[E. T. Benson and Peter Maughan to Daniel H. Wells, Logan, Utah, 9 May 1863 (MS, Military Records Section, Utah State Archies, Salt Lake City); partial transcript in UHQ 35:1 (winter 1967), p. 29, Brigham D. Madsen, “Shoshoni-Bannock Marauders on the Oregon Trail, 1859–1863”]

[Lead-in from Brigham H. Madsen:]

Perhaps the best summary of Indian depredations and the reaction of the Mormon settlers can be found in a letter written by Ezra T. Benson of Cache Valley to one of the church leaders and commanding officer of the territorial militia, Daniel H. Wells:

Logan, May 9, 1863

      The Indians are very hostile, they have been stealing all the horses they could get for some time past, at different times killing cattle, on Friday May 1st three Indians attacked 2 men in the Kanyon at Franklin shooting one of them in the breast with two arrows (we fear mortally) then cut the harness to pieces and took away both their spans of horses, they made their escape the brethren that pursued them not being able to overtake them, they now threaten to steal some of the Mormon women. Last Saturday evening they stole some horses from Millville . . . 15 men went to get them back, they found the Indian camp but they had sent the horses further into the mountains . . . we took the rest [of the Indians] prisoners and will keep them untill we hear from you as far as we can understand their intentions, it is not only steal but kill us, . . . the hostile Indians are the remains of the Bands that were in the fight at Bear River last winter and they say they intend having their pay out of the Mormons as they are afraid to tackle the soldiers . . . while they are doing these things they are eating the very flour that has been donated to them by the brethren . . . .

      We care little about the property they have got, but it is the killing of the Brethren and hostile movements against us and a word of advice from you will be gladly received as we do not wish to kill except we are justified, but do which way we will it seems to us that the ball is fairly open for they have forced it upon us, the Brethren feel tired of bearing their insults and it has been with much persuasion that we have thus far restrained them from wiping them out of existence.

E. T. Benson
Peter Maughan