreman. Robert Wooster. The Missouri Mormon Experience. Thomas M. Wagons West. The Latter-day Saints and federal appointees in the Territory faced continual dispute. These conflicts regarded relations with the Indians who often differentiated between "Americans" and "Mormons" , acceptance of the common law , the criminal jurisdiction of probate courts , the Mormon use of ecclesiastical courts rather than the federal court system for civil matters, the legitimacy of land titles, water rights, and various other issues.

Many of the federal officers were also appalled by the practice of polygamy and the Mormon belief system in general, and would harangue the Mormons for their "lack of morality" in public addresses. This already tense situation was further exacerbated by a period of intense religious revival starting in late dubbed the " Mormon Reformation ". Beginning in , a number of federal officers, some claiming that they feared for their physical safety, left their Utah appointments for the east. The stories of these " Runaway Officials " convinced the new President that the Mormons were nearing a state of rebellion against the authority of the United States.

Allen and Glen M. Leonard , the most influential information came from William W.

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Drummond, an associate justice of the Utah territorial supreme court who began serving in Drummond's letter of resignation of March 30, contained charges that Young's power set aside the rule of law in the territory, that the Mormons had ignored the laws of Congress and the Constitution, and that male Mormons acknowledged no law but the priesthood.

He further charged the Church with murder, destruction of federal court records, harassment of federal officers, and slandering the federal government. He concluded by urging the president to appoint a governor who was not a member of the Church and to send with him sufficient military aid to enforce his rule. This account was further supported by Territorial Chief Justice Kinney in reports to Washington, where he recited examples of what he believed to be Brigham Young's perversion of Utah's judicial system and further urged his removal from office and the establishment of a one-regiment U.


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Army garrison in the territory. As early as , Dr. John M. Bernhisel , Utah's Mormon delegate to Congress, had suggested that an impartial committee be sent to investigate the actual conditions in the territory. This call for an investigation was renewed during the crisis of by Bernhisel and even by Senator Stephen A. However, the President would not wait.

Under massive popular and political pressure, President Buchanan decided to take decisive action against the Mormons soon after his inauguration on 4 March President Buchanan first decided to appoint a new governor in place of Brigham Young. The position was offered to several individuals who refused, and the President finally settled on Alfred Cumming during the summer.

While Young became aware of the change in territorial administration through press reports and other sources, he received no official notification of his replacement until Cumming arrived in the Territory in November Buchanan also decided to send a force of 2, army troops to build a post in Utah and to act as a posse comitatus once the new governor had been installed.

They were ordered not to take offensive action against the Mormons, but to enter the territory, enforce the laws under the direction of the new governor, and defend themselves if attacked. Although the Utah Expedition had begun to gather as early as May under orders from General Winfield Scott , the first soldiers did not leave Fort Leavenworth , Kansas until 18 July The troops were originally to be led by Gen.

William S. However, affairs in " Bleeding Kansas " forced Harney to remain behind to deal with skirmishes between pro-slavery and free-soiler militants. The Expedition's cavalry, the 2nd Dragoons , was kept in Kansas for the same reason. Because of Harney's unavailability, Col.

Edmund Alexander was charged with the first detachment of troops headed for Utah. However, overall command was assigned to Col. Albert Sidney Johnston who did not leave Kansas until much later. As it was, July was already far into the campaigning season, and the army and their supply train were unprepared for winter in the Rocky Mountains. The army was not given instructions on how to react in case of resistance.

The Mormons' lack of information on the army's mission created apprehension [ citation needed ] and led to their making defensive preparations. While rumors spread during the spring that an army was coming to Utah and that Brigham Young had been replaced as governor, this was not confirmed until late July. Mormon mail contractors, including Porter Rockwell and Abraham O. Smoot , received word in Missouri that their contract was canceled [31] and that the Army was on the move. Army units were marching on the Mormons. Young announced the approach of the army to a large group of Latter-day Saints gathered in Big Cottonwood Canyon for Pioneer Day celebrations on 24 July.

Young disagreed with Buchanan's choices for governor of the territory. Although Young's secular position simplified his administration of the Territory, he believed his religious authority was more important among a nearly homogeneous population of Mormons. In , they had been driven from Missouri into Illinois by direction of the Governor of Missouri who issued the infamous Extermination Order. Pratt had recently been murdered while serving a mission in Arkansas.

Fearing the worst, Young ordered residents throughout Utah territory to prepare for evacuation, making plans to burn their homes and property and to stockpile food and stock feed. Guns were manufactured and ammunition was cast. Mormon colonists in small outlying communities in the Carson Valley and San Bernardino, California were ordered to leave their homes to consolidate with the main body of Latter-day Saints in Northern and Central Utah.

Young also sent George A. Smith to the settlements of southern Utah to prepare them for action. Young's strategies to defend the Saints vacillated between all-out war, a more limited confrontation, and retreat. An alliance with the Indians was central to Young's strategy for war, although his relations with them had been strained since the settlers' arrival in Young had generally adopted a policy of conversion and conciliation towards native tribes.

On 30 August-1 September, Young met with Indian delegations and gave them permission to take all of the livestock then on the northern and southern trails into California the Fancher Party was at that time on the southern trail. In sermons on 16 August, and again one month later, Young publicly urged the emigrant wagon trains to keep away from the Territory.

In early August, Young re-activated the Nauvoo Legion. This was the Mormon militia created during the conflict in Illinois. The Nauvoo Legion was under the command of Daniel H. Wells and consisted of all able-bodied men between 15 and Young ordered the Legion to take delaying actions, essentially harassing federal troops. He planned to buy time for the Mormon settlements to prepare for either battle or evacuation, and create a window for negotiations with the Buchanan Administration.

Thus, in mid-August, militia Colonel Robert T. Burton and a reconnaissance unit were sent east from Salt Lake City with orders to observe the oncoming American regiments and protect LDS emigrants traveling on the Mormon trail. On 18 July , U. Army Captain Stewart Van Vliet , an assistant quartermaster, and a small escort were ordered to proceed directly from Kansas to Salt Lake City, ahead of the main body of troops.

Mormon Gem - Buchanan's Blunder

Van Vliet carried a letter to Young from General Harney ordering Young to make arrangements for the citizens of Utah to accommodate and supply the troops once they arrived. However, Harney's letter did not mention that Young had been replaced as governor, nor did it detail what the mission of the troops would be once they arrived and these omissions sparked even greater distrust among the Saints.

The Captain therefore left his escort and proceeded alone. Historian Harold Schindler states that his mission was to contact Governor Young and inform him of the expedition's mission: to escort the new appointees, to act as a posse comitatus and to establish at least two and perhaps three new U.

Army camps in Utah. Federal Judge Stiles and expressed concern that he Young might suffer the same fate as the previous Mormon leader, Joseph Smith, to which Van Vliet replied, "I do not think it is the intention of the government to arrest you," said Van Vliet, "but to install a new governor of the territory".

Van Vliet had been previously known by the Latter-day Saints in Iowa, and they trusted and respected him. However, he found the residents of Utah determined to defend themselves. He interviewed leaders and townspeople and " He quickly recognized that supplies or accommodations for the Army would not be forthcoming. But Young told Van Vliet that the Mormons did not desire war, and " if we can keep the peace for this winter I do think there will be something turned up that may save the shedding of blood.

Upon returning to the main body of the army, Van Vliet reported that the Latter-day Saints would not resort to actual hostilities, but would seek to delay the troops in every way possible. He also reported that they were ready to burn their homes and destroy their crops, and that the route through Echo Canyon would be a death trap for a large body of troops. Van Vliet continued on to Washington, D. Bernhisel , Utah Territory's delegate to Congress. There, Van Vliet reported on the situation in the west and became an advocate for the Latter-day Saints and the end of the Utah War.

As early as 5 August, Young had decided to declare martial law throughout the Territory and a document was printed to that effect. Wells to draft a second proclamation of martial law. On 15 September, the day after Van Vliet left Salt Lake City, Young publicly declared martial law in Utah with a document almost identical to that printed in early August. This second proclamation received wide circulation throughout the Territory and was delivered by messenger to Col.

Alexander with the approaching army. The most important provision forbade " all armed forces of every description from coming into this Territory, under any pretense whatsoever ". The Nauvoo Legion finally made contact with federal troops in late September just west of South Pass. The militia immediately began to burn grass along the trail and stampede the army's cattle. In early October, Legion members burned down Fort Bridger lest it fall into the hands of the army. A few days later, three large Army supply trains that were trailing the main army detachments were burned by Mormon cavalry led by Lot Smith.

Associated horses and cattle were "liberated" from the supply trains and taken west by the militia. However, prisoners were captured by both sides, and the army began to grow weary of the constant Mormon harassment throughout the fall. At one point, Colonel Alexander mounted roughly men on army mules to combat the Mormon militia.

No one was killed, but one Mormon took a bullet through his hat band, and one horse was grazed. These two narrow passes lead into the Salt Lake Valley, and provided the easiest access to the populated areas of northern Utah. Dealing with a heavy snowfall and intense cold, the Mormon men built fortifications, dug rifle pits and dammed streams and rivers in preparation for a possible battle either that fall or the following spring.

Several thousand more militiamen prepared their families for evacuation and underwent military training. Colonel Alexander, whom his troops called "old granny", [18] : decided not to enter Utah through Echo Canyon due to Van Vliet's report, news of the Mormon fortifications and a propaganda campaign by Brigham Young. But determined to fulfill his orders to enter the Territory, he decided to move around the Mormon defenses and enter Utah from the north along the Bear River.

However, Alexander's force was stopped by a heavy blizzard in late October. Colonel Johnston took command of the combined U. Johnston was a more aggressive commander than Alexander but this predicament rendered him unable to immediately attack through Echo Canyon into Utah. Instead, he settled his troops into ill-equipped winter camps designated Camp Scott and Eckelsville, near the burned-out remains of Fort Bridger , now in the state of Wyoming. George Cooke , who had accompanied Alfred Cumming , Utah's new governor, and a roster of other federal officials from Fort Leavenworth.

However, they too were critically short of horses and supplies. On 21 November, Cumming sent a proclamation to the citizens of Utah declaring them to be in rebellion, and soon after, a grand jury was formed at Camp Scott, which indicted two Mormon prisoners, Brigham Young, and over 60 other members of the Mormon hierarchy for treason. Johnston awaited resupply and reinforcement and prepared to attack the Mormon positions after the spring thaw. During this winter season, Lt. Joseph Christmas Ives was embarking on an assigned task of exploring and surveying the Colorado River by steamship to determine the extent of the river's navigability.

The Mormons are coming! | Crosscut

While steaming upstream in the Explorer from the Colorado River Delta toward Fort Yuma in early January , Ives received two hastily written dispatches from his commanding officer informing him of the outbreak of the Mormon War. These letters reported that Mormons were already engaged in hostilities with United States Army forces who were attempting to enter Utah from the east, and Ives's expedition took on a new meaning. The War Department was now considering launching a second front in Utah via the Colorado. Ives, who had anticipated a leisurely ascent of the river, was instructed to disregard his original orders.

He was now ordered to ascend the Colorado to the head of navigation with utmost speed to determine the feasibility of transporting troops and war materiel up the Colorado by steamer to the mouth of the Virgin River , and thence overland to Utah. It was also rumored in Washington that Mormons might try to retreat down the Colorado River and into Sonora.