THE UTAH EXPEDITION.
From Our Special Utah Correspondent.
ST. LOUIS, Mo., April 23, 1858.
I have been surprised at the silence of your Occasional Correspondent from Camp Scott con-cerning the discovery of a quantity of Mormon gunpowder in one of the United States supply trains. In the absence of any statement from him on the subject, I was inclined to doubt that such was the fact, but I have just finished reading some letters from a gentleman of high official position at the Camp, which establish it beyond question.
The powder was concealed in packages of dry goods, which were consigned to William H. Hooper & Co., merchants at Salt Lake City. It does not appear by what authority these packages found place in wagons intended for the transportation of Government stores; but it seems certain that they could not have been so placed without the knowl-edge of Mr. James Rupe, the principal agent of Russell & Waddell. Rupe is a man about 37 years of age. He resides in Western Missouri, but has an extensive acquaintance among the Mormon com-munity. It would, perhaps, be unjust to charge that he must have been aware of the contents of those packages, but since he is responsible for the fact that they were in the wagons, it is fair to review briefly his course in connection with the movement of the trains last Autumn. You are aware how much depended then upon the efficiency of Messrs. Russell & Waddell's employees, and I wrote to you what a miserable set they were—those of them, at least, who had charge of the trains which reached the army in November under the escort of Col. Smith. Mr. Rupe was no exception. He was not drunk—at least I did not see him so—but he was most la-mentably inefficient; and circumstances occurred in the course of that month which led some persons to believe that his inefficiency was intentional. He was present when a herd of 800 cattle were run off from the rear of Col. Alexander's command on Ham's Fork, about October 13, and on that occa-sion exhibited an undue familiarity with Porter Rockwell, who figured among the Mormon robbers. I transmitted to you a copy of his affidavit concern-ing the affair, which was taken before Judge Eckels, about a fortnight after it occurred. It is significant that both he and William Eads, one of his em-ployees, forfeited recognizances into which they had entered in the sum of $500 each to appear be-fore the Grand Jury of the United States District Court and give their testimony concerning the crime. As there was but one other Gentile present when the cattle were run off, and he had left for the States at an early day, it was impossible for that Jury to procure testimony to identify the criminals, although it was known that Joseph Taylor, the Mor-mon Major, then in arrest, was conspicuous on the occasion.
William H. Hooper, to whom the dry goods and gunpowder were consigned, is one of the wealthiest Mormons, and is Secretary of State in Young's Administration. The style of his firm was once "Hooper & Williams;" but Williams became a dissenter, and fled from the Territory, with Sur-veyor-General Burr and Marshal Dotson, in April, 1857. It was at Hooper's house that Captain Van Vliet was a guest during his stay in Salt Lake City last September.
Two questions suggest themselves in reviewing the affair: 1. If the intentions of the Mormons were peaceable up to the date when the Army of Utah began to move from the Missouri frontier, why did Mr. Hooper procure gunpowder to be smuggled on board the supply trains which started previously to that date? 2. Are proper precautions taken with all the trains which Messrs. Russell & Waddell are starting this Spring to guard against a repetition of the offense?
Until my arrival here yesterday, I have been un-able, since my return to the States, to realize that the Utah expedition is a reality. It has been as difficult for my memory to recall distinctly the scenes of the Autumn march of the army and its Winter encampment, as for a near-sighted person to discern objects clearly without glasses. But here there are visible signs of the expedition. The bar-rooms and tables d'hote, and even the streets, are dotted with uniforms like a European capital, and the word "Utah" strikes the ear on every side.
I am told that it is probable that the Peace Com-missioners will not wait for the arrival of Gen. Smith, but will start for Utah as soon as possible, with an escort of dragoons. They are now at Fort Leavenworth.
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