Original Muster Rolls

 

18460831 Muster Roll of Company C - Council Grove - Page 1 of 2 - MS 9125_f0001_00001.jpgIn the 1840s, the U.S. Army measured the strength and readiness of its units through bimonthly Muster Rolls of its personnel.  Five copies of each of these very detailed map-sized "spread sheets" were created and distributed to:

1st Copy.    The Paymaster, from which he paid the soldiers.  He then forwarded his copy to the Paymaster General of the War Department (U.S. Army).

2nd Copy.    The company commander for his records.

3rd Copy.    The parent battalion Adjutant and Sergeant Major for their records.

4th Copy.    The parent geographical division headquarters. They forwarded this copy to the Adjutant General of the War Department.

5th Copy.    The second auditors copy, which was forwarded to the Records Division of the Auditor of the War Department.

Tracing the changes in positions, roles, and duties of various individuals in and associated with the Mormon Battalion through these "snapshot in time" documents is invaluable to historical analysis of the Mormon Battalion.   We are in the process of obtaining digital images of the following original Muster Rolls from the one year enlistment of the Battalion.  Once acquired, we will transcribe them and display the actual documents on the left with the transcriptions on the right.

16 July 1846 Initial Muster Rolls at Taylor-Pratt Hill near Missouri River, Iowa Territory
31 August 1846 Muster Rolls at Council Grove (near Diamond Spring), Indian Territory
31 October 1846 Muster Rolls at Soccoro, New Mexico Territory and Pueblo, Indian Territory
31 December 1846 Muster Rolls "Near Colorado River" at Maxwell Point on Gila River, California Territory and Pueblo, Indian Territory
28 February 1847 Muster Rolls at San Luis Rey, California Territory and Pueblo, Indian Territory
30 April 1847 Muster Rolls at Los Angeles and San Diego, California Territory
30 June 1847 Muster Rolls at Los Angeles and San Diego, California Territory
16 July 1847 Final Muster Rolls at Los Angeles, California Territory and Pueblo, Indian Territory

Please note that no Muster Roll was required of a detachment.  The detachment's men were reported on their parent company's muster roll as "detached by order xx, dated whenever, signed by the commander, at whatever place."  However, Cpt Brown created two Muster Rolls of those under his command at Pueblo, actually men from all five companies, an expedient but not regulation step.  These men were not returning to their companies for any more musters or paydays, and something had to be done.  These men were also properly reported by their parent companies, though shown as detached (not present).  We presume that their final payroll was created in California when Cpt Brown arrived from Salt Lake to claim their pay later in the year.  It is presumed that five copies of these documents were generated and submitted according to regulation.

The Kearny Escort got paid at Fort Leavenworth in August 1847, but were shown on their parent company's final 16 July 1847 Muster Roll as detached, not paid. 

No Muster Roll was required of the Cajon Pass Detachment, as they were reported by their parent company on 30 April 1847 as detached.  They were mustered with their assigned companies at the final 16 July 1947 mustering.

Only recently have we come to understand how and why the state of Iowa came to hold duplicate copies of the Mormon Battalion Muster RollsIt is both serendipitous and fortunate that Iowa officials blindly accepted the false premises of their military historian Harvey Reid, expending considerable effort and funds to recover Mormon Battalion records between 1907 and 1911!  (See Annotated References.)  In 1907, Reid and his superiors made repeated requests to U.S. Army Adjutant General Frederick Crayton Ainsworth for copies of the Mormon Battalion Muster Rolls (from which his Pension Examination Clerks had created the Mormon Battalion CMSRs in 1894), but were rebuffed each time.  A careful reading of the Explanatory Introduction to Volume 6 of their official history reveals that, after numerous rebuffs from Ainsworth, the Iowa military historians found the 5th Copy of the information in the Records Division of the Auditor of the War Department:

"It was subsequently learned, however, that duplicate records [the 5th Copy] were on file in the office of the Auditor of the War Department, and that it was possible to obtain corrected records from that office.  Adjutant General Thrift then made a trip to Washington and succeeded in making an arrangement with Madison Whipple, Chief of the Records Division in the Auditor's office, by which the State of Iowa was finally enabled to secure such completion of records as could be obtained there.  The information could only be obtained, however, by the payment of a stipulated amount –  five hundred dollars – to Mr. Whipple and other clerks in that office, who performed the work of searching the records after office hours.   In addition to this stipulated sum, a considerable amount was paid these same clerks for transcripts of Mexican War Rosters of Iowa soldiers.  While this information was of a semi-official character, it is believed to be reliable, as Mr. Whipple and his co-workers were highly recommended as men of honor and integrity, and thoroughly familiar with the records.  They had furnished similar information for New York and other States, and such corrections of records as they were able to supply may, therefore, be regarded as being as nearly officially reliable as it was possible to obtain.  The continued refusal of [Adjutant General Ainsworth’s division of] the War Department, to allow the States which furnished the troops to save the Republic access to their own records for historical purposes, can only be regarded as arbitrary and unjust.  It will be seen, however, that ever effort was exhausted to overcome the difficulty, and it is a reasonable presumption that the records of Iowa soldiers, shown in the pages of this work, are as nearly correct as those of any State that has published a similar work, all the information having been derived from the same source."

The Explanatory Introduction also provides an explanation of why only a condensed version of Harvey Reid's manuscript Early Military History of Iowa was included in the official history published by the state:

"When the manuscript embracing the early military history of the State -- prepared by the late Harvey Reid -- was submitted to Adjutant General Logan, it was found to be so voluminous, and so much in the nature of a narrative that, to publish it in its entirety, would vary materially have changed the general plan of this work and largely increased its cost to the State.  General Logan, therefore, considered it his duty to exercise his prerogative, in directing the condensation of the early history, in order to make it conform as nearly as possible to the general plan and character of this work.  In undertaking the task of condensation, the compiler has endeavored to preserve the most important features of Mr. Reid's work, eliminating only those particularities of detailed description, and those extended biographical sketches, which constitute a considerable portion of the original manuscript.  (Note:  Mr. Reid's manuscript has been carefully preserved, with the purpose of securing its publication in a separate volume, by the Curator of the State Historical Department, or by the Superintendent of the State Historical Society.  It contains a large amount of valuable historical matter not intimately connected with the early military history of the State and therefore is not included in this volume.)"

We are also in the process of obtaining and transcribing digital images of the following original Muster Rolls from the six month reenlistment of the Captain Davis' Company A:

16 July 1847 initial Muster Rolls at Los Angeles, California Territory
31 August 1847 Muster Rolls at Los Angeles, California Territory
31 October 1847 Muster Rolls at Los Angeles, California Territory
31 December 1847 Muster Rolls at Los Angeles, California Territory
28 February 1847 Muster Rolls at Los Angeles, California Territory
14 March 1847 final Muster Rolls at Los Angeles, California Territory

 

18460716 LDS Return List for Company A - p 1 MS 5928 scan 14 and 15.jpg

And we are in the process of obtaining and transcribing digital images of the original LDS Return Lists compiled during the initial enlistment mustering on 16 July 1846.  These lists contain the soldier's name, his spouse's name, birthdate and place, the number of dependants he had including spouse and children, how many wagons and animals he had, where his family was expected to be during his enlistment, and how much money he wished to send back to support his family and the Church.  The Return Lists of Companies C, D, and E have not been found.

LDS Return List of Company A, Mormon Battalion, Council Bluff, July 16, 1846 at Taylor-Pratt Hill near Missouri River, Iowa Territory
LDS Return List of Company B, Mormon Battalion, Council Bluff, July 16, 1846 at Taylor-Pratt Hill near Missouri River, Iowa Territory