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The Mormon Battalion arrived in San Diego in January of 1847 to support the American military garrison in the pueblo during the Mexican War. Five companies totaling over 500 men had been mustered in at Council Bluffs, Iowa on July 16, 1846. Along with 32 women, they made the longest march in military history consisting of 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs, Iowa, to San Diego.

  • New Mormon Battalion Visitor Center
  • Interior of visitor center
  • Statue to the Battalion at the center
  • Rendition of the Battalion arriving at San Diego Bay
  • 1857 (10 year reunion) of some of the Battalion members in San Diego
  • Period drawing of the Battalion raising the flag in San Diego
*From Mormon Historic Sites:

"The Mormon Battalion played a significant role in the early settling of what is now San Diego, California. Having suffered much because of the arduous trek from Council Bluffs, Iowa, they could finally rest and try to regain their strength there on the shores of the Pacific Ocean. The entire battalion remained in San Diego only a short while before four companies were sent to San Luis Rey and Los Angeles. Company B remained in the San Diego area from late January to early July 1847.

Battalion members did not sit idly by during that time. They assisted the local community in multiple ways: building homes and other buildings, digging wells, assisting with crops and other valuable services. They built a tannery and a brick kiln. Members of Company B built the first courthouse in San Diego using bricks that they had shaped and fired.

The visitor center is a marvelous facility. It replaced an older visitor center that had been utilized for decades. Dedicated on January 30, 2010, the new center offers tours for visitors featuring up-to-date technology in its interactive presentations. These are fun and informative for young and old alike. Tours, which are hosted by missionaries in period dress, generally last about forty-five minutes."

Michael Landon and Brandon Metcalf, The Remarkable Journey of the Mormon Battalion, 73-76. Norma Baldwin Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion: U.S. Army of the West, 1846-1848, 131-141. Sherman L. Fleek, History May Be Searched in Vain: A Military History of the Mormon Battalion, 320-348. David L. Bigler and Will Bagley, eds., Army of Israel, chapters 5, 7.