1857 — 1858

President Buchanan sent a command to Utah to install a non-Mormon governor in what was known as the “Mormon War.” The Mormon War (or Utah War) was a confrontation between the Mormon people in the Utah Territory and the government of the United States. Sensitive to Republican charges that Democrats favored the “twin relics of barbarism—polygamy and slavery,” President James Buchanan moved quickly after his inauguration to find a non-Mormon Governor for Utah, replacing Brigham Young. Alfred Cumming (1802–1873), the newly appointed Governor, was sent to Great Salt Lake City with a 2,500-man military force to enforce Buchanan's edict. Young and other Mormon leaders interpreted the army's coming as religious persecution. He declared martial law and deployed the local militia, the Nauvoo Legion, to delay the troops. Their “scorched earth” tactics forced Albert Sidney Johnston’s Utah Expedition to improvise winter quarters near burned-out Fort Bridger. During that winter both sides strengthened their forces substantially.

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