Patrick Edward Connor
Patrick Edward Connor was born in County Kerry, Ireland, March 17, 1820, and was brought to New York City as a child by his parents. He had little education and at the age of nineteen enlisted in the army. After service against the Seminoles and at various garrisons, he was discharged upon the expiration of his enlistment; in 1846 he went to Texas, where he enlisted in an independent company of Texas volunteers and was subsequently promoted to first lieutenant and later to captain. He participated in the battles of Palo Alto, Resaca de la Palma, and Buena Vista; resigned his commission May 24, 1847; and in 1849 went to Redwood City, California, where he engaged in mining. On September 4, 1861, Connor was appointed colonel of the 3rd California Infantry and assigned to command the District of Utah (which included what is now Nevada), with headquarters at Salt Lake City. Three miles east of Salt Lake City he established Fort Douglas, which earned him the enmity of the Mormons, whose antipathy for Connor was cordially reciprocated. The purpose of Connor's assignment was to keep the central mail road open to California, where it had been shifted after the southern route through Texas had been taken over by the Confederates. The major hazard, roaming bands of Bannocks, Shoshones, Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho, was successfully overcome by Connor and his small forces. His defeat of the Bannocks and Shoshones on Bear River, Idaho, won him the commission of brigadier general of volunteers to rank from March 30, 1863. At the end of the war he was brevetted major general. In August, 1865, he established Fort Connor (later Fort Reno) on the Powder River in Wyoming and won a substantial victory over the Arap-aho on the Tongue River. During the latter expedition, an alleged failure to concert his forces with those of two other columns marching from the Missouri resulted in their demoralization from defeat and privation and Connor's removal from command. Mustered out in 1866, he spent the remainder of his life in Salt Lake City, where he established the first daily newspaper in the state and industriously promoted the mining industry. He died in Salt Lake, December 17, 1891, and was buried in Fort Douglas Cemetery.
Reference: Generals in Blue. Lives of the Union Commanders by Ezra J. Warner. Louisiana State University Press. Baton Rouge.