Marcus de Lafayette Simpson was born August 28, 1824 in Esperance, Schoharie County, New York. He graduated from West Point Military Academy in 1846 and the following year served in the Mexican War. In 1847 for his service in the Mexican War he was brevetted 1st lieutenant for gallant and meritorious conduct at the Battles of Contreras and Churubusco, and later promoted to the rank of captain for his role at the Battle of Chapultepec. From 1848 to 1858 he served as quartermaster at various posts in the Midwest and West and also fought in the Indian Wars. From April to September of 1858 Simpson was stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas the staging ground for the Utah War.>
The Utah War was a nineteenth-century armed conflict between Mormon settlers in Utah Territory and the United States federal government. From 1857 to 1858, settlers and the US government battled for hegemony over the culture and government of the territory. On September 18, 1857 Col. Johnston departed from Fort Leavenworth with troops in route for Utah. While in route Johnston’s party was attacked by the Nauvoo Legion (the Mormon militia) which left fifty-two US Army provision wagons destroyed, ultimately halting the military’s advance until the following spring. After winter had sufficiently passed, on March 23, 1858 Brigham Young implemented a scorched earth policy and all faithful Mormons were ordered to move south to Provo, Utah and to prepare their homes in Salt Lake City for burning. On April 12, 1858 the US Army arrived in Salt Lake City and Brigham Young surrendered the title of governor to Alfred Cumming. For the next year military food and supplies were sent from Fort Leavenworth, under the management of Simpson, to the Utah Territory for the occupying US Army soldiers.
The following year Simpson was transferred and worked until 1861 as an assistant in the Office of the Commissary-general, acting as chief commissary of the Department of the Pacific. During the Civil War Simpson served in the Commissary-General’s Office and was later brevetted major-general on March 13, 1865. From 1867 to 1873 he was employed as chief commissary of subsistence of the Division of the Pacific and from 1874 to 1879 he worked for the Division of the Atlantic. From 1879 until his retirement in 1888 he worked at the Division of the Missouri, at Chicago. Simpson died in 1909.
Boatner, Mark Mayo, The Civil War Dictionary, David McKay Company Inc., New York, 1987, p. 763
Wikipedia.org, May 4, 2006
This collection consists of Marcus de Lafayette Simpson’s correspondence while stationed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas during 1858. His correspondence is contained in a record ledger which spans April to September and consists of approximately one-hundred letters which discuss troop and supply movements between Fort Leavenworth, the Utah Territory, and the surrounding area. His letters also discuss conditions at Fort Leavenworth, the Utah War, Mormons, Native American Indian relations, and other similar topics. In July of 1858 Simpson traveled to Salt Lake City on official business with a supply train, where he stayed for the period of one week.
This collection also contains an 1860 government publication entitled Statistical Report on the Sickness and Mortality in the United States Army, which discusses conditions at Fort Leavenworth (pages 93-96), troops in the Utah Territory (281-328), and general conditions in the area.
It is the responsibility of the researcher to obtain any necessary copyright clearances.
Permission to publish material from the Marcus de Lafayette Simpson Correspondence must be obtained from the Special Collections Manuscript Curator and/or the Special Collections Department Head.
Initial Citation: Marcus de Lafayette Simpson Correspondence USU_CAINE MSS 32, Box [ ]. Special Collections and Archives. Utah State University Merrill-Cazier Library. Logan, Utah.
Following Citations:USU_CAINE MSS 32, USUSCA.
Container(s): Box 1
Item 2: Compiled by Coolidge, Richard H., Statistical Report on the Sickness and Mortality in the United States Army, George W. Bowman Publishing, Washington DC