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Mormon “War”

Mormon “War” (1857–58).Federal administrators assigned in the 1850s to Utah Territory, after it had been acquired from Mexico in 1848, frequently complained of harassment and abuse at the hands of the Latter‐day Saints (Mormons). Some contended the Mormons were essentially in a state of rebellion against the United States. By 1857, the cry for a settlement of the “Mormon Question” reached critical proportions. President James Buchanan appointed Alfred Cumming of Georgia, a non‐Mormon, to replace Mormon leader Brigham Young as governor of Utah. Expecting the Mormons to resist, Buchanan ordered an expeditionary force of 2,500 soldiers to the territory. Under the command of Gen. William S. Harney, the 5th Infantry Regiment, elements of the 10th Regiment, the 2nd Dragoons, and two artillery batteries marched from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, on 18 July 1857, hoping to occupy Utah by fall. Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston succeeded Harney as commander of the expedition, 11 September.

Viewing the army as a hostile invasion force, Governor Young mobilized the Utah Militia and began preparations for a guerrilla war. Although the campaign—the so‐called Mormon War—was bloodless, Mormon militiamen were successful in impeding the progress of U.S. forces, which were forced into winter encampment near Fort Bridger in the fall of 1857.

Peace commissioners authorized by President Buchanan arrived in Utah in June 1858, and a settlement was reached. Young resigned as governor; the Mormons were pardoned for acts of rebellion; and U.S. forces established Camp Floyd (later Fort Crittenden) forty miles southwest of Salt Lake City. The camp was abandoned in 1861 with the outbreak of the Civil War.
[See also Army, U.S.: 1783–1865.]

Bibliography

Norman F. Furniss , The Mormon Conflict, 1850–1859, 1960.
Clifford L. Stott , Search for Sanctuary, Brigham Young and the White Mountain Expedition, 1984.

Clifford L. Stott

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Harney, William Selby

William Selby Harney, 1800–1889, American general, b. Haysboro, near Nashville, Tenn. He entered the army in 1818 and gained a colonel's rank in the Florida campaigns against Native Americans. Ranking cavalry officer under Winfield Scott in the Mexican War, Harney was disliked by that general, who arbitrarily relieved him of his command and had him court-martialed for resuming it in defiance of orders. Harney apologized, but at the same time appealed to superiors in Washington, who supported him. Restored to his position, he performed brilliantly at Cerro Gordo (1847). In the Platte country after the war, Harney defeated the Sioux. As commander of the Dept. of Oregon, he ordered (1859) the occupation of San Juan Island, which the British claimed; the San Juan Boundary Dispute was thus brought to a crisis. For this action he was recalled. At the opening of the Civil War, Harney commanded the Dept. of the West, with headquarters in St. Louis. He agreed with Gen. Sterling Price of the pro-secessionist Missouri militia to make no hostile move if the militia kept the peace. The radical Unionists, irked at his conciliatory policy, had him deprived of his command in May, 1861. He was retired in 1863.

See biography by L. U. Reavis (1878).

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Selby abbey

Selby abbey (Yorks.) was founded c.1070 by King William I for Benedict, a monk of Auxerre, who had become a hermit at Selby, and who had brought with him a relic of St Germanus of Auxerre. Its estates and its appropriated churches were concentrated in south-east Yorkshire and northern Lincolnshire and in wealth it was second only to St Mary's York amongst the Benedictine houses of Yorkshire. Its net income in 1535 was nearly £740. This supported a community of some 30 monks in the late Middle Ages. Selby's abbot was regularly summoned to Parliament as a spiritual lord.

Brian Golding

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