The Mormon Battalion was the only religiously based unit in United States military history, and it served from July 1846 to July 1847 during the Mexican-American War. The battalion was a volunteer unit of between 53and 559 Latter-day Saints men led by Mormon company officers, commanded by regular US army officers. During its service, the battalion made a grueling march nearly 2,000 miles long from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to San Diego.
The battalion’s march and service was instrumental in helping the US secure much of the American Southwest, including new lands in several Western states, especially the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 of much of southern Arizona. The march also opened a southern wagon route to California. Veterans of the battalion played significant roles in America’s westward expansion in California, Utah, Arizona and other parts of the West. (Source Wikipedia)
As told to me, the battalion came to town and it looked like a fight. The commander went into town and said (to paraphrase), “we can do battle and both sides lose things, or you can surrender and when we enter the town, we will buy much needed supplies and quickly be on our way”. Pragmatism won out and everyone was happy. I don’t know if this is true, but there was no battle.
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