War of the Rebellion: Serial 106 Page 0119 Chapter LXII. CORRESPONDENCE - UNION AND CONFEDERATE.

Search Civil War Official Records


Fort Ruby, September 14, 1862.

Major R. C. DRUM,

Assistant Adjutant-General, San Francisco, Cal.:

MAJOR: I have th ehonor to report my return to this post from Salt Lake last evening. I am glad I made the journey, as it will be the means of saving my command much suffering for want of water. The country between this point and Salt Lake is an alkali desert, scarce of wood and water, but I have made such arrangements as will enable me to take my command over with comparative comfort. It will be impossible for me to describe what I saw and heard in Salt Lake, so as to make you realize the enormity of Mormonism; suffice it, that I found them a community of traitors, murderers, fanatics, and whores. The people publicly rejoice at reverses to our arms, and thank God that the American Government is gone, as they term it, while their prophet and bishops preach treason from the pulpit. The Federal officers are entirely powerless, and talk in whispers for fear of being overheard by Brigham's spies. Brigham Young rules with despotic sway, and death by assassination is the penalty of disobedience to his commands. I have a difficult and dangerous task before me, and will endeavor to act with prudence and firmness.

I examined the country in the vicinity of the city to find a suitable location for a post. Fort Crittenden (Camp Floyd) is in ruins, except the few buildings, of which I send you a description, and for which the owner asks $15,000. * There are also some buildings purchased by and belonging to the Overland Mail Company, and now occupied by them, but which are not for sale. of the remaining buildings there is nothing left but the adobes, except two or three buildings owned by former sutlers, which are in tolerable repair, and could be purchased cheap. If it were designed to establish a permanent post, most of the buildings would have to be torn down and removed, as many of them are half a mile from the officers' quarters, or what was known as headquarters. The latter buildings are the only ones in tolerable repair; the others require doors, windows, work to place them in habitable order. The land is considered a Government reserve, but the post is badly located, being on the edge of the reserve and adjoining a small village, inhabited by a class of persons of questionable character. There is good grazing on the reserve, which is the only redeeming quality, in my opinion, it has. There are sufficient adobes on the ground to erect such additional buildings as I may require, but good timber is scarce, and the saw-mills are sixty miles distant.

I found another location, which I like better for various reasons, which I shall explain. It is on a plateau about three miles from Salt Lake City; in the vicinity of good timber and saw-mills, and at a point where hay, grain, and othe produce can be purchased cheaper than at Fort Crittenden. It is also a point which commands the city, and where 1,000 troops would be more efficient than 3,000 on the other side of the Jordan. If the general decides that I shall locate there, I intend to quietly intrench my position, and then say to the Saints of Utah, enough of your treason; but if it is intended that I shall merely protect the overland mail and permit the Mormons to act and utter treason, then I had as well locate at Crittenden. The Federal officers desire and beg that I will locate near the city. The Governor especially is very urgent in the matter. It is certainly rather late in the season to build quarters, but I believe I could make my command comfortable


* Description omitted.