Military Service Records of LDS Men
This help section includes the history and records of several military
operations in which Latter Day Saint members were directly involved from
1834-1848. Evidence that a Latter-day Saint actually served may be found in
family traditions, census records, naturalization records, biographies,
cemetery records, and records of veterans’ organizations. Your ancestors will
be more interesting if you learn about their military service and the history
of their units. Military records can also give birth dates, marriage dates,
death dates, spouse and children’s names, and localities of residence
throughout the life of the family.
Zion’s Camp (1834)
This Company was organized in Kirtland on the 7th of May, and as "Zion's
Camp" took up their march westward, where they were to assist the persecuted
saints in Missouri. They numbered 130 men, among whom were many leading
elders. This little army was divided into companies of twelve men, each
company choosing its own officer. By the time the camp reached Missouri its
numbers had increased to 205. The following histories discuss this effort:
- Green, John P. Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons or Latter
Day Saints from the State of Missouri Under the "Exterminating Order." 1833.
This work gives a positive account of Zion’s Camp. It also includes
transcripts of addresses, reports, acts, and newspaper articles about the
expulsion from Missouri.
- Jensen, Andrew. The Historical Record, 1887-1888, Published in One
Volume. Pgs 577-591 depicts the history of Zion's Camp, while page 940
provides a roster of the known men who participated in this camp.
- Launius, Roger D. Zion’s Camp: Expedition to Missouri, 1834.
Independence, Mo.: Herald, 1984. This book has chapter notes and
bibliographical references. An index is also included.
- Stenhouse, T. B. H. The Rocky Mountain saints: a full and complete
history of the Mormons, from the first vision of Joseph Smith to the last
courtship of Brigham Young ... and the development of the great mineral
wealth of the territory of Utah; published by New York, D. Appleton and Co.,
Mormon War in Missouri (1838)
The Mormon War is a name sometimes given to the 1838 conflict which
occurred between Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and their neighbors in the
northwestern region of the U.S. state of Missouri. The specific dates of the
war are from August 6, 1838 (the Gallatin election battle) to November 1, 1838
when Joseph Smith surrendered at Far West. During the conflict 22 people were
killed (3 Mormons and 1 non-Mormon at Crooked River and 18 Mormons at Haun’s
- Johnson, Clark V., ed. Mormon Redress Petitions: Documents of the
1833–1838 Missouri Conflict. Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham
Young University, 1992. Includes indexes. This book contains affidavits,
petitions, letters, and other documents concerning early Church members’
redress for Missouri losses.
- LeSueur, Stephen C. The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri. Columbia, Mo.:
University of Missouri Press, 1987. Includes index and bibliography. This is
indexed in the Early Church Information File. This is mostly a history with
some names of prominent individuals.
- Missouri. State Archives. Mormon Papers, 1838–1842. Jefferson City, Mo.:
State of Missouri, 1972. Includes the unindexed affidavits of the Mormon War
payroll of Missouri men and soldiers.
Nauvoo Legion and the Mormon War in Illinois (1840–1846)
In 1840 the Illinois Legislature authorized the Nauvoo City Council to
establish a militia. The officers were commissioned by the governor, and the
members were required to do the same amount of military duty as the regular
state militia. In 1844 the Nauvoo Legion numbered about 5,000 men. The
organization was disbanded in 1846, when the Mormon Battalion was created, and
was reorganized in Utah in 1852. For a history see:
- Young, Robert W. "The Nauvoo Legion" Parts 1–12. The Contributor:
Representing the Young Men’s and Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement
Association of the Latter-day Saints 9, nos.1–12 (November 1887– October
1888): 1–8, 41–49, 81–89, 121–27, 161–68, 201–12, 241–51, 281–86, 321–32,
361–73, 401–13, 441–54. This is a historical account of the Nauvoo Legion in
Illinois and Utah from 1840 to 1887.
For records see:
- Illinois. General Assembly. Miscellaneous Petitions, 1839–1853. Salt
Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1975. This record includes claims
against the state for supplies furnished in the Mormon War at Nauvoo. It
shows names and the amount they claimed for payment.
- Platt, Lyman De. Commission Records, Illinois State Militia, 1834–1855.
Typescript, [1973?] This book contains commission records for the Nauvoo
Legion. It shows name, date of commission, rank, company, and the date of
rank of about 450 men.
Mormon Battalion and the Mexican War (1846–1848)
In July 1846 the Mormon Battalion volunteers were officially organized at
Council Bluffs, Iowa, to reinforce the United States Army in California during
the Mexican War. The battalion consisted of five companies who enlisted for
one year. Due to illness, about a third of the battalion did not complete the
two-thousand-mile march but were sent to Pueblo, Colorado. The remaining
members arrived in California in January 1847. They served in San Diego and
Los Angeles. At the end of the one year, the army tried to reenlist all of the
members, but only one company was organized in Los Angeles on 20 July 1847.
This company only served for six months. After they were discharged, most
battalion members went to Utah.
For rosters and biographies of members and their families see:
- Black, Susan Ward Easton. Members of the Mormon Battalion: A
Sesquicentennial Remembrance. N.p., [1981?]. Alphabetical listing of members
with birth, marriage, death, and rank. It includes a bibliography with 22
sources. This is included in the LDS Family History Suite 2.
- Carlsen, Ardath. Return List of the Mormon Battalion, July 1846. N.p.,
1986. This record lists name, rank, birthplace, birth date, number in
family, wife’s name, gear and livestock, where family was located on the
trail, wishes concerning his family, and wages of each volunteer in
companies A and B of the Mormon Battalion.
- Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Camp of Israel (Iowa).
Return List of Company A, and Company B of the Mormon Battalion to Council
Bluffs, 16 July 1846. Included with Record of the Organization of the Camp
of Israel.... Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954. This is
alphabetical within each company and rank.
- Larson, Carl V. Database of the Mormon Battalion: an Identification of
The Original Members of the Mormon Battalion. 2nd ed. Salt Lake City: U.S.
Mormon Battalion, 1997. Alphabetical listing of members including grave
location, federal and state sources, biographical references, vital
statistics, and genealogy. Includes index. The 1987 edition is indexed in
the Early Church Information File.
- Larson, Carl V. The Women of the Mormon Battalion. [Smithfield, Utah]:
C.V. Larson, 1989. This book may list birth, marriage, death, a biographical
sketch, and sources on the wives of the men in the Mormon Battalion. It is
alphabetical by surname.
- United States. Bureau of Pensions.
Application Files for Members of the Morman [sic] Battalion, Mexican War,
1846–48. National Archives Microfilm Publications, T1196. Washington
D.C.: National Archives and Record Service, 1934.
- United States. Record and Pension Office. Compiled Service Records of
Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War in Mormon
Organizations. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0351. Washington,
D.C.: National Archives, 1961. These alphabetically compiled service records
usually include the soldier’s name, rank, dates of enlistment and service,
and the unit in which he served. It often contains abstracts of entries
relating to the soldier as found in the original muster rolls and returns.
Cross references were included for each soldier’s name that appear with more
than one spelling.
For more records about the Mormon Battalion see: