Council Bluffs in Pottawattamie County, Iowa — The American Midwest (Upper Plains)
Mormon Battalion Mustering Grounds
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."
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 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
Placed by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1994.
Erected 1986 by Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.
Marker series. This marker is included in the Mormon Battalion marker series.
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 from Iowa Highway 92 (State Highway 92). Touch for map. 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 Iowa Highway 92 crosses U.S. Highway 275. Marker is at or near this postal address: 1600 South Highway 275, Council Bluffs IA 51503, United States of America.
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.)
Categories. • Churches & Religion • Settlements & Settlers • War, Spanish-American •
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on September 20, 2009. This page has been viewed 1,605 times since then and 17 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.