Missouri State Archives: Finding Aid 5.1

Mormon War Papers, 1837-1841

[ Full-text transcription of: Letter from General Robert Wilson, 2nd Brigade, 1st Division of the Missouri Militia, at Adam-on-diahmon, MO to General John B. Clark, 1st Division of Missouri Militia, Richmond, MO ]
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                        Head Quarters 2nd Brigade 1. D. M. M.

                        Adam-ondi-ahmon. Nov: 12-1838

Maj. Genl: Clark,

                                    Sir-In pursuance of your

order of the 7th. at Far West, I took up the line of

march with my command, & arrived here on the

8th: we suffered much from the inclemency of the

weather, which still continues.

                                    On my arrival here, I found

The troops had left.  I met Col. Burges some two

miles from this place, he being the last.  I imme:

:diately placed a guard around the Town, & ordered

the Mormons to parade, which order was promptly

obeyed, and about two hundred men entered their

names.  I then proceeded to the investigation as you

required by your order.  Justice Black & other citizens

being present I caused such of the Mormons as

were supposed to be guilty of crimes arrested and

handed them over to the Civil authorties for trial—it

however appears that the most guilty had per:

:viously escaped, they having ample opportunity,

as I am informed the Town had not been under

guard up to the time of our arrival.  The investi:

:gation is still progressing, but with but little

hope of affecting much, as the Citizens seem to be

unable to identify but few.

                                    It is perfectly impossible for

me to convey to you any thing like the awful


state of things, which exist here--language is

inadequate to the task.  The citizens of a whole

county first plundered, & then their houses & other

buildings burnt to ashes, without houses, beds,

furniture or even clothing in many instances

to meet the inclemency of the weather.  I confess

that my feelings have been shocked with the

gross brutality of these mormons, who have acted

more like demons from the infernal regions

than human beings.  Under these circumstances

you will readily perceive, that it would be perfectly

impossible for me to protect the mormons

against the just indignation of the citizens.

            I therefore promptly informed the mormons

in a short address of all the facts that had

then come to my knowledge—told them I

should remain in Daviess County ten days, &

would endeavor to protect them during that

time—at the end of the ten days I would leave

& was not authorized to promise them further

protection in Daviess County—that you had

promised protection in Caldwell County—that

such of them as wished to remove to Caldwell, or

out of the State, I would give a permit to that effect,

& would guarranty their safety on the rout.  The

mormons themselves appeared pleased with the

idea of getting away from their enemies, & a

justly insulted people, and I believe all have

applied & received permits to leave the County,

and I suppose about fifty families have left

& others are hourly leaving, & at the end of the ten

days, Mormonism will not be known in Daviess


            This appeared to me to the only course left to

prevent a general massacre and I hope my course

in this matter may meet your approbation, as

it has been your pleasure to commit to my charge

a most important command without Special

instructions.  I feel the more bound not only

to return you my sincere thanks for the honor

thus done, but to give you a full account of all

my acts.  Nothing has been left undone on my part

to justify that confidence.

                                    The Citizens of Daviess have co:

:operated heartily with me, & to their praise be it said,

have shown a dgree of compassion & charity, unparalled

under the Circumstances, to their enemies, and have cheer:

:fully obeyed every order I have found it proper to give

in this matter, & I now confidently believe I shall

be able to close this most shocking insurrection with:

:out further bloodshed—

                                    I had previously to receving your order

discharged all the Troops under my command except

one company under Capt Newbold.  This company

will be retained until I close my business here.  I expect

without otherwise ordered to remain here until tomorrow

week, & then set out for home.  If therefore it is your

pleasure to give me further orders before leaving, I

would suggest that they be forwarded in time to

reach here before that time­­­­—

                                    It would astonish you to see the

immense piles of stolen property which has been brought

in & deposited by the mormons, consisting of almost everything

to be found at a farmhouse, & much remaining yet concealed

-Large quantities have been found buried in & near towns—

            I have been making all possible exertions, to collect & preserve

this property for the owners, but I find it hard to do, as these dirty

thieves are more skilful in the pilfering line than any

I have yet seen.  The Citizens inform me that much

of their property has been to Far West.  I suggest that

you order them to return them here at their own expense—

            I write in a miserable shanty, called the Lord’s Store house

late at night after having been well soaked in the

rain during the day, & much fatigued—I may have

omitted some things, but when I am more com:

:fortable, I will write you more fully—

                        I have the honor to be with unfeigned good will

                                    Your Obdt: Servt:

                                         R. Wilson.  Brig. Genl..

                                         Comr 2nd Brig. M. M.