Monday, April 29, 2013

General Connor Plans Fort and Town Near the Soda Springs in Idaho

On April 29, 1863, the Deseret News in Salt Lake City reported, “For some time past rumors have been in circulation that is was the intention of Gen. Connor to establish a new military post at or near Soda Springs, in Idaho Territory, this spring, in order to hold the Indians in check.”

The News had not paid a lot of attention to these stories, but now they said, “We have been informed on good authority … that within ten days two companies – one of infantry and one of cavalry – will be detached from Camp Douglas for the purpose of establishing a new post somewhere in that vicinity.”
Gen. Patrick E. Connor. Library of Congress.

They considered this “a much better arrangement” because the location placed troops much closer to the flow of emigrants on the Oregon Trail. Camp Douglas, the Army’s base a few miles east of Salt Lake, was too far away to be effective.

The News also applauded “another splendid scheme,” which was to establish a colony for “all the scape-graces at and about Camp Douglas.” Most of the so-called “scape-graces” were, in fact, the remnants of the Morrisites, a group that had split off from the LDS church. Their leader, Joseph Morris, had been shot and killed by a Mormon posse the previous summer. It would be, the News opined, “of inestimable benefit” to move these apostates out of Utah.

References: [Hawley]
“Establishment of a New Military Post,” Deseret News, Salt Lake City, Utah (April 29, 1863).

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