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"Patrick Connor and the Battle of Bear River" Topic

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467 hits since 12 Apr 2017
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP12 Apr 2017 12:24 p.m. PST

"When the Civil War broke out, Connor, with 10 companies of troops, was called back to duty. Seven of the companies, along with Connor, were assigned to Utah. Since Connor and his men wanted desperately to fight in the ‘real war,' he sent a letter to the secretary of war requesting reassignment. The request was denied, and Connor came to Utah with a burning desire to do something–anything–to gain the military recognition he felt he had been denied.

Connor arrived in Utah Territory in 1862 with about 750 volunteer troops from California and Nevada. Disgruntled when he did not get reassigned to lead Union forces in Civil War battles, the disconsolate Connor established a permanent U.S. Army post at Camp Douglas (later called Fort Douglas), at the foot of the Wasatch Range overlooking Salt Lake City. Connor liked the location because, to soothe his bruised feelings from his unwelcome assignment, he could keep an eye on the activities of the Mormons.

The primary objective of Connor's troops was to relieve the Mormons of the task of guarding the Western mail routes and telegraph lines, a temporary assignment given the Mormons by President Abraham Lincoln. Policing the Indians was considered a legitimate secondary purpose, but Connor, it seems, fabricated an assignment of his own to watch the Mormons.

Connor's recorded correspondence shows that he felt his ‘duty of assuring Mormon loyalty was…as important as preventing Indian raids along the…mail and telegraph routes.' Although the feisty Connor respected Brigham Young, he had little use for the man personally. Young, in turn, was upset by the establishment of the camp above Salt Lake City and apparently let Connor know his concern. According to one historian, ‘from this point on [Connor] waged a cold war with Mormon authorities.'…"

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