THE MORMON WAR.
We have been favored with the following extracts from private letters, written by an officer of high rank in the Utah Expedition. They will be read with great interest on account of the intelligent details which they present of every-day life in the camp, as well as of the prospects of the war:
CAMP ON SWEET-WATER RIVER,
SUNDAY, Oct. 18, 1857.
Here we are, 918 miles from Fort Leavenworth, and only 2½ miles from the South Pass of the Rocky Mountains, which divides the waters running east for the Gulf of Mexico from those emptying into the Pacific. Col. Albert S. Johnston of the Second Cavalry, the "Commander of the Army for Utah," joined us two days since with a small escort. He will remain here for five or six days, until all the supply trains are up, as well as some additional troops, and then proceed to join the main force of the army, which will be soon but four or five days' march from here. When we go, I shall have of cavalry and infantry about 300 men under my command. I shall have to serve as escort to (say) 11 trains, and (about) 3,000 animals. Before you receive this, you will have known from Brigham Young's proclamation, as well as his letter to Col. Alexander, that Utah is in a state of rebellion, and that we are at open war with them. Col Johnston's orders to the troops are to treat them as enemies, and fire upon them, which is what I should have done without such instructions. I do not doubt I shall inaugurate the war on our side before we reach Alexander's camp. As soon as all the forces are united we shall proceed to Winter quarters (that is, a valley where there is timber and grass, the name of which I conceal, from prudential reasons, for this letter may fall into Mormon hands), and secure our supplies, and thence commence active movements, or remain quiet until the Spring, as may be hereafter determined. Col. J. has done me the honor to consult me as to the future, and advise me as to his intentions, which, of course, I keep to myself.
Lieut.-Col. Cooke, with six companies of dragoons, are ordered up, and I hope may be able to reach us, for we are in need of a mounted force badly. If he gets up at all, we may expect him by the 5th of November. The two companies of dragoons to be under me come from Fort Laramie, and ought to be here in three or four days. They will be of essential service. The Mormons have a mounted force just in front of us, variously estimated at from 200 to 700 men. My guide—an old mountaineer—thinks they are about 400. They have contented themselves thus far by stopping the ingress and egress of individuals into or from Utah (Green River, fifty miles from us, being about twenty miles within Utah), by burning the grass, and by burning three of our supply trains—say, seventy to eighty wagon loads—which were not defended by the teamsters. They say they will not fire upon any one; but if resisted, or a drop of Mormon blood is spilt, it shall be a war of extermination for the Gentiles. I presume the only molestation that will be attempted by them toward us will be the effort to drive off our animals. But, if they come within reach of my rifles, they will have a chance to go to Mormon Paradise.
We are now about 11,000 feet above the level of the sea, where ice and snow may be expected on any day throughout the year. Last evening, just as we arrived in camp, it commenced snowing, with a high wind. The ice in my tent this morning was over half an inch thick. Eight mules froze to death. But to-day, although the wind is somewhat high, there is a bright sun, and the snow is melting. In the valleys to which we may go, the Winter will not be so much felt. I am well, and quite comfortable at all times, having plenty of furs, buffalo robes and other traps, to say nothing of a nice little sheet-iron stove in my tent, Send me newspaper slips, that I may know what is going on in the world, for we get no papers, and letters reach us rarely. A correspondent of THE N. Y. TRIBUNE is with my command. He is a highly-educated gentleman, and is sent to report facts according to his best, judgment, without reference to the "woolly question," though the officers run him to death about his Abolition. As he writes fully, you may get from that paper many interesting items that I pass over. Send me any slips of it that interest you.
This will go by an express Col. Johnston is sending in.
From The Western Dispatch Extra, Dec. 2.
In consequence of the great interest which is felt in relation to affairs in Utah and upon the Plains, we hasten to lay the following before our readers:
By the arrival of an express from Ham's Fork, sent in by Waddell, Russell & Co., and also bearing Government dispatches, we have much later news from the Plains than that which has been published. The expressman, Mr. Stephen T. Rannabarger, who was wagon master of the train of Messrs. Waddell, Russell & Co., which was destroyed by the Mormons, left Ham's Fork about 1 o'clock on the morning of Nov. 1, and arrived in this city this evening.
Mr. Rannabarger had charge of the cattle of the destroyed train of Waddell, Russell & Co., but having only nice men they were attacked by about 75 Mormons within two miles of Col. Alexander's command, and the cattle taken from him. He informs us that the Mormons had burnt the grass in every direction, and that the government stock was starving and freezing to death at the rate of fifteen or twenty per day. This is the more seriously felt, as the horses attached to the battery are, from this cause, already inadequate to the service required of them.
The news from Salt Lake, received up to the time of the time of the departure of the express, fully confirms the news already received of the determined resistance of the Mormons. All of the mountain passes are strongly fort) fortified, at each of which is stationed forty or fifty men, who in their position are well able to stop the further approach of our troops during the winter.
Col. Alexander had taken three Mormon prisoners; among them, a brother of the notorious murderer. W. H. Hickman. It was the custom of the Mormons to keep a party of camp-followers constantly in the rear of the troops, for the purpose of getting all the stocks, left behind as strays, &c. A file of soldiers were concealed in a ravine to capture one of these parties, and a single man sent out as a decoy. The Mormons readily took the bait and were led in pursuit of the single soldier to the ambush, when the soldiers fired, killing one and taking the three prisoners before mentioned.
Col Johnson was met on the Big Sandy, seventy miles from Ham's fork, having under his charge and escort all of the Government provision trains, and also the trains of the different traders, and was averaging about ten miles per day, and expressed a determinate to go into Salt Lake City this Winter.
Met Colonel Cooke with his regiment of calvary at Grease-Wood Creek, twelve miles this side of Independence Rock; was destitute of corn for his horses; would reach the camp of Col. Alexander is ten or twelve days.
Forty of Magraw's men, belonging to the wagon-road expedition, had been mustered into service. Some of these complain loudly of Magraw's inhumanity toward them, alleging that they had been abandoned on the plains seventy-eight or eighty miles from assistance, without provisions.
It was thought that all the teamsters on the road would be mustered into service.
Jessee Jones was a prisoner in Salt Lake City, enjoying the freedom of the place, but restricted from going beyond its limits.
The Mormons say that they will fight to the death in defence of their city if the troops attempt an entrance this Winter, and that in the Spring they will burn the city and go to the mountains, where they have provisions to last them for four or five years.
Mr. Rannabarger came through alone a distance of 1,260 miles; passed through about one hundred lodges of Indians, but was not molested; encountered much rain, sleet and snow on the other end of the roads; was lost two days in & snow storm at South Pass, and laid by at Laramie three days; from there enountered much snow before he reached Patterson ranch.
Met two outgoing mails, one at Independence Rock and the other at O’Fallon's Bluff, on South Platte. Mr. R. will return with dispatches, leaving Fort, Leavenworth on Saturday next.
Mr. D. C. Hail, who went to California from Ozark, Ark., last Summer, writes a letter to The Little Rock Democrat, describing his journey, and the outrages to which he and his party were subjected by the Mormons. We make the following extracts: On reaching Salt Lake City, we found them the most restless and excited beings on earth. Women would run after emigrant wagons and endeavor to purchase guns and ammunition. On, leaving the city and passing through their villages, they treated us as though we were highway robbers or murderers. They threatened our lives with the Indians. True to their threats, the Indians did indeed come upon us—some twenty-five in number, together with eight or ten Mormons. The Indians attempted to drive off our stock, the Mormons at the same time cursing us, and telling "to give up some of our blankets and some of "our cattle, or they would murder us." We then succeeded in driving them back, but they followed on in pursuit of us. Near the City Rock they came upon another train and at night stole eighteen head of cattle, and shot one of the guards through the hand.
On the following day the emigrants trailed the cattle seven or eight miles into the mountains. As they were ascending a narrow pass, all of a sudden the Indians and Mormons commenced firing upon them. The allies—Indians and Mormons—numbered about 50; the emigrants eight! The latter retreated. Jackson Nicholes was mortally wounded, and died in a few days. A young man from Texas, named W. McCarley, was wounded, and probably killed. The last that was seen of him six or eight Indians were running him into the City Rock. Young Daniel Abbot was shot through the thigh. We then sorrowfully wended our way to the Humbolt River, near the upper canon. There we were shocked, by finding the lifeless bodies of three unfortunate emigrants, murdered by the savages and hell-deserving followers of Joe Smith-Near Graw's Ford we found six more, in one grave—buried by other emigrants. Their blood and hair were strewn around the spot that marked their destruction.
A Mr. Woods and his wife were just ahead of their train, riding in a two-horse carriage. The allies came upon them. Woods put whip to big his mules; one of his carriage wheels came off; he then cut off the harness of his team, put his wife and child upon one of the mules, and took the other himself. The wife, child and mule were all captured and massacred. Mr. W. got his arm broken, yet succeeded in making his escape.
We found graves daily, and sometimes brains of persons who had just been murdered. On reaching Carson River, we met some 200 wagons and 500 Mormons on their way to the New Jerusalem. Brigham Young has ordered them all home, to assist in fighting against the United States army, that they are constantly expecting.
During my stay in Salt Eake City, one of the resident officers was very desirous to ascertain what I knew concerning Col. Harney, and the movements of our Government in relation to them. I expressed myself so emphatically in favor of the Saints that he hesitated not to reveal to me all their plans, and described their strength and powers. He then exhibited to me their batteries, and informed me that they then had three or four Indian tribes in realineys to attack Col. Harney as he came into their countrs through the deep, narrow ravines of the mountains.
He also said, that if Harney did persist in attacking them, that they should hoist the British flag, and that this would so stimulate their English resident brethren, that they would only yield to death. He further stated, that the English Government—with whom they were in constant secret communication—had confidentially assured them that she would come to their rescue, if she could find any possible avenue.
The following letter was written by a woman at Salt Lake City to her husband, who was on a visit to one of the Eastern cities:
SALT LAKE CITY, SEPT 4, 1857.
MY DEAR HUSBAND: I have just received your letter to me, and also read one you wrote to Sister—. I am much disappointed, for I thought you would say positively you were coming home this Fall. I think if you understood the spirit of the times in the Valley you would want to be here. All the men are preparing for war, both old and young. Some companies have gone out to meet the enemy; more are ready to go when called for. The carrying companies are all coming in; what they cannot bring with them they destroy. They have burned hundreds of tuns of hay at the stations. Brother Brigham says if the brethren will stand by him, he will never let the Gentiles come into the. Valleys. He says before they shall come here, he will burn every house, fence and hay-stack, and flee to the mountains. We will make a Moecow of the cities and towns in these Valleys, and a Potter's Field of every canon that our enemies come into. Brother Kimball says all the women must have a dirk knife, to I wish you would bring me one. You must bring plenty of powder and lead. Brother Brigham says if every Saint, will live up to their religion, we will never be driven from these valleys. We shall stay here until the time comes to go to Jackson County. We shall no more be called the traitors of Utah, but the free people of Deseret.
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