“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County, Iowa — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)

Mormon Battalion Mustering Grounds

Mormon Battalion Mustering Grounds Marker image. Click for full size.
Aug 2006
1. Mormon Battalion Mustering Grounds Marker
Inscription.  One of the most remarkable infantry marches in American history began here in July 1846 with the mustering of the Mormon Battalion. Members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) responded to the request from President James K. Polk to serve the United States in the war with Mexico. The 500 volunteers were among thousands of Mormons who had left Nauvoo, Illinois that year and were moving west in search of a new home. The Battalion demonstrated the patriotism of the Mormons and also enabled them to earn money for their westward trek.

Accompanied by a number of wives and children who served as laundresses and aids, the Battalion marched south to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, to be equipped, then on through Santa Fe, New Mexico and Tucson, Arizona to the Pacific Coast -- more than 2,000 miles in six months. Although not required to engage in combat, the Mormon Battalion made an important contribution in opening new roads to California and the Pacific coast. Their commanding officer, Lt. Col. Philip St. George Cooke, said of their achievement, "History may be searched in vain for an equal march of infantry."

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Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Placed 1986

[Interpretive Marker:]
The Grand Encampment
At the Grand Encampment, 490 men, 12 boys and 20 women joined the Mormon Battalion. The Grand Encampment was the gathering Point for Mormon Wagon Trains, 1846.

During the spring and summer of 1846, many pioneer companies of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons) assembled at the Grand Encampment. Here they prepared for their westward trek to the valley of the Great Salt Lake. Thousands of tents and covered wagons were scattered over nine miles of prairie along what is now State Highway 92. These shelters provided temporary housing for nearly ten thousand people. The tents were groups into great squares, with wagons and sometimes split-rail fences surrounding and protecting them. One of the wagons served as a post office, and a tent functioned as a newspaper reading room. The tent of Church President Brigham Young was identified by a large American flag hung from a pole.

Everyone had important responsibilities at the Grand Encampment. Boys tended large herds of cattle, oxen, horses, mules, and sheep in the lowlands. Women and their daughters washed clothes, tended small children, and prepared meals. Men built split-rail fences; hunted, and repaired tents, wagons, and equipment
Grand Encampment Marker image. Click for full size.
Aug 2006
2. Grand Encampment Marker
in preparation for the journey west.

Several of the Mormon bishops served as the first justices of the peace in Pottawattamie County. By the end of August 1846, this vast tent city was gone. Some pioneers crossed the Missouri River to prepare for their trip west. Others settled temporarily into more than eighty communities scattered throughout southwestern Iowa, where new sources of wood, water, and grass could sustain them and their livestock until they began their journey.

Placed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1994.
Erected 1986 by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Churches & ReligionSettlements & SettlersWar, Spanish-American. In addition, it is included in the Mormon Battalion series list. A significant historical month for this entry is July 1846.
Location. 41° 13.535′ N, 95° 49.37′ W. Marker is in Council Bluffs, Iowa, in Pottawattamie County. Marker can be reached from U.S. Highway 275 (U.S. 275) 0.1 miles Iowa Highway 92 (State Highway 92). These two markers, for the Grand Encampment and the Mormon Battalion Mustering Grounds, are on the campus of the Iowa School for the Deaf, 1600 S. Hwy 275, just north of the main west entrance, southeast of where
The Mormon Battalion Monument image. Click for more information.
Photographed By Syd Whittle
3. The Mormon Battalion Monument
Located in San Diego, California at the end of the trek Westward.
Click for more information.
Iowa Highway 92 crosses U.S. Highway 275. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1600 South Highway 275, Council Bluffs IA 51503, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 3 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. "Freedom With Honor" (approx. 2.1 miles away); Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad Depot (approx. 2.1 miles away); The Historic General Dodge House (approx. 2.4 miles away); The National Humane Alliance Fountain (approx. 2.6 miles away); Grenville M. Dodge (approx. 2.7 miles away); Squirrel Cage Jail (approx. 2.7 miles away); Council Bluffs Free Public Library (approx. 2.7 miles away); Council Bluffs Veterans Plaza (approx. 2.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Council Bluffs.
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. To better understand the relationship, study each marker in the order shown.
Also see . . .  Mormon Battalion. Wikipedia article on the Mormon Battalion. (Submitted on September 20, 2009.) 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on September 20, 2009. This page has been viewed 2,053 times since then and 64 times this year. Last updated on September 23, 2009. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on September 20, 2009.   3. submitted on December 16, 2008. • J. J. Prats was the editor who published this page.

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Jun. 20, 2024