- Patrick Edward Connor
Early life and career
Connor was born in rural
County Kerry, Ireland. He came to the United Statesand enlisted in the United States Armyon November 28, 1839.
He served in the
Seminole Wars. On April 5, 1845, he became a naturalized citizen. During the Mexican-American War, he fought under Albert Sidney Johnston. Connor was discharged when his enlistment time ran out, at which time he became a miner in the West.
When the Civil War broke out, Connor was in command of the "
Stockton Blues," a unit in the California Militia. He brought the strength of the unit up to regimental size and it became the 3rd California Volunteer Infantry. His regiment was ordered to the Utah Territoryto protect the overland routes from Indians and quell a possible Mormonuprising.
While in Utah, Connor established a post and became discontent with his assignment. He and his men wished to head to
Virginiawhere the real fighting and glory was occurring. When major general Henry W. Halleck(a personal friend of Connor's) became the general-in-chief of the Union armies, Connor pleaded that his men had enlisted to fight traitors. He offered to withhold $30,000 from the regiment's pay to ship the troops to the eastern battlefields. Halleck suggested that Connor reconnoiter the Salt Lake Cityarea. Connor did so and established Fort Douglas in a commanding position over the city, despite the wishes of the Mormons.
Battle of Bear River
:"See main article:"
Bear River Massacre
In early 1863, the
ShoshoniIndians began a rebellion in the Washington Territory(present day Idaho). Eager for combat, Connor marched his regiment 140 miles over the frozen winter landscape to deal with the Indians. On January 29, 1863, Connor's troops encountered the Shoshoni encampment along the Bear River. Before Connor personally arrived on the field, a few troops crossed the river and attacked the camp, but they were easily repulsed.
When Connor arrived, he sent additional troops to block the Indian escape route through a ravine. He sent the rest of the soldiers to the ridge, from where they fired down into the Indians. The soldiers also fired on Indians as they attempted to escape by swimming across the bitterly cold river. The troops killed nearly all the Indians, including women and children, with fatalities estimated at 200-400.
Powder River Expedition
After the Battle of Bear River, Connor was appointed brigadier general in the Volunteer Army and given command of the District of Utah. He made his district headquarters at Fort Douglas. In 1865, he led the
Powder River Expeditionagainst the Siouxand CheyenneIndians, who were disrupting travelers along the Bozeman Trailand overland mail routes. In August, 1865, Connor defeated a combined Sioux- Arapahoforce at the Battle of the Tongue Riverand effectively brought an end to the campaign.
The Powder River Expedition for some time brought peace to the territory. In another sense it was the beginning of the long struggle between warriors of the U.S. and of the Great Sioux Nation. Twenty-five years later the struggle culminated at the
Wounded Knee Massacre.
When the Civil War ended, Connor was appointed a brevet major general in the Volunteer Army and mustered out of the volunteer service in 1866. Never having been in combat against the Confederacy in the
East, he continued to command troops on the frontier. He recruited Confederate veterans for service against the Indians.
Making his permanent residence in
Salt Lake City, Connor established one the city's first newspapers. He also got involved in mining again. He founded a city in Utahand named it Stockton in honor of his California militia unit.
Connor died in
Salt Lake Cityand was buried there. [ [http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=5893995] ]
Red Cloud's War
* [http://www.militarymuseum.org/Conner.html "Patrick Connor"] , Military Museum
* [http://www.media.utah.edu/UHE/c/CONNOR,PATRICK.html "Patrick Connor"] , University of Utah
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