A Young Folks' History of the Church HTML version
The Battle Of Nauvoo
Leaving the main body of the Saints traveling westward, in this chapter I wish to tell you
about what happened to those who remained in Nauvoo; and by the way, this is the last
chapter of this little history in which mobs will play an important part.
In the summer of 1846 there were about six hundred Saints in Nauvoo, most of whom
had been unable to get away. Many were poor, some were sick, and there were many old
people and children. Many non-"Mormons" had bought property from the Saints who had
left, and had moved into the city. The mob called these friendly citizens "Jack Mormons."
Naturally, one would think that these few Saints would be left to get ready to move in
peace; but not so. If there is any doubt of the brutal character of the mob, what they now
did will remove that doubt forever.
On July 11, eight brethren were engaged in cutting grain in a field twelve miles from
Nauvoo. A mob surrounded them, and then taking them one by one, whipped them
severely. Two of these mobbers were afterwards arrested, and to get even for this, the
mob carried away five other brethren who were abused by the mobbers for twelve days
before they were released.
The next move of the mob was to get writs of arrest for many persons in Nauvoo. A John
Carlin was unlawfully appointed a constable to serve these writs, that is, make the arrests,
and he raised a large body of men to help him; but behind all this, the real object was to
drive the remaining "Mormons" from the city.
Governor Ford was now notified of the actions of these mobbers, and he sent Major
Parker to Nauvoo, who was to raise volunteers and defend the city. Four companies of
troops were organized by the governor's order; but instead of treating the invaders as they
truly were, a mob, Major Parker made a treaty with their leader in which it was agreed
that the "Mormons" would leave the state within sixty days. The mob leader thought this
fair enough, but the mobbers did not. At this, their leader resigned and a man by the name
of Brockman took command of the crowd. He gave the order to march towards Nauvoo,
which they gladly did.
On the morning of September 10th, 1846, the watchman in the tower of the temple gave
notice that the enemy were coming 1,000 or 1,500 strong. They had cannon, plenty of
ammunition, and came like an army ready for battle. Many of the new citizens fled, and
the little band of defenders numbered only one hundred and twenty-three men.
Meanwhile, a committee had come from Quincy to try to settle the troubles without
bloodshed. Although with them were Major Flood, sent by the governor, and Mr. Wood,
mayor of Quincy, the mob paid no attention to them, and so they could do nothing.
There seemed no prospect but that the citizens would have to defend themselves as best
they could. Benjamin Clifford took command of the volunteers, and Captain William
Anderson organized a small body of sharpshooters called the Spartan Band. As cannon
were badly needed, the brethren got two hollow steamboat shafts, cut them in two,
plugged up one end, and thus made some cannon. They had no cannon balls, but they
used scraps of iron and lead tied up into bags.