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    Mormonism.ca - Story Of

The Migration To Utah

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Even More On The History Of Mormonism
Even More On The Religious Puzzle
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
From The Mississippi To The Missouri
From The Rockies To Salt Lake Valley
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
History Of Mormonism
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Introductory Remarks
Last Days At Kirtland
More On Mormonism Social Puzzle
More On The History Of Mormonism
More On The Religious Puzzle
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Mormonism The Political Puzzle
Nauvoo After The Exodus
Notes On The History Of Mormonism
Organization Of The Church
Preparations For The Long March
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Camps On The Missouri
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Battalion
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Pioneer Trip Across The Plains
The Political Puzzle
The Political Puzzle Continued
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Religious Puzzle
The Religious Puzzle Notes
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Social And Society Puzzle
The Social Puzzle
The Social Puzzle Notes
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts


The Story Of The Mormons

A State Of Civil War
After Smith's Death - Rigdon's Last Days
After The War
Attitude Of The Mormons During The Southern Rebellion
Beginning Of Active Hostilities
Blood Atonement
Brigham Young
Brigham Young's Death - His Character
Brigham Young's Despotism
Colonel Kane's Mission
Early Political History
Eastern Visitors To Salt Lake City - Unpunished Murderers
Facility Of Human Belief
First Announcement Of The Golden Bible
Fruitless Negotiations With The Jackson County People
Gentile Irruption And Mormon Schism
Gifts Of Tongues And Miracles
Growth Of The Church
How Joseph Smith Became A Money-digger
In Clay Caldwell And Daviess Counties
Last Days At Kirtland
Mormon Treatment Of Federal Officers
Organization Of The Church
Progress Of The Settlement
Public Announcement Of The Doctrine Of Polygamy
Radical Dissensions In The Church - Origin Of The Danites - Tithing
Renewed Trouble For The Mormons - The Burnings
Rivalries Over The Succession
Sidney Rigdon
Smith A Candidate For President Of The United States
Smith's Falling Out With Bennett And Higbee
Smith's First Visits To Missouri Founding The City And The Temple
Smith's Ohio Business Enterprises
Smith's Picture Of Himself As Autocrat
Social Aspects Of Polygamy
Social Conditions In Nauvoo
Some Church-inspired Murders
The Building Up Of The City - Foreign Proselyting
The Different Accounts Of The Revelation Of The Bible
The Directions To The Saints About Their Zion
The Evacuation Of Nauvoo - The Last Mormon War
The Everlasting Gospel
The Expulsion From Jackson County The Army Of Zion
The Expulsion Of The Mormons
The Fight Against Polygamy - Statehood
The Final Expulsion From The State
The First Converts At Kirtland
The Following Companies - Last Days On The Missouri
The Foreign Immigration To Utah
The Founding Of Salt Lake City
The Hand-cart Tragedy
The Institution Of Polygamy
The Last Years Of Brigham Young
The Mormon Bible
The Mormon Purpose
The Mormon War
The Mormonism Of To-day
The Mormons In Politics - Missouri Requisitions For Smith
The Mormons' Beliefs And Doctrines Church Government
The Mountain Meadows Massacre
The Murder Of The Prophet - His Character
The Nauvoo City Government - Temple And Other Buildings
The Peace Commission
The Reception Of The Mormons
The Reformation
The Settlement Of Nauvoo
The Smith Family
The Spaulding Manuscript
The Suppression Of The Expositor
The Territorial Government - Judge Brocchus's Experience
The Witnesses To The Plates
Translation And Publication Of The Bible
Uprising Of The Non-mormons Smith's Arrest
Wild Vagaries Of The Converts



The Mormon Battalion








During the halt of a part of the main body of the Mormons at Mt.
Pisgah, an incident occurred which has been made the subject of a
good deal of literature, and has been held up by the Mormons as a
proof both of the severity of the American government toward them
and of their own patriotism. There is so little ground for either
of these claims that the story of the Battalion should be
correctly told.

When hostilities against Mexico began, early in 1846, the plan of
campaign designed by the United States authorities comprised an
invasion of Mexico at two points, by Generals Taylor and Wool,
and a descent on Santa Fe, and thence a march into California.
This march was to be made by General Stephen F. Kearney, who was
to command the volunteers raised in Missouri, and the few hundred
regular troops then at Fort Leavenworth. In gathering his force
General (then Colonel) Kearney sent Captain J. Allen of the First
Dragoons to the Mormons at Mt. Pisgah, not with an order of any
kind, but with a written proposition, dated June 26, 1846, that
he "would accept the service, for twelve months, of four or five
companies of Mormon men" (each numbering from 73 to 109), to
unite with the Army of the West at Santa Fe, and march thence to
California, where they would be discharged. These volunteers were
to have the regular volunteers' pay and allowances, and
permission to retain at their discharge the arms and equipments
with which they would be provided, the age limit to be between
eighteen and forty-five years. The most practical inducement held
out to the Mormons to enlist was thus explained: "Thus is offered
to the Mormon people now--this year --an opportunity of sending a
portion of their young and intelligent men to the ultimate
destination of their whole people, and entirely at the expense of
the United States; and this advance party can thus pave the way
and look out the land for their brethren to come after them."

There was nothing like a "demand" on the Mormons in this
invitation, and the advantage of accepting it was largely on the
Mormon side. If it had not been, it would have been rejected.
That the government was in no stress for volunteers is shown by
the fact that General Kearney reported to the War Department in
the following August that he had more troops than he needed, and
that he proposed to use some of them to reenforce General Wool.*

* Chase's "History of the Polk Administration," p. 16.


The initial suggestion about the raising of these Mormon
volunteers came from a Mormon source.* In the spring of 1846
Jesse C. Little, a Mormon elder of the Eastern states, visited
Washington with letters of introduction from Governor Steele of
New Hampshire and Colonel Thomas L. Kane of Philadelphia, hoping
to secure from the government a contract to carry provisions or
naval stores to the Pacific coast, and thus pay part of the
expense of conveying Mormons to California by water. According to
Little, this matter was laid before the cabinet, who proposed
that he should visit the Mormon camp and raise 1000 picked men to
make a dash for California overland, while as many more would be
sent around Cape Horn from the Eastern states. This big scheme,
according to Mormon accounts, was upset by one of the hated
Missourians, Senator Thomas H. Benton, whose Macchiavellian mind
had designed the plan of taking from the Mormons 500 of their
best men for the Battalion, thus crippling them while in the
Indian country. All this part of their account is utterly
unworthy of belief. If 500 volunteers for the army "crippled" the
immigrants where they were, what would have been their condition
if 1000 of their number had been hurried on to California ? **

* Tullidge's "Life of Brigham Young," p. 47

** Delegate Berahisel, in a letter to President Fillmore
(December 1, 1851), replying to a charge by Judge Brocchus that
the 24th of July orators had complained of the conduct of the
government in taking the Battalion from them for service against
Mexico, said, "The government did not take from us a battalion of
men," the Mormons furnishing them in response to a call for
volunteers.


Aside from the opportunity afforded by General Kearney's
invitation to send a pioneer band, without expense to themselves,
to the Pacific coast, the offer gave the Mormons great, and
greatly needed, pecuniary assistance. P. P. Pratt, on his way
East to visit England with Taylor and Hyde, found the Battalion
at Fort Leavenworth, and was sent back to the camp* with between
$5000 and $6000, a part of the Battalion's government allowance.
This was a godsend where cash was so scarce, as it enabled the
commissary officers to make purchases in St. Louis, where prices
were much lower than in western Iowa.** John Taylor, in a letter
to the Saints in Great Britain on arriving there, quoted the
acceptance of this Battalion as evidence that "the President of
the United States is favorably disposed to us," and said that
their employment in the army, as there was no prospect of any
fighting, "amounts to the same as paying them for going where
they were destined to go without."***

* "Unexpected as this visit was, a member of my family had been
warned in a dream, and had predicted my arrival and the
day."--Pratt, "Autobiography," p. 384.

** "History of Brigham Young," Ms., 1846, p. 150.

*** Millennial Star, Vol. VIII, p. 117.


The march of the federal force that went from Santa Fe (where the
Mormon Battalion arrived in October) to California was a notable
one, over unexplored deserts, where food was scarce and water for
long distances unobtainable. Arriving at the junction of the Gila
and Colorado rivers on December 26, they received there an order
to march to San Diego, California, and arrived there on January
29, after a march of over two thousand miles.

The war in California was over at that date, but the Battalion
did garrison duty at San Luis Rey, and then at Los Angeles.
Various propositions for their reenlistment were made to them,
but their church officers opposed this, and were obeyed except in
some individual instances. About 150 of those who set out from
Santa Fe were sent back invalided before California was reached,
and the number mustered out was only about 240. These at once
started eastward, but, owing to news received concerning the
hardships of the first Mormons who arrived in Salt Lake Valley,
many of them decided to remain in California, and a number were
hired by Sutter, on whose mill-race the first discovery of gold
in that state was made. Those who kept on reached Salt Lake
Valley on October 16, 1847. Thirty-two of their number continued
their march to Winter Quarters on the Missouri, where they
arrived on December 18.

Mormon historians not only present the raising of the Battalion
as a proof of patriotism, but ascribe to the members of that
force the credit of securing California to the United States, and
the discovery of gold.*

* "The Mormons have always been disposed to overestimate the
value of their services during this period, attaching undue
importance to the current rumors of intending revolt on the part
of the Californians, and of the approach of Mexican troops to
reconquer the province. They also claim the credit of having
enabled Kearney to sustain his authority against the
revolutionary pretensions of Fremont. The merit of this claim
will be apparent to the readers of preceding
chapters."--Bancroft, "History of California," Vol. V, p. 487.


When Elder Little left Washington for the West with despatches
for General Kearney concerning the Mormon enlistments, he was
accompanied by Colonel Thomas L. Kane, a brother of the famous
Arctic explorer. On his way West Colonel Kane visited Nauvoo
while the Hancock County posse were in possession of it, saw the
expelled Mormons in their camp across the river, followed the
trail of those who had reached the Missouri, and lay ill among
them in the unhealthy Missouri bottom in 1847. From that time
Colonel Kane became one of the most useful agents of the Mormon
church in the Eastern states, and, as we shall see, performed for
them services which only a man devoted to the church, but not
openly a member of it, could have accomplished.

It was stated at the time that Colonel Kane was baptized by Young
at Council Bluffs in 1847. His future course gives every reason
to accept the correctness of this view. He served the Mormons in
the East as a Jesuit would have served his order in earlier days
in France or Spain. He bore false witness in regard to polygamy
and to the character of men high in the church as unblushingly as
a Brigham Young or a Kimball could have done. His lecture before
the Historical Society of Pennsylvania in 1850 was highly colored
where it stated facts, and so inaccurate in other parts that it
is of little use to the historian. A Mormon writer who denied
that Kane was a member of the church offered as proof of this the
statement that, had Kane been a Mormon, Young would have
commanded him instead of treating him with so much respect. But
Young was not a fool, and was quite capable of appreciating the
value of a secret agent at the federal capital.





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Previous: From The Mississippi To The Missouri



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