“Extract, from the Private Journal of Joseph Smith Jr.,” July 1839

  • Source Note
  • Historical Introduction
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resorted to str[a]tagem; and after removing their property out of their houses, which were nothing but log cabins, they actually set fire to their own houses, and then reported to the authorities of the state that the Mormons were burning and destroying all before them.
On the retreat of the mob from , I returned to , hoping to have some respite from our enemies, at least for a short time; but upon my arrival there, I was informed that a mob had commenced hostilities on the borders of that county, adjoining to and that they had taken some of our brethren prisoners, burned some houses, and had committed depredations on the peaceable inhabitants. A company under the command of , was ordered out by to go against them, and stop their depredations, and drive them out of the county. Upon the approach of our people, the mob fired upon them, and after discharging their pieces, fled with great precipitation, with the loss of one killed and several wounded. In the engagement , (a man beloved by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance,) was wounded and died shortly after. Two others were likewise killed and several wounded. Great excitement now prevailed, and mobs were heard of in every direction who seemed determined on our destruction. They burned the houses in the country and took off all the cattle they could find. They destroyed cornfields, took many prisoners, and threatened death to all the Mormons. On the 28th of Oct. a large company of armed soldiery were seen approaching , They came up near to the town and then drew back about a mile and encamped for the night. We were informed that they were Militia, ordered out by the for the purpose of stopping our proceedings; it having been represented to his , by wicked and designing men from , that we were the aggressors, and had committed outrages in &c. They had not yet got the s orders of extermination, which I believe did not arrive until the next day. On the following morning, a flag was sent, which was met by several of our people, and it was hoped that matters would be satisfactorily arranged after the officers had heard a true statement of all the circumstances. Towards evening, I was waited upon by , who stated that the officers of the Militia desired to have an interview with me, and some others, hoping that the difficulties might be settled without having occasion to carry into effect the exterminating orders, which they had received from the . I immediately complied with the request, and in company with elders and , , and , went into the camp of the militia. But judge of my surprise, when instead of being treated with that respect which is due from one citizen to another, we were taken, as prisoners of war, and were treated with the utmost contempt. The officers would not converse with us, and the soldiers, almost to a man, insulted us as much as they felt disposed, breathing out threats against me and my companions. I cannot begin to tell the scene which I there witnessed. The loud cries and yells of more than one thousand voices, which rent the air and could be heard for miles; and the horrid and blasphemous threats and curses which were poured upon us in torrents, were enough to appal the stoutest heart. In the evening we had to lie down on the cold ground surrounded by a strong guard, who were only kept back by the power of God from depriving us of life. We petitioned the officers to know why we were thus treated, but they utterly refused to give us any answer, or to converse with us. The next day they held a court martial, and sentenced us to be shot, on Friday morning, on the puplic square, as an ensample to the Mormons. However notwithstanding their sentence, and determination, they were not permitted to carry their murderous sentence into execution.
Having an opportunity of speaking to , I inquired of him the cause why I was thus treated, I told him I was not sensible of having done any thing worthy of such treatment; that I had always been a supporter of the constitution and of Democracy. His answer was “I know it, and that is the reason why I want to kill you, or have you killled.” The militia then went into the town and without any restraint whatever, plunderd the [p. 5]
resorted to stratagem; and after removing their property out of their houses, which were nothing but log cabins, they actually set fire to their own houses, and then reported to the authorities of the state that the Mormons were burning and destroying all before them.
On the retreat of the mob from , I returned to , hoping to have some respite from our enemies, at least for a short time; but upon my arrival there, I was informed that a mob had commenced hostilities on the borders of that county, adjoining to and that they had taken some of our brethren prisoners, burned some houses, and had committed depredations on the peaceable inhabitants. A company under the command of , was ordered out by to go against them, and stop their depredations, and drive them out of the county. Upon the approach of our people, the mob fired upon them, and after discharging their pieces, fled with great precipitation, with the loss of one killed and several wounded. In the engagement , (a man beloved by all who had the pleasure of his acquaintance,) was wounded and died shortly after. Two others were likewise killed and several wounded. Great excitement now prevailed, and mobs were heard of in every direction who seemed determined on our destruction. They burned the houses in the country and took off all the cattle they could find. They destroyed cornfields, took many prisoners, and threatened death to all the Mormons. On the 28th of Oct. a large company of armed soldiery were seen approaching , They came up near to the town and then drew back about a mile and encamped for the night. We were informed that they were Militia, ordered out by the for the purpose of stopping our proceedings; it having been represented to his , by wicked and designing men from , that we were the aggressors, and had committed outrages in &c. They had not yet got the s orders of extermination, which I believe did not arrive until the next day. On the following morning, a flag was sent, which was met by several of our people, and it was hoped that matters would be satisfactorily arranged after the officers had heard a true statement of all the circumstances. Towards evening, I was waited upon by , who stated that the officers of the Militia desired to have an interview with me, and some others, hoping that the difficulties might be settled without having occasion to carry into effect the exterminating orders, which they had received from the . I immediately complied with the request, and in company with elders and , , and , went into the camp of the militia. But judge of my surprise, when instead of being treated with that respect which is due from one citizen to another, we were taken, as prisoners of war, and were treated with the utmost contempt. The officers would not converse with us, and the soldiers, almost to a man, insulted us as much as they felt disposed, breathing out threats against me and my companions. I cannot begin to tell the scene which I there witnessed. The loud cries and yells of more than one thousand voices, which rent the air and could be heard for miles; and the horrid and blasphemous threats and curses which were poured upon us in torrents, were enough to appal the stoutest heart. In the evening we had to lie down on the cold ground surrounded by a strong guard, who were only kept back by the power of God from depriving us of life. We petitioned the officers to know why we were thus treated, but they utterly refused to give us any answer, or to converse with us. The next day they held a court martial, and sentenced us to be shot, on Friday morning, on the puplic square, as an ensample to the Mormons. However notwithstanding their sentence, and determination, they were not permitted to carry their murderous sentence into execution.
Having an opportunity of speaking to , I inquired of him the cause why I was thus treated, I told him I was not sensible of having done any thing worthy of such treatment; that I had always been a supporter of the constitution and of Democracy. His answer was “I know it, and that is the reason why I want to kill you, or have you killled.” The militia then went into the town and without any restraint whatever, plunderd the [p. 5]
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