The Echo Canyon Breastworks
The Echo Canyon Breastworks were constructed in August of 1857 under the direction of General Daniel H. Wells, commander of the Mormon Militia. They were set atop high cliffs where they would provide the greatest strategic advantage against possible attack by Johnson’s Army during the war 1857-58. This 2500 man force was sent to the territory by President James Buchanan to silence what was perceived to be a rebellion by the Mormons. The dry masonry walls constructed of uncut stones stacked in random courses without mortar were two feet above ground and four to twelve feet in length. These fortifications stretched some twelve miles along the narrowest sections of the canyon. These breastworks were part of a larger offensive network that included plans to dam the creek to force the troops against the canyon wall where the breastworks are located, and large trenches across the canyon to impede the passage of horses and men. More than twelve hundred men worked together completing the breastworks on the cliffs in a matter of a few weeks. However, the peaceful resolution of the Utah War in the early summer of 1858 rendered the fortifications unnecessary.