On May 1, 1862, Capt. Lot Smith led a cavalry company of a little more than 100 volunteers from Salt Lake City east into the mountains. Their mission was simple: to help the Union Army guard the overland mail route and telegraph line in northern Utah and what is now southwestern Wyoming against Indian attacks.
Smith’s men, members of Utah’s Nauvoo Legion militia, never engaged any Indians in combat, though they helped facilitate the resumption of the mail in June. Still, the mission was an important one — it marked Utah’s only significant military contribution to the Civil War, and a brief respite in the Mormons’ often-tense relationship with Washington.TAGGED: Brigham Young
, Civil war