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In 1846 Mormon families were strewn across Iowa having fled from persecution in Illinois. Preparing to
move west to the Rocky Mountains.


In July 1846, Army Dragoon Captain James Allen rode into the Mormon refugee camps at Mt. Pisgah, Iowa Territory.

Capt. Allen had presidential orders from Col. Stephen Watts Kearny, Commander of the Army of the West, to enlist 500 able-bodied Mormon men for one year volunteer enlistment into the Army for
the war with Mexico. Families initially declined the offer.


Mormon leader, Brigham Young, recognized the Lord’s hand in the request. Army pay and uniform
allowance would provide funds for supplies, wagons, medicines for the westward trek to the Salt Lake valley.


Army service would further demonstrate Mormon loyalty to the U.S. government.

Within 3 days, 4-1/2 companies (497 volunteers and 20 laundresses) volunteered to enlist.

Volunteers assembled at Council Bluffs, Iowa where they received counsel and blessings from Church leaders, and enjoyed a grand farewell cotillion with
music and dance. A total of 31 wives and 54 children were permitted to accompany the Battalion.


Capt. Allen (now promoted to Lt Col. of Infantry) dubbed his new command, The Mormon Battalion, and commenced the epic march on July 20, 1846.

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