Some Mormons thought they were coming west to settle the Bear River Valley. They explored the mouth of the Bear in April 1848 in the Mud Hen, a fifteen-foot skiff built from fir planks and launched in the Jordan River at Salt Lake City. The next year, Howard Stansbury and John W. Gunnison, U.S. Topographical Engineers, took Albert Carrington and a crew of men on a circumnavigational expedition of the Great Salt Lake. Their craft was left high on a mud flat in the Bear River Bay when a sudden April snowstorm nearly took their lives. In 1863, during the Civil War, Colonel Patrick Connor took troops north from Salt Lake to Cache Valley in order to chastise some Bannock (Shoshone) Indians who had been raiding emigrant wagon trains. Connor surprised the Indians' winter encampment on the Bear River and killed 250 Indians in what has come to be viewed as a controversial and terrible action.