Bear River massacre

Bear River massacre

Infobox Military Conflict
conflict=Battle of Bear River

partof=the American Civil War (Indian Wars)
date=January 29, 1863
place=southeastern Washington Territory (present-day Franklin County, Idaho)
result=U.S. victory (massacre)
combatant1=United States Army
combatant2=Shoshone Indians
commander1=Col. Patrick E. Connor
commander2=Chief Bear Hunter
strength1=200 infantry and cavalry volunteers
strength2=camp of 500, including women and children
casualties1=27 dead, 40 wounded
casualties2=between 200-400

The Bear River Massacre, also called the Battle of Bear River and the Massacre at Boa Ogoi, took place on January 29, 1863, between the United States Army and the Shoshone Indians at the confluence of the Bear River and Beaver Creek (now Battle Creek) in what was then southeastern Washington Territory. The site is located near the present-day city of Preston in Franklin County, Idaho. The detachment of the U.S. Army was led by Col. Patrick Edward Connor as a part of the Bear River Expedition against Shoshone Chief Bear Hunter.

Early history and root causes

Cache Valley, originally called Seuhubeogoi (Shoshoni for "Willow Valley"), was the traditional hunting grounds for the Northwestern Shoshone, particularly as a gathering place for grain and grass seeds, as well as hunting both small game like woodchuck and ground squirrel; large game animals including deer, elk, and buffalo; as well as trout from the rivers. [Sagwitch, p. 3-4] This mountain valley had also attracted the attention of fur traders and trappers, where trappers and explorers like Jim Bridger and Jedediah Smith made visits to the region. The name "Cache Valley" derives its name from the fact that these fur trappers left stores of their furs and goods (i.e., a "cache" of furs) in this valley as a central staging area for hunting trips in the surrounding mountain ranges. [The History of a Valley, p. 23-26]

So impressed were the trappers by the region that they recommended to Brigham Young that he consider the valley as a location for the original settlement of Mormon pioneers. Instead, Brigham Young chose Salt Lake Valley, even though Mormon settlers would eventually move to Cache Valley. [Sagwitch, p. 23] As early as July 31st, 1847, a Shoshone delegation of about 20 met with the Mormons to discuss land claims over northern Utah. [Sagwitch, p. 14]

Population pressures on the Shoshone

The establishment of the California and Oregon trails, as well as the establishment of Salt Lake City in 1847 brought the Shoshone people into regular contact with American emigrants moving westward. By 1856, the first permanent settlements and farms in Cache Valley were established, starting at Wellsville and gradually moving northward. [A History of a Valley, p. 33]

A significant policy established by Brigham Young at the time recommended that the Mormon settlers establish friendly relationships with the surrounding American Indian tribes, particularly with a policy to "feed them rather than fight them". [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 17] Even with this policy, however, significant food resources were being consumed and overtaken by settlers pushing the Shoshone increasingly into areas of marginal food production. In addition, foraging and hunting by pioneers traveling on the western migration trails took additional resources away from the Shoshone. As early as 1859 this was recognized by Jacob Forney, the Superintendent of Indian Affairs for the Territory of Utah, who wrote "The Indians...have become improverished by the introduction of a white population". He further recommended that an Indian Reservation be established in Cache Valley to protect essential resources for the Shoshone. This recommendation was ignored by the U.S. Dept. of Interior and his superiors. [Sagwitch, p. 25]

Into this environment, it is almost inevitable that conflicts would arise between these Native Americans and the settlers in this region. The Shoshone, desperate and starving, found attacking nearby farms and cattle ranches not just a matter of revenge but a matter of survival. [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 136]

To add the capstone of problems to all of the rest in Cache Valley, gold was discovered by John White on Grasshopper Creek in the mountains of southwestern Montana on July 28th, 1862, just north of Cache Valley. [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 159] This led to the establishment of a migration and supply trail right through the middle of Cache Valley between this mining camp and Salt Lake City, the nearest significant source of goods and food in the area.Glory Hunter, p. 78]

Breakout of the U.S. Civil War

When the U.S. Civil War occurred in 1861, Abraham Lincoln was concerned that California, by then a state, would be cut off from the rest of the United States. He specifically ordered, with congressional authorization, several regiments to be raised from the population of California that were to help protect the mail routes and communications lines of the Western USA. [Glory Hunter, p. 48] In addition, neither Lincoln nor the U.S. War Department trusted the Mormons to remain loyal to the Union, in spite of telegrams and assurances by Brigham Young that the Utah Territory was still loyal to the Federal Government. [Glory Hunter, p. 67] The actions of the Utah War and the Mountain Meadows massacre were still fresh in the minds of military planners, not to mention a fairly substantial militia made up of Mormon settlers that seemingly answered only to Brigham Young himself and not the Federal Government. [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 94]

Col. Patrick Edward Connor [ Major General Patrick Connor.] was put in command of the 3rd California Volunteer Infantry Regiment and ordered to move his men to Utah, with specific orders to protect the Overland Mail Route and keep the peace in the region. [Glory Hunter, p. 51] Upon arriving in Utah, he established Fort Douglas (adjacent to the current location of the University of Utah) as the primary base of operations for his unit, within sight of the Mormon Temple construction site and downtown Salt Lake City. [Glory Hunter, p. 67-72]

Warnings and conflicts with Cache Valley settlers

There were several incidents in the summer and fall of 1862 that led to the eventual confrontation between Bear Hunter and Col. Connor. While viewed as isolated incidents they seem insignificant, when grouped together a picture of broad struggles over almost the entire United States west of the Mississippi River can be seen during this time period when the attention of the nation was focused on the battles going on in the eastern states. Modern historians have often overlooked these incidents because they occurred near the ill-defined boundary of two different territorial jurisdictions (Washington Territory and Utah Territory), where the incidents are geographically close but the administrative centers dealing with them are over 1000 miles apart. Indeed, the vicinity of Franklin and the general location of the conflict was assumed to be in the Utah Territory, with residents of Franklin sending elected representatives to the Utah Territorial Legislature and participating in the politics of Cache County, Utah until 1872 when a surveying team pointed out that they were, in fact, in Idaho. [In God's Lap, p. 83-85]


A resident of Summit Creek (now Smithfield) found his horse missing and accused a young Indian who was fishing in Summit Creek of having stolen the animal. Robert Thornley, an English immigrant and first resident of Summit Creek defended the young Indian by pointing out that he still had live fish strung on a willow immersed in the creek, so he would have had no time to steal a horse, hide it away, and return to his fishing. But a jury of locals hanged the young Indian anyway. The name of the young man has come down in local history as Pugweenee. Later information reveals that "Pugweenee" is the Shoshone word for "fish," so it is probable that the young man was merely saying "look at my fish," or "I was just fishing."Fact|date=February 2007

It turned out that the young Indian was the son of the local Shoshone Chief and within a few days the Indians retaliated by killing a couple of young men of the Merrill family who were gathering wood in the nearby canyon. [Timmins, Brighton, Thornley Family History; copy on deposit in the library of Utah State University, Logan, Utah]

Reuben Van Ornum and the Battle of Providence

On September 9th, 1860, Elijah Otter led a group of migrants on the Oregon trail when they were attacked by a group of presumably Bannock and Boise Shoshone. In spite of attempts to placate these Native Americans, an attack ensued and nearly the entire migrant party was killed and their livestock driven off. Alexis Van Ornum, his family, and about ten others made an escape to avoid death by leaving all of their possessions and hide in some nearby brush, only to be massacred. They were later discovered by a company of U.S. Soldiers led by Captain F.T. Dent. One of the officers of this company, Lieutenant Marcus A. Reno, came across the mutilated bodies of six of the Van Ornums, where four of their children were apparently taken captive by the attacking warriors. [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 116]

As a direct result of this incident, a military fort was established near the present location of Boise, Idaho, where Colonel George Wright requested $150,000 from the Federal Government to establish a military post able to sustain five companies of troops. [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 117]

Zachias Van Ornum, the brother of Alexis, heard a story from a relative who had just been on the Oregon Trail that a small white boy of about the same age as his nephew was being held by a group of Northwestern Shoshone and likely to be in Cache Valley. [Bear River Massacre, p. 81] Assuming this to be his nephew Reuben Van Ornum, he gathered a small group of friends and traveled to Salt Lake City in order to get some help from the territorial government. [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 172] Upon arrival in Salt Lake City, he visited Col. Connor at Fort Douglas requesting assistance at trying to retrieve his nephew. Col. Connor agreed to help out, and sent a detachment of cavalry under the command of Major Edward McGarry to Cache Valley to rendezvous with Van Ornum near the town of Providence, Utah. [Glory Hunter, p. 76-77]

Van Ornum located a small group of Shoshoni warriors being led by Chief Bear Hunter and soon joined with McGarry in following the Shoshone as they retreated to nearby Providence Canyon. [Bear River Massacre, p. 83] McGarry gave the order "to kill every Indian they could see."Sagwitch, p. 42] A skirmish between the Shoshone and the U.S. Army lasted for about two hours after the Shoshone established a defensible position in the canyon. [Glory Hunter, p. 76] Afterward, Chief Bear Hunter then attempted to signal surrender by climbing a foothill and waving a flag of truce. [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 172]

Chief Bear Hunter, together with approximately 20 of his people, were taken prisoner into the soldier's camp near Providence. When asked about the whereabouts of the young white boy, Bear Hunter said that the boy had been sent away a few days earlier. McGarry then instructed Bear Hunter to send some of his people and to return with the white boy, holding Bear Hunter hostage together with four warriors. By noon of the next day, the Shoshone returned with a small boy who fit the description of being Reuben Van Ornum. [Bear River Massacre, p. 83] Zachias took custody of the boy and announced that it was his long-lost nephew, taking the boy back to his home in Oregon. [Bear River Massacre, p. 84]

The Shoshone protested this action, claiming that this boy was instead the son of a French fur trapper and the sister of another Shoshone chief, Washakie. The federal troops left with Van Ornum and the young boy, claiming victory and reporting to Col. Connor that he had rescued the boy "without the lost or scratch of man or horse."Glory Hunter, p. 77] Bear Hunter then complained to the settlers in Cache Valley, arguing that they should have been more forthcoming in helping him against the soldiers. After a confrontation between Bear Hunter, some warriors from his band, and nearly 70 members of the Cache Valley militia, the settlers donated two cows and some flour as the "best and cheapest policy" to resolve the situation

Bear River crossing

On December 4th, 1862, Connor sent McGarry on another expedition to Cache Valley, this time to recover some stolen stock from an encampment of Shoshone. In spite of attempted secrecy, the Shoshone were able to break camp and flee before the Army arrived, cutting the ropes of a ferry at the crossing. McGarry was able to get his men across, but without his horses. Four apparently unaware Shoshoni warriors were captured and held for ransom, where McGarry ordered that if the stock was not delivered by noon the next day, that these men would be shot. The Shoshone chiefs responded by moving further north into Cache Valley, and the captives were executed by a firing squad, their bodies dumped into the Bear River. [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 174] In an editorial, the "Deseret News" expressed concern that the execution would make the Shoshone most hostile and vindictive. [Sagwitch, p. 44]

Incident on the Montana Trail

A.H. Conover, an operator of a freight hauling service between the mining camps of Montana and Salt Lake City, was attacked by a group of Shoshone warriors that killed two other men that were accompanying him on the journey: George Clayton and Henry Bean. When he arrived in Salt Lake City following the incident, he told a reporter for the "Deseret News" that the Shoshone were "determined to avenge the blood of their comrades" killed by Major McGarry and his soldiers, and that the Shoshone intended to "kill every white man they should meet on the north side of the Bear River, till they should be fully avenged."Shoshoni Frontier, p. 178]

Attack on the Montana Trail

The final incident that ultimately triggered Connor's expedition into Cache Valley involved a group of eight miners also on the Montana trail, which unfortunately came within just two miles of the main Shoshone winter encampment north of Franklin.

As the miners traveled down the general path of the Montana Trail, they missed a turn in the road and instead ended up mired and lost on the western side of the Bear River, unable to cross the river because it was too deep. Three men from the party swam across the river to Richmond and attempted to obtain some provisions and a guide from the settlers. [Sagwitch, p. 45] Before they could return, the rest of the group was attacked by Shoshone, killing John Henry Smith of Walla Walla, as well as some horses. Residents of Richmond soon returned with the advance party, and recovered the body of John Smith, where he was eventually buried in the Richmond city cemetery.

The miners eventually made their way to Salt Lake City. William Bevins, one of the miners, came before Chief Justice John F. Kinney and swore an affidavit describing the murder of John Smith. Kinney then issued a warrant for the arrest of Chiefs Bear Hunter, Sanpitch, and Sagwitch and ordered the territorial marshal to seek assistance from Col. Connor for a military force to "effect the arrest of the guilty Indians."

While the legal documents certainly were a motivating factor for Connor, he later described that the legal basis was not strictly necessary for him to mount an expedition against the Shoshone. As explained by Connor in an official report to the U.S. War Department prior to the engagement:

:"I have the honor to report to you that from information received from various sources of the encampment of a large body of Indians on the Bear River, 140 miles north of this point, who had murdered several miners, during the winter, passing to and from the settlements in this valley to the Bear River mines east of the Rocky Mountains. And being satisfied that they were part of the same band who had been murdering emigrants on the Overland Mail Route for the last 15 years, and the principal actors and leaders in the horrid massacre of the past summer. I determined, although the season was unfavorable to military expedition in consequence of cold weather and deep snow, to chastise them if possible." [ [ An Early History of Franklin] ]

Military action in Cache Valley

In many ways, the soldiers stationed at Fort Douglas were spoiling for a fight. In addition to discipline problems among the soldiers, there was a minor "mutiny" among the soldiers where a joint petition by most of the California Volunteers made a request to withhold over $30,000 from their paychecks for the sole purpose of instead paying for naval passage to the eastern states, and to "serve their country in shooting traitors instead of eating rations and freezing to death around sage brush fires..." Furthermore, they stated that they would gladly pay this money "for the "privilege" (original emphasis) of going to the Potomac and getting shot." This request was declined by the War Department. [Glory Hunter, p. 56]

Throughout most of January 1863, soldiers at Fort Douglas were preparing for a lengthy expedition traveling north to the Shoshone. Connor also wanted to keep word of his expedition secret, in order to make a surprise attack upon the Shoshone when he arrived. To do this, he separated his command into two different detachments, that were to periodically come together on their journey to Cache Valley. His main concern was to not duplicate the problems that McGarry faced in the earlier action, where the Shoshone moved and scattered even before his troops could arrive.Fact|date=February 2007

Reaction to this military campaign was mixed. George A. Smith, in the official Journal History of the LDS Church, wrote:

:"It is said that Col. Connor is determined to exterminate the Indians who have been killing the Emigrants on the route to the Gold Mines in Washington Territory. Small detachments have been leaving for the North for several days. If the present expedition copies the doings of the other that preceded it, it will result in catching some friendly Indians, murdering them, and letting the guilty scamps remain undisturbed in their mountain haunts." [Bear River Massacre, p. 112]

On the other hand, the "Deseret News" in an editorial expressed:

:"...with ordinary good luck, the volunteers will 'wipe them out.' We wish this community rid of all such parties, and if Col. Connor be successful in reaching that bastard class of humans who play with the lives of the peaceable and law abiding citizens in this way, we shall be pleased to acknowledge our obligations." [Glory Hunter, p. 79]

The first group to leave from Fort Douglas was an infantry company commanded by Captain Samuel W. Hoyt of about 80 soldiers, accompanied by 15 baggage wagons and two "mountain howitzers". They left on January 22nd, 1863. [Bear River Massacre, p. 113]

The second group, led personally by Connor himself, was a group of 220 cavalry which left on January 25th. As orders specific for this campaign, Connor ordered each soldier to carry "40 rounds of rifle ammunition and 30 rounds of pistol ammunition". This was a total of nearly 16,000 rounds for the campaign. In addition, nearly 200 rounds of artillery shot were brought with the howitzers. [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 180-181] As a part of the deception, the cavalry were to travel at night while the infantry moved during the day. [Glory Hunter, p. 79] Accompanying Connor was the former U.S. Marshall and Mormon scout, Orrin Porter Rockwell. [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 182]

On the evening of January 28th, Captain Hoyt's infantry finally arrived near the town of Franklin, where they spotted three Shoshone who were attempting to get food supplies from the settlers in the town. The Shoshone received nine bushels of wheat into three sacks. William Hull, the settler who was assisting the Shoshone, noted later:

:"we had two of the three horses loaded, having put three bushels on each horse...when I looked up and saw the Soldiers approaching from the south. I said to the Indian boys, 'Here comes the "Toquashes" (Shoshoni for U.S. Soldiers) maybe, you will all be killed. They answered 'maybe Toquashes be killed too,' but not waiting for the third horse to be loaded, they quickly jumped upon their horses and led the three horses away, disappearing in the distance." [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 182-183]

The sacks of grain carried by these Shoshoni were later found by the 3rd California Volunteers during their advance the next day, apparently dropped by the Shoshone in their attempt to get back to their camp.Fact|date=February 2007

Col. Connor met up with Hoyt that evening as well, with orders to begin moving at about 1:00 A.M. the next morning for a surprise attack, but an attempt to try and get a local settler to act as a scout for the immediate area led the actual advance to wait until 3:00 A.M.Shoshoni Frontier, p. 183]

It should be noted that this military action took place during perhaps the coldest time of the year in Cache Valley. Local settlers commented that it was unseasonably cold even for northern Utah, and it may have been as cold as -20° F (-30° C) on the morning of the 29th when the attack began. Several soldiers had come down with frostbite and other cold-weather problems, so that the 3rd volunteers were only at about 2/3rds of their strength compared to when they left Fort Douglas. [Bear River Massacre, p. 118] Among the rations issued to the soldiers during the campaign was a ration of whiskey held in a canteen, where several soldiers noted that this whiskey froze solid on the night before the attack. [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 181]

Shoshone battle preparations

It is apparent that the Shoshoni chiefs were far from ignorant of the potential for conflict with Col. Connor's soldiers, and some minor preparations were made at the same time. Most of this involved mainly gathering foodstuffs from surrounding Mormon settlements, in a fashion very similar to the incident listed above with the residents of Richmond, Utah.Fact|date=February 2007

Most of the weapons that the Shoshone had at the time of the attack were mainly guns that had been captured from the various small skirmishes they were involved with, as trading goods with fur trappers and settlers and other Native American tribal groups, or simply antiques that had been handed down from one generation to another over the years. [Sagwitch, p. 52] Clearly they were not as standardized or as well built as the guns issued by the Union Army to the soldiers of the California Volunteers.Fact|date=February 2007

Bear Hunter and the other Shoshoni chiefs did, however, make some defensive arrangements around their encampment, in addition to simply selecting a generally defensible position in the first place. Willow branches had been woven into makeshift screens, hiding the position and numbers of Shoshone. They also dug a series of "rifle pits" along the eastern bank of Beaver Creek as well as along the Bear River.Sagwitch, p. 48]

Perhaps most ironic was that at the same time the arrest warrant was being issued by Justice Kinney, Chief Sanpitch (named in the warrant) was in Salt Lake City trying to negotiate peace on behalf of the Northwestern Shoshone. A correspondent for the Sacramento Union reported "The Prophet (Brigham Young) had told Sanpitch the Mormon people had suffered enough from the Shoshoni of Cache Valley and that if more blood were spilled the Mormons might just "pitch in" and help the troops." [Shoshoni Frontier, p. 179]

While it appears as though the deception by Connor to hide the numbers of his soldiers involved in the confrontation was successful, the Shoshone were not even then anticipating a direct military engagement with these soldiers. Instead, they were preparing for a negotiated settlement where the chiefs would be able to talk with officers of the U.S. Army and try to come to an understanding.

Battle of Bear River

Major McGarry and the first cavalry units of the 2nd California Cavalry Regiment arrived at the battle scene at 6:00 a.m., just as dawn was breaking over the mountains. Due to the weather conditions and deep snow, it took some time for Connor to organize his soldiers into a battle line. The artillery pieces never did make it to the battle as they got caught in a snow drift six miles from the Shoshone encampment.

Chief Sagwitch noted the approach of the American soldiers when he said, according to his grandson Moroni Timbimboo, "Look like there is something up on the ridge up there. Look like a cloud. Maybe it is a steam come from a horse. Maybe that's them soldiers they were talking about" [Sagwitch, p. 47-48] Soon afterward, the first shots of this incident occurred.

Initially Connor tried a direct frontal offensive against the Shoshoni positions, but was soon overwhelmed with return gunfire from the Shoshone. It was during this initial assault that most of the direct combat related casualties occurred to the California Volunteers.Fact|date=February 2007

After temporarily retreating and regrouping, Connor sent McGarry and several other smaller groups into flanking maneuvers attacking the village from the sides and from behind, with a line of infantry that stood to block any attempt by the Shoshone to flee from the battle.Fact|date=February 2007

After about two hours, the Shoshone had run out of ammunition. According to some later reports, some Shoshone were seen attempting to cast lead ammunition during the middle of the battle, and had died with the molds still in their hands. When the ammunition ran out for the Shoshoni warriors, the battle quickly turned into a massacre.Fact|date=February 2007

Massacre and actions of U.S. soldiers

As the Shoshone were reaching desperate measures to fight off the U.S. Army, including the use of tomahawks and archery, the soldiers seemed to lose all sense of control and discipline. After most of the men were killed, soldiers proceeded to rape and molest the women of the encampment, and many of the children were also shot and killed. In some cases, soldiers held the feet of infants by the heel and "beat their brains out on any hard substance they could find." Those women who refused to submit to the soldiers were shot and killed. One local resident, Alexander Stalker, noted that at this time many soldiers pulled out their pistols and shot several Shoshoni people at point blank range. The soldiers also deliberately burned almost everything they could get their hands on, especially the dwelling structures that the Shoshone had been sleeping in, and killing anybody they found to be still inside. [Sagwitch, p. 52]

Casualties and immediate aftermath

While the death toll among the Shoshoni people was very large, there were some survivors of the experience. Most notable was Chief Sagwitch, who was able to help gather the remaining survivors and attempt to keep his community alive. Sagwitch himself was shot twice in the hand and attempted to flee on horseback only to have the horse shot out from under him. Eventually he ran down the ravine and tumbled into the Bear River near a hot spring, floating in some brush until nightfall.

Sagwitch's son, Beshup Timbimboo, was shot at least seven times but somehow survived and lived long enough to be rescued by family members. Other members of the band somehow hid in the willow brush of the Bear River, or tried to act as if they were dead. After the battle was considered over by the Army officers, the soldiers returned to their temporary encampment near Franklin. This gave Sagwitch and the rest of the Shoshone the opportunity to retrieve the wounded and build a fire for those that were still alive. [Sagwitch, p. 54]

The residents of Franklin opened their homes to the wounded soldiers that night, and brought in blankets and hay into the church meetinghouse for the rest of the soldiers to avoid exposure to the cold. Connor also hired several residents of Franklin to hitch up sleighs and help bring the wounded back to Salt Lake City. Fact|date=February 2007

The California Volunteers lost 27 soldiers, including five officers. The Shoshone bands lost between 200 and 400, including at least 90 women and children, with the official U.S. Army report listing 272 dead.Fact|date=February 2007 In his 1911 autobiography, Danish emigrant Hans Jasperson claims to have walked among the bodies, counting 493 dead Shoshones. []

Many Indians became accustomed to leaving their younger children with White settlers to overwinter, some of these effectively becoming members of some Mormon families, appearing in early Cache Valley photographs together with other family members. Fact|date=February 2007

Effects on settlement of Cache Valley and long term consequences

This conflict marked essentially the final significant influence of the Shoshone nation upon Cache Valley and its immediate surroundings. In addition to opening up the northern part of Cache Valley to Mormon settlement, Cache Valley also offered up a staging area for additional settlements in southeastern Idaho. [Bear River Massacre, p. 191] Friction between the Mormons and Col. Connor continued for many more years with accusations of harassment of non-Mormons in the Utah Territory and criticisms by Mormons of Connor's attempts to begin a mining industry in Utah. [Bear River Massacre, p. 279-294]

Chief Sagwitch and many members of his band made a much more formal alliance with the Mormons, with many of them being baptized and joining the LDS Church. Sagwitch himself was ordained to the office of an Elder in the Melchizedek priesthood. Eventually members of this band helped to establish the town of Washakie, Utah, named in honor of the Shoshone chieftain. Most of the remaining members of the Northwestern band of Shoshone built farms and homesteads under LDS Church sponsorship, and their descendants became largely integrated into the mainstream LDS society. The remaining Shoshone that did not get involved with this settlement instead went to the Fort Hall Indian Reservation. [Sagwitch, p. 77-102]

As for Col. Connor and the California Volunteers, they were treated as heroes upon arrival at Fort Douglas as well as by members of their community in California, according to published newspaper articles. As a direct result of this military campaign, Connor was promoted to the permanent rank of Brigadier General and given a brevet promotion shortly afterward to the rank of Major General. [Glory Hunter, p. 86] Connor was to continue his campaigns against Native American peoples throughout the remainder of the U.S. Civil War, with a significant campaign of note called the Powder River Expedition against the Sioux and Cheyenne. [Glory Hunter, p. 137-154]

Memorials and monuments

The Bear River Massacre Site is located near U.S. Route 91. The site is listed as a National Historic Landmark in 1990.


* Christiansen, Scott R.; "Sagwitch: Shoshone Chieftain, Mormon Elder (1822-1887)"; Logan, Utah; Utah State University Press; 1999; ISBN 0-87421-271-5
*Franklin County Historical Society (Idaho); "The passing of the redman, being a succinct account of the last battle that wrested Idaho from the bondage of the Indians"; [Preston? Id.] Franklin County Historical Society and Monument Committee. [1917] .
* Hart, Newell; "The Bear River Massacre"; Preston, Idaho; Cache Valley Newsletter Publishing Company; 1982; ISBN 0-941462-01-3
* Madsen, Brigham D.; "Glory Hunter: A Biography of Patrick Edward Connor"; Salt Lake City, Utah; University of Utah Press; 1990; ISBN 0-87480-336-5
* Madsen, Brigham D.; "The Shoshoni Frontier and the Bear River Massacre"; Salt Lake City, Utah; University of Utah Press; 1985; ISBN 0-87480-494-9
* Simmonds, A.J.; "In God's L

* Ricks, Joel E. (editor); "The History of a Valley: Cache Valley, Utah-Idaho"; Logan, Utah; Cache Valley Centennial Commission; 1956
* Bancroft, Hubert Howe; "History of Utah, 1540-1886"; (reproduction) Las Vegas, Nevada; Nevada Publications; ISBN 0-913814-49-0
* Varley, James F.; "Brigham and the Brigadier: General Patrick Connor and His California Volunteers in Utah and Along the Overland Trail"; Tucson, Arizona; Westernlore Press; 1989; ISBN 0-87026-069-3
* Madsen, Brigham D.; "Chief Pocatello"; Moscow, Idaho; University of Idaho Press; 1986; ISBN 0-89301-222-X
* Shannon, David H.; "The Utter Disaster on the Oregon Trail: The Utter and Van Ornum Massacres of 1860; Caldwell, ID; Snake Country Publishing; 1993; ISBN 0-9635828-2-8

Multimedia Reference

*The Bear River Massacre (2000); producers: Michael Mill, Chris Dallin, and Richard James; Imagic Entertainment; 66 min.
*The House of the Lord: Cache Valley and the Logan Temple (2003); producer: Dennis Lyman; Temple Hill Videos; 60 min.

ee also

Bear River Massacre Site


External links

* [ The American Battlefield Protection Program]
* [ An Early History of Franklin.]
* [ Northwest Shoshone Utilization of the Promontory Area] - includes references to the attack at Bear River.
* [ Zacheas Van Ornum Petition for Indemnity]
* [ News Article, Snake River Massacre Account by One of the Survivors]
* [ Everything2 node about the Bear River Massacre]

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