The Mormon War: Defiance in the Desert


Brigham Young

From History Net by Kenny Kemp:

The unmistakable sound of a rifle being cocked startled the men at the cookfire. Nights on the rolling eastern upslope of the Great Divide had turned cool with fall. The wagoners, employees of the Russel, Majors, and Waddell Freight Company, were famished after a day of hauling U.S. Army provisions bound for the Utah Territory. At the snick of metal on metal the drivers, who had stacked their own rifles nearby, looked over their shoulders to see a young fellow red of hair, face, and bristling beard. Straight-backed and smiling, the intruder held a long-barreled flintlock.

“You boys go ahead and finish your supper,” the redhead said. A driver started to rise. From the darkness, two dozen rifle barrels jutted into view. The driver sat down.

“Now finish up,” said the interloper. “Then we’ll get to work.”

When his prisoners had eaten, the redhead, Major Lot Smith of the Utah Militia, explained that the drivers would be going back to Fort Laramie, 80 miles east. They should gather what they needed from their wagons, he added. The rifles remained leveled. “You won’t have horses,” Smith said, smiling. “So consider what’s worth packing.” Haphazardly outfitted, the prisoners, herded by a few armed riders, shambled into the dark. Smith and the rest of his company stayed. “Heber Kimball is a true prophet,” the commander said, naming a militant Mormon leader. The leader hefted a particularly nice repeater from the stack by the fire. “He said the troops wouldn’t get to Salt Lake City, but goods and cattle would come.” Smith’s men laughed. “He also said,” said one, “that he had wives enough to whip the United States.”

Read the rest of the article at History Net


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