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1863 Bear River Massacre
California Volunteers from Camp Floyd, south of Salt Lake City, annihilated between 240 and 300 Shoshoni Indians at the mouth of Battle Creek, north of Preston on a frigid morning, January 29, 1863. Only 23 soldiers were killed. The attack was led by Colonel Patrick E. Connor. Although the Mormon settlers had asked Connor for help, the attack was also motivated by Connor's desire to open the Bear River area to settlement by non-Mormons. Five months after the attack Connor led the Morrisites to Soda Springs. A decade of Indian skirmishes followed the Massacre, but the patterns of Native American hunting and settlement were effectively disrupted forever by this attack (madsen, 1985).

(above) Bear River Massacre Historical Marker, updated in the 1980s to the generally accepted account of the incident. It reads:

"Bear River Massacre- Very few Indians survived an attack here when P.E. Connor's California Volunteers trapped and destroyed a band of Northwestern Shoshoni.

Friction between local Indians and white travelers along this route led Connor to set out on a cold winter campaign. More than 400 shoshoni occupied a winter camp that offered ideal protection in Battle Creak Canyon, But they suffered a military disaster unmatched in western history when Connor's Force struck at daybreak. January 29, 1863."

(above right) 1932 monument that paints the Bear River Massacre in a rather different light from the modern view.

(right) 1953 monument; its emphasis is in keeping with the 1932 monument.