that there be printed as a House document 5,000 copies of the Special Report
of the Mountain Meadows Massacre, as compiled by J. H. Carleton, Brevet Major,
United States Army, Captain First Dragoons.
Attest: A. McDowell,
REPORT OF THE MOUNTAIN MEADOW MASSACRE BY J. H. CARLETON, BREVET MAJOR; UNITED
STATES ARMY, CAPTAIN, FIRST DRAGOONS.
Camp at Mountain Meadows,
Utah Territory, May 25th,
I left Los Angeles, the 23rd ultimo, General Clarke, commanding the
Department of California, directed me to bury the bones of the victims of that
terrible massacre which took place on this ground in September, 1857. The fact
of this massacre of (in my opinion) at least 120 men, women and children, who
were on their way from the State of Arkansas to California, has long been well
known. I have endeavored to learn the circumstances attending it, and have the
honor to submit the following as the result of my inquiries on this point:
United States Army, whom I met with Captain Campbellís command on the Santa
Clara River on the 15th inst., informed me that as he was going up
the Platte River on the 11th of June, 1857, he passed a train of
emigrants near OíFallons Bluffs. The train was called "Perkinís Train," a man
named Perkins, who had previously been to California, having charge of it as a
conductor; that he afterwards saw the train frequently; the last time he saw
it, it was at Ash Hollow on the North Fork of the Platte.
says the train consisted of, say, 40 wagons, There were a few tents besides,
which the emigrants used in addition to these wagons when they encamped. There
seemed to be about 40 heads of families, many women, some unmarried, and many
children. A doctor accompanied them. The train seemed to consist of
respectable people, well to do in the world. They were well dressed, were
quiet, orderly, genteel; had fine stock; had three carriages along, and other
evidences which went to show that this was one of the finest trains that had
been seen to cross the plains. It was so remarked upon by the officers who
were with the doctor at that time. From reports afterwards received, and
comparing the dates with the probable rate of travel, he believed this was the
identical train which was destroyed at Mountain Meadows.
I could get
no information of these emigrants of a date anterior to this. Here seems to be
given the first glimpse of their number, character, and condition; and an
authentic glimpse, too, if the train destroyed was the one seen by the doctor,
of which there can hardly be any doubt. The doctor was confirmed in his belief
that the train he saw was the one destroyed, by many reasons. Among them one
fact seemed to be very convincing. He observed a carriage in the train in
which some ladies rode, to whom he made one or more visits as they journeyed
along. There was something peculiar in the construction of the carriage and
its ornamentsóits blazoned stagís head upon the panels, etc. This carriage, he
says, is now in the possession of the Mormons. Besides, he afterwards heard as
a fact that this train had been entirely destroyed.
who owned it would not have been likely to have to sell such an important part
of their means of transportation midway their journey.
upon which these emigrants were seen by Dr. Brewer crosses the Rocky Mountains
through the South Pass, and thence goes on down into the Great Basin to Salt
Lake City, and thence Southward along the western base of the Wasatch
Mountains to what is called the rim of the basin. Here the "divide" is
crossed, when it descends upon the valley of the Santa Clara affluent toward
the Colorado. Fillmore City is upon on of the many streams which run westward
down from the Wasatch Mountains into the basin. It is about 140 miles from
Salt Lake City; then upon another stream, 90 miles farther south, is Prawn
City; then upon still another stream, 18 miles south of Prawn, is Cedar City;
then to a settlement on Pinto Creek is 24 miles; thence to Hamblinís house, on
the northern slope of the Mountain Meadows, 6 miles.
Hamblinís house over the rim of the basin to the southern point of the
Mountain Meadows, where there is a large spring, is 4 miles, 1,000 yards. This
swell of land or watershed, called the rim of the basin, runs west across
nearly midway the valley called the Mountain Meadows. This valley runs north
and south; its northern portion is drained into the basin, its southern toward
the Santa Clara. Down on the Santa Clara is a Mormon settlement called "The
Fort": here some 30 families reside. It is 34 miles from Mountain Meadows.
East of Cedar City, say 18 miles, on the east slope of the Wasatch Range,
drained by Virgin River, is the town of Harmony, of 100 families; and farther
down the Virgin River, 12 miles from "The Fort," on the Santa Clara, is
Washington City, also of 100 families. The Santa Clara joins the Virgin River
near Washington City.
The Pah Vent
Indians live near Fillmore City. The Pah Ute Indians are scattered along from
Parowan southward to the Colorado.
The train of
emigrants proceeding southward from Fillmore toward the Mountain Meadows are
next seen, so far as my inquiries go, by a Mr. Jacob Hamblin, a leading
Mormon, who has charge of "the Fort," on the Santa Clara, and resides there in
the winter season, but who has a cattle ranch and a house, where he lives in
the summer time, at the Mountain Meadows. I here give what he said, and which
I wrote down sentence by sentence, as he related it. He told me he had given
the same information to Judge Cradlebaugh:
middle of August, 1857, I started on a visit to Great Salt Lake City. At Corn
Creek, 8 miles south of Fillmore City, I encamped with a train of emigrants
who said they were mostly from Arkansas. There were, in my opinion, not over
30 wagons. There were several tents, and they had from 400 to 500 head of
horned cattle, 25 head of horses, and some mules.
information I got in conversation with one of the men of the train. The people
seemed to be ordinary frontier Ďhomespuní people, as a general thing. Some of
the outsiders were rude and rough and calculated to get the ill will of the
inhabitants. Several of the men asked me about the condition of the road and
the disposition of the Indians, and where there would be a good place to
recruit their stock.
I asked them
how many men they had. They said they had between forty and fifty "that would
do to tie to." I told them I considered if they would keep a good lookout that
the Indians did not steal their animals, half that number would be safe, and
that the Mountain Meadows was the best place to recruit their animals before
they entered upon the desert, I recommended this spring, and the grazing about
here, four miles south of my house, as the place where they should stop. The
most of these men seemed to have families with them. They remarked that this
one train was made up near Salt Lake City of several trains that had crossed
the plains separately, and being Southern people, had preferred to take the
southern route. This was all of importance that passed between us, and I went
on my journey and they proceeded on theirs. On my way back home, at Fillmore
City, I heard it said that that Company, meaning the train referred to, had
poisoned a small spring at Corn Creek, where I had met them.
some considerable excitement about it among the citizens of Fillmore and among
the Pah-Vent Indian who live within 8 miles of that place. I was told that
eighteen head of cattle had died from drinking the water; that six of the
Pah-Vents had been poisoned from eating the flesh of the cattle that died, and
that one or two of these Indians had also died. Mr. Robinson, a citizen of
Fillmore, whose son was buried the day I got there, said that the boy had been
poisoned in Ďtrying outí the tallow of the dead cattle. I am satisfied that he
believed what he said about it. I thought at the time that the spring had been
poisoned as stated. I encamped that night with a company from Iron County, who
told me that the Company from Arkansas had all been killed at Mountain Meadows
except seventeen children.
met, between Beaver and Pine Creek, Colonel Daim [William H. Dame] of Parowan,
who confirmed what these people from Iron County had said. He further stated
that the Indians were collecting on the Muddy with a determination to Ďwipe
outí another company of emigrants which was several days in rear of the first.
He mentioned that the Indians had supplied themselves with arms and ammunition
from the train destroyed at the Meadows. After consulting with him, he advised
me to go forward and spare no pains in trying to prevent their carrying their
purpose into execution, and he gave me an order to press into service any
animal I might require for that purpose. I got a horse at Beaver about 8
oíclock that evening, and the next evening at Pinto Creek, 83 miles distant, I
met Mr. Dudley Leavett [Leavitt], from the settlements on the Santa Clara..
I told him
what I had heard. He told me it was true, and that all the Indians in the
Southern Country were greatly excited and "All Hell" could not stop them from
killing or from at least robbing the other train of its stock. He further
stated that several interpreters from the Santa Clara had gone on with this
last grain. I told him to return and get the best animal he could find on my
ranch and go on as fast as he could and endeavor to stop further mischief
being done. That is, if the Indians ran off the stock of the train, for
himself and all the interpreters to go and recover it, if possible, and
prevent further depredation. He left me under these instructions.
morning, which, I think, was the 18th of September, 1857, I arrived
at my ranch, 4 miles from the Meadows. Here I had left my family. I found at
the ranch three little white girls in the care of my wife, the oldest six or
seven years of age, the next about three, and the next about one. The youngest
had been shot through one of her arms below the elbow by a large ball,
breaking both bones and cutting the arm half off. My wife, having a young
child of her own, and these three little orphans besides, my home appeared to
be anything but cheerful. About one or two oíclock that day I came down to the
point where the massacre had
taken place, in company with an Indian boy named Albert, who had been brought
up in my family.
The boy told
me that the inhabitants from Cedar City had come down and buried the murdered
people in three large heaps, which he pointed out to me; the boy showed me two
girls who had run some ways off before they were killed. The wolves had dug
open the heaps, dragged out the bodies, and were then tearing the flesh from
them. I counted 19 wolves at one of these places. I have since learned from
the people who assisted in burying the bodies that there were 107 men, women
and children found dead upon the ground. I am satisfied that all were not
found. The most of the bodies were stripped of all their clothing, were then
in a state of putrefaction, and presented a horrible sight. There was no
property left upon the ground except one white ox, which is still at my ranch.
following summer, when the bones had lost their flesh, I reburied them,
assisted by a Mr. Fuller.
have told me that they made an attack on the emigrants between daylight and
sunrise as the men were standing around the camp fires, killing and wounding
15 at the first charge, which was delivered from the ravine near the spring
close to the wagons and from a hill to the west. That the emigrants
immediately corralled their wagons and threw up an entrenchment to shelter
themselves from the balls. When I first saw the ditch, it was about 4 feet
deep and the bank about 2 feet high. The Indians say they then ran off the
stock but kept parties at the spring to prevent the emigrants from getting to
the water, the emigrants firing upon them every time they showed themselves,
and they returned the fire. This was kept up for six or seven days. The
Indians say that they lost but one man, killed and three or four wounded.
At the end
of six or seven days, they say, a man among them who could talk English called
to the emigrants and told them if they would go back to the settlements and
leave all their property, especially their arms, they would spare their lives,
but if they did not do so they would kill the whole of them. The emigrants
agreed to this and started back on the road toward my ranch. About a mile from
the spring there are some scrub-oak bushes and tall sage growing on either
side of the road and close to it. Here a large body of Indians lay in ambush,
who, when the emigrants approached, fell upon them in their defenseless
condition and with bows and arrows and stones and guns and knives murdered
all, without regard to sex or age, except a few infant children, seventeen of
which have since been recovered.
This is what
the Indians told me nine days after the massacre took place. From the position
of the bodies this latter part of their story seems to be corroborated, and I
should judge that the women and children were in advance of the men when the
last attack upon them was made. When I buried the bones last summer, I
observed that about one third of the skulls were shot through with bullets and
about one third seem to be broken with stones.
The train I
sent Leavett [Leavitt] to protect had gotten as far as the canyon, 5 miles
below the Muddy, when the Indians made a descent upon its loose stock, driving
off, as the immigrants have since said, 200 head of cattle. Leavett and the
other interpreters recovered between 75 and 100 head, which were brought to my
ranch. Of these the Indians afterwards demanded and stole some 40 head, and
last January I turned over to Mr. Lane from California, the balance.
all the facts within my knowledge connected with the destruction of the one
and the passing along of the other of these two trains.
is a simple minded person of about 45, and evidently looks with the eyes of
her husband at everything. She may really have been taught by the Mormons to
believe it is no great sin to kill gentiles and enjoy their property. Of the
shooting of the emigrants, which she had herself heard, and knew at the time
what was going on, she seemed to speak without a shudder, or any very great
feeling; but when she told of the 17 orphan children who were brought by such
a crowd to her house of one small room there in the darkness of night, two of
the children cruelly mangled and the most of them with their parentsí blood
still wet upon their clothes, and all of them shrieking with terror and grief
and anguish, her own mother heart was touched. She at least deserves kind
consideration for her care and nourishment of the three sisters, and for all
she did for the little girl, "about one year old who had been shot through one
of her arms, below the elbow, by a large ball, breaking both bones and cutting
the arm half off."
Indian boy, called Albert Hamblin, but whose Indian name was a word which
meant "hungry," who is now about 17 or 18 years of age, says that Mr. Jacob
Hamblin brought him beyond where Camp Floyd is situated and that he has lived
with Mr. Hamblin about six years here and about three years up north. He was
sent by Mr. Hamblin to my camp at Mountain Meadow on the 20th day
of May 1859, and in speaking of the massacre at this place related what
follows in very good English:
In the first
part of September a year and a half ago, I was at Mr. Hamblinís ranch 4 miles
from here. My business was to herd the sheep. I saw the train come along the
road and pass down this way. It was near sundown. I drove the sheep home and
went after wood, when I saw the train encamp at this spring from a high point
of land where I was cutting wood.
train passed me, I saw a good many women and children. It was night when I got
home. Another Indian boy, named John, who lives at the Vegas and talked some
English, was with me. He lived with a man named Sam Knight, at Santa Clara.
After the train had been camped at the spring three nights, the fourth day in
the morning, just before light, when we were all abed at the house, I was
waked up by hearing a good many guns fired. I could hear guns fired every
little while all day until it was dark. Then I did not know what had been
done. During the day, as we, John and I, sat on a hill herding sheep, we saw
driving off all the stock and shoot some of the cattle; at the same time we
could see shooting going on down around the train; emigrants shooting at the
Indians from the corral of wagons, and Indians shooting at them from the tops
of the hills around. In this way they fought on for about a week.
I asked an
Indian what he was killing those people for. He was mad, and told me unless I
kept Ďmy mouth shutí he would kill me. Three men came down from Cedar City to
our house while the fighting was going on. They said they came after cattle.
Other men passed to and from Santa Clara to our house during the nights. The
three men from Cedar City stayed about the house a while "pitching horseshoe
quoits" while the fighting was on, when they afterwards went back to Cedar
City. Dudley Leavitt came up from Santa Clara in the night while the emigrants
were camped here; but he did not see them. He went on to Cedar City to buy
flour. When he got to the house we told him the emigrants were fighting here.
One afternoon, near night, after they had fought nearly a week, John and I saw
the women and children and some leave the wagons and go up the road toward our
house. There were no Indians with them.
John and I
could see where the Indians were hid in the oak bushes and sage right by the
side of the road a mile or more on their route; and I said to John, I would
like to know what the emigrants left their wagons for, as they were going into
"a worse fix than ever they saw." The women were on ahead with the children.
The men were behind, altogether ítwas a big crowd. Soon as they got to the
place where the Indians were hid in the bushes each side of the road, the
Indians pitched right into them and commenced shooting them with guns and bows
and arrows, and cut some of the menís throats with knives. The men run in
every direction, the Indians after them yelling and whooping. Soon as the
women and children saw the Indians spring out of the bushes, they all cried
out so loud that John and I heard them.
scattered and tried to hide in the bushes, but the Indians shot them down; two
girls ran up the slope towards the east about a quarter of a mile; John and I
ran down and tried to save them; the girls hid in some bushes. A man, who is
an Indian doctor, also told the Indians not to kill them. The girls then came
out and hung around him for protection, he trying to keep the Indians away.
The girls were crying out loud. The Indians came up and seized the girls by
their hands and dresses and pulled and pushed them away from the doctor and
shot them. By this time it was dark, and the other Indians came down the road
and had got nearly through killing all the others. They were about half an
hour killing the people from the time they first sprang out upon them from the
Some time in
the night Tullis and the Indians brought some of the children in a wagon up to
the house. The children cried nearly all night. One little one, a baby, just
commencing to walk around, was shot through the arm. One of the girls had been
hit through the ear. Many of the childrenís clothes were bloody. The next
morning we kept three children and the rest were taken to Cedar City; also the
next morning the train of wagons went up to Cedar City with all the goods. The
Indians got all the flour. Some of it I saw buried this side of Pinto Creek.
There were two yoke of cattle to each wagon as they passed up. The rest of the
stock had been killed to be eaten by the Indians while the fight was going on,
except some which were driven over the mountains this way and that.
stripped naked the dead bodies; that is all the men; some of the women had
their underclothes left. There were a good many men who came over from Pinto
Creek and about, and stayed around the house while the fight went on. I saw
John D. Lee there about the house during that time. He lives in Harmony--and
Richard Robinson, Prime Coleman, Amos Thornton, Brother Dickinson, who all
live at Pinto Creek. Thornton I saw at the house. When father (John Hamblin)
came back, I came down with him onto the ground. The bodies were all buried
then so we could not see them. There were plenty of wolves around. The two
girls had been buried also and I did show them to father, the Indians buried
the bodies taking spades from the wagons. The people from Cedar City came down
three days later, after the massacre, but the Indians had buried all the
bodies before they came. This is all I know about it.
Hamblin is nearly a grown man in point of size, and from appearance and
bearing has evidently had engrafted upon his native viciousness all the bad
traits of the community in which he lives. Two of the children are said to
have pointed him out to Dr. Forney as an Indian whom they saw kill their two
His story is
artfully made up, evidently part truth and part falsehood. Leavitt could not
have passed up from "The Fort" to Cedar City without knowing where the
emigrants were besieged, as the road runs near the spring where the corral
was, and between it and some hills occupied by the Mormons and Indians. That
Albert stayed upon a neighborhood hill "herding sheep" day after day while the
fight lasted, and then to the house of nights to go to sleep, can not be true.
That Mormons were passing and re-passing upon the road, day and night, and did
not know what was going on is simply absurd to one conversant with the
surroundings of the place.
Indianís statement that some of the Mormons at the house were "pitching
horseshoe quoits," a glance is given at the fiendish levity with which the
murdering, day by day, of this artfully entrapped party of gentile men, women
and children was regarded. This "pitching of horseshoe quoits" was during the
time when dropping shots from the Indians and the other Mormon concealed
around the springs and behind the crest of hills kept back the perishing
emigrants from water. There was time enough for some to go up to Hamblinís
house for refreshments. No danger of the emigrants getting away. It was all
safe in that quarter. "There is time enough for us to have a game of quoits,
the other boys will take care of matters down there."
will hardly fail to observe the discrepancy between Hamblinís statement and
that of Albert in relation to the burial of the two girls and in relation to
the burial of the bodies of the others who had been murdered. Hamblin says the
people from Cedar City buried them; Albert that the Indians did it, taking
spades from the wagons, not a likely thing for bona fide Indians to do. My own
opinion is that the remains were not buried at all until after they had been
dismembered by the wolves and the flesh stripped from the bones, and then only
such bones were buried as lay scattered along nearest the road.
evidently been trained in his statement. He gave much of it after
cross-questioning, keeping always the Mormons in the background and the
Indians conspicuously the prominent figures and actors, as Hamblin and his
wife had endeavored to do. It was not until after I told him that Hamblin and
his wife had informed me that John D. Lee and other Mormons were there and had
asked him how it was possible he had not seen them, that he recollected about
"Brother Lee" and "Brothers" Prime Coleman, Amos Thornton, Richard Robinson,
and "Brother" Dickinson from Pinto Creek. He too had fallen into the general
custom of the people and called every man "brother."
other Mormons in relation to the massacre, but many of them said they had
moved from the northern part of the Territory since it took place; others,
that they were harvesting at Parowan, Cedar, and at "The Fort," and knew
nothing of it until it was all over. Even "Brother" Prime Coleman [said] that
he was harvesting near Parowan just before that time with Brother Benjamin
Nell, but when the massacre took place he was down on the Muddy River with
Brother Ira Hatch to keep down disturbances there among the Indians. (The
Muddy is 163 miles from Parowan, on the road to California; he had to pass
Mountain Meadows to go there.) He said that as he and Hatch were coming back
they saw in the sand the tracks of three men who wore fine boots. This was at
Beaver Dams (between Mountain Meadows and the Muddy and 50 miles from the
He and Hatch
were frightened at this sign, were afraid of robbers, and did not stop, even
for water, until they reached the Santa Clara, 2 miles off. At Pine Valley,
near Mountain Meadows, they first heard of the massacre. There is no doubt but
that all three of these men were active participants in the butchering at the
Meadows. The foregoing is the Mormon story of the Massacre. As it took place
on Hamblinís ranch and within hearing of his family, it was impossible for
them to be "out harvesting" or "up north" or "down on the Muddy"; he himself
had gone to Salt Lake City. At least he says so; but even this, I think, needs
proof. Some account had to be made up, and the one most likely to be believed
was that the whole matter had been started by the Indians and carried out by
them, because the emigrants had poisoned a spring near Fillmore City. Mr.
Rodgers, United States Deputy Marshal, who accompanied Judge Cradlebaugh in
his tour to the South, told me that the water in the spring referred to runs
with such volume and force "a barrel of arsenic would not poison it."
Mormons say the Indians were the murderers, they speak with no sympathy of the
suffer[er]s, but rather in extenuation of the crime by saying the emigrants
were not fit to live; that besides poisoning the spring "they were impudent to
the people on the road, robbed their hen roosts and gardens, and were
insulting to the church; called their oxen "Brigham Young," "Heber Kimball,"
etc., and altogether were a rough, ugly set that ought to have been killed
But there is
another side to this story. It is said that some two years since Bishop Parley
Pratt was shot in Cherokee Nation near Arkansas by the husband of a woman who
had run off with that saintly prelate. The Mormons swore vengeance on the
people of Arkansas, one of who was this injured husband. The wife came on to
Salt Lake City after the bishop was killed and still lives there.
time, also, the Mormon troubles with the United States commenced, and the most
bitter hostility against the Gentiles became rife throughout Utah among all
the Latter-Day Saints. It will be recollected that even while these emigrants
were pursuing their journey overland to California, Colonel Alexander was
following upon their trace with two or more regiments of troops ordered to
Utah to assist, if necessary, in seeing the laws of the land properly enforced
in that territory.
was undoubtedly a very rich one. It is said the emigrants had nearly nine
hundred head of fine cattle, many horses and mules, and one stallion valued at
$2,000; that they had a great deal of ready money besides. All this the
Mormons at Salt Lake City saw as the train came on. The Mormons knew the
troops were marching to their country, and a spirit of intense hatred of the
Americans and towards our Government was kindled in the hearts of this whole
people by Brigham Young, Orson Hyde, and other leaders, even from the pulpits.
opportunely, was a rich train of emigrants--American Gentiles. That is, the
most obnoxious kind of Gentiles--and not only that, but these Gentiles were
from Arkansas, where the saintly Pratt had gained his crown of martyrdom. Is
not here some thread which may be seized as a clue to this mystery so long
hidden as to whether or not the Mormons were accomplices in the massacre? This
train of Arkansas Gentiles was doomed from the day it crossed through the
South Pass and had gotten fairly down in the meshes of the Mormon spider net,
from which it was never to become disentangled.
Cradlebaugh informed me that about this time Brigham Young, preaching in the
tabernacle and speaking of the trouble with the United States, said that up to
that moment he had protected emigrants who had passed through the Territory,
but now he would turn the Indians loose upon them. It is a singular point
worthy of note that this sermon should have been preached just as the rich
train had gotten into the valley and was now fairly entrapped; a sermon good,
coming from him, as a letter of marque to these land pirates who listened to
him as an oracle. The hint thus shrewdly given out was not long in being acted
moment these emigrants, as they journeyed southward, were considered the
authorized, if not legal, prey of the inhabitants. All kinds of depredations
and extortions were practiced upon them. At Parowan they took some wheat to
the mill to be ground. The bishop replied, "Yes, but do you take double toll."
This shows the spirit with which they were treated. These things are now
leaking out; but some of those who were then Mormons have renounced their
creed, and through them much is learned which, taken in connection with the
facts that are known, served to develop the truth. It is said to be a truth
that Brigham Young sent letters south, authorizing, if not commanding, that
the train should be destroyed.
chief, of the Santa Clara band, named "Jackson," who was one of the attacking
party, and had a brother slain by the emigrants from their corral by the
spring, says that orders came down in a letter from Brigham Young that the
emigrants were to be killed; and a chief of the Pah-Utes named Touche, now
living on the Virgin River, told me that a letter from Brigham Young to the
same effect was brought down to the Virgin River band by a young man named
Huntingdon [Oliver B. Huntington], who, I learn, is an Indian Interpreter and
lives at present at Salt Lake City.
there were 60 Mormons led by Bishop John D. Lee, of Harmony, and a prominent
man in the church named [Isaac C.]Haight, who lives at Cedar City. That they
were all painted and disguised as Indians.
painting and disguising was done at a spring in a canyon about a mile
northeast of the spring where the emigrants were encamped, and that Lee and
Haight led and directed the combined force of Mormons and Indians in the first
attack, throughout the siege, and at the last massacre. The Santa Clara
Indians say that the emigrants could not get to the water, as besiegers lay
around the spring ready to shoot anyone who approached it. This could easily
have been done. Major [Henry] Prince, Paymaster, U.S.A., and Lieutenant Ogle,
First Dragoons, on the 17th inst., stood at the ditch which was in
the corral and placed some men at the spring 28 yards distant, and they could
just see the other menís heads, both parties standing erect. This shows how
vital a point the Assailants occupied; how close it was to the assailed, and
how well protected it was from the direction of the corral.
following account of the affair is, I think, susceptible of legal proof by
those whose names are known, and who, I am assured, are willing to make oath
to many of the facts which serve as links in the chain of evidence leading
toward the truth of this grave question: By whom were these 120 men, women,
and children murdered?
currently reported among the Mormons at Cedar City, in talking among
themselves, before the troops ever came down south, (when all felt secure of
arrest or prosecution), and nobody seemed to question the truth of it--that a
train of emigrants of fifty or upward of men, mostly with families, came and
encamped at this spring at Mountain Meadows in September 1857. It was reported
in Cedar City, and was not, and is not doubted--even by the Mormons--that John
D. Lee, Isaac C. Haight, John M. Higby [Higbee](the first resides at Harmony,
the last two at Cedar City), were the leaders who organized a party of fifty
or sixty Mormons to attack this train.
also all the Indians which they could collect at Cedar City, Harmony and
Washington City to help them, a good many in number. This party then came
down, and at first the Indians were ordered to stampede the cattle and drive
them away from the train. Then they commenced firing on the emigrants; this
firing was returned by the emigrants; one Indian was killed, a brother of the
chief of the Santa Clara Indians, another shot through the leg, who is now a
cripple at Cedar City. There were without doubt a great many more killed and
wounded. It was said the Mormons were painted and disguised as Indians. The
Mormons say the emigrants fought "like lions" and they saw that they could not
whip them by any fair fighting.
days fighting the Mormons had a council among themselves to arrange a plan to
destroy the emigrants. They concluded, finally, that they could send some few
down and pretend to be friends and try and get the emigrants to surrender.
John D. Lee and three or four others, headmen, from Washington, Cedar, and
Parowan (Haight and Higby [Higbee] from Cedar), had their paint washed off and
dressing in their usual clothes, took their wagons and drove down toward the
emigrantís corral as they were just traveling on the road on their ordinary
business. The emigrants sent out a little girl towards them. She was dressed
in white and had a white handkerchief in her hand, which she waved in token of
peace. The Mormons with the wagon waved one in reply, and then moved on
towards the corral. The emigrants then came out, no Indians or others being in
sight at this time, and talked with these leading Mormons with the three
with the emigrants for an hour or an hour and a half, and told them that the
Indians were hostile, and that if they gave up their arms it would show that
they did not want to fight; and if they, the emigrants, would do this they
would pilot them back to the settlements. The migrants had horses which had
remained near their wagons; the loose stock, mostly cattle, had been driven
off--not the horses. Finally the emigrants agreed to these terms and delivered
up their arms to the Mormons with whom they had counseled. The women and
children then started back toward Hamblinís house, the men following with a
few wagons that they had hitched up. On arriving at the Scrub Oaks, etc.,
where the other Mormons and Indians lay concealed, Higby [Higbee], who had
been one of those who had inveigled the emigrants from their defenses, himself
gave the signal to fire, when a volley was poured in from each side, and the
butchery commenced and was continued until it was consummated.
was brought to Cedar City and sold at public auction. It was called in Cedar
City, and is so called now by the Facetious Mormons, "property taken at the
siege of Sebastopol." The clothing stripped from the corpses, bloody and with
bits of flesh upon it, shredded by the bullets from the persons of the poor
creatures who wore it, was placed in the cellar of the tithing office (an
official building), where it lay about three weeks, when it was brought away
by some of the party; but witnesses do not know whether it was sold or given
away. It is said the cellar smells of it even to this day.
reported that John D. Lee, Haight, and Philip Smith [Klingonsmith](the latter
lives in Cedar City) went to Salt Lake City immediately after the massacre,
and counseled with Brigham Young about what should be done with the property.
They took with them the ready money they got from the murdered emigrants and
offered it to Young. He said he would have nothing to do with it. He told them
to divide the cattle and cows among the poor. They had taken some of the
cattle to Salt Lake City merchants there. Lee told Brigham that the Indians
would not be satisfied if they did not have a share of the cattle. Brigham
left it to Lee to make the distribution. One or two of the Mormons did not
like it that Lee had this authority, as they say he swindled them out of their
share. Lee was the smartest man of the lot.
carriages, and rifles, etc., were distributed among the Mormons. Lee has a
carriage reported be one of them. The Indians have but few of the rifles.
Much of this
seems to be corroborated by a man named Whitelock, a dentist, now at Camp
Floyd. Whitelock says he was told by a Mormon, who acknowledged that he was
present at the massacre, but who is now in California, "that orders to destroy
the emigrants first came from above" (Salt Lake City) and that a party of
armed men under the command of a man named John D. Lee, who was then a bishop
in the church, but who has since (as Brigham Young says) been deposed, left
the settlements of Beaver City, north of Parowan, Parowan City, and Cedar City
on what was called a "secret expedition," and after an absence of a few days
returned, bringing back strange wagons, cattle, horses, mules and also
legal proof that this property was sold at the official tithing office of the
church. Whitelock says that this man could not report the details of the
massacre without tears and trembling. He said he was so horrified at these
atrocities he fled away from Utah to California. The man said he saw children
clinging around the knees of the murderers, begging for mercy and offering
themselves as slaves for life could they be spared. But their throats were cut
from ear to ear as an answer to their appeal.
now wagons, carriages, and cattle in possession of the Mormons which can be
sworn to, it is said, as having belonged to these emigrants by those who saw
them upon the plains.
and forty eight head of cattle were sold on the Jordan River after the arrival
of the Army to United States commissaries by Mormons, and it is said that they
can be traced as having come through the hands of Lee and [William H.]Hooper,
who was Mormon Secretary of State, and were without doubt the cattle taken
from the emigrants. Others are seen in the hands of the Mormons which are
believed to have been captured at the time of the massacre. The Pah-Ute
Indians of the Muddy River said to me that they know the Mormons had charged
them with the massacre of the emigrants, but said they, "where are the wagons,
the cattle, the clothing, the rifles, and other property belonging to the
train? We have not got or had them. No, you find all these things in the hands
of the Mormons." There is some logical reasoning in that, creditable at least
to the obscure minds of miserable savages, whatever be the truth.
But there is
not the shadow of a doubt that the emigrants were butchered by the Mormons
themselves, assisted doubtless by the Indians. The idea of letting the
emigrants come on to an obscure quarter of the Territory, amid the fastnesses
of the mountains, with a formidable desert extending from that point to
California, over which a stranger to the country, without sustenance, escape
with his life; to a point were the Indians were numerous enough to lend
assistance, and who could plausibly be charged with the crime in case, in the
future any people should give trouble by asking ugly questions on the subject,
exhibits consideration as to future contingencies of which these miserable
Indians, at least are entirely incapable.
"fifty men that would do to tie to" in a fight, all well armed and experts in
the use of the rifle, could have wiped out ten times their number of Pah-Ute
Indians armed only with the bow and arrow. Hamblin himself, their agent,
informed that to his certain knowledge in 1856 there were but three guns in
the whole tribe. I doubt if they had many more in 1857. The emigrants were to
be destroyed with as little loss to the Mormons as possible, and no one old
enough to tell the tale was to be left alive. To effect this the whole plans
and operations, from beginning to end, display skill, patience, pertinacity
and forecast, which no people here at the time were equal to except the
Mormons themselves. Hamblin says three men escaped. They were doubtless
herding when the attack was made, or crept out of a corral by night.
The fate of
one of these he had never learned. He must have been murdered off the road or
perished of hunger and thirst in the mountains. At all events he never went
through to California or he would have been heard from. One got as far as the
Muddy River, ninety odd miles from Mountain Meadows. There the Indians cut his
throat. The other got as far as Las Vegas, 45 miles still farther towards
California, where he arrived totally naked, some Indians having stripped him
of his clothes. Hamblin said an acquaintance of his coming from that way had
seen marks in the sand where the Indians had thrown him down and where there
had been struggling when he was stripped. The Las Vegas Indians cut his throat
likewise. The Mormons had a fort at Las Vegas, now abandoned, but which was
occupied at that time.
something which seems to point to the "tracks in the sand of three men who
wore fine boots" which brothers Ira Hatch and Prime Coleman saw at the Beaver
Dams, and at which they became so frightened that they didnít stop to get
water, although there was none other within 20 miles. During this "Siege of
Sebastapol" or after the final massacre, it was doubtless discovered that the
three emigrants had escaped, and Brothers Hatch and Coleman, perhaps two
Mormons named Young, were sent in pursuit to cut them off on the desert or to
get the Indians to do it. Hatch talks Pah-Ute like a native, and is now an
interpreter of their language whenever needed. One of the Youngs, who now
lives at Cotton Farm, near the confluence of The Virgin and Santa Clara, tells
this story of the emigrants murdered on the Muddy:
He and his
brother, each on horseback, and leading a third horse, were traveling from
California, as he says, to Utah. Just before they arrived at Muddy River they
met one of the emigrants on foot. He had been wounded; was unarmed and without
provisions or water. It was at daybreak. He had traveled already nearly 100
miles from the Mountain Meadows. He seemed to be terror stricken. His mind was
wandering. He talked incoherently about the massacre and his purposes. Under
the awful scenes he had witnessed, the pain of his wound, and the privations
he had endured his senses had given away. They told him of the long deserts
ahead of which, if he pursued his way, he would certainly perish. They
persuaded him to return with them; mounted him on their lead horse, and so
came on to the Muddy, where they stopped to prepare breakfast. One of the
Youngís laid his coat, containing in its pocket $500 all their money, on a
bush. And commenced frying some cakes at a fire which had been kindled.
gathered around in great numbers. The chief would seize the cakes from the pan
as fast as they were done, and eat them. At last one of the Youngs struck the
chief with a knife, whereupon all the Indians rose to kill the three men.
Young says he and his brother drew their revolvers, and holding them on the
Indians, kept them at a distance until they got to their horses, had mounted,
and were out of arrow shot. They then looked back for the emigrant who had
seemed as he sat abstracted by the fire, hardly to comprehend what was going
on. He had not left the spot where he sat. Three or four Indians had him down
and were cutting his throat. They themselves, then made off, leaving coat,
money, and all their provisions.
their story, but the truth doubtless was the Youngs, Hatch and Coleman, had
followed up the man; had found him beyond the Muddy, brought him back, and
then set the Indians upon him. The fate of these three men seems to close the
scenes of this terrible tragedy on all the grown people of that fine train
which was seen journeying prosperously forward at OíFallons Bluffs on the 11th
of the preceding June. There were doubtless atrocious episodes connected with
the massacre of the women, which will never be known. Mr. Rogers, the deputy
marshal, told me that Bishop John D. Lee is said to have taken a beautiful
lady away to a secluded spot. There she implored him for more than life. She
too, was found dead. Her throat had been cut from ear to ear.
children whom we left this John D. Lee distributing at Hamblinís house after
that sad night, have at length been gathered together and are now at Indian
Farm, 12 miles south of Fillmore City, or at Salt Lake City in the custody for
Dr. Forney, United States Indian agent. They are 17 in number. Sixteen of
these were seen by Judge Cradlebaugh, Lieutenant Kearney, and others, and gave
the following information in relation to their personal identity, etc. The
children were varying from 3 to 9 years of age, 10 girls, 6 boys, and were
The first is
a boy named Calvin, between 7 and 8 [John Calvin Miller, 6]; does not remember
his surname; says he was by his mother [Matilda] when she was killed, and
pulled the arrows from her back until she was dead; says he had two brothers
older than himself, named James [see below] and Henry, and three sisters,
Nancy, Mary [see below] and Martha.
is a girl who does not remember her name. The others say it is Demurr [Georgia
Ann Dunlap, 18 mos.].
The third is
a boy named Ambrose Mariam Tagit [Emberson Milam Tackitt, 4]; says he had two
brothers older than himself and one younger. His father, mother, and two elder
brothers were killed, his younger brother [William Henry, listed below] was
brought to Cedar City; says he lived in Johnson County, but does not know what
State; says it took one week to go from where he lived with his grandfather
and grandmother who are still living in the States.
The fourth is a girl
obtained of John Morris, a Mormon, at Cedar City. She does not recollect
anything about herself [Mary Miller, 4 (see next below)].
Fifth. A boy
obtained of E. H. Grove [Joseph Miller, 1, whose older brother, Calvin
(above)], says that the girl obtained of Morris is named Mary and is his
The sixth is
a girl who says her name is Prudence Angelina [Prudence Angeline Dunlap, 5].
Had two brothers, Jessie [Thomas J., 17] and John (John H., 16], who were
killed. Her fatherís name was William [Lorenzo Dow Dunlap], and she had an
Uncle Jessie [Jesse Dunlap].
is a girl. She says her name is Francis Harris, or Horne, remembers nothing of
her family [Sarah Frances Baker, 3].
is a young boy, too young to remember anything about himself [Felix Marion
Jones, 18 mos.].
The ninth is
a boy whose name is William W. Huff [William Henry Tackitt, 19 mos.].
The tenth is
a boy whose name is Charles Fancher [Christopher "Kit" Carson Fancher, 5].
is a girl who says her name is Sophronia Huff [Nancy Saphrona Huff, 4].
is a girl who says her name is Betsy [Martha Elizabeth Baker, 5].
The thirteenth, fourteenth and fifteenth are three sisters named Rebecca,
Louisa and Sara Dunlap [Rebecca J. Dunlap, 6; Louisa Dunlap, 4; Sarah E.
Dunlap, 1]. These three sisters were the children obtained of Jacob Hamblin.
I have no
note of the sixteenth [Triphenia D. Fancher, 22 mos.].
seventeenth is a boy who was but six weeks old at the time of the massacre
[William Twitty Baker, 9 mos.]. Hamblinís wife brought him to my camp on the
19th instant. The next day they took him on to Salt Lake City to
give him up to Dr. Forney. He is a pretty little boy and hardly dreamed he had
again slept upon the ground where his parents had been murdered.
children, it is said, could not be induced to make any developments while they
remained with the Mormons, from fear, no doubt, having been intimidated by
threats. Dr. Forney, it is said, came southward for them under the impression
that he would find them in the hands of the Indians. The Mormons say the
children were in the hands of the Indians and were purchased by them for
rifles, blankets, etc., but the children say they have never lived with the
Indians at all. The Mormons claimed of Dr. Forney sums of money, varying from
$200 to $400, for attending them when sick, for feeding and clothing them, and
for nourishing the infants from the time when they assumed to have purchased
them from the Indians.
the parents and despoilers of their property, these Mormons, rather these
relentless, incarnate fiends, dared even to come forward and claim payment for
having kept these little ones barely alive; these helpless orphans whom they
themselves had already robbed of their natural protectors and support. Has
there ever been an act which at all equaled this devilish hardihood in more
than devilish effrontery? Never, but one; and even then the price was but "30
pieces of silver."
arrival at Mountain Meadows, the 16th instant, I encamped near the
spring where the emigrants had encamped, and where they had entrenched
themselves after they were first fired upon. The ditch they there dug is not
yet filled up.
The same day
Captain Reuben P. Campbell, United States Second Dragoons, with a command of
three companies of troops, came from his camp at Santa Clara and camped there
also. Judge Cradlebaugh and Deputy Marshall Rogers had come down from Provo
with Captain Campbell, and had been inquiring into the circumstances of the
massacre. The judge cannot receive too much praise for the resolute and
thorough manner with which he pursues him investigation. On his way down past
this spot, and before my arrival, Captain Campbell had caused to be collected
and buried the bones of 26 of the victims. Dr. Brewer informed me that the
remains of 18 were buried in one grave, 12 in another and 6 in another.
On the 20th
inst. I took a wagon and a party of men and made a thorough search for others
amongst the sage brushes for a least a mile back from the road that leads to
Hamblinís house. Hamblin himself showed Sergeant Fritz of my party a spot on
the right-hand side of the road where had partially covered up a great many of
the bones. These were collected, and a large number of others on the left hand
side of the road up the slopes of the hill, and in the ravines and among the
bushes. I gathered many of the disjointed bones of 34 persons. The number
could easily be told by the number of pairs of shoulder blades and by lower
jaws, skulls, and parts of skulls, etc.
the remains of two others gotten in a ravine to the east of the spring, where
they had been interred at but little depth, 34 in all, I buried in a grave on
the northern side of the ditch. Around and above this grave I caused to be
built of loose granite stones, hauled from the neighboring hills, a
monument, conical in form and fifty feet in circumference at the base, and
twelve feet in height. This is surmounted by a cross hewn from red cedar wood.
From the ground to top of cross is twenty four feet. On the transverse part of
the cross, facing towards the north, is an inscription carved in the wood.
"Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." And on a rude slab of
granite set in the earth and leaning against the northern base of the monument
there are cut the following words:
men, women, and children were massacred in cold blood early in September,
1857 . They were from Arkansas."
that nearly every skull I saw had been shot through with rifle or revolver
bullets. I did not see one that had been "broken in with stones." Dr. Brewer
showed me one, that probably of a boy of eighteen, which had been fractured
and slit, doubtless by two blows of a bowie knife or other instrument of that
several bones of what must have been very small children. Dr. Brewer says from
what he saw he thinks some infants were butchered. The mothers doubtless had
these in their arms, and the same shot or blow may have deprived both of life.
The scene of
the massacre, even at this late day, was horrible to look upon. Womenís hair,
in detached locks and masses, hung to the sage bushes and was strewn over the
ground in many places. Parts of little childrenís dresses and of female
costume dangled from the shrubbery or lay scattered about; and among these,
here and there, on every hand, for at least a mile in the direction of the
road, by two miles east and west, there gleamed, bleached white by the
weather, the skulls and other bones of those who had suffered. A glance into
the wagon when all these had been collected revealed a sight which can never
The idea of
the melancholy procession of that great number of women and children, followed
at a distance by their husbands and brothers, after all their suffering, their
watching, their anxiety and grief, for so many gloomy days and dismal nights
at the corral, thus moving slowly and sadly up to the point where the Mormons
and Indians lay in wait to murder them; these doomed and unhappy people
literally going to their own funeral; the chill shadows of night closing
darkly around them, sad precursors of the approaching shadows of a deeper
night, brings to the mind a picture of human suffering and wretchedness on the
one hand, and of human treachery and ferocity upon the other, that cannot
possibly be excelled by any other scene that ever before occurred in real
I caused the
distance to be measured from point to point on the scene of the massacre. From
the ditch near the spring to the point upon the road where the men attacked
and destroyed, and where their bones were mostly found, is one mile 565 yards.
Here there is a grave where Capt. Campbellís command buried some of the
remains. To the next point, also marked by a similar grave made by Captain
Campbell, and where the women and children were butchered; a point identified
from their bones and clothing have been found near it, it is one mile, 1,135
yards. To the swell across the valley called the Rim of the Basin, is one mile
1,334 yards. To Hamblinís house four miles, 1,049 yards.
Prince, United States Army, drew a map of the ground about the spring where
the entrenchment was dug, and embracing the neighboring hill behind which the
Mormons had cover. On the crests of these hills are still traces of some rude
little parapets made of loose stones and loop holed for rifles. Marks of
bullets shot from the corral are seen upon these stones. I enclose this map
and also a drawing of the valley as it appears looking northward from a point
below the spring and another drawing giving a near view of the monument. These
latter are not so good as I could wish for, but they will serve to give a
tolerably correct idea of what they are intended to represent. They were made
by Mr. Moeller, who has lived many years among the Mormons.
the bloody thread which runs throughout this picture of sad realities, the
question how this crime, that for hellish atrocity has no parallel in our
history, can be adequately punished often comes up and seeks in vain for an
answer. Judge Cradlebaugh says that with Mormon juries the attempt to
administer justice in their Territory is simply a ridiculous farce. He
believes the Territory ought at once to be put under martial law. This may be
the only practical way in which even a partial punishment can be meted out to
these Latter-Day devils.
inadequate would be the punishment of a few, even by death, for this crime for
which nearly the whole Mormon population, from Brigham Young down, were more
or less instrumental in perpetrating.
other heinous crimes to be punished besides this. Martial law would at best be
but a temporary expedient. Crime is found in the footsteps of the Mormons
wherever they go, and so the evil must always exist as long as the Mormons
themselves exist. What is their history? What their antecedents? Perhaps the
future may be judged by the past.
infancy as a religious community, they settled in Jackson County, Mo. There,
in a short time, from the crimes and depredations they committed, they became
intolerable to the inhabitants, whose self preservation compelled them to ride
and drive the Mormons out by force of arms. At Nauvoo, again another
experiment was tried with them. The people of Illinois exercised forbearance
toward them until it literally "ceased to be a virtue." They were driven
thence as they had been from Missouri, but fortunately this time with the loss
on their part of those two shallow imposters, but errant miscreants, the
States took no wholesome heed of these lessons taught by Missouri and
Illinois. The Mormons were permitted to settle amid the fastnesses of the
Rocky Mountains, with a desert on each side, and upon the great thoroughfare
between the two oceans. Over this thoroughfare our Citizens have hitherto not
been able to travel without peril to their lives and property, except,
forsooth, Brigham Young pleased to grant them his permission and give them his
protection. "He would turn the Indians loose upon them."
of the army in Utah, past and to come (figure that), the massacre at the
Mountain Meadows, the unnumbered other crimes, which have been and will yet be
committed by this community, are but preliminary gusts of the whirlwind our
Government has reaped and is yet to reap for the wind it had sowed in
permitting the Mormons ever to gain foothold within our borders.
They are an
ulcer upon the body politic. An ulcer which it needs more than cutlery to
cure. It must have excision, complete and thorough extirpation, before we can
ever hope for safety or tranquility. This is no rhetorical phrase made by a
flourish of the pen, but is really what will prove to be an earnest and
stubborn fact. This brotherhood may be contemplated from any point of view,
and but one conclusion can be arrived at concerning it. The Thugs of India
were an inoffensive, moral, law-abiding people in comparison.
I have made
this a special report, because the information here given, however crude, I
thought to be of such grave importance it ought to be put permanently on
record and deserved to be kept separate and distinct from a report on the
ordinary occurrences of a march. Some of the details might, perhaps, have been
omitted, but there has been a great and fearful crime perpetrated, and many of
the circumstances connected with it have long been kept most artfully
concealed. But few direct rays even now shine in upon the subject. So that
however indistinct and unimportant they may at present appear to be, even the
faint side lights given by these details may yet lend assistance in exploring
some obscure recess of the matter where the great truths, that should be
diligently and persistently sought for, may yet happily be discovered.
I have the honor to be, very
respectfully, your obedient servant,
James Henry Carleton,
Brevet Major, U.S.A.,
Captain in the First Dragoons.
Major W. W. Mackall, Assít.
Adjutant-General, U.S.A., San Francisco, California.
H. Doc. 605-------2