Stansbury's Expedition to the Great Salt Lake, 1849-50
Utah Historical Quarterly
When the U.S. government decided to send a surveying expedition to the Salt Lake Valley to examine the conditions of the trails entering and leaving the valley, to report on the ability of the Mormons to provide food and supplies to travelers passing through, and to determine the best site for a military post, they sent Capt. Howard Stansbury and an assistant, 1st Lt. John Williams Gunnison. These men lived among the Mormons and were, on the whole, quite impressed with the Mormon community. The reports sent back to the Federal government were favorable, sometimes to the consternation of American leaders.