Concerning the Battle of Crooked River, there is never a right side in a battle/war where the results are death.Likewise, at the beginning of the Battle of Crooked River on 25 October 1838,
But historians pro and con do agree in general that the Battle of Crooked River happened because of the following summation...
The Battle of Crooked River followed soon after the forced removal of several hundred Latter-day Saints from De Witt in Carroll County, which occurred during the first part of October 1838. This expulsion marked essentially the third time a group of Latter-day Saints had been forced from their homes and lands in the state. The first forced exodus was from Jackson County in 1833, and the second was the politically negotiated removal from Clay and Ray counties to the newly created "Mormon" Caldwell County in 1836. Following the dislocation of the De Witt Saints, Missouri assailants continued to extend their threats against Latter-day Saints residing in Daviess County. But on this occasion. Church leaders decided to take decisive action to disperse their antagonists by removing the remaining handful of non-Mormons who continued to reside in Mormon-dominated Daviess County. They justified such aggressive actions because they clearly felt they had been pushed around long enough, and if they were forced to leave Carroll County, they should be entitled to occupy both Caldwell and Daviess counties exclusively.
The immediate events surrounding the Battle of Crooked River essentially began on 23 October, when Reverend Samuel Bogart wrote a letter to Major General David R. Atchison, supreme commander of the state militia in northwestern Missouri. That letter informed Atchison that Bogart and his Ray County troops would patrol the line between Ray and Caldwell counties because "The Mormons have burnt Gallatin and Mill Port, and have ravaged Daviess county... and they have threatened to burn Buncombe and Elk Horn and have been seen near and on the line between Ray and Caldwell." [Alex L. Baugh, "The Batle Between Mormon and Missouri Militia," Arnold Garr and Clark Johnson, eds., BYU Regional Studies in Latter-day Saint Church History, Missouri (Provo, UT: Department of Church History and Doctrine, BYU University, 1994), 85-86].