Battalion members carried on various duties, including garrison duty in California and helping to build forts, courthouses, and houses in California. Members of Company A of the Battalion were responsible for opening the first wagon route from California to Utah in 1848. Members of the Battalion were mustered out on July 1847 in California.
The men of the Battalion marched over 2,000 miles, one of the longest military marches in history. They marched from Council Bluffs, Iowa to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. Then from Santa Fe, New Mexico they marched to San Diego, California.
Mormon men were not the only participants in the Battalion, some wives and over 50 children were also part of the makeup of this group.
A web site dedicated to the Mormon Battalion can be found at http://www.mormonbattalion.com/. At this web site you will find a roster of those men who served in the Battalion, as well as the wives and children who went with the group. This site also includes pictures of Battalion soldiers, provided by their descendents. A list of links includes histories of the Battalion and individual histories of some of the men who served in this group. These individual histories may include pictures and scans of important documents regarding the person. In addition, the Mormon Battalion Visitor's Center in San Diego, California, is a place to learn more about this group and the sacrifices they made.
In the LDS Family History Library Catalogue, a keyword search on the phrase "Mormon Battalion" provides 115 matching records including, "Complied Service Records of volunteer soldiers who served during the Mexican War in Mormon organization." Lists of Mormon Battalion soldiers, as well as various histories are available through the Family History Library. Histories available through the Family History Library include those of the women involved in the battalion.
If your ancestor served in any branch of service during the Mexican War, you may be interested in the web site, Descendents of Mexican War Veterans at http://www.dmwv.org/mwvets/howto.htm. According to that web site, over 100,000 American men served in that war, with 75,000 of those serving in volunteer organizations. Ten thousand of the men who served died during the war, the majority of disease. This web site not only explains how to research your Mexican War veterans but also provides links to online rosters.
Some books that will assist you in researching your Mormon Battalion ancestors are The Mormon Battalion: U.S. Army of the West , 1846-1847 by Norma Baldwin Ricketts (ISBN: 0874212154); Army of Israel: Mormon Battalion Narratives by David L. Bigler and Will Bagley (ISBN: 0874212944); and A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War 1846-1847 by Daniel Tyler (ISBN: 1428622020).
Two groups that may have a history of your Mormon Battalion ancestor are the Sons of Utah Pioneers, located on the web at http://www.sonsofutahpioneers.org/ and the International Society Daughters of the Utah Pioneers, http://www.dupinternational.org/. The Daughters of the Utah Pioneers have an online index of histories that have been provided to them on pioneers to the Utah Valley. From their home page, click on the link for the history department and then utilize their history card index to see if your pioneer's biography is represented. For a fee, DUP will send you a copy of this biography.
Source Information: GenWeekly, New Providence, NJ, USA: Genealogy Today LLC, 2006.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Genealogy Today LLC.
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