Talk:Idaho in the American Civil War

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Article[edit]

Idaho in the American Civil War
  • Creation of Washington Territory (2/8/1853).
  • Battle of Bear River (1/29/1863).
  • Creation of Idaho Territory (3/4/1863).

This misleading, non-factual, and poorly researched article claims that an American Civil War battle occured in a place that didn't exist.Tinosa (talk) 15:41, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

I assure you, that God did not create Idaho sometime after 1863, it was already there. The battlefield lies in what is now Idaho. If the battle occurred outside what is now modern-day Idaho, then prove it. The map I saw clearly showed it as being in eastern Idaho.--King Bedford I Seek his grace 15:47, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Fictional Revisionism Debunked[edit]

There were no American Civil War related battles or skirmishes in the Territory of Idaho from the day it was created on 3/4/1863 through 7/3/1890 when it became the 43'rd State of the Union. There have been no American Civil War related battles or skirmishes in the state of Idaho from 7/3/1890 to this day, 8/10/2008.Tinosa (talk) 22:09, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Why are you insisting on screwing up the formatting of this page? And why do you refuse to see that battles did occur in modern-day Idaho. It is part of Idaho history what happened on its lands, and this battle did occur on its lands.--King Bedford I Seek his grace 22:29, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

What kind of BS is this?[edit]

I have no idea what all of this talk of how Idaho participated in the U.S. Civil War via Patrick Conner. He wasn't even assigned to Idaho, but was instead stationed at Fort Douglas.... and his area of authority covered exclusively the Utah Territory. Idaho was out of his jurisdiction, and he thought he was in the Utah Territory up until he crossed the Bear River.... sort of like a law enforcement officer seeing a "crime" committed and chasing the "criminal" to the other size of a state line. That both sides of the river are in fact in modern day Idaho is more of a modern anachronism due to better surveying techniques not available at the time of the incident.

Furthermore.... have you even read the main Bear River Massacre article? The #1 reason for basing Col. Conner in Utah was not to protect the Union from the "Mormons", but rather the guarantee the communications lines between Washington D.C. and California would remain open and to provide a sizable enough force that the Confederacy wouldn't send anything smaller than a brigade size unit into Utah for military conquest. Oh, Mormons are on the list, but it is #6 or #7... and once in Utah the California Volunteers never had to fire a shot to "keep the Mormons in line". Life was rather dull for a soldier living in Salt Lake City during the U.S. Civil War.

That raises another point... nearly all of this article is really about Utah in the Civil War... and perhaps should be renamed to that? --Robert Horning (talk) 11:50, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

I believe this article, like the other "Name-Of-State in the American Civil War" articles, is describing what occurred on the lands that are now part of the state of Idaho during the time of the American Civil War. This series of articles is breaking down the events of the Civil War by region, using the regions most recognizable to a present day American, the State borders. What's wrong with that? Think of it another way, if there was an article titled "The USA During the Last Ice Age" describing the effects of the most recent period of glaciation on the lands that are now the USA, is that article inherently wrong because the USA didn't exist 10,000 years ago? Should it be renamed too? Joeblow179350 (talk) 20:35, 12 August 2008 (UTC)
As a matter of fact, yeah, such over generalization of trying to define modern geographic boundaries puts the context of such events meaningless. That is indeed a huge problem. You would never see "the USA during the Last Ice Age". Instead it would be "North America in the Last Ice Age" or some other similarly titled article, if you were to be intellectually honest.
Let me put it another way. Another article about a place that has changed political boundaries is Wolfsschanze. It uses a map of its location on a current political map (it happens to be in Poland at the moment) but in a historical context you really need to understand that it was located in the middle of nearly ancient German territory. I could give other numerous examples of changes in political winds. This article has nothing to do with Poland, but rather with the government of the Third Reich and traditional German territory.
Few of the events here happened in Idaho at all. In fact, I would like to see some hard citations of any settlements of any sort at all in what is now known as eastern Idaho prior to 1865, other than Franklin and the few little settlements of Cache Valley. No battle of the Civil War, in fact no significant military action of any sort really took place even after the Idaho territory was established. This is inventing history out of whole cloth where it simple didn't exist. As for Idaho going to the Confederacy, I suppose some yahoos in a couple of wagon trains on the Oregon Trail asserting that the Idaho territory was Confederate territory might be a "rebellion", but the fact was that there were no U.S. Citizens of any sort between Boise (where there was a U.S. military fort) and Yellowstone Lake other than a few scattered trappers, mountain men, and the few brave souls who dared to cross the Oregon Trail during the Civil War. Oh, I guess there was also Fort Hall, but it wasn't a "settlement" so much as merely a military post in the middle of the wilderness. There was nobody to rebel against. There is also good reason to believe that Conner (whom Lincoln was very much aware of) would have easily crushed any "Confederate" uprising in Idaho if any had come up. Heck, Conner's men were itching for exactly that kind of fight and begged the War Department to put down those ugly rebels in the East. An excuse for such an engagement would have been considered a blessing from God himself if it involved folks professing loyalty to the Confederacy.
While it may be useful to note that the Bear River Massacre took place in what is today modern day Idaho, the root causes and nearly the whole story is really about Utah. It is for that reason I am suggesting an article rename here, or at least moving the bulk of this to Utah in the American Civil War, where there is at least a story to be had. BTW, note the red article link here as well.
It might be useful to note that the Idaho territory was created in the midst of the Civil War, and to perhaps note some legitimate efforts that the U.S. Army took in terms of occupying and controlling the territory, but I'm suggesting that the historical assumptions here are huge and largely unfounded. This said, I have no doubt that given the inflamed war rhetoric of the era that the "excuse" for separating Idaho from Montana over the issue of the Confederacy does have a ring of truth to it. I'm just questioning strongly this "historical fact" as it is currently presented. Of course frontier politics always seem to have their own set of very diverse interpretations. --Robert Horning (talk) 02:46, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Sorry Robert, I misunderstood your initial comment. I thought you had more of a problem with the title of the article, not its contents or its factual accuracy. I actually know very little about the Civil War, so I cannot comment on the contents of the article. I was trying to say that I think dividing up any USA-spanning topic by current state borders seems like a viable way to split up a very large topic. I certainly think there should also be a Utah in the Civil War article, and if the bulk of what is described in this article started with events that occurred in present-day Utah, then those details should be moved to the Utah article.
Re the Ice Age, well, what if the "North America in the Last Ice Age" article became really long? Could it not be split into "USA in the Last Ice Age" and "Canada in the Last Ice Age"? Sure there are other ways to split it, maybe better ones, but isn't that one viable method? Joeblow179350 (talk) 13:40, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
Your Ice Age comparison is exactly why the word "territory" should not be added.--King Bedford I Seek his grace 03:21, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I would certainly oppose splitting the North America in the ice age into divisions by entities that did not exist at the time. Surely you could find another way to divide the article by some other, more natural division. In fact, dividing by ahistorical political entities, would probably leave both the resulting articles equally long. Any which way, it is inappropriate for a wikipedia article, in my view. doncram (talk) 03:41, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
For frame of reference, Indiana in the Ice Age is a potential article that could make GA. A lot of present day Indiana was impacted by the Ice Age.--King Bedford I Seek his grace 03:58, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
I would disagree with Indiana in the Ice Age as an appropriate article. A much better title would be "Ohio Valley in the Ice Age" or "Canadian Shield in the Ice Age" that is based off of geographic distinctions instead of political ones. The only reason why political distinctions even remotely work in America is due to the relative stability of the governments in North America. In this case, I'm suggesting that even such stability in the organization of the governments of Idaho/Montana/Washington/Oregon territory (all covered what is today eastern Idaho briefly during the rough Civil War era) isn't even that precise and hard to pin down. --Robert Horning (talk) 16:43, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

"He wasn't even assigned to Idaho, but was instead stationed at Fort Douglas.... and his area of authority covered exclusively the Utah Territory. Idaho was out of his jurisdiction, and he thought he was in the Utah Territory up until he crossed the Bear River.." as a student of military history I would appreciate your source. In 1859, did the Humbolt, Bear River, and Wallen Expeditions have operational restrictions? Tinosa (talk) 03:17, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

A few different sources do come to mind. As for Conner thinking he was in the Utah territory, that can be verified by a map generated by the Cache County Clerk's office in the spring of 1863 that noted the location of the battlefield, and clearly labeled the south side of the Bear River as being in the Utah Territory and was explicitly noted as such on the map. In this section of the Bear River, it flows from east to west, and the north side was labeled "Washington Territory". So yeah, Conner thought that nearly his entire expedition was in the Utah Territory, of which his specific command was to cover the "Utah District". From this reckoning, the current location of the monument would have been on the Utah side of the river. This territory wasn't declared as a part of Idaho until a much later surveying team cleaned up the boundary between Idaho and Utah. For crying out loud, Franklin even voted in Utah elections and paid taxes to the Utah territorial legislature, as evidenced by results published by the Cache County Clerk as well.
There were other military units that operated in what is today the Idaho territory, including a modest writeup in the article about Fort Boise. They were under a completely different command and reported to the territorial governor of Washington, so yeah I'd say that they were a completely different jurisdiction. This isn't to say that such soldiers could and did go outside of their immediate area of authority, and being a frontier area that was ill defined it wasn't nearly so big of a deal.
As for the expeditions you mentioned above that took place in 1859, I'm sort of curious about some of them. Especially the "Bear River Expedition of 1859". Other than a passing reference to it in a list of military campaigns as published by the U.S. Army, I have yet to find any evidence that it ever happened at all... and I've looked deeply! I've contacted several professional military historians and have scoured several civil and military histories of Idaho, Montana, Utah, and even Nevada. None of them have any reference to any major military expedition beyond a small scouting party of perhaps a dozen solders at the most. I think in this case the 1859 expedition is a clerical mistake that has been perpetrated and in fact is the 1863 campaign of Conner that resulted in the Bear River Massacre... particularly because this 1863 expedition is not mentioned in official lists of campaigns.
As for the Humbolt and Wallen expeditions, that is something perhaps you could enlighten me on. I just don't know enough to respond in those cases, other than to note that California was the only actual state in that part of the country, and that the Department of the Pacific had general jurisdiction over activities in the western US during the era. Certainly commanding officers like Conner would go to where they were ordered... which in his case was Utah. --Robert Horning (talk) 16:43, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

More POV cleanup[edit]

I've heavily edited this article in an attempt to clean up the POV issues, rather than simply putting back the NPOV tag. I also removed the whole section about the role of Conner in Idaho, as he had essentially no role in what happened in Idaho until well after the U.S. Civil War.

As for removing the Bannock tribe reference from the article, there is no evidence that the Bannocks were even in Cache Valley during the events of the Bear River Massacre. They were of a completely different tribal background and in fact were more related to the Paiute rather than the Shoshone, and in fact spoke a completely different language of a different linguistic family... as different as the distinction between Chinese and English. That the Bannock tribe eventually did become strongly affiliated with the Shoshone is more of a modern occurrence and not something that was true in 1863.

One area of this article that could use some references and expansion is in reference to the establishment of Fort Boise. This was a very legitimate application of "Union soldiers" during the period of the U.S. Civil War that in fact did serve in Idaho and were assigned explicitly to work in this territory. One potential reference (included in the bibliography of the Bear River Massacre article) is "The Utter Disaster on the Oregon Trail: The Utter and Van Ornum Massacres of 1860" that goes into details about what triggered the establishment of this fort and other military posts in the Idaho territory. I haven't researched this particular issue in depth, but I'm quite certain there are other reference materials that could be applied here to note Idaho-related military actions during the U.S. Civil War.

As for the Shoshoni responsibility for the attacks against travelers on the Oregon Trail, there is reason to believe that a number of those attacks were "white men" dressed up as "indians" to provide an alibi and provide cover for what was criminal activity. Yeah, some clearly documented cases of Shoshoni attacks did happen that were even admitted to by the Shoshoni people, but that wasn't universally true. There were other tribal groups operating in the area as well, keeping in mind that nearly all of the native peoples of this area were nomadic hunter-gatherers. --Robert Horning (talk) 10:58, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Thanks! I can't say anything about its accuracy or neutrality (see previous section), but your edits certainly seem to be an improvement Joeblow179350 (talk) 13:58, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Request discussion to move to Idaho Territory in the American Civil War[edit]

The following discussion is an archived discussion of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on the talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.

The result of the proposal was no consensus. JPG-GR (talk) 03:06, 21 August 2008 (UTC)

I'm going to request we bring all these locality articles into one naming format per MOS. BusterD (talk) 20:13, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Should the Article "Idaho in the American Civil War" include only those events that occurred from March 4, 1863 (the date Idaho was declared a territory) through July 3, 1890 (the date Idaho was declared the 43'rd state of the Union)? I've found numerous articles describing the involvement of the US military in the Territories of Washington and Idaho from 1854 through 1890. I suggest that the Article "Idaho Territory in the American Civil War present FACTS. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Tinosa (talkcontribs) 21:52, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Aug 20,1854. Shoshone Indians attack, plunder, abuse, murder,and torture members of the Alexander Ward Party near Fort Boise.,[1]
Did this incident occur during the time period (A) Idaho (statehood) July, 3,1890 to present. (B) Idaho Territory. March 4, 1863 to July 3, 1890. (C) Washington Territory. Feburary 8, 1853 to March 4, 1863.Tinosa (talk) 02:45, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I certainly agree that events not specifically related to Idaho Territory AND the American Civil War should be given appropriate diminished weight or proportion. I see lots of cleanup in the last 24 hours which helps the article a bunch. BusterD (talk) 23:13, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
That's why it should be kept as is, without adding Territory. That way, if anyone wants to know more about the history of his state of Idaho, he looks at this. If you make it Territory, then you have the content issues of what to include. After all, you can duplicate a lot of info from the Montana article to Idaho, as it was part of the Idaho territory for a time. The rename just causes troubles that could be avoided.--King Bedford I Seek his grace 21:56, 15 August 2008 (UTC)
I strongly support the suggested move to Idaho Territory in the American Civil War, and the removal of coverage of events that occurred prior to the declaration of the Idaho Territory, which should be covered in the corresponding articles about the Utah Territory, etc. It seems to me absurd, to imply by article title and contents that the state of Idaho was involved in the American Civil War. Full disclosure: I also nominated Bedford's article Montana in the American Civil War for deletion, and it seems that I disagree with pretty much everything that Bedford ever does. In this case, despite his being a Civil War enthusiast and, apparently a history Ph.D. student, he is getting the Civil War basics wrong. I think it is embarassing for wikipedia to have this article as it currently stands. doncram (talk) 22:48, 15 August 2008 (UTC)

Support the move. Also the hook on DYK is very misleading. I do give credit. The hook is what got me to read the article. The "Cival War in Idaho" seems to imply that there was a civil war in Idaho. I followed the link thinking that maybe the Mormons and non-Mormons got into a scuffle over land and and religious freedom. Dincher (talk) 00:23, 16 August 2008 (UTC)

In the same vein, a DYK on the main page today, "... that the last Confederate general to surrender, Stand Watie, did so in Oklahoma?" (with link from Oklahoma to Indian Territory in the American Civil War, was similarly misleading. It appeared to link to Oklahoma, the state, but did not. And Oklahoma did not exist during the American Civil War. doncram (talk) 20:21, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
These DYK's seem to be worthy of an April Fools Day page, not a mid August page. Dincher (talk) 20:25, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
I'm beginning to be a bit more skeptical of the DYK process, since a few of the hooks drawn from these new articles have been a bit misleading, and pretty obviously so. I requested these "X in the ACW" articles myself on the American Civil War task force "to do" list, filling out state involvement redirects on the American Civil War template. I had no idea that they would be constructed so rapidly, and feel they're such new pagespace, they deserve some time for development. I'm concerned if any controversy has arisen because of my original good-faith housekeeping request. I had used Wikipedia:MOSPN#Place_names as the guiding principle for my move request. To quote the examples used in that guideline: "An article about Junipero Serra should say he lived in Alta Mexico not the U.S. state of California because the latter entity did not exist at the time of Junipero Serra. The Romans invaded Gaul, not France, and Thabo Mbeki is the president of the Republic of South Africa, not of the Cape Colony." During the timeperiod of the ACW, Idaho Territory was created; it didn't become a state until much later. That's my rationale for this and each move requested. BusterD (talk) 21:27, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
  • Oppose and Merge (presumably to Trans-Mississippi Theater of the American Civil War). This is exceptional in that Idaho did not exist in 1861. Since the only substantive occurence mentioned did not actually occur in the Territory, which would not exist for two months, it seems unhelpful to rename an article to make a definite anachronism out of a potential one. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 19:51, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Changing from supporting the move to merging as suggested above. Dincher (talk) 20:25, 16 August 2008 (UTC)
Trans-Mississippi is rather broad. If anything, if you want to do a merger do a Civil War in the Pacific Northwest, which would include Idaho, Washington, and Oregon. This makes for a good start for such an article.--King Bedford I Seek his grace 04:01, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

I just checked; there is a Pacific Coast Theater of the American Civil War article.--King Bedford I Seek his grace 04:12, 17 August 2008 (UTC)

The Park Service, as linked from that article, includes Bear Creek Massacre there. That's good enough if we want to do it that way, as long as we explain that the place is now in Idaho, which should take about three words. Septentrionalis PMAnderson 20:07, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
The fallacious article has no merit and should be immediately transferred to the WIKI Bit-Bucket.Tinosa (talk) 04:24, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
There were specific "military districts" in the Department of the Pacific in terms of how various elements of Union forces were organized during the era. As I mentioned above, Colonel (and eventually General) Conner was placed in command of the Utah military district. I really don't know how extensive these military districts were used, nor how fluid their boundaries were at the time, but there was an attempt at least to divide up the western US geographically in terms of who had various responsibilities for each area. If we could find out how these military districts were organized, that at least would give something of a reference in terms of how it could be further organized in terms of wikipedia pages. There is enough information in terms of citeable references that each "military district" could easily get its own wikipedia article. I see that there were a total of five different districts that were organized, which includes the district of Oregon that covers what is today Idaho. Would that be a reasonable compromise? --Robert Horning (talk) 16:56, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Do you mean to create 5 more wikipedia articles, for each district's involvement in the American Civil War? If so, I oppose. There is appropriate space in History of Idaho, etc. to carry any locally relevant info as part of local history articles. There is no need for further articles of the dubious formula GEOGRAPHICAL AREA x AMERICAN CIVIL WAR = notable. There is no problem with an American Civil War article being so long that it needs to be split out into portions; if there were, we should be talking about that article and how dividing it should be done (perhaps by some other division approach). doncram (talk) 19:44, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
Note here that in this is not just a geographical area, but individual specific military commands. While there may not be that much information at the moment on Wikipedia, there are resources available to easily get 32k+ of entertaining content about each of these different commands, what units served under them and when, as well as what notable actions happened in each of these districts. Keep in mind that these military districts were actually superior to regimental commands in the military heirarchy, and aren't Civil War-era regiments usually noteworthy by themselves? The eastern commands usually weren't organized in this fashion, as they usually didn't perform garrison duties such as was much more typical for the western commands. --Robert Horning (talk) 23:00, 17 August 2008 (UTC)
The above discussion is preserved as an archive of the proposal. Please do not modify it. Subsequent comments should be made in a new section on this talk page. No further edits should be made to this section.
  1. ^ http://www.homedaleschools.org/High_School/_owyhee_history_web/massacres_ward.htm