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The emigrants let the emissary, a Mormon from a nearby settlement, into their fort, and then John D. Lee told the Arkansans he and his men had come to rescue them from the Indians.If the emigrants would lay down their arms, the local militia would escort them to safety.Lee of the Nauvoo Legion, Utah’s territorial militia, led a ragtag band of 60 or 70 Latter-day Saints, better known as Mormons, and a few Indian freebooters in an assault on a wagon train from Arkansas.The emigrants, now known to history as the Fancher Party, were camped at Mountain Meadows, an alpine oasis on the wagon road between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles.Lee led this forlorn parade more than a mile to the California Trail and the rim of the Great Basin.There, the senior Mormon officer escorting the men gave an order: perhaps “Halt! ” A single shot rang out, and each escort turned and shot his man.They quickly buried all the bodies and their haste left the slightly exposed.At dawn on Monday, September 7, 1857, Major John D.
The Arkansans pulled their scattered wagons into a circle l and quickly improved their wagon fort, digging a pit to protect the women and children from stray projectiles.
This militia was comprised of the Mormons that settled Utah.
With the intent of pointing the finger at Native Americans they armed Southern Paiute Native Americans and coerced them to join their party in the attack.
The wagon train made it through Utah during a period in time of violence history would later call the Utah War to rest in the area of Mountain meadows.
It was leaders from the nearby militia called Nauvoo Legion that staged the attack on the train of pioneers.