Missouri State Archives: Finding Aid 5.1

Mormon War Papers, 1837-1841

[ Full-text transcription of: Report of General John B. Clark, 1st Division of Missouri Militia, Jefferson City, MO to Governor Boggs, Jefferson City, MO ]
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No 1

                                    City of Jefferson Novr 29 1838

The Governor of the State of Missouri

                                    Sir   The whole of the forces

placed under my Command for the purpose spe

cified in your two orders of the 26th & 27th of last

month (Copies of which are here attached marked

A & B) being discharged I now in pursuance of

your orders proceede to report to you my movements as

well as to submit to you such facts as I have been

able to embody showing the Commencement progress

and termination of this perplexing difficulty  One or

two days before I received your orders above refered to

I had upon information received from Messrs Rees

Williams Dickson and Woods in writing (Copies of

which are here attached marked C) issued orders to

have raised in my Divison one thousand mounted

men to be ready to march on monday the 29th of

last month all of which I immediately communica

ted to you by express   The express however conveying

my communication met one from your Excellency

conveying to me your orders and returned [“without” crossed out]

[“going on” crossed out]  On the 29th according to my order

the first Brigade rendezvous at Fayette prepared [word crossed out] to

march and did on that evening take up the line of

march and reach Chariton   On the next morning

the 30th I received an express from Genls Atchison &

Lucas to you but which had been sent to me by Col

Williams your aid After examining it I enclosed

it to you   this letter stated that war was inevitable

and that they would hold the enemy in check until

you could arrive supposing from previous informa

=tion that the forces under the command of Genls

Atchison and Lucas would only be employed as

stated  I wrote to them telling them to act for the best.


according to circumstances until my arrival in which

letter I enclosed copies of your two orders to me (this

letter is here attached marked D)  On this evening

we reached Keytsville where we met the second

Brigade commanded by Brig Genl Wilson who had

been ordered to join me at this place  Here I organized

the Division giving Col I W. Redman the command

of the first Brigade in the absence of the Brigadier

Genl the next day we took up the line of march

for Richmond making forced marches  On the day

we reached Carrolton Novr 2nd I heard that Genl

Lucas had invested Far West and affected a Cap

pitulation the terms of which was that the Mormons

were  1st to give up their leaders to be tried and

punished   2nd All who had taken up arms to make

an appropriation of their property to pay their debts

and the damages they had done  3rd the balance

should leave the state forthwith and be protected

out of the State by the Militia   4th to give up all

their arms   These propositions seem to have been

proposed in writing by Genl Lucas and accepted

to by the Mormons as I afterwards learned  I here

sent another express to Genl Lucas ordering him

to hold to the prisoners and make no final

treaty until I arrived when I would commu

=nicate to him my views [ ] (a copy of this order

is here attached marked E)  This order however

did not reach Genl Lucas as I am informed

until after he had left Far West with the prisoners

The next day I reached Crooked River learning here

that Genl Lucas had disbanded his forces and

marched the prisoners to Independance I immediately sent

an express to intercept him with orders for him to march

the prisoners and arms back to Richmond a copy of

No 2

order is here attached marked F)  I continued

my march to Far West where the troops arrived

on Sunday the 4th of this month  Hearing at Rich

mond that some of the guard left by Genl Lucas

at Far West were killing prisoners and commit

ing other excesses I left my troops and went in

advance riding all night in order to check such

things, but when I reached there on examination

I found the [“men chose as a” crossed out] guard had been mis-

represented greatly and injustice done them in

this matter as well as Gen Lucas’ troops in many respects  When

the troops reached Far West they were encamped

in the vicinity of Town and a guard placed around

the Army to keep the men from going in on that eve

ning  I went into town with all the field officers

and instituted a military Court of enquiry to

ascertain who were the most guilty and ought to be

put on their trial in the Civil Courts  This business

employed my time for two days and nights  I will

here remark that but for the Capture of Sampson

Avard a leading Mormon (by Col Hall from

the plat who is a fine officer) I do not believe I

Could have [“gotten” crossed out] obtained any useful facts  No one dis-

closed any useful matter until he was captured

and brought in  I [“did” crossed out] instructed every one who

did disclose or give testimony that they were

not bound to criminate themselves and that no

steps would be taken to compel them  We pro-

gressed with this investigation until all had dis

=closed who would willingly  I then caused

the whole of the Mormons to be paraded and

selected such as I thought ought to be put on

their trial before a committing Magistrate

and put them in a room until the next morning

when I took up the line of march for Richmond

with the whole forces and prisoners forty six in

number   I however the day before I lift Far West

dispatched Lt Col Price with two companies from

the Second Brigade to Richmond to receive the

prisoners and arms Genl Lucas had been ordered

to have there  On his arrival not finding them

there he went to Independance and informed the

Genl of [“his mission” crossed out] the nature of his mission

They were then started and arrived the next day

the arms however I did not succeede in getting before

my departure from Richmond but supposed they

Could not be crossed for the ice    On the day I left

Far West I directed Brig Genl Robt Wilson with

his brigade except the two Companies Col Price

had to Adam on Diamon a town in Daviess

County to settle matters in that quarter    he had [“him” crossed out]

furnished him a copy of your several orders to me

Genl Wilson is a good officer and also a [“good” crossed out] Law

yer and I thought therefore pecularly fitted for that

Command    The manner in which he discharged his

duty will be seen by his final report to me with my

order to him a copy of which is here attached marked

G)   The Genl and his troops suffered very much by the

inclemency of the weather but they acted kindly and

humanely to the prisoners and deserve great credit

While at Far West Brig Genl Parks reported to me

his acts at Diamon under the order of Genl Lucas

and I sent to him an order to keep the prisoners guarded

until my arrival Charging him not to permit the prop

erty or persons of the prisoners injured in any way (a

copy of which order is attached marked H)  General

Parks fulfilled my orders to my satisfaction

While in Far West I was applied to by a considerable


No 3


number who informed me that they were out of provisions

in Town but had plenty on their farms    Not wishing to

release any until I closed the enquiry I caused

provisions to be dealt out to such as were destitute

until they were discharged   There was at Far west

about five hundred Mormons (Several hundred

having run off with their arms before my arrival) and at Adam

on Diamon about one hundred and fifty or two

hundred making in all about [“fifteen” crossed out] twelve hundred armed

men when all togeather as well as I can ascertain

There is now collected in the hands of my quarter

Master and I presume Genl Lucas’ about [“Eight” crossed out] Seven

hundred guns a great many pistols swords and

spears but I have not now in my possession

any means to ascertain the exact number but

they have been receipted for and will be reported

in due time by the proper officer   Before I left

Far West I had the mormons called togeather  and

addressed them in substance that they had

cappitulated with Genl Lucas and made their

own agreement and they would be expected to

Comply & must comply [ ] it necessary for the public

peace but that they would not be expected to

go until their convenience in the spring—that

no military guard would go with them—that

none was necessary as I would pledge the honour

of the State they should not be hurt—that their

arms should then be given up to them   I did

not see what else I could do under the circum

=stances without setting at naught [“every thing” crossed out]

what had been done by Genl Lucas which I thought would have

produced another difficulty with these people

of perhaps more danger than the one that was

then settled  this being done I marched to Rich

mond with the prisoners and applied to the

to the Honl A. A. King to try them   He commen-

sed the examination immediately after the Defen-

dants obtained Counsel   Before their trial com-

menced they were informed what was alledged

against them   I spoke to Col Wood to assist the

Circuit Attorney in the prosecutions for the reason

given in my last communication   The enquiry

as you may well imagine takes a wide range em-

bracing the crime of Treason Murder Burglary

Robery Arson and Larceny.  Genls White

Grant and Willock were directed to discharge

their troops as soon as I learned of the surrender

and that they were on their march—Also the troops

from the 5th Division under the Command of

Genl Woodward except the Boonville guards

Commanded by Capt Chiles and the Company

of Cavelry commanded by Capt Parsons both

of those Companies were kept to guard the pris-

oners   The guards to bring them to Richmond and

the Cavelry to guard them after they got there   The

whole of the troops are now out of service and

were discharged as early as possible according

to your orders   Brigadier Genl Wilson who was

sent to Davis County to settle matters in that

quarter made a report of his acts and opinions

of the commencement of this dificulty which

is dated the 25th and it is so replete with in

formation that I have appended it to this

report as heretofore stated.  I can bear testimony

to the good conduct of my whole immediate

command both officers and men they all con

conducted themselves on the march and while with

the Mormons as honourable Citizen Soldiers and

I state to you Sir that none of my Division


No 4


at any time nor any of the forces after I ar

rived at Far West committed any violence

either upon the property or persons of the Mor-

mons of either sex  Any statement or insinuation

to the Contrary is false and a slander upon my

Command and our Citizens   I am led to make

this statement to your Excellency on account

of strictures I have seen in some of the public

journals of the Country   About the troops generally

and consequently embracing my command  I cannot

vouch for the troops before my arrival but I do

afterwards and in justice to the officers comman

ding before I will state that I believe that great

injustice has been done them also   I have the testimony

of the most inteligent Mormons on this subject (which

I attach marked I)   It is humiliating to the

Militia who are Citizens generally of a high order

to see the public journals of the Country publishing

every report that is put out without knowing

whether it be true or false for the purpose of casting

reproach upon our arms and Country   I make

this statement to rescue my my Command from

such unmerited censure which I know to be false

as far as they are concerned and leave other general

officers having the Command before my arrival

to act as they please in the premises.  I have not

been able to satisfy myself as well as I would

desire of the causes of this difficulty but enough is

shown by the evidence I here attach marked (J.)

to enable the Country to appreciate your prompt

movement in ordering out the Militia to put

down an insurrection of no ordinary Character

It had for its object Dominion the ultimate subju-

gation of this Ù state and the union to the laws of a


few men called the Presidency [“of the Church and” crossed out]

their Church was to be built up at any

rate peacebly if they could but forcibly if

necessary   These people had as you will perceive

banded themselves togeather in Societies the object

of which was to first drive from their society

such as refused to join them in their unholy

purposes and then to plunder the surrounding

Country and ultimately to subject the State to

their rule   They have [“been” crossed out] committed great injury

to the Country by burning robing &c these things

however their Leaders say was done to punish the

Citizens of our State for past violence to them [“in other places” crossed out]

how true this is you can determine

from the evedince herewith sent   In their incur

sions they have murdered Robed stole and burnt

and committed many inhumane acts [“to” crossed out] on helpless

families    I have no doubt but what we have

[“guarded” crossed out] many citizens who have vary much

mistreated these people but never to such an

extent as to create the idea in a rational [mind]

who loved his country that the [“Country” crossed out] Government ought to

be subverted and the laws put at defiance

    The whole number of Mormons killed through

the whole difficulty as far as I can ascertain

are about forty and several wounded   there

has been one citizen killed and about fifteen

badly wounded   I give it as my decided opin

=ion that much more blood would have been

shed than was if their had [“not” crossed out] been [“so many” crossed out] only troops 

enough ordered out by your Excellency to conquer the insirgents in a battle by having a large number.  [“Such was” crossed out] Their

influance  [“that the Mormon men” crossed out] awed them into

submission to the first troops that appeared

before their Town   This I am authorized to

say by inteligent Mormons [“among whom” crossed out]


No 5


much has been said to the prejudice of those

engaged in the battle at Hauns Mill not having

received before my departure from Richmond an

official account of that battle from the officers

commanding   Since my arrival here I [“have” crossed out]

addressed a note to Majr Ashby a Senator from

Chariton who was [“in that battle” crossed out] there for information

his answer is here appended and marked (K.)

to which I refer you

            I would inform your Excellency that I

have been informed by Mormons that there are now

about one hundred females the wives of those

who were killed and run off who are destitute

and depend on their friends for support.  I do not

know how many of the prisoners will be committed [“convicted” crossed out]

not having heard the evidence in defence [“but I suppose from the evidence that a great portion of them” crossed out] 

 When I left Richmond I ob-

tained copies of all the evidence that had been

[“taken” crossed out] given in that I could procure and en-

gaged a gentleman to copy the balance on

both sides and forward it to me at this place

by each [“male” crossed out] mail   The evidence I have is not

certified but I heard it delivered and know

it is substantially copied   That part of S.

Avards evidence giving a list of those persons

engaged in crime is by accident omitted

As fast as the balance arrives it shall be submit-

ted   Every facility was afforded the prisoner

in getting their witnesses &c that could be and

as far as I could observe the investigation was

conducted upon legal grounds   They have

able counsel who are vigilant in their defence.

No payrolls have yet been made to me but


they will be very soon when I will forward

them in due form   There is some public property

which my Quarter Master [“General” crossed out] was ordered

to report to the Quarter Master General.

            Having now submitted to your Excellency

the course taken by me under your several

orders in every material step as well as such

information as I [word crossed out] possess   Permit me to assure

Your Excellency that I entered on my duties

with fearful apprehensions that my experience

and ability to command had been overrated

by you and it would have given me pleasure

if such an important trust involving so much

had been committed to other more competent

hands   But in the discharge of my duty I

have endeavoured to comply with your orders as

I understood and construed them making the

restoration and preservation of the public peace

the great object to be attained all which I

respectfully submit to your Excellency hoping

that my acts may be satisfactory to you and

yours [word crossed out] to the Country

                                    I am sir with consideration

                                    of high respect your

                                                Obt Servant

                                    John B Clark

                                                Majr Genl Comg

Rept Genl Clark to

Comr in Chief

Nov. 29th. 1838