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THE UTAH EXPEDITION.—[FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.]
FORT BRIDGER, U. T.
OUR progress thus far has been very dull and uninteresting. The march from Fort Laramie to Fort Bridger has enabled us to realize the retreat from Moscow by the re-mains of the Great Army, forty-five years ago. The Mormons had de-stroyed all the grass: we could barely find willows and sage bush-es in sufficient quantity to keep our fires going. Cold set in soon after we departed, and with it snow-storms. On the high land the ther-mometer frequently marked sever-al degrees below zero; and in many places the snow was so deep as to interpose a very serious obstacle to locomotion. The cattle, of course, were the first to feel the inconven-iences of the march. For the last four hundred miles of our journey the mortality among horses, mules, and horned cattle was very large. It was quite common of a morning to find a dead ox lying near the door of one's tent. The road to Fort Bridger, like the Isthmus of Pana-ma in the early days of Californian enterprise, will be found next sum-mer fenced in with bones. I am led to believe that the rear guard of the army under Colonel Cook were obliged to leave behind them much valuable property from want of cat-tle to transport it. Some have esti-mated the loss of cattle as high as one hundred head per day. Certain it seems that when the spring ena-bles us to undertake active opera-tions we shall have no transport or cavalry.
We were not molested either by Indians or by Mormons on the march. Three trains traveling without proper escort, and at a dis-tance from the main body, have been captured and burned by the Mormons, and a quantity of valua-ble clothing, together with some provisions, and probably our whole store of salt destroyed. We have, however, provisions enough to last us, with ordinary economy, till the time arrives for an assault upon Salt Lake City. The colonel com-manding has just issued an order cutting down the daily rations and depriving the officers of their ex-tras. As to salt, of which article we are lamentably deficient, it is understood that a supply is on the way from the East, and Captain Marcy has been sent off to ward New Mexico to procure a supply. Brig-ham Young sent in a wagon-load as a present; but Colonel Johnston sent it back with a message that the next Mormon who arrived without a flag of truce would be fired upon. I see no probability of the army suffer-ing seriously either from hunger or cold. The health of the troops thus far has been excellent, and with proper precautions there is no rea-son why it should not continue to be satisfactory.
We are at present encamped on Black's Fort, in the vicinity of and around Fort Bridger. This fort is an old trading-post, owned by a Major Bridger, who has been in these parts for many years. The commander has leased the fort, and is rebuilding and fortifying it, so as to provide a safe retreat in case of disaster. In a very short time it can be rendered impregnable. In many respects the locality is admi-rable as a basis of operations. There is round the fort plenty of wood for fuel, and the stream contains ex-cellent water. As to distances, we are 113 miles from Salt Lake City, 30 miles from Ham's Fork, and 380 miles from Fort Laramie. Had we cattle, we could sweep the whole country between this and the ca-ñons; as it is, the Mormons have the advantage of us; their cavalry arm is excellent, their horses strong and well fed, their guerillas inde-fatigable. They hover round us, trying to pick up stragglers, stam-pede cattle, and burn trains; and so long as they keep out of gun range they are safe.
There is a strong feeling in the army in favor of an immediate ad-vance on Salt Lake City. I have no doubt—if the thing were pro-posed—that every man of the expe-dition would cheerfully agree to en-counter Mormons, snow, and cold, in order to exchange our camp life for comfortable winter-quarters in the city. But this is not to be. Our commander has resolved—probably in accordance with orders from head-quarters—that we shall remain where we are for the pres-ent; the failure of the expedition—for such really seems to be the prop-er term—will at least have the ad-vantage of giving us something to think about during the long, dreary winter. No doubt, on other and graver grounds, Colonel Johnston's decision is judicious. From the best accounts, it seems that the Mormon force encamped between us and the city amounts to full live thousand men of all arms. We have less than one-third this number; for of course the teamsters and army fol-lowers can not be relied upon for offensive operations.
We have resigned ourselves, therefore, to make the best of our position, and are trying to make ourselves comfortable. Some of the officers and the civil officials are building houses on the Armenian plan, partly underground, with a wooden roof, which the snow will render air-tight. I have no doubt that these huts will be comfortable, warm, dry, and snug. Tents are, however, the order of the day among the army, and, with a due amount of blankets, and a corresponding supply of fuel for the stove, we cal-culate to exist through the winter without more suffering than every soldier in active service must ex-pect.
The weather latterly has been very mild, and at times the ground has been bare of snow. At this season I am told, by persons ac-quainted with the locality, that the snow is usually several feet deep.
Governor Cumming and Chief-Justice Eckels are preparing for ac-tivity. The former has sent proc-lamations to Salt Lake City declar-ing that he will proceed against any individuals found in rebellion ac-cording to the law; and the Chief-Justice has opened a Court for the trial of offenders. This seems an amusing proceeding at the crisis at which affairs have arrived. From, all Ave can learn of Brigham Young's views, and the state of feeling at Salt Lake City, two courses of action are being debated—the first, to leave Utah in the spring, and seek a refuge in the British Ter-ritory in the north; the second, to submit to the entrance of the army, and make the best terms pos-sible with the new Governor. As Governor Cum-ming has declared that he does not propose to in-terfere with the Mormon matrimonial arrange-ments, it is quite likely that a number of Mormons may prefer submitting to his authority to losing the improvements they have made on their land in Utah. On the other hand, Brigham Young's acts have been so glaringly defiant of the authority of the United States—the burning of the supply-trains amounts, I suppose, to an actual levying of war—that there is very little hope for him, should he fall into the hands of the army. He will, there-fore, be quite likely to take an early opportunity of placing himself beyond Colonel Johnston's reach, by flying to the British country. Whether he will venture upon a preliminary brush with the army is, of course, a matter of conjecture. It is assert-ed by persons who pretend to know, that the rank and file of the Mormons are more governed by feeling than by reason, and that they will not yield without a struggle. They regard themselves as martyrs to their faith. It is supposed here that Colonel Johnston has made up his mind that there will be no fighting, though the arrangements for the winter are as careful as if we were in a foreign enemy's country. For my own part, I can not bring myself to believe that the Mormons will act-ually shed their blood in the cause.
We have four ladies in camp, all of whom, I am happy to say, are well, and bear cheerfully the pri-vations and discomforts of camp-life. We pro-pose, when the work of preparing for the cold is over, to get up some amusements for the troops and ourselves. I should not be surprised if we gave balls which were as suc-cessful as any in your own Fifth Avenue. There is also some talk of theatric-als. Whether we are to fight or not, we have made up our minds to be as merry for the present as the circumstances will admit.
Of Colonel Johnston, the commanding officer of the Utah Expedition, we have the following memoir. The portrait is from a daguerreotype in the possession of an inti-mate friend; the memoir by that distinguished offi-cer and citizen, Colonel Preston, of Kentucky.
Albert Sidney Johnston was born in Mason Coun-ty, Kentucky, in 1803. His father was a physi-cian of education and high character, from the vicini-ty of Salisbury, in Con-necticut, who emigrated to Kentucky before the adoption of the Constitu-tion of the United States. His eldest son, Josiah Stoddard Johnston, was a statesman of signal abili-ty, and was returned to the Senate of the United States from Louisiana. He was the confidential friend of Mr. Clay, and his second in his duel with Randolph. Sidney Johnston was sent by his father at an early age, to the school of Dr. Lewis Marshall, a brother of Chief-Justice Marshall, one of the most learned and accomplished scholars of his day. Afterward he was placed at Transylvania University, where he had nearly completed a liberal education when his brother, discerning the peculiar bent of his mind, induced him to go to West Point. He graduated at the Military Academy, and received a commis-sion in the 6th Regiment of Infantry. During his academic course he was highly distinguished for his attainments in mathematics and the severer studies of his profession, being almost at the head of his classes; but he displayed little aptitude for languages and the lighter branches of learning. He entered the army, and was ordered to the West, where he was selected as Adjutant-General during the Black Hawk war, by the commander, General Atkinson, and, though young, earned a high repu-tation for gallantry, energy, and judgment. After the cessation of hostilities he resigned his commis-sion, with the intention of residing upon a planta-tion near St. Louis; but afterward, during the struggle between Mexico and Texas, he left the States. He arrived in Texas not long after the battle of San Jacinto, and while the contest was in progress enrolled himself as a private sol-dier in the army, and rose rapidly to high com-mand. At that time the forces of Texas, under the command of General Felix Huston, a Ken-tuckian of rash and impetuous courage, but of no-ble and generous impulses, was collected for the defense of the infant republic. Johnston was elect-ed to supersede him in the command. When he arrived Huston chose to consider himself affronted upon an imaginary point of etiquette, and chal-lenged him the day after he assumed the com-mand. Johnston at once accepted the challenge, and a meeting ensued, in which he was wounded—as it was feared, mortally—by his antagonist, who was an admirable shot. The friend and second of Johnston, thinking he was dying, muttered that the matter should not rest, but would be avenged by him. Johnston turned to him and said, “It is my request, in the event of my death, that you shall yield obedience to my second in command, General Huston; and I trust you will not, by such conduct, promote a spirit of insubordination.” Huston afterward became the friend of Johnston, and always spoke of him with the highest consid-eration and respect.
General Johnston afterward was appointed Sec-retary of War in Texas, and organized the expe-dition under Burleson, in 1839, against the Chero-kees. He was present in person at the decisive en-gagement, on the River Nueces, in which the Che-rokees, seven hundred strong, were routed by the Texans. In his department he manifested not only skill as a soldier in every emergency, but ability and discretion as a civilian. He became an ardent advocate for the annexation of Texas to the Unit-ed States, and used all the influence he possessed to secure its consummation. Subsequently, when war was declared against Mexico, and he was in private life, residing upon his plantation in Bra-zoria County, General Taylor wrote to him from Point Isabel, and requested him to join him imme-diately. Johnston at once volunteered as a pri-vate soldier, collected a few friends, appointed a rendezvous at Point Isabel, and, as there were no vessels, mounted his horse, and joined General Taylor. TAVO Texan regiments assembled, and Johnston was elected Colonel of one, and the cele-brated partisan officer, Jack II aye, was elected Col-onel of the other. Johnston's regiment was dis-banded before the battle of Monterey, but he was unwilling to leave the scene of active operations, and went forward with the army. He was ap-pointed Inspector-General, by Taylor, of General William 0. Butler's division, and accepted the place. He was present at Monterey; and during a heavy fire upon Mitchell's Ohio regiment, of which the Colonel fell wounded, displayed the most conspicuous coolness, gal-lantry, and skill. His horse was thrice shot, but he escaped unwounded. He was thanked in his dis-patches by General But-ler for his conduct on that memorable occasion, and was urged by General Tay-lor for the post of Briga-dier-General, in prefer-ence to numbers of brave and skillful officers under his command. The com- mission was subsequent-ly bestowed upon Caleb Cushing.
After his service in Mexico Johnston again returned to his plantation. When he went to Texas he possessed a sufficient fortune, which, however, had become impaired from the necessary neglect of his private affairs. Natu-rally independent in char-acter, and punctual in the fulfillment of his obliga-tions, he set to work on his place, when General Taylor, then President, tendered him the appoint-ment of Paymaster, with the rank of Major, as it was then the only appro-priate place within his gift. Johnston held the commission for several years, until the new regi-ments were levied, when the Secretary of War, Jef-ferson Davis, who knew his skill as a soldier, and his high character for worth and ability, and ability, and who had known him at West Point, and had seen him in the field, appoint-ed him Colonel of the 2cl Cavalry. Since that time Johnston has been chiefly employed as com-manding officer of the Southwestern Military De-partment.
When the recent troubles in Utah occurred Johnston was ordered to Washington, and the general opinion of the army, as well as the judg-ment of the President, indicated him as the proper officer to be intrusted with the command. Thus far he has pushed forward with extraordinary en-ergy, notwithstanding the inclement season of the year, the snows of the mountains, and the number-less impediments to the march of an army under such circumstances.
Colonel Johnston is now in the matured vigor of manhood. He is above six feet in height, strong-ly and powerfully formed, with a grave, digni-fied, and commanding presence. His features are strongly marked, showing his Scottish lineage, and denote great resolution and composure of char-acter. His complexion, naturally fair, is, from exposure, a deep brown. His habits are abstemi-ous and temperate, and no excess has impaired his powerful constitution. His mind is clear, strong, and well cultivated. His manner is courteous, but rather grave and silent. He has many devoted friends, but they have been won and secured rath-er by the native dignity and nobility of his char-acter than by his powers of address. He is a man of strong will and ardent temper, but his whole bearing testifies the self-control he has acquired. As a soldier he stands very high in the opinion of the army. As air instance of this it may be men-tioned that, in a large assembly of officers and gen-tlemen, the gallant and impetuous Worth, when asked who was the best soldier he had ever known, replied, "I consider Sidney Johnston the best sol-dier I ever knew."
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