Mormon Battalion and the Mexican War
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.
There are several ways you can research your ancestors participation in the Mormon Battalion. The data below provides assistance to online researchers. At this time I'm aware of a database of Selected Pension Applications as filmed by the National Archives and digitally published online by Footnote. I also provide two different manuscripts which detail the history of the Mormon Battalion. The Footnote database does cost money, while both books are free. It is the FootNote data however, which will likely provide the best information for your research.
Selected Pension Application Files for Members of the Mormon Battalion
The National Archives published in microfilm "Selected Pension Application Files for Members of the Mormon Battalion, Mexican War, 1846–48" which has been reproduced digitally online by FootNote. These films contain an alphabetical list of applications from veterans, widows, and dependents. Not all soldiers are included, and some files are not in order. They may show name, unit, rank, enlistment and discharge dates, disability, details of service, witness affidavits, marriage and family information.
This information provided is more then just a military record, but also a glimpse into the families of each soldier. Definitely a quality resource for those with ancestors who participated. There are records for 367 of the 500+ men that served in the
Temporarily unavailable. Should be back shortly after May 1 2010.
A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War. 1846-1847
Written by by Daniel Tyler, John Taylor, and Thomas Leiper Kane. This manuscript was written 37 years after the Mormon Battalion was sent to assist the United States in the Mexican War. It, in particular, provides a look into the reason the Mormon Battalion was created. In 1846 the United States Government enlisted 500 men of Mormon faith to assist the United States in taking "possession" of California. This manuscript takes the reader through the reasons for the battalion, their muster at Nauvoo, until the voluntary disbanding of the men six months later in San Francisco, over 2,000 miles from their point of origin.
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The Mormon Battalion: Its History and Achievements
By Brigham Henry Roberts. This manuscript was published in 1919, and is much shorter in length then the book above. It would serve well as a quick read of the battalion for study purposes, but lacks the names included in the previous volume mentioned by Daniel Tyler.
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The Mormon Battalion and its monument: A compilation of data for sculptors and architects
Published by order of the State of Utah Mormon Battalion Committee. Primarily the purpose of this brochure is to place in the hands of sculptors and architects such information as will give them, in condensed form, a sketch of the Battalion's story ; and what is even of greater importance, give to them the right viewpoint respecting the call and the service of this body of United States volunteers. There is scarcely an incident in the history of the United States concerning which there has been so much misconception as in respect of this Battalion. And now that the time has come for the perpetuation in some per-m.anent form a Memorial of this historical incident, it is im-portant that those who shall participate in designing in bronze or marble what shall symbolize the call, the march, and the achievements of the Battalion, do so from the right point of view. That, it is believed, will be obtained from the perusal of the articles herewith presented.
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