Charles A. Scott's Diary of the Utah Expedition, 1857-1861
Ellis, John M.,Stowers, Robert E.
Utah Historical Quarterly
April, October 1960
March 28, 1857 to October 22, 1861. Scott records his arrival in New York City, following a failed expedition to Nicaragua. He pulls a good-humored scam, pretending to be a wealthy miner lately arrived from California. He then moves to New Jersey, bumming lodging and meals when he can, as his search for work goes poorly. Scott enlists in the U.S. Army. He travels from Governors' Island, New York to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas where he joins with Johnston's Army and crosses the plains. Most of the entries crossing the plains are brief, giving the place camped, distance traveled that day, and the quality of the land. Scott details a wagon accident at Ash Hollow, Nebraska Territory, estimating the damage to be $25,000. Later in the journey, much attention is given to the difficulty of the trip due to the cold weather and Mormon harassment. Scott goes in to unusual detail describing the suffering of Johnston's Army during the winter of 1857/58, particularly singling out the tragic plight of the horses. He records the arrival of Thomas Kane at Camp Scott, and the wild rumors that surrounded Kane. He notes with disappointment the announcement of peace between the government and the Mormons. Scott provides the orders the soldiers received just prior to entering the Salt Lake Valley. He also provides a detailed description of the city, noting the Beehive House and Lion House, as well as his thoughts upon entering Salt Lake City. He also records a number of rumors circulating about the deserted city and the poverty of those who choose to return to the city after the army has passed through. Scott writes of the establishment of Camp Floyd, as well as the Christmas and Fourth of July celebrations held there. He also writes about the development of Fairfield, a neighboring town, unkindly comparing it to mining towns in California a decade earlier. Scott records his understanding of the Pike incident in Salt Lake City, in addition to the retaliation for the incident in Fairfield, and the subsequent banning of soldiers from Fairfield by General Johnston. Scott was a member of the guard units sent to protect the federal court in Provo, Utah. He records the officers of the guard units leaving camp to arrest Aaron Johnson and others for the Parrish-Potter murders. He is only in Provo a short time before the soldiers receive orders to return to Camp Floyd. Finally, he receives orders to leave Camp Floyd. On his way out of Utah Territory, Scott writes of rumors about William Hickman's activities, particularly as they related to Richard Yates, and massacres by Indians. The journal ends with Scott arriving in Baltimore, Maryland, waiting to receive his orders for the Civil War.