“The Government’s strategy was to put a Gentile in Utah’s executive office and to support him against a possible Mormon insurrection by a strong detachment of men, acting as posse comitatus. But this plan required that the governor accompany the soldiers to Utah. If the army should arrive first, without civil officers, the Mormons could with some reason claim that they were being invaded by a hostile force sent solely to destroy them, and war, not a pleasant possibility to Buchanan, might ensue. Therefore, final preparations for the campaign could not be made until the new governor had been appointed. The search for a candidate consumed precious weeks, since the job was not especially attractive. . . .
At last, in the second week of June, the Government found a suitable candidate in Alfred Cumming. Even he had refused the appointment at one time, but after a change of heart had come to Washington armed with the effective sponsorship of the omnipresent Thomas L. Kane. Yet Cumming’s initial acceptance was apparently conditional, for he journeyed to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, presumably to inspect their preparations for the campaign, before finally agreeing to take the position. Secretary of State Cass did not send him his commission until July 13, when the days were growing shorter and the nights a bit cooler in the country beyond South Pass.”