1846 Battalion History

As the Mexican-American War began in 1846, members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints were preparing to leave the United States for their journey to the Salt Lake valley.

To aid General Kearny’s campaign to occupy “upper Mexico”, President Polk requested that the Mormons raise a battalion of 500 men to march to California.

Brigham Young and other church leaders were able to convince their people that this was the right thing to do even though it required about 1/4th of the able-bodied men.

The Battalion mustered into service at Council Bluffs, Iowa on July 16, 1846. Including stopovers, the Battalion took 194 days to march approximately 2,000 miles to San Diego. At the time, it was the longest infantry march of US military history.

After a year of service and many adventures, the Battalion was disbanded at Los Angeles, then returned to their families and helped settle the western states.

Books we recommend:

  • History May Be Searched In Vain: A Military History of the Mormon Battalion by Sherman Fleek, 2006; Arthur H. Clark Company: ISBN 0-87062-343-5
    This is an examination of the Battalion in light of how a military unit should  operate and be managed. It is perhaps the best contemporary analysis of the Battalion and includes recently discovered information about Doctor Sanderson.
  • The Mormon Battalion by Norma Baldwin Ricketts, 1996; Utah State University Press:
    ISBN 0-87421-215-4
    Arranged mostly as a chronological discussion of the Battalion and its’ divisions. Ricketts used the original journals to provide daily details of the march and what happened afterwards on their way home.
  • A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion by Daniel Tyler, 1881; 2000 printing by Archive Publishers: ISBN 1-930679-33-5
    Tyler was a member of the Battalion and though the language is typical for the late 1800’s, this was written by someone who was actually there.
  • A Historical Guide to the Mormon Battalion and Butterfield Trail by Dan Talbot, 1992; Westernlore Press:  ISBN 0-87026-083-9
    Using modern technologies, Talbot has provided ground truth evidence of the Battalion's route through Arizona and its subsequent use.  Also included is information about the Butterfield Stage Route.  Interesting historical information and photographs unavailable in any other book. 
  • Women of the Mormon Battalion compiled and edited by Carl V. Larson and Shirley N. Maynes, 1999.  The stories of women who hiked with their husbands on the Battalion Trail.  Order through the Mormon Battalion Association.
  • Five Hundred Wagons Stood Still, Mormon Battalion Wives by  Shirley N. Maynes, 1999; Corporate Edge Printing: ISBN 0-9676091-0-0                             

For more information, go to: www.mormonbattalion.com