Mormon Battalion

Posted - Sep. 14, 2001 at 7:57 a.m.



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This is Fred Ball for Zions Bank, speaking on business.

Everyone who has lived in Utah or the Western states knows about the Mormon Battalion. I have long heard the story of their march, which was the longest infantry march in U.S. history. I have seen the monument to the Battalion on the State Capitol grounds and thought I was fairly knowledgeable about the Battalion’s history.

However, recently I visited with Robert Pettigrew Paul who has become very involved with the Mormon Battalion and has become knowledgeable on the fascinating saga of Western history. Bob told me so many things that I had never heard mentioned regarding this group of volunteer soldiers. Between 1846 and 1849, members of the Mormon Battalion, on behalf of the United States government, made it possible for six new states to enter the union. They constructed a southern U. S. road to the Pacific Ocean and expanded the original Spanish settlements of San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco. They influenced the design of the California state flag, and they developed the "Gold Road" between San Francisco and Salt Lake City over which more than 2 million people traveled.

The list of accomplishments went on and on. But one thing that was really significant is that the monies paid by the government to the soldiers was badly needed by the early pioneers. This income provided the means for the continuation of the westward migration and settlement of the Salt Lake Valley by the pioneers.

Bob Paul then told me that it is time to honor these brave men and women for their outstanding contributions to the settlement of the West. A program is now underway to build a new building and museum to pay tribute. The facility will be located at the Utah State Heritage Park at This is the Place Monument. The building will house a museum, a library and an outdoor walking trail.

The building will be a replica of similar structures that were used at military posts in that period. The facility will be used to teach school children and visitors. Live dmonstrations of 1846 drills, color guards and military activities will accurately portray the experiences of the Mormon Battalion.

Yes, this is a very important project. Tax-deductible contributions are now being solicited.

For Zions Bank, I’m Fred Ball. I'm speaking on business.

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