07 August 2012

Arkies Fight Back Mormons

Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, 2003, Excerpts

The Saints had been so confident of a quick victory, in fact, that they had promised, in Lee’s words, that the Pauites “could kill the emigrants without danger to themselves.” But the Fancher party was disciplined, very brave, and well armed, and their ranks included many expert riflemen. After the initial volley of gunfire, the Arkansans quickly circled their wagons, dug into bunkers, and then immediately initiated a counterassault, utterly confounding their attackers. After ordering his men to keep the emigrants pinned down, Lee rode off to summon Mormon reinforcements, and to seek the counsel of his superiors.

The Mormons and their Piaute mercenaries kept pressure on the Arkansans by harassing them with sniper fire, preventing them from collecting water from the nearby spring. Hungry and tormented by thirst, the Gentiles knew that their situation was growing increasingly grim. Their ammunition was running out. They could neither bury their dead nor provide much comfort to the many who were seriously wounded. Some sixty animals had been killed in the crossfire; the carcasses of these beasts were now putrefying around the Arkansans in the late-summer sun, creating a sickening stench.

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