Mormon Battalion

The Mormon Battalion is a term used to describe a unit of the United States Army comprised of men who were members of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints.  They operated mainly during the Mexican-American War.  Commanded by regular U.S. Army officers, they served mostly from July 1846 to July 1847.  The Mormons had faced religious persecution in Illinois and Missouri.  Church leader Joseph Smith and his brother Byrum Smith were murdered in Carthage, Illinois.  They had been held without bail by the Governor of Illinois when an armed mob stormed the jail and the brothers died of gunshot wounds.  A number of the Mormons then moved to Missouri where the Missouri governor signed a military order that the Mormons be driven out of Missouri or exterminated.  It was in this climate that the idea of the Mormon Battalion was conceived, that of forming a battalion of the U. S. Army solely comprised of Mormon men.  Leaders viewed this as one means to obtain federal governmental sanction for their efforts to migrate to the west.

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