🠈 Mormon Battalion 🠊
The "Mormon Battalion" was formed in 1846 after conflicts with Mexico over the annexation of Texas into the Union led to Mexican/American War of 1846-1848.
Prior to the formation of the battalion, Brigham Young had sent Elder Jesse C. Little to Washington, D.C. to seek assistance for a planned Westward migration of the Mormon Church. Little and an officer named Thomas L. Kane formed the idea of creating a battalion of 500 men to assist during the war.
Captain James Allen met Brigham Young at the Mosquito Creek camp near Council Bluffs where they organized a group that is reported to be from 534 to 559 men who then marched to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. The group included 33 women hired as "laundresses" and 51 children.
At Fort Leavenworth, the men received a year's pay and allotment for uniforms. Brigham Young sent Orson Pratt to collect the pay and used it to help fund the Mormon Migration to Utah.
Meanwhile James Allen was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel but became ill and passed away becoming the first soldier buried at Fort Leavenworth National Cemetery.
After two weeks of training the Battalion moved to join US troops who had captured Sante Fe, NM. At Santa Fe the women and children, along with a few men, left the Battalion to rejoin the main LDS migration to Utah.
A man named Lieutenant Colonel Philip St. George Cooke took command of the battalion. He and a guide name Jean Baptiste Charbonneau (the son of Sacagawea) led the Battalion on an epic march from Santa Fe through New Mexico and Arizona to San Diego.
The Battalion almost had a skirmish with a detachment of Mexican soldiers near Tucson and had a battle with a herd of wild cattle near the San Pedro River. Two men were wounded and estimated fifteen cows died in what is called "The Battle of the Bulls."
At San Diego, members of the Battalion helped in the transition from Mexican to American rule. Stephen Clark Foster, who marched with the Battalion from Sante Fe, became the first American mayor of Los Angeles.
Others, including Henry Bigler, joined James W. Marshall at Sutter's Mill where they witnessed the famous discovery of gold that spawned the California Gold Rush.
The bulk of the Battalion ventured on to Salt Lake City. Daniel Coon Davis settled in Farmington, Utah and became the name sake of Davis County.
Christopher Layton became a patriarch within the LDS Church. He had ten wives and helped found the towns of Kaysville and his namesake town of Layton, Utah.
Sadly many other members in the battalion were left destitute after the experience and died in obscurity.
While the Mormon Battalion is seen by many historians as one of the epic explorations of the Mountain West, many LDS historians point to the expedition as a sign of LDS persecution. 500 men were impressed by the US Army to fight a War with Mexico and did not receive compensation at the end of the quest.
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