Date of Award:
Master of Science (MS)
S. George Ellsworth
Troops, requested by the federal government for the security during the Civil War of the overland mail, telegraph, and emigrant routes, were provided by California for those portions of the routes which crossed the territories of Utah and Nevada. A force, never exceeding 1, 200 in strength, commanded by Patrick Edward Connor, was assigned a geographic responsibility, the Military District of Utah.
Connor's California Volunteers established principal troop locations at Fort Churchill and Fort Ruby in Nevada, and at Camp Douglas and Fort Bridger in Utah Territory during mid-1862. Major actions were conducted against the Indians at the battle of Bear River and by the campaign of Spanish Fork canyon, both in early 1863. Thereafter, a series of treaties achieved peace with various Indian tribes.
Connor also utilized his troops in a variety of activities peripheral to his primary military mission. Important examples were a colonization effort at Soda Springs, continued and thorough area reconnaissance, and early efforts to develop the territorial mineral resources.
Considerations of Mormon intentions, often believed by Connor to be inimical to Union interests, occupied much of Connor's time.
Many writers record a generally unfavorable impression of Connor in Utah. However, it is the view of this author that the missions assigned to the federal troops in the District of Utah during the Civil War were important and were effectively carried out.
McCarthy, Max Reynolds, "Patrick Edward Connor and the Military District of Utah: Civil War Military Operations in Utah and Nevada 1862-1865" (1975). All Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 3106.
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