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4. The Church and the Civil War

David F. Boone, “The Church and the Civil War,” in Nineteenth-Century Saints at War, ed. Robert C. Freeman (Provo, UT: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 2006), 113–139

 

The Church and the Civil War

David F. Boone

David F. Boone was an associate professor of Church history and doctrine at Brigham Young University when this was published.

In the annals of American history, the Civil War stands unique. This horrific war is regarded as the most violent in American history. It is remembered as the most devastating conflict, measured in terms of economic cost and loss of American lives, and as the most tragic example of man’s inhumanity to man. In terms of the loss of human life, the Civil War was more costly than all American wars before or since—combined. From a Church perspective, it was not the first war to involve Latter-day Saints, but it was the first in which a Latter-day Saint died in battle.[1]

A War Like No Other

No war can compare to the violence of the Civil War. The United States was not yet one hundred years old before it was nearly torn apart by the tragic conflict. It was a war in which father was pitted against son and brother against brother. The conflict between the North and the South resulted in more American casualties than all other American wars combined, before or since, with the exception of World War II. The death toll for the war is as follows:

Union forces:

Battle deaths: 140,414

Other deaths: 224,097

Confederate forces:

Battle deaths: 74,524

Other deaths: 59,297

(www. Infoplease.com/ipaA0004615.html)

The Civil War also had a significant impact on Latter-day Saints even though they were geographically separated from the war-related devastation, having moved to the West. The Civil War battle closest to the Saints was most likely Picacho Peak in Arizona, which resulted in few deaths but which was a significant withdrawal of both Union and Confederate troops from the eastern battlegrounds. No Latter-day Saints are known to have participated in this battle.

Church leaders suggested that moving West was in part a protection for the Church against the ravages of war. President Brigham Young noted, “The whispering of the Spirit to us have invariably been . . . to depart, to go hence, to flee into the mountains . . . that we may be secure in the visitation of the Judgments that must pass upon this land . . . while the guilty land of our fathers is purifying by the overwhelming scourge.”[2]

Prophecy on War

As horrific as the Civil War was, the conflict was not unexpected for Latter-day Saints. Many years earlier, in 1832, Joseph Smith received a revelation titled a “Prophecy on War” (D&C 87). Received on Christmas Day, the revelation foretold an unparalleled conflict—one that would envelop not only the entire nation but other nations as well. Some recognized that there was a crisis in South Carolina in November 1832, but it did not escalate into war. On April 2, 1843, Joseph Smith received another revelation on the same subject. This revelation stands today as Doctrine and Covenants 130. It also predicted that the conflict would commence in South Carolina but provided further insight, saying, “It may probably arise through the slave question” (D&C 130:13).

Flag of the Eighth Pennsylvania Infantry. Courtesy of National Archives.

The American Civil War was approximately twenty-nine years away when the first revelation on war, which would become Doctrine and Covenants 87, was given and eighteen years away when the second revelation, Doctrine and Covenants 130, was given. Both revelations were published years before the predicted events began to unfold. In 1851, Elder Franklin D. Richards first published the 1832 revelation (D&C 87) in the inaugural edition of the Pearl of Great Price. Three years later, the revelation was published again in The Seer. Missionaries carried copies of the revelations and read them as a part of their preaching. In a discourse delivered in the Tabernacle in Salt Lake City on January 1, 1871, Wilford Woodruff recalled that he wrote down the revelation that would become Doctrine and Covenants 87 for his own use “twenty-five years before the rebellion took place; others also wrote it, and it was published to the world before there was any prospect of the fearful events it predicted coming to pass.”[3]

Elder Jedediah M. Grant read the revelation from the courthouse steps in Tazewell County, Virginia, during one of his early missionary journeys to the Burkes Garden area, where he enjoyed remarkable success. The revelation was also read and taught by missionaries in South Carolina in 1838–39.[4] Elder Grant often used the prophecy during his proselyting efforts in the Southern states.[5]

Other leaders spoke in a similar spirit of prophecy. In Paris, Tennessee, in the face of threats of mob violence, Elder David W. Patten prophesied in a manner similar to the war revelations of Joseph Smith. The following was said about his predictions: “Instead . . . of being intimidated . . . David denounced their undertaking in the most unmeasured terms and in the spirit of prophecy . . . predicted: ‘Before you die some of you will see the streets of [Paris, Tennessee] run with the blood of it own citizens.” Years later, Patten’s biographer noted, “How fearfully this prophecy was fulfilled in the capture of [Paris, Tennessee] in 1862 by General [John Hunt] Morgan [Confederate general], during his famous raid through Kentucky and Tennessee!”[6]

Brother Joseph, painting by David Lindsley. Courtesy of Church Archives.

Numerous additional statements were made concerning the impending conflict, which was believed to have been brought on by the wickedness of the nations and the ill treatment of the Saints from New York to Illinois. For example, Wilford Woodruff remembered the Prophet Joseph explaining, when asked when these things would be, “that whosoever lived to see the two sixes come together in ‘66 would see the American continent deluged in blood.”[7]

Two days prior to the Prophet’s martyrdom in Carthage Jail, the Prophet spoke to a group of his antagonists. He told them that they thirsted for his blood. He prophesied, “You shall witness scenes of blood and sorrow to your entire satisfaction. Your souls shall be perfectly satiated with blood, . . . and those people that desire this great evil upon me and my brethren, shall be filled with regret and sorrow because of the scenes of desolation and distress that await them.” He also told them that “many of you who are now present shall have an opportunity to face the cannon’s mouth from sources you think not of.”[8] It has been suggested that the Civil War lasted twice as long in Missouri as it did anywhere else because of the border conflicts, the guerrillas, and the general mayhem that devastated the state for almost half a century following the actual war.

After the war, in a discourse dated August 1876, Elder Orson Pratt remembered, “When I was a boy I traveled extensively in the United States and the Canadas, preaching this restored gospel. I had a manuscript copy of this revelation [D&C 87], which I carried in my pocket, and I was in the habit of reading it to the people among whom I traveled and preached.” Like Elder Grant, “the people regarded it as the height of nonsense, saying the Union was too strong to be broken. . . . [But] I knew the prophecy was true. . . . This is another testimony that Joseph Smith was a prophet of the Most High God.”[9]

The Civil War in Missouri

The Civil War in Missouri essentially began in 1854. Missouri was a key state to both Northern and Southern politicians. It was divided nearly equally between pro- and anti-slavery advocates. More importantly, Missouri was one of the strongest of the frontier territories. So in 1854, when Kansas voted to choose a territorial legislature, proslavery groups in Missouri organized their followers and crossed the border en masse to ensure that a proslavery legislature was elected. Their tactic worked, yet antislavery groups raised many questions when they discovered that in the election, over six thousand votes had been cast when the territory had barely registered three thousand voters. Tensions between these two groups escalated to border raids and skirmishes between the proslavery “Ruffians” from Missouri and the antislavery “Jayhawkers” from Kansas, leading to what was known as “Bleeding Kansas.”

When war broke out in 1861, Missourians voted to remain with the Union. The Missouri governor, a proslavery advocate, protested the vote and established a rebel government, essentially in exile. Government armories were seized and soon full-scale battles erupted in the state. By 1865 over 1,100 engagements had been fought on Missouri soil, second only to the state of Virginia, and tens of thousands of soldiers had died. Missouri also provided 60 percent of its adult male population (over 150,000) to the armies of the North and South.

Some details of the revelation were so specific that they could only refer to the Civil War and were unmistakably fulfilled.[10] The prophecy indicated that war would “shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina” (D&C 87:1). The Civil War began on April 12, 1861, when Confederate troops under General Beauregard fired on Fort Sumter in South Carolina. Joseph Smith also prophesied that the war would “eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls” (v. 1), and that “war will be poured out upon all nations, beginning at this place” (v. 2). Many fail to realize that the events in this prophecy, beginning with the Civil War, have come to pass and are continuing to be fulfilled. The Lord furthered revealed, “Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States” (v. 3). “The Southern States will call on other nations . . . in order to defend themselves” and named specifically Great Britain (v. 3). Both of these came to pass and are well documented in the history of the Civil War.

Finally, the revelation foretold that “slaves shall rise up against their masters, who shall be marshaled and disciplined for war” (v. 4). Since the Civil War was, in part, fought over the institution of slavery, and since the Emancipation Proclamation began the process of freeing slaves and abolishing slavery, former slaves were able to take up arms in the conflict. This is likewise consistent with the teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith: “It is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another” (D&C 101:79).[11]

Latter-day Saint Expectations of the Coming Conflict

Before the outbreak of war in April 1861, a number of Latter-day Saints remained in the East. Some were converts who had lagged behind the Saints that had already immigrated West, and some were on their way to join the Saints in the West. Few missionaries would have been a part of the Eastern population of Saints at the time since most had returned to the West at the outset of the Utah War. Most of the converts were from New England, New York, and other Northern states. The first Latter-day Saint converts in the South were baptized in 1831. Some areas, such as South Carolina, did not record convert baptisms until the late 1830s.[12] While their numbers were sparse, nonetheless, these Latter-day Saints were obviously affected by the war. Indeed, Church members were involved on both sides of the conflict.[13]

A few Latter-day Saint converts who emigrated from Europe to gather with their fellow Saints found it advisable to join the war effort in order to secure additional funds to continue the long journey to the West. These converts joined both sides of the war effort, ostensibly because they were arriving at ports where recruitment was available. There were many ports of arrival in the Northeast and some ports in the South.[14]

Evans Union Ice Cream Company

After the Civil War, John Davis Evans returned to the Salt Lake Valley to make a home. He married Margaret Williams in the Endowment House on July 16, 1870. The Evans family settled in St. John, Tooele County, Utah, where Evans first worked in the canyons collecting cedar posts that he burned to make charcoal, which he then sold in Salt Lake City. Hardworking and industrious, Evans helped lay the first train tracks into Pleasant Valley. Evans worked as a teamster hauling salt from the salt beds around Great Salt Lake and also hauled granite from the canyon for the Salt Lake Temple. Around 1890, Evans and his wife started one of the first ice cream companies in Salt Lake City, which they called “Evans Union Ice Cream.” The patriotism of the Evans family was evident in the company name and logo. The logo for the Evans Union Ice Cream company was a red, white, and blue shield, which hung on the side of the company wagon that traveled the streets of Salt Lake City. John Davis Evans passed away on July 30, 1908, at the age of sixty-six.

John Davis Evans was one of the Saints who immigrated to the United States during this period. Evans was born on March 4, 1843, in Hirwain, South Wales, and was baptized at the age of seven. Shortly after his family’s conversion, Evans’s father, Daniel Evans, was called to be president of a branch of the Church in South Wales. Desiring to gather with the Saints in America, Daniel Evans and his family left Liverpool, England, aboard the ship Joseph Badger on October 7, 1850. Nearly six weeks later, the Evans family arrived at the port of New Orleans. They soon moved to St. Louis, Illinois, where Daniel Evans secured work in a coal mine. It was during this employment that he was crushed to death by a large chunk of coal.[15]

In 1859, John Davis Evans joined with a company of Latter-day Saints at Florence, Nebraska, and made the journey to the Salt Lake Valley, arriving on September 1, 1859. He was later responsible for driving a team of oxen across the plains on three separate occasions to help other pioneers make their way to the Salt Lake Valley.[16]

On June 1, 1861, John Davis Evans enlisted as a private in Company D of the 7th Missouri Volunteer Infantry Regiment, which was subsequently accepted into the Union Army. Research done by Evans’s daughter revealed that “he [Evans] was the only man from Utah to return to his own state to enlist.”[17]

96th Pennsylvania Infantry at Camp Northumberland near Washington DC, circa 1861.
Courtesy of National Archives.

In May of 1862, Evans and the 7th Missouri Infantry arrived at Pittsburg Landing, Tennessee. Pittsburg Landing was the site for the Battle of Shiloh, where the Union had been victorious just several weeks before. General Albert Sidney Johnston led the Confederate forces at Shiloh and was killed in battle while fighting against federal authority over the South. This was the same Johnston who, in 1858, commanded the federal troops that marched into Salt Lake City to exert federal control over Utah Territory.[18] Evans and the 7th Missouri saw varying degrees of action throughout the Civil War. However, their principle mission was silencing the guns at Vicksburg.

William Rex is another Latter-day Saint whose story of involvement in the war is compelling. As an English convert, Rex came to the States with his family in 1850 and established a home in St. Louis, Missouri. Misfortune visited the family in 1852 when William’s father died, leaving a widow and several young children. To earn a living, William and his brothers would swim the Mississippi River in search of drifting logs to sell to neighbors. At age seventeen, William left home near the end of the war to join the Union Army. The certificate of his enlistment required his service for 110 days. During this time he served in the campaign of General Sherman and participated in victories over the South in Georgia.

After the war, Rex made his way to Utah in 1869 along with his mother and brother Alfred on the first trainload of cattle to go West on the new railroad. William went on to contribute greatly to the Church, to his family, and to the community of Randolph, Utah, where he eventually settled.[19]

Abraham Lincoln and the Latter-day Saints

As early as the 1840s, Abraham Lincoln was familiar with the Latter-day Saints. Prior to being an Illinois Congressman and before his ascent to the American presidency, Lincoln voted for the Nauvoo Charter in 1840, which essentially authorized the City of Nauvoo to have a fully autonomous local government.[20] While it is not known whether Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Smith ever met face to face, evidence suggests that they may have, and it is likely that each was acquainted with the other’s political inclinations. They were both in Springfield, Illinois, at the same time on several occasions, and evidence suggests that the two leaders had mutual friends. [21] President Heber J. Grant once said, “I believe that Lincoln was acquainted with the Prophet Joseph Smith, at any rate that he [Lincoln] knew of our drivings and persecutions in New York, Ohio, and Missouri, before we located in Nauvoo.”[22] As for Lincoln’s understanding of Latter-day Saints, records indicate that in 1861–62 the president checked out several books from the Library of Congress on Mormonism, including the Book of Mormon.[23]

Senator Stephen A. Douglas, circa 1856.
Courtesy of Church Archives.

One politician who was a mutual acquaintance of both Lincoln and the Mormons was Illinois senator Stephen A. Douglas. Douglas is remembered for his participation in the debates in 1858 as he and Lincoln actively pursued the presidency of the United States. Previously, Douglas served as the secretary of state for Illinois, where he “enrolled the [newly passed] Nauvoo Charter in the official archives of Illinois.”[24] Later, while acting as a judge, Douglas was a dinner guest with the Prophet Joseph in the home of Jacob Backenstos in Carthage, where the Prophet is said to have prophesied that Douglas’s political success was contingent upon his support of the Latter-day Saints. Joseph prophesied: “Judge, you will aspire to the presidency of the United States; and if ever you turn your hand against me or the Latter-day Saints, you will feel the weight of the hand of the Almighty upon you.” Judge Douglas, the record states, “appeared very friendly,” and the Prophet Joseph concluded, “You will live to see and know that I have testified the truth to you; for the conversation of this day will stick to you through life.”[25] Later, Douglas publicly turned against the Church, and he lived to see his political ambitions destroyed.[26] Douglas died less than a year after he lost the bid for the presidency.

Eruption of War

Whatever President Lincoln’s early opinion toward the Latter-day Saints had been, his view of the Mormons seems to have mellowed once his presidency began. As President Lincoln became acquainted with his office, he became an expert at judging who could be trusted. President Young sent Congressional Representative William Hooper and others to confer with the president on territorial matters. It appears that the president was able to separate the rhetoric of biased individuals from those who more honestly represented the Church and its position. Finally, the president may have determined to avoid some of the misunderstandings and poor choices of previous administrations, most notably that of his immediate predecessor, James Buchanan.

President Abraham Lincoln, 1864.
Courtesy of National Archives.

Once war erupted in April 1861, Lincoln’s time was fully consumed by the war, which lasted longer and impacted the nation much more than initially expected, thus pushing other issues into the background. Even if Lincoln had the disposition to suppress the Latter-day Saints in the West, he did not have the funding, military resources, or manpower to do so. Perhaps influenced by his previous involvement with issues regarding the Saints, he adopted a policy of avoidance. When T. B. H. Stenhouse asked Lincoln what policy he would pursue with regard to the Mormons, Lincoln said, “Stenhouse, when I was a boy on the farm in Illinois there was a great deal of timber on the land which we had to clear away. Occasionally we would come to a log which had fallen down. It was too hard to split, too wet to burn and too heavy to move, so we plowed around it. That’s what I intend to do with the Mormons. You go back [to Utah] and tell Brigham Young that if he will let me alone, I will let him alone.”[27]

North-South Sentiments in Utah

In general conference, April 6, 1861, only days before the outbreak of the Civil War at Fort Sumter, President Brigham Young noted, “The whole Government is gone; it is as weak as water. I heard Joseph Smith say, nearly thirty years ago, ‘They shall have mobbing to their heart’s content, if they do not redress the wrongs of the Latter-day Saints.’”[28] In this same general conference, John Taylor spoke on what the Saints ought to do during the war between the North and South. Taylor declared, “What shall we do in the midst of these things that are now transpiring? Why, lean upon the Lord our God, purify ourselves. . . . Let us also look at our position as Elders in Israel, clothed with the power of the holy Priesthood, as men who hold the ministry of reconciliation. . . . This is the position that we ought to occupy in relation to these matters.”[29] At a Fourth of July celebration almost three months later, Elder John Taylor further commented, “It may now be proper to inquire what part shall we take in the present difficulties. . . . We have neither inaugurated it, nor assisted in its inauguration. . . . Shall we join the North to fight against the South? No! Shall we join the south against the north? As emphatically, No! Why? They have both. . . . brought it upon themselves, and we have had no hand in the matter . . . We know no north, no south, no east, no west.”[30]

President Brigham Young, circa 1870. © by Intellectual Reserve, Inc.

Midway through the war, in October of 1863, Brigham Young summarized his view of the parties of the ongoing conflict:

I care for the North and the South and if I had sufficient power with the Lord, I would save every innocent man, woman and child from being slaughtered in this unnatural and almost universal destruction of life and property. . . . I care for the North and South more than I do for gold, and I would do a great deal, if I had the power, to ameliorate the condition of suffering thousands. I care enough for them to pray that righteous men may hold the reins of government, and that wicked, tyrannical despotism may be wiped away from the land.[31]

Despite occasional statements of Church leaders counseling against overtly allying with either side in the conflict, some Church members found themselves sympathizing with one side or the other. Most Church members were from states united with the Union. Still, there were the Southern sympathizers. Most of the feelings generated for the South came from areas where there was a concentration of Latter-day Saints who had joined the Church south of the Mason-Dixon Line. Such concentrated populations resulted from the Church practice of organizing communities according to residents’ culture and geographic background.

In 1857, President Young determined that cotton should be grown in southern Utah. Washington County was chosen as the place, and converts from Texas and other Southern states who had experience raising cotton were among those initially called. This mission may have been a precaution against war or simply an effort to develop natural resources.

During the war years, Washington County produced a huge surplus of cotton. The extra seventy thousand pounds of cotton not needed in Church settlements was exported to markets along the Mississippi River. The production of cotton in Utah was a huge blessing to the Church during the Civil War because the supply of Southern cotton was cut off and was either used exclusively for the South’s own needs or was exported to British and European ports, where it could be sold for top dollar.

Calling Southern pioneers from all over Utah Territory to Washington County to participate in the cotton-growing venture also brought a concentration of individuals from the South with common backgrounds.[32] These Southern converts shared a sympathy for their previous homeland and the causes that drew the South into the war. Sympathetic reactions in Utah for the South were isolated. The only recorded organized effort came from Washington County. It was viewed as significant enough that a General Authority was dispatched to resolve the matter.

The excitement surrounding this incident was caused by Colonel Benjamin Davies, a non–Latter-day Saint. Davies came to Utah in December 1860 as a federal appointee to serve as superintendent of Indian Affairs. He was in Utah when hostilities erupted in South Carolina in April 1861. As a Southerner himself, Davies assumed the role in Utah of recruiter for the Confederacy and was naturally drawn to the concentrations of Latter-day Saint Southerners in the area.

His rhetoric and the passion for the Confederacy apparently caused some to reflect on their allegiances and reignited some feelings for the cause of defending their homeland. Church leaders were charged with visiting the communities to help the local Saints understand the precariousness of the Church’s and Utah Territory’s position relative to America and its Constitution, and the desire of the Church’s leaders to gain acceptance within the United States. Few outward acts of loyalty to the Confederacy are noted, but occasionally individuals did voice their preferences.

David Harold Peery

Born in Tazewell County, Virginia on May 16, 1824, David was the son of Major David Peery and Eleanor Harmon. His father was a plantation and slave owner, and David worked alongside the slaves when not pursuing an education. As a young adult, he determined a preference for commerce rather than agriculture and became a store clerk. While in his store, he first met his future wife, a Latter-day Saint named Nancy Higginbotham. David and Nancy were married on December 30, 1852, and continued to reside and work in southwest Virginia, but he couldn’t accept her religion. Frustrated at his inability to show her the error of her faith, he hired preachers to enlighten her, but she confounded them as well.

In 1862 David enlisted in the Confederate Army of Eastern Kentucky under General Humphrey Marshal but contracted typhoid fever and was returned to his father’s home in a military ambulance. David lost his wife, two sons, both his parents, and his wife’s father to the dreaded typhoid fever. While in deep mourning and combating illness, David began to think deeply about his own spiritual welfare and read the books Nancy had gathered about Mormonism. “Being much distressed in mind, I became greatly interested in the Gospel, reading the Bible and the writings of Parley and Orson Pratt. . . . [I] became convinced of the truth of the Latter-day work. One of the doctrines that particularly impressed me was marriage for eternity” (quoted in William G. Hartley, “The Confederate Officer and ‘That Mormon Girl,’” Ensign, April 1982, 53). He rode twenty-five miles in extreme weather conditions to find Absalom Young, a Latter-day Saint elder, to baptize him. He was baptized on November 1863, having to dig through deep snow and cut through six inches of ice to access the water. Following baptism, he returned to the war, joining General John Stuart Williams’s campaign in Kentucky, but he contracted typhoid fever once again. For over a month in 1864, David’s life hung in the balance. David finally returned home again, only to find that Union troops had destroyed his home, store, and six warehouses.

With his discharge papers in hand, David joined his wife’s mother, her children, and Leticia, his only surviving daughter, as they traveled west to join the Saints in Utah. Their early travel was assisted by a Confederate escort that accompanied them through areas of conflict. They traveled to Omaha, Nebraska, purchased wagons and livestock, and followed the pioneer trail to Salt Lake. In Utah he made a new start, marrying his wife’s sister, Letitia. They had ten more children.

At the conclusion of the Civil War, he served a mission to his native Virginia and was called as stake president. He was twice elected mayor of Ogden and served for years as a delegate in the Utah Territorial legislature. On September 17, 1901, David died at his Ogden home, nicknamed “the Virginia,” at age seventy-seven (Andrew Jenson, LDS Biographical Encyclopedia [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1901], 1:756).

Historian Chad Orton has noted a few minor and generally unrelated incidents involving Southern sympathizers in the West.[33] One account described individuals in the Latter-day Saint Colorado settlements, where “it was not uncommon for Southern supporters to fly the Confederate flag.” In a more emotionally charged incident, two individuals, presumably Southerners, voiced their position that “‘Jeff Davis is a Gentleman and old Abe Lincoln is a son of a——.’” For their outburst the two men were put in chains and spent two days in confinement and “were released only after [they had sworn] an oath of allegiance to the United States and the local bishop warned that such language would not be tolerated in the future.”[34]

It is unknown if any Southern Latter-day Saints left Utah to participate in the Civil War or if Davies had any success recruiting. A number of Latter-day Saints did, however, serve in the Civil War, but most of them joined from their home states before coming West (see Appendix 2). It is also known that Davies and a significant contingent of professional soldiers from Camp Floyd, including their superior officer, General Albert Sidney Johnston, left Utah’s Camp Floyd and joined the Southern cause.[35]

As the war progressed, attitudes changed. Bravado and recklessness diminished on both sides as people were mollified and began regarding former enemies as fellowmen suffering under the indignities of war. Further, as the war progressed, and as awareness of the death and destruction of the war increased, the sharpness of the rhetoric seemed to ease on all fronts.

The Captain Robert F. Burton Company of Volunteers

On October 16, 1861, just six months after the war began, the overland telegraph line was completed to Salt Lake City. The nationwide telegraph literally connected the eastern and western shores of the continent together, which allowed the Saints in the Rocky Mountains to be connected with the rest of the nation.

President Young was given the honor of sending the first message across the wire, largely because of his emphasis on the project and because of Latter-day Saint support. President Young addressed the president of the telegraph company, congratulating him on his achievement and saying, “Utah has not seceded, but is firm for the Constitution and laws of our happy country, and is warmly interested in such useful enterprises as the one so far completed.”[36]

On April 25 of the ensuing year, a telegram was sent from acting governor Frank Fuller to Daniel H. Wells, militia commander over the Utah Territory, requesting a company of volunteers “for military protection of mails, passengers, and the property of the mail company from the depredations of hostile Indians.”[37] This company was to consist of “twenty mounted men duly officered and properly armed and equipped, carrying sufficient ammunition for thirty days’ service in the field,” and was to be commanded by Colonel Robert T. Burton. The company was also to be “furnished with the necessary commissary, stores and forage with proper means of transportation for the same.”[38]

Colonel Burton was to have full “discretion” and autonomy “as to the movements of his command,” including the “term of service necessary to insure the safety and security of the mail and all persons and property connected therewith, and will communicate freely by telegraph”[39] conditions that he encountered. In addition to the twenty men called for, Burton selected men as teamsters to drive the wagons carrying the company’s supplies. These teamsters did the work of privates in the U.S. Army. In addition to the protection of the mail routes, the company was further expected to escort territorial officials West and Hooper through Indian lands on their way to Washington DC.

Burton’s volunteers left Salt Lake City on April 26, 1862, traveling east along the U.S. mail route. Due to poor weather, difficult traveling conditions, and delays getting supplies, their initial progress was slow. They passed through several mountain canyons still heavy with snowdrifts—deplorable traveling conditions. Burton documented his company’s travel. He wrote, “We were three hours getting through a drift of snow . . . twenty rods long by as many feet deep . . . the men being in cold snow water most of the time. I never saw men work more freely, although the water was so cold that their legs would be perfectly numb.” After the intense exertion, the men were exhausted. Burton reported, “The men are very tired and wet. Having done today what the Mail Company could not do, and what they swore we could not.”[40]

At Fort Bridger, the mail company found reports of Indians attacking the mail stations and personnel, thereby justifying their being called into service. Burton reported, “Six men had been wounded, two of them severely, they were now in the hospital.”[41] From then on, the evidence of further depredations continued and became more frequent.

Burton’s volunteers subsequently reported visiting thirty mail stations between Salt Lake City and the Platte River Crossing. Of those stations visited, he noted, “All the stations this side of Green River look as though they had been deserted in a hurry.”[42] The apparent reason for the hasty departure from the mail stations and an obvious reason for the appointment of the Latter-day Saint volunteers included depredations from marauding Native Americans who stampeded the livestock, scattered the mail, and destroyed government and individual property. Furthermore, Native Americans trashed and burned the mail stations, and attacked the mail employees, killing some.

Initially, the instigators of these attacks on government facilities were believed to be members of the Bannock and Snake tribes under the leadership of Chief Pashago. Additional evidence against them was provided by mail contractors who had fled for their lives. Burton, however, believed and noted evidence that some of the depredations were caused by American emigrants, including mountaineers, gold seekers, and other western travelers.

At one station along the Sweetwater River, Burton’s men found a note that an earlier traveler posted to a telegraph pole. The note warned subsequent emigrants, “We left here in a big hurry,” and then suggested, “The depredations committed . . . were done by Mormons and Snake Indians.”[43] When the accusors were confronted with the notes, they denied being involved, although some of their names were attached to the note.

As they traveled further eastward, Burton’s company gathered mail and personal belongings and stored them for safekeeping until they or others could return to retrieve them. After reaching Devil’s Gate on May 16, William H. Hooper and Chauncey West, with an escort of eight of Burton’s men, including Brigham Young Jr., continued east on their journey.[44] Burton and the remainder of his company remained at Devil’s Gate awaiting further orders from Salt Lake City. They eventually started their return trip west to the Salt Lake Valley.

On Wednesday, May 21, after having commenced their return trip, Burton’s Company encountered another military unit composed of Latter-day Saints. This second company, a group numerically superior to the one headed by Burton, was led by Lot Smith. Smith’s unit possessed enough manpower to enable them to chase the marauding tribes and retrieve stolen livestock. They had conducted a military court that tried some of the Caucasian offenders. Burton’s men gathered several dozen mail bags and delivered them to government mail agents who took them the remainder of the way east or west to their intended destinations. The delivery of the delayed mail was one early sign of the success of the company. Colonel Robert T. Burton and his remaining soldiers returned to Salt Lake City on Saturday evening, May 31, having exceeded their original expectation of military service by six days.

Lot Smith’s Utah Volunteers

Lot’s One Hundred, painting by Frank Thomas. Courtesy of Frank Thomas.

“On April 28, 1862, the Adjutant General of the Army, by express direction of President Lincoln telegraphed Brigham Young[45] of Salt Lake City, [providing] the authority to raise, arm, and equip [a] Company of Cavalry for 90 days’ service.”[46] The company was immediately organized and placed under the command of Captain Lot Smith. One hundred and five men were mustered into the service of the United States Army, and the organization became known as “Captain Lot Smith’s Company of Utah Calvary.” Their initial term of service was for ninety days with instructions “to protect the property of the telegraph and overland mail service, between Forts Bridger and Laramie, to continue in service until the United States troops shall reach the point where their services are needed.”[47]

On April 30, 1862, the Deseret News reported, “The company will not, according to the specifications of the order, be required to perform any other service than that required for the protection of the mail and telegraph.” [48] In their “official call,” the company was assured that they “will not be employed for any offensive operations other than may grow out of the duty herein assigned to it.[49] The Church, desiring to be seen as supportive of the Union, the war effort, and the U.S. Constitution, acted quickly. Still, in both Burton and Smith’s missions there seemed to be no likelihood of engaging the soldiers of the Southern rebellion. Within two days, the company was organized. The men were briefed on their assignments and then were given specific instruction. President Young and General Daniel H. Wells ate dinner with the company before they left the Salt Lake Valley, and both “gave them some excellent advice and counsel,” including the importance of their assignment. President Young reminded them that their loyalty to the United States of America was their first and primary responsibility and “that they must defend the Union at all hazards, even to the sacrificing of their lives” if necessary.[50] They were reminded to remember their daily prayers, a practice that was observed as a camp each day they were in the service.

President Young further directed them, “I desire of the officers and privates of this company, that in this service they will conduct themselves as gentlemen, remembering their allegiance and loyalty to our government, and also not forgetting that they are members of the organization to which they belong.” He cautioned them to never indulge in intoxicants of any kind and warned them against “associating with bad men or lewd women, always seeking to make peace with the Indians. Aim never to take the life of an Indian or white man, unless compelled to do so in the discharge of duty, or in defense of your own lives, or that of your comrades.” Some of the volunteers in this company, including their commander Lot Smith himself, had served in the Mormon Battalion and were also involved in the Utah War.

President Young concluded his counsel by instructing the men, “Another thing I would have you remember is that, although you are United States soldiers you are still members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and while you have sworn allegiance to the constitution and government of our country, and we have vowed to preserve the Union, the best way to accomplish this high purpose,” he said, “is to shun all evil . . . , remember your prayers, . . . establish peace with the Indians, . . . always give ready obedience to the orders of your commanding officers. If you do this,” the President noted, “I promise you, as a servant of the Lord, that not one of you shall fall by the hand of an enemy.”[51]

One of the militia members, Private Charles Crismon Jr., recorded an unusual piece of instruction to the departing recruits. Crismon remembered that after counseling the men to abstain from liquor and to avoid profanity, President Young said, “When you are offered the United States uniform, do not wear it.” Crismon later noted, “We were given the Soldier’s uniform . . . but still wore the clothing that we used when we equipped ourselves at Salt Lake City.” Years later, Crismon met with some Washakie Indians who were by this time peaceful. Crismon related from his discussion with them, “At one time our men were totally surrounded by them in ambush. If they had thought we were U.S. soldiers and had seen us in the national uniform, we would have all been killed.” The fact that they were obedient to this unusual counsel from their Prophet-leader and “wore the clothing of the ‘Mormon’ settlers, saved us.”[52]

Lot Smith’s company served with distinction, although their tour of duty was not easy. Harvey C. Hullinger, a private in the company, is the only member identified who kept a daily journal during his four months of service. Hullinger’s record contains insights of his fellow soldiers and chronicles the hardships experienced by the troops. When the company left Salt Lake in late April, there was so much snow that the company determined to go up Emigration Canyon rather than Parley’s Canyon. On one occasion early in the march, “they encountered ten feet of newly fallen snow,” which made the roads nearly impassable.[53] The men had to build or rebuild bridges. When the snow melted, the torrential flow of water washed out bridges and roads. Hullinger noted, “The roads became muddier. . . . At times we had to fasten ropes to the horses and pull them out of the mud and help them up the hills. As we reached the summit, the road became almost impassable. It took us four hours to travel less than a mile.”[54] Private Joseph A. Fisher remembered that “at one part of the journey he was without a dry stitch of clothing day or night for three weeks; his comrades suffered the same exposure with him.”[55]

Lot Smith’s company served under the direction of a regiment of Ohio Volunteers under the command of Colonel Collins. The colonel said to Captain Smith one day, “I would like to try a test and see whether your men or mine are best adapted to remain here in the West.” The colonel then ordered a detachment of mounted Eastern soldiers to the top of a mountain. “They went up and came down in great confusion.” Lot Smith’s company, on the other hand, gave their horses their reins, “and the horses of themselves avoided the sage brush and gopher holes” since they were used to the terrain. Collins remarked to Lot as a result of his test of the men, “I would rather have ten of your men than my whole regiment. We will send the Eastern men [back to the East to the battle’s] front.”[56]

Lot Smith’s service was meritorious, both in the eyes of his military commanders and Church leaders. Both groups roundly praised the Utah Volunteers for their service. Still, Smith was viewed in the military hierarchy as a controversial figure since he had taken up arms against the federal government in the Utah War and by so doing had been disloyal to the Union. This opinion was expressed in spite of the fact that he was careful never to harm any member of the U.S. military. One biographer noted that had Lot Smith lived in the East and had not been vulnerable to criticism because of his religion, he would have been one of the great military leaders in the Civil War and would likely have been one of the great generals for the Union.[57]

Following the Civil War, an investigation concluded that Smith’s soldiers were indeed eligible for veteran’s benefits. The investigation showed that “Lot Smith’s Company of Utah Cavalry was duly mustered into the Military Service of the United States Army, . . . [had] served between April 12, 1861, and April 9, 1865, in the War for the suppression of the Rebellion, . . . [and were] honorably discharged” following their official service and were thereby “eligible for membership in the Grand Army of the Republic.”[58]

Connor’s California Volunteers

General Patrick Edward Connor was born in County Kerry, Ireland, and immigrated to New York City, where he was raised. He entered the regular U.S. Army as an enlisted man, saw early military action against the Seminole Indians in Florida, and later served as a captain in the Mexican War, where he was wounded in the battle of Buena Vista. The gold rush and the lure of mining drew Connor to California following the war with Mexico. There he reenlisted in the regular army just as the Civil War broke out in the East. Connor was sent to Utah as a colonel of the California Volunteers to protect the communication lines and trails between Wyoming and Nevada, much as Lot Smith and Robert T. Burton had done at the outset of the war. Utah historian Gustive O. Larson noted, “Utah’s course of history was affected when the avowed enemy of the Saints, who had been assigned to protect the Overland Mail assumed also to watch and combat Mormonism.”[59]

While in Utah, Connor became an antagonist toward the Latter-day Saints, spearheading efforts to break up the Church’s influence through mining activities, which encouraged non-Mormons to move to the area. Only partially successful in his quest, Connor was nevertheless remembered as “the father of Utah Mining.” He further established a newspaper in Salt Lake City, run by members of his military force, named the Daily Union Vedette, which for years was the non-Mormon voice in the territory and was sharply critical of the Latter-day Saints.[60]

Rather than establish his command at Camp Floyd, Connor took his men and established a permanent military post on the east bench, overlooking Salt Lake City. Apparently as an intentional affront to the Saints and against their expressed wishes, the encampment was named Camp Douglas after the Church’s earlier friend-turned-antagonist Stephen A. Douglas.

From this vantage point, in close proximity to Church headquarters, Connor became a thorn in the side of Church leaders when friction erupted because of the abrasive demeanor and occasional lawless activities of many of Connor’s men. After his tenure in the U.S. Army ended, Connor remained in the community, where he participated in everything from politics to mining. Despite his views, which often opposed Church interests and activities, an unusual respect developed between Connor and President Brigham Young.[61] Late in his life, President Young said of Colonel Connor, “Men have been here before him; to our faces they were our friends; but when they went away they traduced, villified and abused us. Not so with Connor. We always knew where to find him. That’s why I like him.”[62]

President Young died in August 1877 and Colonel Connor in 1891. Both men are buried in Salt Lake City: President Young in a private cemetery on his own farm site, now downtown Salt Lake City; and Patrick Connor at Fort Douglas, near the military site he initially established to keep an eye on the Saints.

Conclusion

War is miserable for those who survive it, support it, or endure it. It is much harder for those who actually participate in it—especially those who are its victims. From a gospel perspective, the Civil War was a brother-against-brother conflict in a spiritual and literal sense. The revelation received by the Prophet Joseph Smith that predicted “the death and misery of many souls” was literally fulfilled. Added to this measure of misery was the staggering economic cost to the nation as a whole.

Notwithstanding the costs of the Civil War, even in its death and misery, “it is not right that any man should be in bondage one to another” (D&C 101:79), and the Civil War helped to determine that, at the very least, the institution of slavery would not continue as it existed prior to the conflict. For four million African-Americans, this meant freedom at last. As the nation bound up its wounds in the months and years that followed, the Church once again returned to the eastern United States and missionaries traveled the same paths that were the scenes of some of the greatest carnage in the nation’s history. The gospel message again went forward in the valleys of death where the armies of the North and South battled to save the nation on God’s promised land. The few Latter-day Saints who fought had a hand in preserving the United States of America for future generations. In the several decades following the war and leading up to statehood in Utah, the Saints’ resolve to remain a part of that nation was sorely tested. In the end, however, Mormons went on to be blessed by the dividend of freedom which derived from the brutal conflict. Included in that dividend would be the protections offered up in the post–Civil War amendments that guaranteed rights to African-Americans and to those of various backgrounds, regardless of color or religion. It is a bold assertion but nonetheless true that the Church’s ability to thrive was greatly assisted by the constitutional changes that came about in consequence of the war. Joseph Smith had once proclaimed himself “the greatest advocate of the Constitution of the United States there is on the earth.” His only complaint was that it was “not broad enough to cover the whole ground.”[63] Through the blessings secured by the civil rights amendments, particularly the Fourteenth Amendment, the nation he loved so dearly took major strides forward in securing the blessings of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for all its citizens.

Notes



[1]. According to our research, Henry Wells Jackson was the earliest Latter-day Saint soldier to die as a result of injury or disease (documentation in the Saints at War Collection, Brigham Young University).

[2]. Brigham Young, quoted in Richard C. Bennett, “We’ll Find the Place”: The Mormon Exodus, 1846–1848 (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1997), 7.

[3]. Wilford Woodruff, January 1, 1871, in Journal of Discourses (London: Latter-day Saints’ Book Depot, 1854–86), 14:2.

[4]. LaMar C. Berrett, “History of the Southern States Mission: 1831–1861” (master’s thesis, Brigham Young University, 1960), 168–69.

[5]. In 1879, an aged local resident named Colonel Litz told two missionaries, Elders Mathias F. Cowley and Frank A. Benson, “that Elder Grant read to them in manuscript, the prophecy of Joseph Smith respecting the war of the rebellion, which took place over twenty years after Elder Grant read the revelation to the people of Tazewell County. They [the local people] derided the prophecy, but lived to see its verification written in letters of blood and tears” (in Berrett, “History of the Southern States Mission,” 174).

[6]. Lycurgus A. Wilson, Life of David W. Patten, The First Apostolic Martyr (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1900), 62–63.

[7]. Wilford Woodruff, January 1, 1871, in Journal of Discourses, 14:3.

[8]. Joseph Smith, History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, ed. B. H. Roberts, 2nd ed. rev. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1957), 6:566.

[9]. Joseph Fielding Smith, Church History and Modern Revelation (Salt Lake City: Deseret News Press, 1947), 2:127–28.

[10]. The Civil War is known by several names, including the War Between the States, the War of Secession, the Great Revolt, and the War of Northern Aggression. These titles often reflect the interest or side represented by the individual referring to it. For the purpose of this paper, the Civil War or the Great War will be used.

[11]. The Prophet Joseph Smith’s political position on slavery, which he articulated more than once, was clear: “Pray Congress to pay every man a reasonable price for his slaves out of the surplus revenue arising from the sale of public lands and from the deduction of pay from the members of Congress.” Joseph also taught, “Break off the shackles from the poor black man, and hire him to labor like other human beings; for ‘an hour of virtuous liberty on earth is worth a whole eternity of bondage’” (George Q. Cannon, The Life of Joseph Smith the Prophet [Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1964], 472–73).

[12]. Church Almanac, 2006 (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 2005), 250.

[13]. Robert Hall has identified approximately four hundred Latter-day Saints who participated in the war on one side or the other. Nearly one hundred of this group were non-American convert immigrants who served in the war. This chapter will touch on only a few, including John Evans, Henry Jackson, and William Rex.

[14]. From 1841 to 1855, New Orleans was the principal port of arrival for Latter-day Saint converts who emigrated from Europe to the gathering places of the Saints in America. During this fourteen-year , “17, 463 immigrating saints arrived at the port of New Orleans” (Andrew Jenson, Encyclopedic History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1941], 576).

[15]. Mary A. Evans Thomas, “John Davis Evans,” biographical sketch, Saints at War Collection, BYU, 1.

[16]. Thomas, “John Davis Evans,” 1.

[17]. Thomas, “John Davis Evans,” 1.

[18]. See Jerry Evan Crouch, Silencing the Vicksburg Guns: The Story of the 7th Missouri Infantry Regiment As Experienced by John Davis Evans, Union Private and Mormon Pioneer (Victoria, BC: Trafford, 2005), 13.

[19]. William Rex history, Saints at War Collection, BYU.

[20]. John C. Bennett to the editor of the Times and Seasons, signed “Joab, General in Israel,” in Times and Seasons, vol. 2, November 1840, 205.

[21]. Abraham Lincoln to John T. Stuart, March 1, 1840, in Roy P. Basler, ed., Collected Works of Abraham Lincoln (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 1953), 1:206; see also Cyril D. Pearson, “Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Smith,” Improvement Era, February 1945, 103.

[22]. Heber J. Grant to Mr. Joy, February 12, 1941, Reel 126, Vol. 113, 622, Church Archives, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Salt Lake City.

[23]. Pearson, “Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Smith,” 103.

[24]. Pearson, “Abraham Lincoln and Joseph Smith,” 80.

[25]. May 1843, Smith, History of the Church, 5:394.

[26]. On June 12, 1857, after the prophecy was published, Senator Douglas, Democratic nominee for the United States presidency, delivered an address in Springfield, Illinois. After preferring several serious but largely untrue charges against the Saints, Douglas stated, “Should such a state of things actually exist as we are led to infer . . . the knife must be applied to this pestiferous, disgusting cancer which is gnawing into the very vitals of the body politic. It must be cut out by the roots and seared over by the red hot iron of stern, unflinching law” (in Smith, History of the Church, 5:397).

[27]. Abraham Lincoln, quoted in Preston Nibley, Brigham Young: The Man and His Works (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1965), 369.

[28]. Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 9:5.

[29]. John Taylor, April 1861, in Journal of Discourses, 9:238.

[30]. John Taylor, in B. H. Roberts, A Comprehensive History of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Salt Lake City: Deseret News, 1930), 5:11.

[31]. Brigham Young, in Journal of Discourses, 10:273.

[32]. Southern converts and communities with an appreciable number of Southerners were scattered all over the Utah Territory. Colonies in the San Luis Valley of Colorado were settled specifically for the Southerners to help them avoid the persecution they experienced at home. Further, concentrations of Southern converts could be found in New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, California, and Wyoming. Dr. Leonard J. Arrington has estimated that converts from the South never amounted to more than two percent of the Church’s entire population, but the Southerners had a disproportionate impact upon the Church in the West in the areas of colonization, education, medicine, and missionary work. Although the estimate of two percent has been questioned, the impact of the Southerners on the Church has not (see David F. Boone, “Contributions of Southern Latter-day Saints for Their Church and the American West,” unpublished manuscript presented at the Mormon History Association annual conference, Killington, Vermont, May 2005; see also Leonard J. Arrington, task paper, in author’s possession).

[33]. While the political or religious persuasions of those involved cannot always be ascertained, Chad Orton is quick to suggest that some outbursts were made as reckless affronts or “were made simply to annoy the troops” (Orton, “Away Down South in Dixie,” unpublished manuscript prepared for the Mormon History Association meeting in Cedar City, Utah, May 2001, 19).

[34]. Orton, “Away Down South in Dixie,” 10, 19–20.

[35]. A significant irony here is that in 1857–58 Albert Sidney Johnston, as the leader of federal troops in the Utah War, spoke vehemently about the treason he believed the Saints committed in defying the federal government “and that the man uttering them should himself . . . stand among the leaders of a gigantic rebellion against that [same] government, and become a leader of armies devoted to the destruction that Union.” Further, General Johnston was “himself stricken in death at the head of an army on the very verge of victory over an army fighting for the life of the government, and the perpetuity of the Union” (in Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 4:312).

[36]. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 4:543; italics removed.

[37]. Margaret M. Fisher, comp. and ed., Utah and the Civil War: Being the Story of the Part Played by the People of Utah in That Great Conflict (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1929), 112.

[38]. Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 112. This meant that the Burton Company was required to take all of their own supplies, including, in most cases, even the food for their animals.

[39]. Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 112.

[40]. Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 118.

[41]. Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 119.

[42]. Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 120–21.

[43] Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 123ff.

[44]. William Henry Hooper was Utah’s second delegate to Congress and was apparently returning east to continue in congressional representation. Hooper was born in Dorchester County, Maryland, on December 25, 1813. He moved to Illinois, where he worked as a merchant and later as a steamboat captain on the Mississippi River. He immigrated to Utah in 1850 and was elected as U.S. Senator. Hooper ultimately was elected as a delegate to Congress the 36th, 39th, 40th, 41st, and 42nd Congresses, where he strongly defended the territory’s interests. Hooper died December 30, 1882, at sixty-nine years of age.

[45]. It should be remembered that Governor Alfred Cummings was appointed as the governor of Utah to replace Brigham Young, July 11, 1857. He was, however, with the troops in winter encampment until early April 1858, when he traveled to Salt Lake City and actually served as governor until Friday, May 17, 1861, when he and his wife left the territory quietly. Cummings was considered by the Saints to be a good leader who was stern but fair. He left because he felt an allegiance to his native Georgia and departed Utah only days after Fort Sumter was fired upon and the Civil War commenced. It was undoubtedly this departure that afforded President Young, rather than some government official, the opportunity to communicate with President Lincoln via the newly completed telegraph.

[46]. Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 170.

[47]. Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 4:550.

[48]. Deseret News, April 30, 1862, as quoted in Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 4:550–51.

[49]. “Dispatch of L. Thomas, adjutant general, war department, Washington D.C., of 28th April, 1862,” quoted in Roberts, Comprehensive History of the Church, 4:551; emphasis in original.

[50]. Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 25.

[51]. Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 25–26. While this promise was literally fulfilled, there were in fact deaths. In late July 1862, a part of the company on a mission stopped for a short rest, but there was little to eat since provisions were depleted. Seymour B. Young shared a small crust of dry bread with all of his associates, saying, “Here boys this is the best I can do for you.” Private Donald McNicol remarked, “I do not mind starving, but I would hate to drown.” Soon thereafter the company had to cross the south fork of the Snake River. Most of the men crossed safely but looked back to see McNicol disappear below the river’s surface. “McNicol . . . was seen to come to the surface and was swiftly carried with the current down the stream beyond all human aid.” Ironically, McNicol was considered by his associates as “one [of] the best swimmers in the company” (Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 78–79). Solomon Hale, who was in charge of the supply wagons and was tentmate with Lot Smith, remembered that the night after McNicol drowned, their commander “walked the camp all night, broken-hearted, because of the death of one of his men” (Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 109). Mark Murphy, a teamster for the company, died due to exposure and hardships “endured while out in Government Service under Capt. Lot Smith.” He died in December 1864, four months after the company’s discharge (Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 96). Private Moroni W. Alexander volunteered to save some of his company who were in grave danger of drowning, and “his body was torn and bruised from head to foot, lacerated from the force of the rocks striking against him” as he was carried by the wild river current. As a result of his heroic act, Alexander “contracted a severe cold . . . and a cough developed which remained with him all his life” (Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 80).

[52]. Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 99.

[53] Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 26.

[54]. Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 39.

[55]. Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 93.

[56] Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 96–97.

[57] Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 148–49, 111.

[58] Fisher, Utah and the Civil War, 171.

[59]. Gustive O. Larson, Outline History of Utah and the Mormons (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1958), 195.

[60]. Matthew P. Willden, “Connor Patrick E.,” in Encyclopedia of Latter-day Saint History, ed. Arnold K. Garr, Donald Q. Cannon, and Richard O. Cowan (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 2000), 240.

[61]. While much of what President Young and Colonel Connor stood for and did for Utah seemed to be at odds with the other, a friendship developed between the two. In 1871 Church leaders, including Brigham Young, “were arrested for ‘lascivious co-habitation.’” Connor is said to have offered to furnish $100,000 bond for the Mormon leader” (E. B. Long, The Saints and the Union: Utah Territory during the Civil War [Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1981], 270).

[62]. Long, The Saints and the Union, 270.

[63]. Joseph Smith, Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith, comp. Joseph Fielding Smith (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book, 1976), 326.