July 1871 newspaper article in The Corinne Reporter places blame for massacre on Brigham.

Jul 29, 1871
Jesse A. Gove

“Argus,” (pen-name for Captain Jesse A. Gove) July 27, 1871, The Corinne Reporter, Corinne, Utah, July 29, 1871, 2

The Corinne Reporter
Brigham Young, Jesse A. Gove, John Doyle Lee
Reading Public

ORDERS FROM HEADQUARTERS On the next morning, the re-enforcements having arrived, Major Lee massed his troops at a point about half a mile from the emigrants’ fort, and there made a speech, during which he informed them that (I quote from a sworn statement,) His orders from the headquarters were, “To kill the entire company, except the children.” Now, sir, as to whether those “headquarters” were located in your office at Salt Lake City, or a Parowan, is a matter to be settled between you and Colonel Dame; and, if I am not mistaken, you will yet have to settle it. If Colonel Dame shall ever confess before a proper tribunal that he issued that extraordinary order on his own responsibility, and, independently of you, I shall be very much mistaken. But of the fact that such an order was actually made, there can be no doubt. There had been two military councils held in Parowan—one before or about the time the emigrants passed that place, and one on the day they left Cedar. Haight and Lee were at both these councils, and from the last returned together to Cedar—the latter to take command of the troops, and the former to stand prepared to render him any service which might be needed. BRIGHAM YOUNG DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE FOR THE MASSACRE It is on oath, sir, that it was at Cedar City two days after the emigrants had left, that President Haight said to certain parties (who shall be nameless here), “that he had orders from headquarters to kill all of said company of emigrants except the little children!” This fixes the fact, beyond dispute that Lee and Haight were professedly acting under orders from headquarters and to suppose that such profession was false—that two subordinates should take upon themselves the responsibility of such a bloody affair, professedly in your name, and yet without your authority, is out of the question. It is equally absurd to suppose that said order originated with Colonel Dame. All the reasons are against such a supposition. Besides no Colonel of a regiment would have the right or the authority to do anything in such premises except to promulgate and enforce the order of this superior officer. To do otherwise would be to subject himself to the eventualities of a military court; and it is certain that neither Colonel Dame nor Major Lee were every court-martialled for their action in the military operations at the Mountain Meadows. NEGOTIATING TERMS OF SURRENDER After Major Lee had announced that fatal order to his troops, and instructed them as to how he intended to carry it out, “he sent a flag of truce into the emigrants’ fort, offering to them that if they would lay down their arms he would protect them.” This was on the 15th day of September, and the fourth since the battle, or, rather, siege had begun. You will not forget that the little band of Arkansans were not “whipped.” Though well nigh exhausted with fatigue and loss of sleep, and burning up with thirst, they were not conquered. They were fighting for their wives and little ones more than for themselves, else, at any time, under cover of the darkness, they could have formed in solid column, broke through your lines and escaped. But to their honor be it said, they refused life when associated with the condition of deserting their families. THE WHITE FLAG But the flag of truce came into their little fort: That white flag held by all civilized nations and peoples from time immemorial as an emblem at once of peace, of truth, of honor. By the message accompanying this flag, they were promised protection. Alas! that it should prove to be “such protection as vultures give to lambs.” But the message was not from Indians, it was from Major Lee, a regularly constituted officer of the military forces of the territory of Utah, one of the Territories of the United States. What should they do but believe its promise. They marched out of their little fort, laid down their arms, marched up to the spring where Lee stood and placed themselves under his protection; and his promises of protection were yours. A SCENE OF BLOOD BAFFLING DESCRIPTION But now was to be enacted one of those scenes which the pen is inadequate to describe, and the horrors of which it is impossible for one not then present to realize. Here were unarmed, unresisting men, innocent and inoffensive women, and helpless children, none of which had never harmed you, or offended the majesty of the laws of Utah. They had every possible claim not only to Lee’s protection, but to life, liberty and their property; Their right to be treated truthfully, honorably and humanely was perfect. But, sir, your order was practically as irrevocable as it was terrible. And it would not do for the troops to think long about it, lest conscience should assert rights which even the thought of you could not overcome. There must be no time for parleying between obedience to you, and duty to humanity. So, without allowing these famishing prisoners time to even to refresh themselves, the women and children were separated from their husbands and fathers, and started on ahead toward Cedar City, the men following immediately in their rear, and all guarded by the entire command, with Lee at the head of the column. There is no reason to suppose that up to the moment of the massacre, the emigrants thought they were going to be shot down. After they had been marched about a half mile, Lee gave the word to “halt;” then immediately the command to “shoot them down” was passed down the column, and before the poor emigrants could realize their situation the first volley was delivered! Then from the survivors went up such a piercing, heart-rending scream—such a shriek of blank despair!—then the flight of all except one young woman, who sprang to Lee, and clinging to him for protection—than the chase—then another volley—and then another—and still another, and then—all was still! save the last death strugglings of the unhappy victims, the cries of the remnant of little ones who had been left behind in the fifth, and the heavy breathings of soldiers, pale, trembling and aghast at the horrid scene before and around them. BRIGHAM YOUNG< THAT WAS YOUR DOING. REFLECTION OVER THE INNOCENT DEAD And now, O, ye slaughtered ones! . . . What sins had you committed, that you should make so fearful an expiation?=-that you should lie there baptized in your own blood? Methinks I hear you answer with your last grasp [sic], “That was Brigham Young’s doings!” Sir, no explanations can relive you from the charge of responsibility in this bloody matter. No man who knows you, and has a fair idea of your doctrines and “policy” can doubt. You stand condemned before the bar of an enlightened public opinion . . .—Argus.

BHR Staff Commentary

"Argus" appears to be Captain Jesse A. Gove

Citations in Mormonr Qnas
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