"The Mormon Question," Washington Union, 1 June 1858, 2.
Elkhorn, May 5, 1858
Mr. Editor: In your paper of a late date, I find an article under the heading, signed “Fair Warning,” which attracted my attention. I think your correspondent has overrated the danger to be feared from the Mormons, but some of the facts stated by him are known to many.
Here in Elkhorn we are directly upon the route for Salt Lake, and can form a fair estimate of the number on Mormons now crossing the plains. I can state of my own knowledge that the Mormon emigration this season is very large—at this point there is hardly an hour in the day when there is not a Mormon train in sight. These trains in most cases will be composed of from ten to twenty men—but some are larger, and one has been known to contain one hundred and sixty men. No women or children are seen with the trains—they do not encumber themselves with any baggage except that the most necessary. Horses and mules are used almost entirely—oxen more rarely—and hard-carts not at all. The desire seems to be to move in the most speedy manner.
In conversation with an intelligent Mormon a day or two since, he stated that the number of Mormons which would during this season cross the plains, would be fully equal to the number of troops in the Utah army. This large number of enthusiasts, armed and equipped as they are, and strong enough in themselves to give battle to the troops of the United States, will be no slight addition to the defensive force of Brigham Young.These trains are all well supplied with guns, pistols, and ammunition. Whether they propose to make any attempt to annoy Uncle Sam by cutting off some of the supply trains, now on the way to Utah, or to commence no offensive operations before joining their brethren in Salt Lake, remains to be seen.
Is it not greatly desirable that these trains should be stopped, and these reinforcements for Salt Lake deviated from their course? It evidently is so—and I think that if the attention of the President was called to this matter, a body of U. S. troops would be stationed at this point immediately, with directions to examine all trains proceeding West, and to detain such as might seem to be endeavoring to give “aid and comfort” to the Mormon rebels.