Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer, 2003, Excerpts
Colonel William Dane and Lieutenant Colonel Isaac Haight – whose orders had prompted the slaughter – arrived at the Mountain Meadow on the morning after the killing had ended. They were confronted with the naked, horribly brutalized bodies of men, women, and children scattered across the landscape in twisted poses of rigor mortis. “Colonel Dame was silent for some time,” recalled John D. Lee. “He looked all over the field, and was quite pale, and looked uneasy and frightened. I thought then that he was just finding out the difference between giving and executing orders for wholesale killing.”
Out of the entire Fancher wagon train, only seventeen lives were spared – all of them children no more than five years old, deemed too young to remember enough to bear witness against the Saints. Those children not killed were taken to Mormon homes to be raised as latter-day Saints; some were placed in the households of the very men who had murdered their parents and siblings. In 1859 an agent of the federal government managed to find all seventeen survivors and return them to their Arkansas kin, but before handing the kids over, their Mormon keepers had the audacity to demand thousands of dollars in payment for feeding and schooling the youngsters while they were in the Saints’ care.