|John B. Floyd|
According to this interpretation, Floyd and his Southern sympathizers in Washington, traitors first and last, saw in an involvement of the United States with the Mormons an opportunity to advance their treasonable purposes. Fearing a Republican victory in the 1860 election, they were determined, it is postulated, to bankrupt the treasury by a costly expedition to Utah. This expenditure would leave the North financially incapable of opposing secession. Other investigators accused Secretary Floyd of scattering the nation's military forces, with the objective of leaving the North powerless to preserve the Union if pro-Union forces gained control of the Government. A Mormon publication accused Floyd of using the expedition to distract attention from his various nefarious schemes.
The reluctance to put down the rebellion with force and the peaceful settlement of the war might have energized the secessionist forces and encouraged them to pursue their initiative. At the least, the response of the Buchanan Administration to the Mormon Rebellion provided a preview of how the government would respond to the events in 1860 and 1861 including the seizure of Fort Sumter.
In March 1857, Floyd became Secretary of War in the cabinet of President James Buchanan, where his lack of administrative ability was soon apparent, including the poor execution of the Utah Expedition. In December 1860, on ascertaining that Floyd had honored heavy drafts made by government contractors in anticipation of their earnings, the president requested his resignation. Several days later Floyd was indicted for malversation (corruption) in office, although the indictment was overruled in 1861 on technical grounds. There is no proof that he profited by these irregular transactions; in fact, he went out of the office financially embarrassed.
Although he had openly opposed secession before the election of Abraham Lincoln, his conduct after the election, especially after his breach with Buchanan, fell under suspicion, and he was accused in the press of having sent large stores of government arms to Federal arsenals in the South in the anticipation of the Civil War.
After his resignation, a congressional commission in the summer and fall of 1861 investigated Floyd's actions as Secretary of War. All of his records of orders and shipments of arms from 1859 to 1860 were examined. It is recorded that in response to John Brown's raid on Harper's Ferry he bolstered the Federal arsenals in some Southern states by over 115,000 muskets and rifles in late 1859. He also ordered heavy ordnance to be shipped to the Federal forts in Galveston Harbor, Texas, and the new fort on Ship Island off the coast of Mississippi.
In the last days of his term, he apparently had an intention to send these heavy guns, but his orders were revoked by the president. During the year 1860, the Southern states actually received less than their full quota of arms and the heavy guns were a normal shipment required to complete the construction of Federal forts.
[Sources: Norman F. Furnis, The Mormon Conflict 1850-1859 and John B. Floyd, Wikipedia]