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The Utah War

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This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

Some call it America's forgotten war.

It had its beginnings 150 years ago this summer. On this very day, July 23, 1857, messengers arrived in Salt Lake City with news that President James Buchanan a few weeks earlier had declared Utah in rebellion of the U.S. government, and an army was on its way to install a carpetbag governor and quell the rebellion.

The people of the Territory of Utah found themselves the objective of one of the largest military operations in early U.S. history. In those days, it was the equivalent of sending American soldiers off to the Balkans, Desert Storm, or even, Iraq. It was a huge, controversial and costly military operation, which continued into the summer of 1858.

Although no formal battles occurred, it came to be known as the Utah War.

Eventually, Johnston's Army marched uncontested through Salt Lake City, established a temporary presence at Camp Floyd west of Utah Lake, and eventually a permanent base at Fort Douglas. Their advent forever changed the face of what eventually became the State of Utah.

As this sesquicentennial year of the Utah War proceeds, KSL encourages Utahns to learn more about this significant event in their state's history. As with all wars, there are lessons that should never be forgotten.

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