Lot Smith and Simpson’s Hollow

Very shortly, but farther west on the trail, the Mormon captain Lot Smith met an unguarded supply train, confiscated all its freight, and turned it back toward Fort Laramie. That same evening, with only twenty-four men, Smith stopped two other trains totaling seventy-four wagons and burned them down to the irons. The animals he took, the drivers he started back on the trail. They might have died, but fortunately made it through. Even if they hadn’t, Lot Smith would probably have remained the mythic hero, the cross between Robin Hood and Judas Maccabeus, that his people immediately made him into. With only a small band of riders, he stopped the United States Army in its own milling footprints. Caught at the edge of winter without supplies, unable to get any adequate information on Mormon fortifications or strength, Colonel Alexander tried to take his command through to Fon Hall, but ran into a terrible blizzard that drove him back to the ruins of Fon Bridger. That was where he was when Col. Albert Sydney Johnston came out to take over the command.