Enlistment of Mormon Battalion, Council Bluffs, Iowa

About Mormon Battalion Data in the Biographical Database


The Mormon Battalion represents the only unit in American military history mustered into service based on religious affiliation. Members of the Mormon Battalion marched nearly 2,000 miles over some of the most arduous and difficult terrain of what is now the American Southwest. Their history remains a subject of interest for historical researchers; now, in the Church History Biographical Database, you will find information for over 600 Latter-day Saint men, women, and children who participated in the march of the Mormon Battalion. This dataset does not include those who were not members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

When looking at the Mormon Battalion data, it is helpful to understand how the Battalion was organized. Mormon Battalion members were paid for their services beginning July 16, 1846, which is the same date most members were enlisted into the United States Army. Enlisted members of the Mormon Battalion were divided into five unique military companies named (alphabetically) A through E. We have a list of verified members of these companies using primary documentation, including United States military muster rolls and pension files. Family members who are known, via primary documentation, to have traveled with Mormon Battalion members have also been added to a company titled “Camp Followers.” Family groups are linked and identified on person pages as “Traveling Groups.”

At three separate points during the two thousand–mile trek, members of the Mormon Battalion who were sick or otherwise unable to continue the march broke off in what is referred to today as a “detachment.” Each of the three known detachments were re-routed to what is today Pueblo, Colorado, where they spent the fall, winter, and early spring before traveling to Salt Lake City, Utah. They arrived in the Salt Lake Valley less than a week after the Brigham Young Vanguard Company, on July 29, 1847. The 211 members of these detachments, approximately 150 of whom were men who had been mustered in to the Battalion, are listed in the “Mormon Battalion Detachments” Company.

Three hundred thirty-three men and five women completed the Mormon Battalion march to the West Coast, arriving in San Diego, California, on January 29, 1847. Company B was stationed in San Diego until July 8, 1847, when its members were called to Los Angeles prior to discharge on July 16, 1847. Companies A, C, D, and E went on and were stationed in Los Angeles, where they remained until discharge on July 16, 1847. This dataset ends on the date of discharge.

Ultimately, every Latter-day Saint listed as participating with the Mormon Battalion has been identified using primary sources including, but not limited to, personal journals and reminiscences, muster rolls, and pension requests. Many of these sources link back to the Church History Catalog and have been digitized to accommodate research needs.

Top image: “Enlistment of Mormon Battalion, Council Bluffs, Iowa,” ca. 1895 (PH 2814)