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The Mormon Battalion Association™

Welcome to the official website of the Mormon Battalion Association,™ formerly known as the U.S. Mormon Battalion, Inc.™ 

We emulate the only unit in American military history bearing a religious title and being comprised entirely of recruits from a single religion.  This unit's members had every reason to be conscientious objectors.  They were outcasts, part of a 10,000 member Christian religion which had just been expelled from their homes by Illinois mobs and militia mid-winter into the wilds of Iowa Terrritory with only what they could carry or put in a wagon.  These able pioneers were desperately needed by their impoverished sect in its forced exodus out of the United States into the high deserts of the Mexican Alta California.  Yet these expatriots still loyally answered the call to serve the country which had just "ethnically cleansed" them. This unit was unique in two other ways:  It was not a state or territorial militia (for none would claim them), but a federal infantry battalion recruited by President Polk himself.  And it had no parent regiment, but was assigned directly to the Army of the West.  Official U.S. Army records simply referred to it as the "Mormon Battalion, Army of the West, U.S. Army."  (All other terminology is subsequent and incorrect.)  During it's single twelve month enlistment during the Mexican-American War, these humble soldiers became what we would today call a public affairs pacification unit, unselfishly serving and establishing friendly relations with Native and Spanish Americans wherever they went.  Later, many of its veteran frontiersmen were instrumental in guiding "greenhorns" from the East and Europe in establishing Mormon settlements all over the Mountain West.

The Association was established in the late 1940s when LDS President David O. McKay asked his Huntsville neighbor and personal friend, Fred M. Reese, to form a quasi-military organization to help fulfill prophecy. 

SGT William Hyde recorded a prophecy in the 19 July 1846 entry in his journal, stating that Apostles Brigham Young, Heber C. Kimball, Parley P. Pratt, Willard Richards, John Taylor, and Wilford Woodruff gave a last charge and blessing to the officers and NCOs of the Battalion before their departure that "our names [would] be held in honorable remembrance to all generations."  (William Hyde, The Private Journal of William Hyde, Part 2 [1846-48], p. 16. http://penelope.uchicago.edu/Thayer/E/Gazetteer/People/William_Hyde/Journal/2*.html#18May46.)

President Brigham Young enlarged upon that prophecy eight years later at the first reunion of the Mormon Battalion on 6 February 1855:

The Mormon Battalion will be held in honorable remembrance to the latest generation; and I will prophesy that the children of those who have been in the army, in defence [sic defense] of their country, will grow up and bless their fathers for what they did at that time.  And men and nations will yet rise up and bless the men who went in that Battalion. ...As the Lord lives, ...you will never be forgotten, worlds without end, but you will be had in honorable remembrance, for ever and ever.  (Report of the First General Festival of the Reknowned Mormon Battalion, Which Came Off on Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 6 and 7, 1855, in the Social Hall, G.S.L City, reported by J. V. Long, reported by T. S. Williams, Deseret New Office [1855], p 17.  Copy in Historian’s Office Library, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Vault P, M273.42, R-425, 1855. https://ia800500.us.archive.org/14/items/reportoffirstgen00unse/reportoffirstgen00unse.pdf.)

The Mormon Battalion Association™ is neither a religious organization nor a military unit, but a nondenominational non-profit quasi-military service organization striving to match the dedication and community service of the original 1846-47 volunteer militia infantry battalion.  Similar to other military heritage and service organizations, we combine the best features of the unit we emulate with those of a non-profit service organization.  One does not have to be a descendant of the original Mormon Battalion, or a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the “Mormons”) from which it was drawn to belong to the modern Mormon Battalion Association.™   Membership is open to patriotic individuals, families, and organizations of good will – regardless of gender, race, creed, religion, national origin, or heritage – who wish to unite in emulating the unselfish service they gave their communities, nation, and fellow mankind wherever they went.  We are building a new legacy for citizens of all ages, faiths, and national origins can learn, emulate, and apply the heritage and experience of the Mormon Battalion to their current lives through service to humanity.

Recent Updates:

Due to the recent move of our Battalion Commander from Lehi to Orem, Utah, we have changed our mailing address and cancelled our September and October meetings.  In the process of unpacking, he has been combing through all of the documents and materials he inherited from Maj Donald Schurtz, our long time Battalion Quartermaster.  Things he has discovered to date:

  • Two bricks recovered from San Diego wells dug in 1847 by original members of the Mormon Battalion.  A third brick is on display in our Museum at This Is the Place Heritage Park.

  • A hardcopy of the 80 page Modern Day Trek of the Mormon Battalion:  Story and Pictures of the Caravan Trip During the Week of March 13-19th, 1950, which led to the 1954 formal organization and assimilation of the U.S. Mormon Battalion into the Sons of Utah Pioneers for several years.

  • Membership records dating back to 1954,

  • Financial records, including company reports, dating back to 1960,

  • Pictures of several past Battalion Commanders.  We will scan and post them on our website,

  • Original copies of the 1969 dedicatory program of Edward Fraughton's Mormon Battalion Soldier statue in Presidio Park, San Diego.  With his permission, we use a photograph of that statue as our logo.

  • An undated letter from Roger K. Moreau providing instructions and pricing for his original 1996 Mark 1 version of our Mormon Battalion Eagle Slide.

  • Handwritten receipts from Maj Schurtz for Mormon Battalion Eagle Scout Neckerchief slides dating back to Number 1687 on 26 October 2000.  We had presumed all of his records were lost when he became unable to recover his log from his computer prior to his death.

  • 161 copies of the 1996 sixth and 2000 seventh editions of Sgt Daniel Tyler's A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War:  1846-48.

  • Five copies and the original proof of Shirley Maynes' Five Hundred Wagons Stood Still:  Mormon Battalion Wives.

And during a two week visit to the National Archives in Washington, DC, Jill Crandall, the BYU Director of the Center for Family History & Genealogy, our own Maj Laura Anderson, Senior Historian, and Ltc Max Jamison, Battalion Commander, initiated the monumental task of digitizing well over 2,000 primary documents associated with Land Warranties granted to members, widows, and descendants of the Mormon Battalion.  The task is about half done, and we need lots of help in identifying, imaging, cataloging, and transcribing these documents so that we can post them on our website for family history researchers and historians.  These documents are a treasure, many providing personal handwritten rehearsal of birth, marriage, residence, family, and death information by Battalion members and their families.  Almost all of the documents have not been touched since they were submitted over 160 years ago.

We have updated our website to include the following new features:

  • Member Activities | Minutes - We just posted our 19 August Minutes.  Be sure to keep up with our minutes, which are posted monthly.

  • Member Activities | Minutes - We just posted an Agenda from 1997.

  • Publications | The Valiant Newsletter - We just posted issues of The Valiant from 1998.

Coming Soon:

  • New Shoulder Patches and Bolo Slide - In our 18 November Leadership Meeting, our Battalion Commander and Command Sergeant Major will submit designs to replace our obsolete and inaccurate "U.S. Mormon Battalion" and "Utah Division" shoulder patches with new universal "Mormon Battalion Association" and "Mormon Battalion Historic Trails" shoulder patches.  All members who have submitted signed copies of our Membership Form will receive free copies of these patches and our Ruby Red lapel pin.  They will also be submitting the design for a proposed new colored ceramic "Mormon Battalion Association" bolo slide.  Make sure to attend our 18 November Leadership Meeting for details.

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Header Photo:  Foothills of the Rockies, East of Springer, NM (approx. 36.2911 N, 104.460 W), taken by Kevin Henson – The Canadian (Red) River lies just behind (west) of the mesa.