Albert Sidney Johnston

Of the military expeditions over the Oregon Trail, only that of Albert Sidney Johnston will be mentioned in this work. After the establishment of Fort Laramie there were many military tours to the westward from Fort Leavenworth. In 1857 there was an uprising in Utah known as the Mormon Rebellion, and the United States sent out a military force to put it down. This force was commanded by Colonel Albert Sidney Johnston. Colonel E. V. Sumner had been assigned to this command, but the troubles in Kansas demanded that some officer be put in charge of the troops the Border-Ruffians hoped to have the Government use against the Free-State people of the Territory. Colonel Sumner was transferred to this latter service. It was then that Colonel Johnston, of the Second Cavalry, was ordered to take charge of the Army intended to establish order in Utah. The first detachment of troops consisting of eight companies of the Tenth Regiment, and all the Fifth Regiment—infantry—left Fort Leavenworth on the 18th of July, 1857, under the immediate command of Colonel E. B. Alexander. Later the two remaining companies of the Tenth were dispatched, under command of Colonel C. F. Smith. With these troops were the two batteries of Phelps and Reno. On the 16th of September six companies of the Second Dragoons, left Fort Leavenworth, commanded by Colonel Philip St. George Cooke. The following day Colonel Johnston started from Fort Leavenworth with his staff, and with forty dragoons as an escort. Colonel Johnston and staff traveled in a light spring-wagon. All this force went out over that branch of the Oregon Trail from Fort Leavenworth.

This expedition had been well provided with provision-trains and herds of cattle for beef. A Mr. Chiles of Independence, Missouri, had a contract to furnish eighteen hundred head of cattle at some point beyond Fort Bridger. William Clarke Quantrill, the guerrilla, was a herder with this bunch of cattle. He wintered in Utah, but news of the discovery of Gold at Pike’s Peak took him to that region, from whence he returned to Kansas.

The movement of the army to suppress the Mormon uprising do not come under the history of Kansas, and only the fact that it went out over the Oregon Trail can be set down here. The command of this expedition was the last service Colonel Johnston rendered the United States. He became an officer in the Confederate Army, and was killed at Pittsburg Landing.

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