However, throughout the winter of 1857-58, even though negotiations had begun, war still looked imminent. During this period, the Star
had urged that a second front be established using the
Salt Lake Road. To assist the military, on December 19, 1857, the paper published
a detailed description of the route, which was taken from notes made by freighter W. T. B. Sanford during an 1855 journey to Salt Lake City. In
its January 9th issue, the Star called for a speedy end to the rebellion by marching troops into Utah from California, and the following week
it quoted New York newspapers advocating the same strategy.
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Coincidentally, at the same time the Star was urging a western assault, the government sent
Lieutenant Joseph C. Ives,
in command of the steamer Explorer, to investigate the navigability of the
in order to determine whether an army, or at least military supplies, could reach Utah by this route. Just prior to Ives' expedition,
the privately-owned steamer General Jesup, with a squad of soldiers from Fort Yuma aboard, had made an exploratory trip up the river. Both
expeditions reported that Mormons had been amongst the
Mohaves, and had poisoned relations with the Indians,
who were already nervous about the white man and suspicious of his intentions.