William P. MacKinnon offers a lively narrative linking firsthand accounts—most previously unknown—from soldiers and civilians on both sides. This first volume traces the war’s causes and preliminary events, including President Buchanan’s decision to replace Brigham Young as governor of Utah and restore federal authority through a large army expedition. Also examined are Young’s defensive-aggressive reactions, the onset of armed hostilities, and Thomas L. Kane’s departure at the end of 1857 for his now-famous mediating mission to Utah.
MacKinnon provides a balanced, comprehensive account, based on a half century of research and a wealth of carefully selected new material. Women’s voices from both sides enrich this colorful story. At Sword’s Point presents the Utah War as a sprawling confrontation with regional and international as well as territorial impact. As a nonpartisan definitive work, it eclipses previous studies of this remarkably bloody turning point in western, military, and Mormon history.
In "Unpopular Sovereignty," Brent M. Rogers invokes the case of popular sovereignty in Utah as an important contrast to the better-known slavery question in Kansas. Rogers examines the complex relationship between sovereignty and territory along three main lines of inquiry: the implementation of a republican form of government, the administration of Indian policy and Native American affairs, and gender and familial relations all of which played an important role in the national perception of the Mormons ability to self-govern. Utah s status as a federal territory drew it into larger conversations about popular sovereignty and the expansion of federal power in the West. Ultimately, Rogers argues, managing sovereignty in Utah proved to have explosive and far-reaching consequences for the nation as a whole as it teetered on the brink of disunion and civil war.
Long overshadowed by the Civil War, the tragic story of this conflict involved a tense and protracted clash pitting Brigham Young's Nauvoo Legion against Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston and the U.S. Army's Utah Expedition. In the end, the conflict between the two armies saw no pitched battles, but in the authors' view, Buchanan's decision to order troops to Utah, his so-called blunder, eventually proved decisive and beneficial for both Mormons and the American republic.
A rich exploration of events and forces that presaged the Civil War, The Mormon Rebellion broadens our understanding of both antebellum America and Utah's frontier theocracy and offers a challenging reinterpretation of a controversial chapter in Mormon annals.
In a lively, concise narrative bolstered by primary documents, and supplemented by a robust companion website, David Mason tells the dynamic story of Brigham Young, and in the process, illuminates the history of the LDS Church, religion in America, and the development of the American west. This book will be a vital resource for anyone seeking to understand the complex, uniquely American origins of a church that now counts over 15 million members worldwide.
The Utah War—an unprecedented armed confrontation between Mormon-controlled Utah Territory and the U.S. government—was the most extensive American military action between the U.S.-Mexican and Civil Wars. Drawing on author-editor William P. MacKinnon’s half-century of research and a wealth of carefully selected new material, At Sword’s Point presents the first full history of the conflict through the voices of participants—leaders, soldiers, and civilians from both sides. MacKinnon’s lively narrative, continued in this second volume, links and explains these firsthand accounts to produce the most detailed, in-depth, and balanced view of the war to date.
At Sword’s Point, Part 2 carries the story of the Utah War from the end of 1857 to the conclusion of hostilities in June 1858, when Brigham Young was replaced as territorial governor and almost one-third of the U.S. Army occupied Utah. Through the testimony of Mormon and federal leaders, combatants, emissaries, and onlookers, this second volume describes the war’s final months and uneasy resolution. President James Buchanan and his secretary of war, John B. Floyd, worked to break a political-military stalemate in Utah, while Mormon leaders prepared defensive and aggressive countermeasures ranging from an attack on Forts Bridger and Laramie to the “Sebastopol Strategy” of evacuating and torching Salt Lake City and sending 30,000 Mormon refugees on a mass exodus and fighting retreat toward Mexican Sonora. Thomas L. Kane, self-appointed intermediary and Philadelphia humanitarian, sought a peaceful conclusion to the conflict, which ended with the arrival in Utah of President Buchanan’s two official peace commissioners, the president’s blanket pardon for Utah’s population, and the army’s peaceful march into the Salt Lake Valley.
MacKinnon’s narrative weaves a panoramic yet intimate view of a turning point in western, Mormon, and American history far bloodier than previously understood. With its sophisticated documentary analysis and insight, this work will stand as the definitive history of the complex, consequential, and still-debated Utah War.
While the Civil War spread death, tragedy, and sorrow across the continent, Utah Territory remained virtually untouched. Although the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—and its faithful—proudly praise the service of an 1862 Mormon cavalry company during the Civil War, Maxwell’s research exposes the relatively inconsequential contribution of these Nauvoo Legion soldiers. Active for a mere ninety days, they patrolled overland trails and telegraph lines.
Furthermore, Maxwell finds indisputable evidence of Southern allegiance among Mormon leaders, despite their claim of staunch, long-standing loyalty to the Union. Men at the highest levels of Mormon hierarchy were in close personal contact with Confederate operatives. In seeking sovereignty, Maxwell contends, the Saints engaged in blatant and treasonous conflict with Union authorities, the California and Nevada Volunteers, and federal policies, repeatedly skirting open warfare with the U.S. government.
Collective memory of this consequential period in American history, Maxwell argues, has been ill-served by a one-sided perspective. This engaging and long-overdue reappraisal finally fills in the gaps, telling the full story of the Civil War years in Utah Territory.