The Echo Canyon Breastworks
The Echo Canyon Breastworks were constructed during the autumn of 1857 under the
direction of General Daniel H. Wells, commander of the Mormon Militia. They were set
atop high cliffs where they would provide the greatest strategic advantage against
possible attack by Johnston's Army during the Utah War (1857-58). This 2500-man force
was sent to the Territory by President James Buchanan to silence what was
preceived to be a rebellion by the Mormons.
The dry masonry walls, constructed of uncut stones, stacked in random courses without
mortar, were 1 to 2 feet above ground and 4 to 12 feet in length. These fortifications
stretched some 1.2 miles along the narrowest section of Echo Canyon. These Breastworks
were part of a larger defnsive network that included plans to dam the creek
to force the troops against the canyon wall where the breastworks are located, and
large trenches across the canyon to impede the passage of horses and men.
More than 1200 men worked together completing the Breastworks on the cliffs in the
matter of a few weeks. However, the peaceful resolution of the Utah War in the
early summer of 1858 rendered the fortifications unnecessary.
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