The definitive account of a crucial but enigmatic American episode
The Utah War of 1857-58, the unprecedented armed confrontation between
Mormon Utah Territory and the U.S. Government, was the most extensive
American military action between the Mexican and Civil wars, At Sword’s Point
presents in two volumes the first in-depth narrative and documentary history of
that extraordinary conflict.
William P. MacKinnon offer a a lively narrative linking firsthand accounts-most
previously unknown-from soldiers and civilians on both sides. This first volume
traces the war’s causes and preliminary events, including President Buchanan’s deci-
sion to replace Brigham Young a governor of Utah and restore federal authority
through a large army expedition. Also examined are Young’s defensive-aggressive
reactions, the onset of armed hostilities, and Thomas L. Kane’s departure at the
end of 1857 for his now-famous mediating mission to Utah.
Mackinnon provides a balanced, comprehensive account, based on half cen-
tury of research and a wealth of carefully selected new material. Women’s voices
from both sides enrich this colorful story. At Swords’ Point presents the Utah War
as sprawling confrontation with regional and international as well as territo-
rial impact. As a nonpartisan definitive work, it eclipses previous studies of this
remarkably bloody turning point in western, military, and Mormon history.
Volume 10 in the series Kingdom in the West: The Mormons and the American
William P. MacKinnon of Santa Barbara, California, is an independent historian,
management consultant, and former General Motors vice president. A widely rec-
ognized authority on the Utah War, he has recorded the colorful saga of Utah’s
long territorial period and the U.S. Army’s western campaigns.