As observance of the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War continues across the Nation,  for information about Utah specific commemoration events please see our event calendar.
 
 
"The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies."
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Source: Salerie Strauss: The Answer Sheet
 As the Thanksgiving season comes to a quick close this year, many hearts have been brought to be thankful for what they have. In the midst of
the Civil War, after the battles at Gettysburg, Vicksburg among others,
President Licoln issued a proclamation on October 3, 1863 to declare a day of
Thanksgiving.

Lincoln knew that the moral of both the armies and much of the nation were down during this time period. A war believed to only last 90 days at the beginning was now nearing the end of a second year. 

The Thanksgiving Proclamation reads:


        By the President of the United States of America.

A Proclamation.

The year that is drawing towards its close, has been filled with the blessings of fruitful fields and healthful skies. To these bounties, which are so constantly enjoyed that we are prone to forget the source from which they come, others have been added, which are of so extraordinary a nature, that they cannot fail to penetrate and soften even the heart which is habitually insensible to the ever watchful providence of Almighty God. In the midst of a civil war of unequaled magnitude and severity, which has sometimes seemed to foreign States to invite and to provoke their aggression, peace has been preserved with all nations, order has been maintained, the laws have been respected and obeyed, and harmony has prevailed everywhere except in the theatre  of military conflict; while that theatre has been greatly contracted by the  advancing armies and navies of the Union. Needful diversions of wealth and of  strength from the fields of peaceful industry to the national defence, have not  arrested the plough, the shuttle or the ship; the axe has enlarged the borders  of our settlements, and the mines, as well of iron and coal as of the precious  metals, have yielded even more abundantly than heretofore. Population has  steadily increased, notwithstanding the waste that has been made in the camp,  the siege and the battle-field; and the country, rejoicing in the consiousness  of augmented strength and vigor, is permitted to expect continuance of years  with large increase of freedom. No human counsel hath devised nor hath any  mortal hand worked out these great things. They are the gracious gifts of the  Most High God, who, while dealing with us in anger for our sins, hath  nevertheless remembered mercy. It has seemed to me fit and proper that they  should be solemnly, reverently and gratefully acknowledged as with one heart and  one voice by the whole American People. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens  in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who  are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of  November next, as a day of Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficent Father who  dwelleth in the Heavens. And I recommend to them that while offering up the  ascriptions justly due to Him for such singular deliverances and blessings, they  do also, with humble penitence for our
national perverseness and disobedience,  commend to His tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners  or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife in which we are unavoidably engaged,  and fervently implore the interposition of the Almighty Hand to heal the wounds  of the nation and to restore it as soon as may be consistent with the Divine  purposes to the full enjoyment of peace, harmony, tranquillity and Union.

 In testimony whereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the United States to be affixed.

Done at the City of Washington, this Third day of October, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty-three, and of the Independence of the Unites States the Eighty-eighth.

 By the President: Abraham Lincoln

 William H. Seward,
Secretary of State


We hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

 
 
On October 26, 1862 Patrick Edward Connor and the soldiers of the 3rd California Volunteers established Camp Douglas on a ridge just outside the City of Great Salt Lake. Today, 150-years later, again the flag was raised over Fort Douglas in commemoration of its founding. In addition, Building 32 was named after long time supporter Zeke Dumke.

For a view of the celebration please visit.... please click here Founder's Day Celebration
 
 
Connor and his men were supposed to re-establish Fort Crittenden in the Cedar Valley. By the time the 3rd California soldiers had reached Fort Crittenden in late September/early October, the post had already been scavenged and the "owner" was asking for $15,000 to purchase the land! It is unknown if Connor chose the current site in Salt Lake City while visiting the city or not. It makes you wonder what the soldiers thought. They had a different treatment and reaction than Johnston's soldiers recieved only three years previous. The stage is now set for the establishment of Camp Douglas on 26 October 2012.
 
 
Sources have listed various dates in relation to General Patrick Edward Connor's arrival in the Salt Lake Valley. While trying to narrow this date down to the correct date, this much is known. This event occured sometime around the middle to the end of September, prior to the arrival of Federal troops and establishment of Camp Douglas on the 26th day of October 1862. This would not be the first stationing of troops in Utah. The first major military establishment was Camp Floyd in 1858. Connor's men were to re-establish Camp Floyd, which had been scavenged by the time the troops arrived in the Salt Lake Valley. This is the subject for a future post, as it will play a role in the reason

Also to note this week is the 150th anniversary of Antietam on September 17, 1862.
 
 
As the time is growing near to the official establishment of Camp Douglas, the feelings of the Utah settlers must have been heightened. To have one military occupation leave Utah would have been a relief, but was it fear when the news was received that Connor and his men were underway? 

Around this time Connor and his men would have been in Nevada on their way to Utah but it is not known what their thoughts were. It has been understood from later interpretations of history that many of the soldiers assigned to Utah would have rather been sent to the battlefields of the East than to the desert reaches of Utah Territory. 

In a few short weeks Camp Douglas would be established three miles outside of Salt Lake City where it would remain a military reservation for 129 years. As we look forward to reaching its sesquicentennial year a return to the thoughts and feelings of the area are only natural. 
 
 
148 years ago today, the Gettysburg Address was given at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania by President Abraham Lincoln during the dedication of the National Cemetery. While this did not have a direct impact on Utah Civil War history, it did impact the entire country.