November 1857 Rockwell was involved in an attack on a half-dozen Californians
known as the Aiken party, who were attempting to reach U.S. troops wintering
at Fort Bridger. Twenty years later, Rockwell would be indicted on two
counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of John and William Aiken.
the spring of 1858, Brigham Young agreed to amnesty terms offered by
President Buchanan, and the Utah Expedition, commanded by Brigadier
General Albert Sidney Johnston, proceeded to establish Camp Floyd south
of Great Salt Lake City. After the outbreak of the Civil War, Colonel
P.E. Connor, who was ordered to Utah with the California Volunteers
to "protect the mails from Indian depredations," hired Rockwell as a
guide and scout for infantry and cavalry in an action against a band
of Shoshones at Bear River near present Preston, Idaho, in January 1863.