Utah History to Go
The Colonel Orders A Grand Review
Overland Migrations
Bartleson-Bidwell party
Nancy Kelsey
Bryant-Rusell Party
Harlan Young Party
Hastings Cutoff
Donner Party
This is the Place
Mormon History
Perpetual Emigrating Fund Company
Handcart Companies
A Girl Triumphed Over Handcart Tradegy
Many Mormon Immigrants Delayed Their Journey
Settlement and Exploration
Colonization of Utah
Salt Lake City
The Founding and Naming of Moab
Hole-in-the-Rock Trek Remains an Epic Experience
What Made the Mormon Landscape Unique?
Snowslides Devastated Northern Utah in 1875
A Fatal Snowslide in Provo Canyon
Those Pioneering African Americans
The Lives of Six Pioneer Girls
He Was an Outsider in Utah But Not For Long
Forty-Niners in Salt Lake Valley
Utah Farmer and the Pike's Peak Gold Rush
Emma Lee Endured Many Hardships in Pioneer Utah
Alice Parker Isom Faced Challenges WIth True Grit
19th Century Utah Women Spun Yarn and Dug Ditches
Hilda Anderson Erickson, Working Woman
Oliver B. Huntington and His Bees
A Policeman's Lot in Early Salt Lake CIty
A Blind Man and His Harp
Fanny Brooks Helped Establish the Jewish Community
Reverend McLeod and Building of Independence Hall
Jenny Baker Stanford Bridged Mormon-Gentile Gap
Welshman Dan Jones Was One of Zion's Busiest Bees
The Case of Grave Robber Jean Baptiste
Slavery in Utah
History of Polygamy
The History of a Pioneer Utah Cottage
The Pioneer's Cost of Living Versus Today's
Coins and Currency
The Sego Lily, Utah's State Flower
Pestiferous Ironclads: Grasshopper Problem in Utah
From Pioneer Fort to Pioneer Park
Ensign Peak
Temple Square
Virgin River Doused Cotton Mission Settler's Hopes
Gardner Mill and the Birth of the Valley's West Side
The United Order Movement
The Beginnings of the University of Utah
Arrival of the Episcopal Church
Ben Holladay, the Stagecoach King, in Utah
The Pony Express Added a Colorful Chapter in Utah
Mark Twain's Utah
Pony Express in Utah
The Telegraph Was Information Highway of the 1860's
The Steamboat Era Was Glamorous But Brief in Utah
Cowboys and the Cattle Industry
Old La Sal Was Once a Thriving Cow Town
Preston Nutter Made Utah Home of His Cattle Kingdom
Robbers' Roost Was a Haven For Outlaws
Utah Had Hollywood Style Western Gunfights
Just Who Was the Outlaw Queen Etta Place?
Josie Bassett-Jensen's Remarkable Woman Rancher
Military in Utah
Utah War
The Civil War in Utah
Mountain Meadows Massacre
Fort Douglas
Fort Duchesne
Camp Floyd
The Colonel Orders a Grand Review

Miriam B. Murphy
History Blazer, April 1996

The 1858-60 diary of Captain Albert Tracy, an officer in Johnston's Army, contains many enlightening glimpses of life in an army camp. The author's vivid descriptions and understated humor make it a delight to read. Born in Buffalo, New York, on April 28, 1818, he spent some of his boyhood in Canada. He enlisted in the army in Maine and in February 1847 was commissioned a 1st lieutenant in the infantry. Following "gallant and meritorious conduct in the battle of Chapultepec," he achieved the rank of captain, but he resigned his commission in 1848. He resumed it in 1855 with help from President Franklin Pierce, a close acquaintance. When the Utah Expedition was organized in 1857 Tracy was put in command of Company H.

Despite the ominous clouds looming over the peaks north and west of Camp Floyd, Utah County, on February 28, 1858, Lieutenant Colonel Charles F. Smith ordered a grand review. Any other officer, Tracy wrote, would have settled for "muster and inspection in quarters." But Smith was obdurate and resolved that the pageant should proceed. The men formed into battalions or separate batteries and marched across a stream and past the small town of Fairfield, called Frog or Frogtown by the troops, to a large area where the review was to take place. It took some time for the formation, nearly an eighth of a mile long, to position itself, for sagebrush-studded ground, Tracy observed, "never yields upon mere occasions of military display." Meanwhile, the storm hit, sweeping "down so bitterly upon us...that it was with difficulty the most resolute could refrain from turning in his place, to avoid its cutting cold. Some suffered slight freezing at the ear-tips, or extremity of nose, and many were so chilled as for the time almost to lose the use of hands and arms."

By the time Smith and his aides were positioned to review the troops, the snow was advancing toward them like "a thick white wall....and word of command, sound of bugle, or bray of band were, with the uproar of the storm soon muffled well nigh from hearing.....only the habit of the men kept them in line or step." The companies' flags and even the line of march in front could scarcely be seen, and the men "only guessed at the points of wheeling, following...in the track" of those before. Tracy continued, "Coming round at the point of the reviewing officer--we distinguished through the cloud, dim objects, gray and ghost-like, believed to be Smith and his staff, and at these we saluted, agreeable to the regulation, with our sabres--doing the best we might." When the storm lessened a bit Tracy could see snow piled up like ice cream on band instruments and epaulets. As for the men's broad-brimmed felt hats with ostrich plumes, "they were simply a mess, and shocking to behold." The crestfallen troops finally filed off the field toward their company grounds. Colonel Smith relented somewhat at the end and ordered one gill (4 ounces) of whiskey per man which "did much to salve over the wounded dignity and morale of the morning." The 5th Infantry was quite demoralized, Tracy said, over the ruin of their brand new hats and plumes, and his own company felt quite put out by it all as well.

Tracy concluded that "There is no other man in the army who could have done all this with impunity. Yet knowing the brave record, and the generally just character of Smith--it is likely he will be forgiven even the vagary of this review in a February snow-storm."

See: "The Utah War Journal of Captain Albert Tracy, 1858-1860", published as vol. 13 of Utah Historical Quarterly (1945).


The Land
American Indians
Trappers, Traders, & Explorers
Pioneers & Cowboys
Mining & Railroads
Statehood & the Progressive Era
From War to War
Utah Today