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[UTAH WAR] United States. War Department.  GENERAL ORDERS . . . Washington, D.C. and West Point, New York, 1857-8.


Three individual printed General Orders, each 16½ cm. (approximately 6½ X 4½ inches). Each with caption title, and signed in type at the end. Printed on two different styles of quality, cream-colored paper.

Three ORDERS plus a large two-page illustrated article:

**SOLD**   $ 600


FLAKE 9246, listing the entire run, saying "42 nos.? 18 cm." The examples offered here are shorter, and items B and C below show close trimming at the bottom with slight loss. Flake locates examples at Yale and at BYU.

SCARCE. A local colleague in his sixties, with extensive experience in paper Americana assures me that such General Orders are not common, particularly from this period. I have never had these before.




the order which made the Utah Expedition, "Johnston's Army"

AS[amuel] Cooper, Adjutant General, By order of the Secretary of War. GENERAL ORDERS No. 12. Washington: War Department, Adjutant General's Office, August 29, 1857.

One page on one leaf, verso blank. Printed on wove paper (consistent texture when held to the light). Stains and some loss of blank left margin where once bound in a volume; missing paper filled in with archival tissue. All printing clean and present, Sir!


An original printing of the military order which established that ". . . Colonel A. S. Johnston, Second Cavalry, is assigned to the command of the Utah expedition, and will proceed to join the same without delay." I consider this a small treasure. Colonel Sumner "may be daily expected with his column of horse and foot . . ." Meanwhile, Gen. Harney in Kansas will let six of his companies go "to escort the civil officers of Utah on their mission, and remain attached to the command of Colonel Johnston." Adjutant Gen. Porter "will promptly report himself for duty to Col. Johnston before the latter shall pass Fort Leavenworth."






". . . thirty-nine hundred beeves on the way to Utah . . .
the thousand horses now en route for Utah . . ."
p. 2

B)  Irvin McDowell, Assistant Adjutant General. By Command of Brevet Lieutenant-General [Winfield] Scott. . . . GENERAL ORDERS, No. 17. [at head: Head Quarters of the Army, June 29, 1858].



4 pages on two leaves. This order and item C below are printed in smaller type and on different paper than item A above: laid paper, with chain & wire lines visible. Trimmed closely at the bottom, barely grazing the final line of text on page 1, with the slightest loss. The two leaves rejoined and slight blank inner margin paper loss filled in using archival tissue, with a couple small stains.

Beginning and ending with contingency orders, depending on whether or not the Mormons will submit voluntarily "to the entrance of the United States troops into the valley of Salt Lake . . ." Considerable colorful text with nineteen different provisions, of which the following examples particularly caught my eye . . .

from page 1

from article VIII, p. 2


conclusion of General Orders 17




Brevet Brigadier-General Johnston . . .
high soldierly qualities, untiring exertions, tact, and sound judgment . . .

C)  Irvin McDowell . . . By Command of Brevet Lieutenant-General Scott. . . . GENERAL ORDERS, No. 19. [at head: Head Quarters of the Army, West Point, N. Y., August 10, 1858].


1 page on one leaf, verso blank. Light stains; some missing paper from the blank left margin filled in with using archival tissue. Trimmed closely at the bottom, with loss of the final short line giving McDowell's rank (compare to item B, above, giving his rank on June 29).




Quite a delightful piece, with effusive praise of the officers and men of the U.S. Army for their success and good conduct in the Utah Expedition. There are no directives given: these are strictly orders of commendation . . .


". . . not showing the inhabitants of Salt Lake Valley,. . .either by act, word,
or gesture, that they had recently stood towards them in a hostile attitude."



WE HAVE HERE, then, a beginning, a practical working middle, and an end - in three separate, choice pieces - for an episode in U.S. history which actually began gradually and which had lingering effects. "The Utah War," writes Richard D. Poll,

1857-58, was a costly, disruptive, and unnecessary confrontation between the Mormon people in Utah Territory and the government and army of the United States. It resulted from misunderstandings that transformed a simple decision to give Utah Territory a new governor into a year-long comedy of errors with a tragic potential. Had there been transcontinental telegraphic communications at the time, what has been referred to as "Buchanan's Blunder" almost certainly would not have occurred.
. . . . .
. . . it ended forever the Mormon dream of a Zion geographically separate form the world of unbelievers. As for the Mormon community in Utah, the exertions and expenditures associated with the Nauvoo Legion efforts and the Move South taxed both capital and morale. The war terminated the Mormon outpost settlements in present-day California, Nevada, Wyoming, and Idaho, interrupted and weakened the missionary effort in Europe, and dissipated much of the enthusiasm and discipline that had earlier been generated by the [Mormon cultural] Reformation of 1856. As a demonstration of sacrificial zeal, the Move South won some sympathy, but it did not improve the prospects for Utah statehood or increase toleration of Mormon differences from mainstream American ideas and institutions. ["The Utah War," in Allen Kent Powell, ed., Utah History Encyclopedia (SLC: Univ. of Utah Press, 1994), pp. 607-8]





"THE UTAH EXPEDITION.—[FROM OUR OWN CORRESPONDENT.]" Large illustrated double-page article on two folio leaves taken from Harper's Weekly for January 30, 1858 [II:57].

Approx. 42 cm. (approx. 16½ X 11 inches). Two loose leaves, with 6 woodcut illustrations. Modern hand-coloring. In very good condition; moderate wear to lower blank margin of the first leaf.

An exceptional, lengthy article dated from Fort Bridger, Utah Territory, December 1, 1857. The article fills pages 72-3, and overflows slightly into page 74). The fascinating illustrations include an imposing three-quarter-length ENGRAVED PORTRAIT of Albert Sidney JOHNSTON and a choice informal peek inside an officer's tent where soldiers stay close to the camp stove, tasting dinner and playing cards as an Indian and his dog look in.

A biography of Johnston provided here is quite long and detailed, and the portrait is drawn "from a daguerreotype in the possession of an intimate friend . . ."

Colonel Johnston is . . . above six feet in height, strongly and powerfully formed, with a grave, dignified, and commanding presence. His features are strongly marked, showing his Scottish lineage, and denote great resolution and composure of character. His complexion, naturally fair, is, from exposure, a deep brown. His habits are abstemious and temperate, and no excess has impaired his powerful constitution. His mind is clear, strong, and well cultivated. His manner is courteous, but rather grave and silent. He has many devoted friends, but they have been won and secured rather by the native dignity and nobility of his character than by his powers of address. He is a man of strong will and ardent temper, but his whole bearing testifies the self-control he has acquired. As a soldier he stands very high in the opinion of the army.



Shortly after this report was drafted at Fort Bridger, a Northeastern paper (not included here) expressed ardent support of the expedition on its front page . . .

Hitherto Young's policy has been to profess obedience to the laws of the United States, and whilst the Government had no official notice of any overt act of rebellion against its authority, its policy has not only been right, wise and prudent, but masterly and energetic.  It has not only planned, but carried into execution a peaceful policy which deserves the hearty commendation of the whole United States.  And now that the arch fanatic Young has struck the blow which makes him an outlaw and a traitor, we have no doubt that the same prudence, energy and determination will characterize Buchanan's future Mormon policy.  Under that policy we confidently expect to see the utter annihilation of that terrible fanaticism which has so long been a curse to our nation. ["The Policy of Our Government Towards the Mormons," editorial of The Burlington Weekly Sentinel (Burlington, Vermont; D. A. Danforth, ed.) for December 18, 1857]


Subsequent praise of Johnston ultimately appears to have come, ironically, from a most unexpected source: a daughter of Brigham Young himself !  "General Albert Sidney Johnston," wrote Clarissa Young Spencer,

was a brave and brilliant soldier who had often been mentioned as the next Commander in Chief of the United States Army. It was thought in some quarters that he had been sent West purely as a political move by those who wished him far distant from the national scene.
  The soldiers suffered great privation during the winter, flour being extremely scarce and vegetables and salt lacking entirely. Learning of their sad straits, Father sent a load of salt to Colonel Johnston. The Colonel returned it with every expression of bitterness, but the soldiers, who had wearied of eating poor meat without any salt, salvaged the load and returned it indirectly to camp. Later they were supplied with salt by the Indians at exorbitant prices. [Clarissa Young Spencer with Mabel Harmer, Brigham Young at Home . . . Illustrated with Photographs (SLC: Deseret Book Company, 1961 [c. 1940, 4th printing]), p. 98]



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