Site of Battle Between U.S. Army Soldiers and Ute Indians
See also: Civil War Skirmish at Pleasant Grove
This rock monument, built in 1930 on the 80th anniversary of the settling of Pleasant Grove, commemorates the Sunday morning of 12 April 1863 attack by Indians on Colonel Conners army troops. The battle occured outside the fort wall, and from within and near the John Green house, which was situated one block south of the wall, probably at this site.
On the afternoon of 13 September 1930, townspeople traveled by caravan to this and 5 other historic sites in town to hear a bugle call, brief histories of each site and band music at each stop. This appears to be the only existing monument left of the six erected in 1930.
The Utah War – Diplomacy Prevails
By February 1858, misunderstandings began to clear away. Colonel Thomas L. Kane, a friend of the Mormons, met in Washington with President Buchanan and tried to work out a peaceful settlement. Kane traveled via Panama and California to Salt Lake, where he met with Brigham Young, who agreed to let Governor Cumming enter Salt Lake without the U.S. Army. Colonel Kane then went to Camp Scott with that message. He was not well received by Colonel Johnston, who arrested him as a spy. Nevertheless, Colonel Kane was successful in convincing Colonel Johnston to allow Governor Cumming to travel with him to Salt Lake, without the Army.
Kane and Cumming were escorted through Echo Canyon by members of the Utah Militia. They were taken through at night to impress Cumming with the fortifications. Bonfires were lit along the mountain ledges to illuminate the high, overhanging walls. The scene was made more ominous by the sharply spoken demands, counter-signs, the clanking of arms, and a campfire. After a group of Militia at the first check point had engaged the incoming Governor, they were (unbeknownst to the Governor) directed to hurry down to the next checkpoint. The Governor was again confronted in military fashion by many of the same people. After a third similar confrontation, the group was allowed to move on to Salt Lake, arriving there on April 7, 1858. Later, Cumming was displeased about his having been deceived.
Governor Cumming was accepted by the people as the new governor and reported the true state of affairs to Washington. President Buchanan sent a peace commission of three men to Salt Lake City who arrived on June 7, 1858, with a pardon from President Buchanan. Brigham Young accepted the pardon. On June 26, 1858, 3,000 soldiers of the U.S. Army, commanded by Colonel Johnston, passed peacefully through Salt Lake and established Camp Floyd, 40 miles south of the City. By mid-1861, the soldiers of the U.S. Army had left Utah Territory to participate in the Civil War.
The Utah War – Fortifying Echo Canyon
By October 1, 1857, 1,300 men of the Utah Militia were stationed in the Echo Canyon narrows, and by December, the Militia had grown to about 2,000 men. During that brief period (about 2 months for most of the men), the Militia constructed breastworks up on the sides of the cliffs, dug trenches, dammed the creek, built mounds, and constructed “Wickiup City,” which consisted of a few log houses and some tents, but mostly “wickiups” made of poles, willows, and grass with dirt roofs.
With the U.S. Army wintered down at Camp Scott in Wyoming, all but 58 of the Militiamen returned to their homes until the following spring of 1858. Those remaining were to guard the outpost and watch for further movement of the U.S. Army.
- Breastworks: Stone walls were built on ledges of the cliffs to protect Militiamen from enemy fire. They were constructed of uncut stones without mortar, 2- to 4-feet high. At least 14 visible breastworks are located in a 1⁄2-mile stretch.
- Entrenchments: Three impassable military ditches were dug across the entire bottom of Echo Canyon. The trenches were 350 feet apart, and when filled with water, were 12 feet wide and 6 feet deep.
- Dirt Walls: Between the ditches were parallel dirt walls, mounds, and breastworks of rocks and dirt for protection and movement of Militiamen.
- Zigzag trench: A large, 500-foot-long, zigzag trench was built high on the south side of the canyon to protect Militiamen from enemy fire.
- The dam: A 30-foot-wide and 16-foot-high dam was constructed 1⁄2-mile down the canyon from the last ditch for the purpose of backing up the creek. The Army was forced to travel directly below the cliffs so rocks could be dropped on them.
The Utah War – The Mormon Response
The U.S. Army was well along its way to Utah when Brigham Young learned it was coming. Church leaders held a council and decided to call out the Utah Militia. The first objective was to detain the U.S. Army in the Fort Bridger area over the winter. The second objective was to fortify Echo Canyon, and in the spring, stop the U.S. Army’s progress into Utah.
Major Lot Smith and others of the Utah Militia were dispatched to the area east of Fort Bridger to escort incoming Mormon immigrants and to disrupt the advance of the U.S. Army. While there, the Militia burned 74 U.S. Army supply wagons and their cargoes. They also burned Fort Bridger and Fort Supply, which were owned by the Mormon Church. Because of this opposition, the U.S. Army was forced to spend the winter at Camp Scott, which the army constructed near Fort Bridger.
The last 35 miles of the Army’s march from present- day Granger, Wyoming, to present-day Fort Bridger, Wyoming, were in a blinding snowstorm, with temperatures as low as minus 23° Fahrenheit. The Army lost 3,000 head of cattle, and 70 of 120 horses died. With such a shortage of horses, soldiers pulled the wagons 4 miles to gather wood needed for their fires.
The Utah War – U.S. Army Sent West
In May of 1857, President James Buchannan ordered a United States Army of 2,500 men to march to Utah. The army was commanded by Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston. His assignment was to quell reported difficulties between appointed government officials and Brigham Young, governor of the territory. The following spring, 500 additional soldiers were sent to join Colonel Johnston, giving him an army of 3,000 men to confront the Utah Militia. Sending the U.S. Army out west was a result of falsehoods concerning the conditions in Utah, lack of communication, and politics. Accompanying the army was Alfred Cumming, who had been appointed to replace Brigham Young as governor.
This monument honors the Utah men who answered the call to protect the mail and telegraph lines along the continental route during the Civil War. April 25, 1862 Acting Governor of Utah, Frank Fuller, called for volunteers from the Nauvoo Legion. The next day twenty-four men under Col. Robert T. Burton left for the assignment. Two days later Brigham Young received an authorization from President Abraham Lincoln, through Secretary of War Stanton, for a company of cavalry to serve ninety days protecting the same route. One hundred and six men responded for duty under Captain Lot Smith. Later some Utah men joined the 3rd Regiment, California Volunteers, stationed at Fort Douglas, October, 1862-July 1866. Other pioneers served in the Civil War before coming to Utah. Plaque B,C,D: (On base below) Each 1 1/2′ x 2′ Bronze Names of Utahns who served in Civil War
Check out all of the historic markers placed by the Daughters of Utah Pioneers at JacobBarlow. com/dup
This sign, located in Payson says:
“You are a fool for fighting your best friends, for we are the best and the only friends that you have in the world” wrote Brigham Young to the Ute Indian Chief Walkara in 1853, after the latter had engaged the settlers of Utah in their first major Indian war. Angered because the whites had put an end to the Indian slave trade in the territory and had encroached upon their lands, the redmen found a pretext for beginning hostilities at Springville, July 17, 1853, when an Indian, while beating his squaw, was killed by a white man. The following day Alexander Keele, a guard at Payson, was shot by Indians and the war was on. The policy of the white defenders was one of vigilant watch and limited offensive warfare. However, before Governor Brigham Young led a peace mission into Walkara’s camp in May 1854 that ended the conflict, 20 whites had been killed including the U.S. Government surveyor Captain John W. Gunnison, who was massacred with 7 of his men near the present site of Hinckley, Utah.
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Former Labor and Prisoner of War Camp
(600 East 950 North, Canyon View Junior High School Campus and Orchard Elementary)
Former Labor and Prisoner of War Camp
One of the most unique chapters in the history of Orem relates to its agricultural economy. With a number of Orem’s young men joining the Armed Forces in 1942 and 1943 the supply of labor in the community had dropped to where labor had to be imported to work the fields and for the harvest. As a result, the Utah Farm Labor Association in cooperation with the State of Utah built a labor camp at 1000 North 800 East on a five-acre site owned by James G. Stratton.
The first major occupants of the camp were displaced Japanese-Americans from the Topaz Relocation Camp. Some 200 or more of those people occupied the barracks and tent-top cabins which comprised the Orem camp. Many of them were employed by Orem and other Utah County farmers.
In the autumn of 1944 a number of Italian prisoners of war were brought to the camp to build a high wire fence and watchtowers, as the Japanese-Americans were relocated. The Italians were also employed in local farm work. With World War II winding down in Europe, the Italians were relocated and the camp became home to 340 German prisoners of war. They also found employment with local farmers, and some were able to establish lasting relationships with those farmers.
At the end of the war the German POWs were repatriated. As the need for farm laborers increased, Mexican nationals found their way to Utah, many of them being housed at the former prisoner-of-war camp. For the next 25 years they occupied the Orem Labor Camp until it was dismantled in 1970.
Site of Former Labor and Prisoner of War Camp
A model of the camp found in the Orem Museum.
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