On the morning of September 10th, 1846, the watchman in the tower of the temple gave notice that the enemy were coming 1,000 or 1,500 strong. They had cannon, plenty of ammunition, and came like an army ready for battle. Many of the new citizens fled, and the little band of defenders numbered only one hundred and twenty-three men.
Meanwhile, a committee had come from Quincy to try to settle the troubles without bloodshed. Although with them were Major Flood, sent by the governor, and Mr. Wood, mayor of Quincy, the mob paid no attention to them, and so they could do nothing.
There seemed no prospect but that the citizens would have to defend themselves as best they could. Benjamin Clifford took command of the volunteers, and Captain William Anderson organized a small body of sharpshooters called the Spartan Band. As cannon were badly needed, the brethren got two hollow steamboat shafts, cut them in two, plugged up one end, and thus made some cannon. They had no cannon balls, but they used scraps of iron and lead tied up into bags.
On Friday, the 11th, the mob drew up to the city and began firing. They were met by the “Mormon” troops with their home-made cannon, which surprised the mobbers very much, and they were compelled to stop their advance.
On Saturday, the 12th, a flag of truce was brought into the city, and with it a note to the commander at Nauvoo, stating that if they did not surrender they would have to take the consequences. Major Clifford replied that he had been sent by the governor to uphold the laws and that he was going to do it, advising Brockman to disband his men.
The Nauvoo citizens had held their position during the night and had thrown up some breastworks. The next day the battle waged fiercer than ever, but the Nauvoo boys held their ground and the mob could not get in. Twelve mobbers were wounded. The first one killed among the defenders was Augustus Anderson, a “Mormon” boy fourteen years old. He left his mother that morning saying he would fight for her, and went along with his father, Captain William Anderson. Augustus was struck by a cannon ball, and died in a few minutes. Shortly after Captain Anderson was also hit.
“I am wounded,” he cried. “Take my gun and shoot on.”
David Norris was also killed, and a number of other brethren wounded.
For six days that little band of brave defenders kept the mob at bay; and even when it was seen to be useless to keep the fight up longer, many were in favor of doing so.
On the 16th a treaty was made. The city was to surrender. The citizens were not to be molested, and the sick and helpless were to be protected. The “Mormons” were to leave as soon as possible.
The mob forces entered the city on the 17th; but it was the same old story. They thought no more of promises or of the treaty. Bands of men went through the city, stealing, insulting, and in every way abusing the people. A gang went through the temple and up to the tower where they rang the bell, yelled and shouted. A preacher who was in the mob went up to the top of the tower and cried in a loud voice: