Alta California Report of the Bear River Massacre/Bear River Expedition

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In good faith, I promised to write to the Alta my own observations and study of institutions, men and manners in Utah; but finding that there was more to see and more to learn than I had anticipated, the anxiety to be reliable has week after week suggested delay. I would not now break the silence between us -- with the subject proposed for discussion -- as I am not confident of being fully in possession of the data, facts, and figures to enable me to handle matters impartially; but as the unexpected engagement between our volunteers and the Indians will unquestionably be of deep interest to our readers, I propose to open our relationship from Utah with:

The Expedition[edit]

The rumored circumstances which gave rise to the expedition against the Indians are numerous and diversified; the civil party figuring in it being evidently desirous of a large share of the glory, to which they have as little claim, in reality, as if their immaculate greatness had been unknown in the land. The conception of the expedition is due to Colonel P. Edward Connor, and the brilliant execution of his plans, and their glorious results are exclusively the well-earned honors of his brave officers, and his no less brave men.

Judge J.F. Kinney did certainly issue a writ for the apprehension of Indian Chiefs Sand Pitch, Sag-witch, and Bear Hunter, on the charge of murdering miners passing to and from this city and the new gold mines in Washington and Dacotah Territories; and that writ was as certainly placed in the hands of Marshal Gibbs for legal service; but the volunteer expedition was not the Marshal's posse comitatus.

Col. Connor -- from the first reports of the murder of immigrants on the Humboldt and various other localities along the Northern route to California last summer -- determined in cutting off the savagesl, and commenced the carrying out of his design by the cavalry expedition from Ruby Valley, last fall, in which Major McGarry was so very successful in the accomplishment of his commander's instructions, save and except in his inability to find trees on which to hang the murderous savages. Since that time, the Indian attacks upon the whites, traveling to and from the Dacotah mines, have only added determination to determination to rid the country of this terrible scourge -- this perpetual reign of terror; and, whereever there was the slightest hope of reaching the savages, the gallant Major was ordered in pursuit.


Taking into account recent snows, the northerly climate, and the road that would have to be made over the summit of the mountains separating Cache and Box Elder Valleys, the Infantry were to pursue their march