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. Not a state or territorial unit (for none would claim them), this volunteer unit was officially designated in U.S. Army records as the independent federal "Mormon Battalion, Army of the West, U.S. Army." (All other terminology is subsequent and incorrect.) During their single twelve month enlistment in the Mexican-American War, the Battalion established friendly relations with Native Americans and Spanish Americans wherever they went. Later, many of its veterans 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 , 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.
We have updated our website to include the following new features:
Quartermaster's Corner | Mormon Battalion Memorabilia - We have posted the revised requirements for our new Mormon Battalion Historic Trails Award, which was introduced at the 7-10 July 2016 Grand Encampment in in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Quartermaster's Corner | Membership Applications - Now, in addition to completing your Membership Application Form online, you can now pay your membership dues online via PayPal! You can also make separate - one time or recurring - tax-exempt donations to our 501(c)(3) non-profit organization!
History | Maps, Museums, Monuments and Markers - So far, we have posted 17 Detail Pages on our list of Monuments and Markers, and will continue as research permits. (We request your help in identifying missing markers and data about known markers, as well as better photographs and missing information.)
History | Images and Descriptions - We have added Maj Val John Halford's 24 page description of Mormon Battalion equipment published in 2004, plus a short illustrated summary of that document.
History | Bibliographies - We have added the first of seven bibliographies by Kevin Henson about the various Trail Segments of the Mormon Battalion Trail.
Publications | Mythperceptions - Our first Mythperception installment is from Tim Kimball, as reported in our February 2016 Minutes. We will continue adding short essays dispelling many of the numerous myths and misperceptions about the original Mormon Battalion.
Member Activities | Minutes - Be sure to keep up with our minutes, which are posted monthly. (We request your assistance in identifying and posting any minutes prior to 2004 back to the founding of the modern Battalion in the late 1940s.)
History | Original Muster Rolls - We will soon be adding searchable side by side digital images of all known original Muster Rolls from the one year period of their enlistment. We will post the image of a page on the left, with its transcription on the right. We will also be creating expanded versions of these Muster Rolls, to include all known accompanying regular army officers and enlisted men, scouts/guides, laundresses, family members, and camp followers.
History | Original Journals and Diaries - We will soon be adding searchable side by side digital images and transcriptions of all known journals and diaries of members of the Mormon Battalion during the one year period of their enlistment. We will post the image of a page on the left, with its transcription on the right.
History | Database - We will soon be adding a searchable version of Carl V. Larson's Database of the Mormon Battalion.
History | Annals of the Mormon Battalion - We will soon be adding a searchable version of Carl V. Larson's Annals of the Mormon Battalion.
History | Graves Memorialization - We will soon be adding a searchable version of Carl V. Larson's Identification and Memorialization List of the Men of the Mormon Battalion.
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.