The two younger brothers of Bill Hickman with the most patriotic of American names, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson Hickman, were almost shot as spies by the United States Army.  To provide some background, the first selection, written by John Ginn, who was on the scene as they transpired, recounts the events of the evening of 28 September 1857 where Bill Hickman set fire to two trains of supply wagons.  These actions did little to endear him to the invading forces of the Utah Expedition, who were left with inadequate supplies of food. 

(Click here to refer to a map of the area where these events happened.)

  Now as we move the clock forward two weeks, the second selection is from a letter of Captain Jesse Gove to his wife Maria in which he mentions both the capture of two Hickman brothers and the legendary reputation of their older brother Bill Hickman.
Hickmans in the Utah War
      Col. Albert Sidney Johnston
        from SUP, Pioneer, May/June 1994 p.5.
  Following that is a letter of the same date from Army officer Col. Edmund B. Alexander to Brigham Young in which he describes their capture and the subsequent release of Thomas Jefferson and continued imprisonment of George Washington; he also makes some complaints about the way his invading army has been treated, and makes some demands, which in his reply, Brigham Young declines.  Command of the army later shifted to Col. Albert Sidney Johnston, who was to lead the troops into Utah the following summer.  

  In the meantime, there was lots of footwork by a truly heroic figure, Thomas Leiper Kane of Pennsylvania, who managed to work compromises from both sides that allowed the Army to enter Utah without bloodshed and Governor Alfred Cumming to take over the civil leadership of the Territory of Utah.  Needless to say, if George had been executed, his children would have had to find themselves another father.

  My mess, consisting of nine mounted men (besides a cook) was engaged in driving the beef cattle then with the army.  Promptly at dark the Tenth Regiment took the road, followed by the several wagon trains, and we rounded up the beef cattle and started them off.  By this time the cattle had become so well trained and so accustomed to following the wagon trains that we had no trouble with them whatever.  They would keep close up to the rear of the (corn) train though we might be three miles behind or off the road hunting.  On this night we were riding along leisurely, not realizing how rapidly the army was moving on a forced march, so that when we passed through the train on the divide, <p.10> about midnight, we were fully four miles behind the regiment.

  Soon after we passed through it a force of Mormon cavalry under Bill Hickman descended upon it, set fire to the wagons and consumed them and their contents.  Hickman soon afterward told me in Salt Lake City that his force stood in a cedar forest half a mile south of the road when the regiment and its wagon trains passed, and that he started to fire the train when he heard horses' hoofs coming up from Green River, when he turned back under cover and waited until a small squad of mounted men (which was myself and my eight companions) passed.  The same night or early next morning Hickman's and other Mormon cavalry burned up the two large supply trains at Green river and Big Sandy--thus depriving the army of about 500,000 pounds of provisions intended for its maintenance during the long and severe winter then setting in. . . .

--John L. Ginn, Mormon and Indian Wars, LDS Archives, MS 6037, pp. 9-10.

Camp 14, Harris Fork
Monday, October 12, 1857.
My Dear Maria:

  Yesterday we made a march en route for Salt Lake City. I was left with my company to bring up an ox train, the cattle [p.76] of which had strayed away during the night. After 2 ½ hours it got under way, and as soon as I got to the 5th Inf. Camp, 5 miles, my orders were to leave it and join my regiment. I made a cut-off, and in the meantime orders were sent to me to act as flankers to the train. Our whole train is 9 miles long. It takes about 6 companies to guard it. I wish you could see the train as it moves along. Two Mormon spies were taken in camp yesterday by the 5th Inf. They are two brothers Hickman, brothers to the celebrated Bill Hickman who is hovering around our rear with a large party. We are in constant expectation of an attack, mostly in the night with a view of stampeding our animals. Dandy is blanketed and in front of my tent. We sleep on our arms, ready at any moment to fall in to receive our Mormon friends. It snowed yesterday morning and also last night. It goes off readily; all this is excellent for us as it wets the grass so they cannot burn it. It is a Godsend for us.

  Tomorrow I am detailed for the advance, and I hope that I may meet some of the murderers. I do think from all I can learn from the mountain men, who know them well, that they are the greatest set of villains on earth. They say that this Bill Hickman, who is one of the 70 destroying angels, has murdered more than a hundred men in this country with his own hand. We hope to meet him ere long. Our grass is much better than we expected to find. We made today 10 ½ miles over a rough road.

--Otis G. Hammond, Ed., The Utah Expedition 1857-1858, Letters of Capt. Jesse A. Gove,10th Inf. U.S.A.,
of Concord, N.H. to Mrs. Gove, and Special Correspondence of the New York Herald,
Concord, N.H., New Hampshire Historical Society, 1928, pp. 75-76.


Camp on Ham's Fork,
October 12, 1857.

   Yesterday two young men, named Hickman, were arrested by the rear guard of the army, and are now held in confinement. They brought a letter from W. A. Hickman to Mr. Perry, a sutler of one of the regiments, but came under none of the privileges of bearers of despatches, and are, perhaps, liable to be considered and treated as spies. But I am convinced, from conversation with them, that their conduct does not merit the serious punishment awarded to persons of that character, and I have accordingly resolved to release the younger one, especially in consideration of his having a wife and three children dependent upon him, and to make him the bearer of this letter. The elder I shall keep until I know how this communication is received, and until I receive an answer to it, reserving, even then, the right to hold him a prisoner, if, in my judgment, circumstances require it. I need hardly assure you that his life will be protracted, and that he will receive every comfort and indulgence proper to be afforded him.

  I desire now, sir, to set before you the following facts: the forces under my command are ordered by the President of the United States to establish a military post at or near Salt Lake City. They set out on their long and arduous march, anticipating a reception similar to that which they would receive in any other State or Territory in the Union. They were met at the boundary of the Territory of which you are the governor, and in which capacity alone I have any business with you, by a proclamation issued by yourself, forbidding them to come upon soil belonging to the United States, and calling upon the inhabitants to resist them with arms. You have ordered them to return, and have called upon them to give up their arms in default of obeying your mandate. You have resorted to open hostilities, and of a kind, permit me to say, very far beneath the usages of civilized warfare, and only resorted to by those who are conscious of inability to resist by more honorable means, by authorizing persons under your control, some of the very citizens, doubtless, whom you have called to arms, to burn the grass, apparently with the intention of starving a few beasts, and hoping that men would starve after them. Citizens of Utah, acting, I am bound to believe, under your authority, have destroyed trains containing public stores, with a similar humane purpose of starving the army. I infer also from your communication received day before yesterday, refering to "a dearth of news from the east and from home," * that you have caused public and private letters to be diverted from their proper destination, and this, too, when carried by a public messenger on a public highway. It is unnecessary for me to adduce further instances to show that you have placed yourself, in your capacity of governor, and so many of the citizens of the Territory of Utah as have obeyed your decree, in a position of rebellion and hostility to the general government of the United States.  It becomes you to look to the consequences, for you must be aware that so unequal a contest can never be successfully sustained by the people you govern.

  It is my duty to inform you that I shall use the force under my control, and all honorable means in my power, to obey literally and strictly the orders under which I am acting. If you, or any acting under your orders, oppose me, I will use force, and I warn you that the blood that is shed in this contest will be upon your head. My means I consider ample to overcome any obstacle; and I assure you that any idea you may have formed of forcing these troops back, or of preventing them from carrying out the views of the government, will result in unnecessary violence and utter failure. Should you reply to this in a spirit which our relative positions give me a right to demand, I will be prepared to propose an arrangement with you. I have also the honor to inform you that all persons found lurking around or in any of our camps, will be put under guard and held prisoners as long as circumstances may require.

  I remain sir, very respectfully, your obedient servant


Colonel 10th Infantry, Commanding.


October 14, 1857

  In consideration of our relative positions--you acting in your capacity as commander of the United States forces, and in obedience, as you have stated, to orders from the President of the United States, and I as governor of this Territory, impelled by every sense of justice, honor, integrity and patriotism to resist what I consider to be a direct infringement of the rights of the citizens of Utah, and an act of usurpation and tyranny unprecedented in the history of the United States--permit me to address you frankly as a citizen of the United States, untrammelled by the usages of official dignity or military etiquette.

  As citizens of the United States, we both, it is presumable, feel strongly attached to the Constitution and institutions of our common country; and, as gentlemen, should probably agree in sustaining the dear bought liberties bequeathed by our fathers--the position in which we are individually placed being the only apparent cause of our present antagonism; you, as colonel commanding, feeling that you have a rigid duty to perform in obedience to orders, and I, a still more important duty to the people of this Territory.

  I need not here reiterate what I have already mentioned in my official proclamation, and what I and the people of this Territory universally believe firmly to be the object of the administration in the present expedition against Utah, viz : the destruction, if not the entire annihilation of the Mormon community, solely upon religious grounds.

  We have sought diligently for peace. We have sacrificed millions of dollars worth of property to obtain it, and wandered a thousand miles from the confines of civilization, severing ourselves from home, the society of friends, and everything that makes life worth enjoyment. If we have war, it is not of our seeking; we have never gone nor sought to interfere with the rights of others, but they have come and sent to interfere with us. We had hoped that, in this barren and desolate country, we could have remained unmolested; but it would seem that our implacable, blood-thirsty foes envy us even these barren deserts. Now, if our real enemies, the mobocrats, priests, editors and politicians, at whose instigation the present storm has been gathered, had come against us, instead of you and your command, I would never have addressed them thus. They never would have been allowed to reach the South Pass. In you we recognize only the agents and instruments of the administration, and with you personally, have no quarrel. I believe it would have been more consonant with your feelings to have made war upon the enemies of your country than upon American citizens. But, to us, the end to be accomplished is the same, and while I appreciate the unpleasantness of your position, you must be aware that circumstances compel the people of Utah to look upon you, in your present belligerent attitude, as their enemies and the enemies of our common country, and notwithstanding my most sincere desire to promote amicable relations with you, I shall feel it my duty, as do the people of the Territory, universally, to resist to the utmost every attempt to encroach further upon their rights.

  It therefore becomes a matter for your serious consideration, whether it would not be more in accordance with the spirit and institutions of our country to return with your present force, rather than force an issue so unpleasant to all, and which must result in much misery and, perhaps, bloodshed, and, if persisted in, the total destruction of your army. And, furthermore, does it not become a question whether it is more patriotic for officers of the United States army to ward off, by all honorable means, a collision with American citizens, or to further the precipitate move of an indiscreet and rash administration, in plunging a whole Territory into a horrible, fratricidal and sanguinary war.

  Trusting that the foregoing considerations may be duly weighed by you, and that the difficulties now impending may be brought to an amicable adjustment, with sentiments of esteem, I have the honor to remain, most respectfully, &c.,


*   This communication from Brigham Young, dated at Salt Lake City, Oct. 7, reads:  "Presuming that during a dearth of news from the east and your home, news from the west might enliven the monotonous routine of camp life, I have the honor to forward to you two copies each of the latest numbers of the Deseret News."  Doc. 71, p.47.

**  Another long letter of a similar tone was written by Brigham Young on Oct. 16 (Doc. 71, pp. 50-54) in answer to Alexander's letter of the 12th.  Col. Alexander answered Young's second letter on the 19th (Doc. 71, p.54) with a brief response in which he said, "It is not necessary for me to argue the points advanced by you. . .  My disposition of the troops depend upon grave considerations not necessary to enumerate, and considering your order to leave the Territory illegal and beyond your authority to issue, or power to enforce, I shall not obey it."

--LeRoy R. Hafen and Ann W. Hafen, The Utah Expedition 1857-1858,
Arthur H. Clark Co., 1958, pp.74-81

  While George was held as a prisoner, Thomas was sent back and forth between the opposing camps carrying messages between Colonel Alexander and Brigham Young.  The next selections give the situation as viewed by the Mormon military forces:

Wednesday 14 Oct 1857. Went on the mountains to try the signalls which worked well.  Recieved two letters from home my family had been down with the bad cough which is going the rounds (called Horse distemper)  A number of families passing to day News that 700 head of cattle had been taken from the enemy again and that G.W. & T.J. Hickman who had gone into their enemies camp on private business were detained as prisoners, and orders were brought by Stephen Taylor for Maj Willis to march with his command to Bridger &c (His are Horsemen)

--Juanita Brooks, ed., On the Mormon Frontier: The Diary of Hosea Stout, Vol. 2, p. 642.

Thursday, Oct. 15 [1857].  At 4 o'clock a.m. Thos. Jefferson Hickman arrived from the enemies' camp with a letter from Col. Alexander, reflecting upon our course in burning grass and wagons and supposed stopping of the mail, that he considered our course rebellious, and that he felt himself able and was determined to carry out the instructions of the President of the United States, which was to establish a military post at or near Salt Lake City, and assured us that if blood was shed, the consequences would be upon us.  T.J. Hickman and his brother had been sent into the enemies' camp on a message to see a Mr. Perry and were taken prisoners and kept several days.  Col. Alexander writes that he had released the younger, but should detain the elder until a future time.

At half past 10 a.m. Joseph Hunt and John Reed arrived from Abraham Conover; he went to Burton's camp with an express, on Bear River.  But as Burton had left per instructions for Echo Canyon and his horse being sick, he was obliged to come on foot and leave his mare which detained him three days.

Ten minutes after 7 p.m. Joseph A. Young started with an express to the City, giving an account of our late proceedings.  A letter was written by Gen. Wells to Col. Alexander advising him if he had ladies in the camp to put them in a train by themselves as we did not wish to injure them, he also prepared to forward a fatherly letter from Gov. Young to the Colonel.  At 8 p.m. an express arrived from the governor, requesting Gen. Clawson to go to the City, approving of our acts and informing us that a number of troops were forwarded to Echo canyon, a little over 300 in number.  We also received letters and the Deseret News of the 14th of October.  Night very cold.

Friday, Oct. 16.  Gen. Hiram B. Clawson left for the city at 8 o'clock a.m.  At 10 a.m. four brethern arrived from the cattle taken from the enemy.  They had poor broken down horses and reported that there was 755 head of cattle among which were a number of fat cattle and that they would be here tomorrow.

At 10:30 a.m. Morrison Meekham and Lieut. R.H. Attwood started with an express to the enemies' camp with letters from Gen. Wells and Gov. Young as well as the Deseret News.
At 11:25 a.m. Major Lewis Robison's company, 27 in number, started, principally of Capt. Willis' command.  At 12:25 the remainder of Willis' command, about 22 men, started with Barney Ward, across the country to join Major McAllister.  At the same time a wagon arrived with Orson Arnold, the young man who was shot in the thigh by accident; Dr. Dunyan is with him; he seems to be doing as well as could be expected.  At 10 minutes past 12 Major Robison started after his company, accompanied by Thos. Jefferson Hickman and Joshua Terry.  They carried with them instructions to cache the iron at Green River, and on the Gandies, of the burnt trains, and then to proceed to Washaki and ascertain, if possible, his feelings and what the enemy has proposed to him, assuring him of our friendship; he took Joshua Terry with him as interpreter and guide.  He was also to take McGraw's animals and train, if possible, and operate on the road in the place of Lot Smith, who is now too far north to guard the Sublets cut off.  Instructions were sent to Capt. Lot Smith to operate in the rear or front of the enemies' train and to Major McAllister to keep in advance and to destroy with fire or otherwise and that he and Lot Smith were to act in concert and if they found the enemy on long grass to fire it.  They were instructed to preserve No. 13, train in which Hooper's things were and to turn, if possible, the enemies' teams this way instead of destroying them.

At 7 o'clock p.m., a train of cattle arrived with about 30 men.

Saturday, Oct. 17. Alfred Higgins arrived at 9:30 a.m. with an express from the city, bearing a letter to Col. Alexander.

10 a.m., left Camp ground for Echo Canyon.  As we ascended the mountain west of Yellow Creek, we discovered an express coming from the east, and waited for it.  It proved to be Abraham and Aaron H. Conover and Thos. J. Grandon, with a letter from McAllister, showing the position of the troops; he stated they moved about 8 miles a day, and were very cautious in their movements.  We proceeded to Major Barlow's camp, Cache Cave, at which place we arrived about 11 a.m.  At 1:30 p.m. as an express to McAllister by the hands of Col. Beattie and Capt. Stephen Taylor and also the governor's letter and papers to Col. Alexander.

Major McAllister's instructions were to cease burning trains, but as soon as the enemy left the Oregon road and turned towards the city to commence cutting off their guards and pickets, but if they turned on to the Fort Hall Road not to molest them further.

--Journal History of the [LDS] Church, 25 Oct 1857 p.20-21


  Below you can read additional dispatches carried by Thomas Jefferson Hickman.  Note the unusual degree of courtesy and respect expressed between Brigham Young and Col. Alexander though they were on opposing sides of the pending conflict.  War today isn't as polite as it used to be.

HEAD QUARTERS.  Army for Utah,}
Camp on Ham's Fork,}
Oct. 18th, 1857.}
To His Excellency Brigham Young, Governor of Utah Territory:--

Sir:--I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your letter of the 14th inst.  I learn by the bearers that it is not an answer to one from me sent to you by Mr. T.J. Hickman.  It is not within my province to disabuse you of the idea that the army of the United States can ever be used to oppress the citizens of the country, or to perform any other duty than to protect all law-abiding persons in their pursuits and property.  I may assert that the acts of which you complain on the part of certain officials in your Territory could never have been committed had there been an officer or a regiment of troops near enough to prevent it.

It is no part of the duty and still less of the wishes of any one connected with this force to interfere in any way with the religion of the people of Utah, whether they are members of the Mormon Church or worship under the forms of any church.  But there are certain duties incumbent upon every man entrusted with a military commission and command, and the first is obedience of orders, under all circumstances short of impossibility.

I repeat my earnest desire to avoid violence and blood-shed, and it will require positive resistance to force me to it.  But my troops have the same right of self defence that you claim, and it rests entirely with you whether they are driven to the exercise of it.

In my letter sent by Mr. Hickman I set forth fully the position in which you and the people of Utah, or at least a part of them have become placed, and I stated my willingness to make an arrangement with you on other terms than those of battle.  I await your reply, and urge you again to stop the treasonable course you are pursuing before you bring upon yourself and many otherwise innocent persons, a vengeance of which you have little idea.

I am, with high respect, your obedient servant,

10th Infy. Comdg.

HEAD QUARTERS, Army for Utah}
Camp on Ham's Fork, Oct. 19, 1857}
To His Excellency, Brigham Young, Governor of Utah Territory:---

SIR:---I have received by the hand of Lt. Col. Beatie, your letter of the 16th inst.  It is not necessary for me to argue the points advanced by you, and I have only to repeat my assurance, that no harm would have happened to any citizen of Utah through the instrumentality of the Army of the U.S., in the performance of its legitimate duties, without molestation.  My disposition of the troops will depend upon grave considerations not necessary to enumerate, and considering your order to leave the Territory, illegal, and beyond your authority to issue, or power to enforce, I shall not obey it.
I am, sir, with respect,
Your obedient Servant,
E.B. Alexander,
Col. 10th Infantry Comdg.


GOVERNOR'S OFFICE, Great Salt Lake City,}
Oct. 28th, 1857}
Col. E.B. Alexander, 10th Inf. U.S.A., Camp Ham's Fork:---

Sir:---Having learned that Mrs. Mogo, with her infant child, wishes to join her husband in your camp, also that Mr. Jesse Jones, who has been in this city a few weeks, was anxious to see Mr. Roup, it has afforded me pleasure to cause the necessary arrangements to be made for their comfortable and safe conveyance to your care, under the conduct and protection of Messrs. John Harvey, Joseph Sharp and Thomas J. Hickman, the bearers of this communication.

Mrs. Mogo and her infant are conveyed to your camp in accordance with my previously often expressed readiness to forward to you such as might wish to go, and is the only resident of that description in Utah, so far as I am informed.  Her husband made his first appearance here in the capacity of a teamster for Capt. W.H. Hooper.  He was then in very destitute circumstances, has since been in the employ of the late U.S. Surveyor General of Utah, and I am not aware that he has any property or tie of any description in this Territory, except the wife and child now conveyed to him in your camp.

Should Col. Canby and lady wish to partake of the hospitalities proffered by Mr. Heywood and family, and should Capt. R.B. Marcy desire to favor me with a visit, as I infer from his letter of introduction forwarded and in my possession, or should you or any other officers in your command wish to indulge in a trip to this city, you will be kindly welcomed and hospitably entertained, and the vehicle and escort now sent to your camp are tendered for the conveyance of such as may receive your permission to avail themselves of this cordial invitation.

It is also presumed that your humane feelings will prompt you, in case there are any persons who wish to peacefully leave your camp for this city, to permit them to avail themselves of the protection and guidance of the escort now sent.

Trusting that this communication will meet your entire approval and hearty co-operation, I have the honor, Sir, to be your ob't serv't,

Governor and Superintendent of Indian Affairs, U.T.


HEAD QUARTERS, advance of the Army}
for Utah, Camp on Ham's Fork, }
Nov. 1, 1857}
Governor B. Young:

Sir:--I had the honor to receive your letter today, and have to express my appreciation of your kindness and generosity to affording Mrs. Mogo and Mr. Jones, safe conduct to this camp.

The persons now in my custody are amenable for civil offences to the civil authority of the Territory, and I regret that it is not in my power to release them without the consent of the civil authorities.  As soon as Gov. Cumming arrives, his directions concerning them will be obtained, and they will be subject to his orders and control.  I can assure you again, that every attention will be paid to their welfare and comfort.

Very respectfully, your obdt. servt.,

Col. 10th Infy, Comdg.


The following letter contains the orders  to Col. Waite by which our George Washington Hickman was finally released from captivity:

Head Quarters, Army of Utah
Blacks Fork, 16 miles from Fort Bridger
en route to Salt Lake City
November 8 1857

  The Colonel Commanding directs that if there is not sufficient evidence against Mr. George W. Hickman, now a prisoner in your charge, to convict him of being a spy, or to make him amenable to the civil authority, that he be released from confinement, his mule restored to him, and he sent immediately from camp.

  I am sir, very respectfully Your Obedient Servant,

F.J. Porter
--Records of the War Department
RG 98 United States Army Commands
Department of Utah, Letters Sent,
1857-1861,  Volume I, No. 161;
Utah Historical Society Film A-112.

Nov. 26th, 1857.}

Col. A.S. Johnston, U.S.A., (if he has arrived on Black's Fork) or Col. E.B. Alexander, U.S.A.:---

Sir:--Being reliably informed that your command, and the men belonging to the Mercant teams, are much in need of salt, I have taken the liberty to at once forward you a load (some eight hundred pounds) by Messrs. Henry Woodard and Jesse J. Earl.  You are perfectly welcome to the salt now sent, but should you perfer making any compensation therefor, I have to request that you inform me, under sealed envelope, of the weight received and the amount and kind of compensation returned.

There is no design or wish to spy out your position, movements or intentions, through the men now sent to your camp, but should you entertain any dubiety upon that point, you are at perfect liberty to stop and detain them outside your encampment, during the short time necessary for the delivery of their loading, in readiness to forthwith start upon their return.

Should any in your command be suspicious that the salt now forwarded contains any deleterious ingredients, other than those combined in its natural deposition on the shore of Great Salt Lake, Mr. Woodard or Mr. Earl, in charge of its transportation and delivery, or, doubtless, Mr. Livingston, Mr. Gerrish, Mr. Perry, or any other person in your camp that is acquainted with us, will freely partake of it to dispel any groundless suspicion, or your doctors may be able to test it to your satisfaction.

I have to inform you that the demonstrations which have been made upon your animals and trains have been made solely with a view to let you emphatically understand that we are in earnest when we assert, freem like, that we will not tamely submit to any longer having our Constitutional and inalienable rights trampled under foot.  And if you are now within our borders by the orders of the President of the United States, of which I have no official notification, I have further to inform you that by ordering you here upon pretexts founded solely upon lies, all of which have long since been exploded, the President has no more regard for the Constitution and laws of the United States and the welfare of her loyal citizens, than he has for the Constitution, laws, and subjects of the Kingdom of Belzebub.

Of the persons reported to be retained by you as prisoners, the two who are said to have hailed from Oregon are entire strangers to us; Mr. Grow, on his way here from the States, is probably treated by you in a reasonably humane manner, for which you have my thanks, as it saves us the expense of his board; and if you imagine that keeping, mistreating or killing Mr. Stowell will redound to your credit or advantage, future experience may add to the stock of your better judgment.

Col. Alexander, I am informed that among the mules that have come into our settlements is a small, white one belonging to you, and a favorite of yours.  This mule in question arrived in poor condition, and learning it was a favorite with you, it gives me pleasure to inform you that I immediately caused the mule to be placed in my stables, where it is well fed and cared for, and is held subject to your order, but should you prefer leaving it in my care during the winter, it will probably be in better plight for your use upon your return to the East in the spring.

Trusting that the bearers of a welcome and frankly proffered gift will be courteously received and premitted, with their animals and wagon, to peaceably start upon their immediate return, I have the honor to remain, very respectfully, your ob't serv't,

Governor of Utah Territory.

--Journal History of the [LDS] Church, 4 Jan 1857, pp. 3-4.

Utah Expedition.
FORT KEARNY, U.T., Dec. 23. ’57.
  On the 26th November, Col. Johnston was at Fort Bridger, at which place he had established his head quarters.  Col. Cooke, with six companies Second Dragoons, arrived that morning, having lost many of his animals, and the remainder were unfit for service.  From Laramie to Salt Lake there is no grass, (the Mormons burnt it in advance of the troops) consequently all the animals belonging to the expedition were very poor when winter set in, and it is reported that they are dying at the rate of some one hundred daily.  There can be no doubt that when spring opens Col. Johnston will be so much crippled that he will be compelled to await the arrival of fresh animals, and other supplies, before he will be able to commence active operations.---That the expedition is a failure for this year, cannot be questioned; and when we reflect upon the matter and see what an immense amount of public property must be lost, as well as the condition of the troops, on short rations, and living in tents in a country where the snow is usually very deep during winter, (in November it was two feet deep,) it would seem that your predictions last summer were well grounded.  That the Mormons intend to resist there can be no doubt, they are fortifying the passes that lead to the city.  They have released Jesse Jones, agent of Majors & Russell, who was taken prisoner by them some time since, and have sent him to Col. Johnston's camp.  In passing through the different canons they blindfolded him, to prevent him from obtaining any knowledge of their movements.  It is reported that Bill Hickman, who is one of the Danites, and a notorious scoundrel, has been killed by a mountain man named Baker.  I am inclined to think it is his brother who was a prisoner in Col. Alexander's camp, as report says he was released a short time before.

  Mr. Magraw, of the wagon road expedition has volunteered under Col. Johnston--those of his party who would not do so were discharged.  So this expedition is broken up without accomplishing anything, save what has been done by Lander, Chief Engineer and his assistants.  Mr. Magraw having had some difficulty with his Engineers, they, as well as the Disbursing Agent, left him and have gone to the States.

  A few nights since, a party of Cheyenne Indians attacked some Pawnees, who were occupying an old mail house within a few hundred yards of the post, which occasioned some little excitement in the garrison.  The command promptly turned out, and a detachment was sent to patrol, but the night was so dark that no Indians could be discovered.  Some doubt was felt, at first as to the fact of Cheyennes having made this attack, but next morning moccasin tracks, (without doubt Cheyenne,) were discovered, which settled the matter.  the bold attack on the part of the Cheyennes was from the following circumstances, viz: three Pawenees has stolen some horses from the Cheyennes, were pursued and the animals recovered.  In the encounter the Cheyennes had one man killed, (supposed to be a Chief,) and another severly, if not mortally wounded.  The Pawnees escaped without loss, and came immediately to the Fort where they had been some days, before this attack was made on them; which fact was, no doubt, known to the Cheyennes, and their object was to surprise them and get a scalp or two in revenge for the loss of their comrades.  An attack on thepost was evidently not designed by them.

  We are enjoying delightful weather at present.---Mo. Republican.
--Liberty Weekly Tribune, Jan 15 1858.

To read about George Washington Hickman's subsequent murder, click here.
To learn more about George Washington Hickman, click here.
To learn more about Thomas Jefferson Hickman, click here.
To read the Mormon soldier Newton Tuttle's diary of the Utah War, click here.
To read accounts by two of Bill Hickman's prisoners, click here and here.
To learn more about the Utah War, click here or here.
To return to the Hickman Family index page, click here.