Military Service Records of LDS Men 

This help section includes the history and records of several military operations in which Latter Day Saint members were directly involved from 1834-1848. Evidence that a Latter-day Saint actually served may be found in family traditions, census records, naturalization records, biographies, cemetery records, and records of veterans’ organizations. Your ancestors will be more interesting if you learn about their military service and the history of their units. Military records can also give birth dates, marriage dates, death dates, spouse and children’s names, and localities of residence throughout the life of the family.

Zion’s Camp (1834)

This Company was organized in Kirtland on the 7th of May, and as "Zion's Camp" took up their march westward, where they were to assist the persecuted saints in Missouri. They numbered 130 men, among whom were many leading elders. This little army was divided into companies of twelve men, each company choosing its own officer. By the time the camp reached Missouri its numbers had increased to 205. The following histories discuss this effort:

  • Green, John P. Facts Relative to the Expulsion of the Mormons or Latter Day Saints from the State of Missouri Under the "Exterminating Order." 1833. This work gives a positive account of Zion’s Camp. It also includes transcripts of addresses, reports, acts, and newspaper articles about the expulsion from Missouri.
  • Jensen, Andrew. The Historical Record, 1887-1888, Published in One Volume. Pgs 577-591 depicts the history of Zion's Camp, while page 940 provides a roster of the known men who participated in this camp.
  • Launius, Roger D. Zion’s Camp: Expedition to Missouri, 1834. Independence, Mo.: Herald, 1984. This book has chapter notes and bibliographical references. An index is also included.
  • Stenhouse, T. B. H. The Rocky Mountain saints: a full and complete history of the Mormons, from the first vision of Joseph Smith to the last courtship of Brigham Young ... and the development of the great mineral wealth of the territory of Utah; published by New York, D. Appleton and Co., 1873.

Mormon War in Missouri (1838)

The Mormon War is a name sometimes given to the 1838 conflict which occurred between Latter-day Saints (Mormons) and their neighbors in the northwestern region of the U.S. state of Missouri. The specific dates of the war are from August 6, 1838 (the Gallatin election battle) to November 1, 1838 when Joseph Smith surrendered at Far West. During the conflict 22 people were killed (3 Mormons and 1 non-Mormon at Crooked River and 18 Mormons at Haun’s Mill):

  • Johnson, Clark V., ed. Mormon Redress Petitions: Documents of the 1833–1838 Missouri Conflict. Provo, Utah: Religious Studies Center, Brigham Young University, 1992. Includes indexes. This book contains affidavits, petitions, letters, and other documents concerning early Church members’ redress for Missouri losses.
  • LeSueur, Stephen C. The 1838 Mormon War in Missouri. Columbia, Mo.: University of Missouri Press, 1987. Includes index and bibliography. This is indexed in the Early Church Information File. This is mostly a history with some names of prominent individuals.
  • Missouri. State Archives. Mormon Papers, 1838–1842. Jefferson City, Mo.: State of Missouri, 1972. Includes the unindexed affidavits of the Mormon War payroll of Missouri men and soldiers.

Nauvoo Legion and the Mormon War in Illinois (1840–1846)

In 1840 the Illinois Legislature authorized the Nauvoo City Council to establish a militia. The officers were commissioned by the governor, and the members were required to do the same amount of military duty as the regular state militia. In 1844 the Nauvoo Legion numbered about 5,000 men. The organization was disbanded in 1846, when the Mormon Battalion was created, and was reorganized in Utah in 1852. For a history see:

  • Young, Robert W. "The Nauvoo Legion" Parts 1–12. The Contributor: Representing the Young Men’s and Young Ladies’ Mutual Improvement Association of the Latter-day Saints 9, nos.1–12 (November 1887– October 1888): 1–8, 41–49, 81–89, 121–27, 161–68, 201–12, 241–51, 281–86, 321–32, 361–73, 401–13, 441–54. This is a historical account of the Nauvoo Legion in Illinois and Utah from 1840 to 1887.

For records see:

  • Illinois. General Assembly. Miscellaneous Petitions, 1839–1853. Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1975. This record includes claims against the state for supplies furnished in the Mormon War at Nauvoo. It shows names and the amount they claimed for payment.
  • Platt, Lyman De. Commission Records, Illinois State Militia, 1834–1855. Typescript, [1973?] This book contains commission records for the Nauvoo Legion. It shows name, date of commission, rank, company, and the date of rank of about 450 men.

Mormon Battalion and the Mexican War (1846–1848)

In July 1846 the Mormon Battalion volunteers were officially organized at Council Bluffs, Iowa, to reinforce the United States Army in California during the Mexican War. The battalion consisted of five companies who enlisted for one year. Due to illness, about a third of the battalion did not complete the two-thousand-mile march but were sent to Pueblo, Colorado. The remaining members arrived in California in January 1847. They served in San Diego and Los Angeles. At the end of the one year, the army tried to reenlist all of the members, but only one company was organized in Los Angeles on 20 July 1847. This company only served for six months. After they were discharged, most battalion members went to Utah.

For rosters and biographies of members and their families see:

  • Black, Susan Ward Easton. Members of the Mormon Battalion: A Sesquicentennial Remembrance. N.p., [1981?]. Alphabetical listing of members with birth, marriage, death, and rank. It includes a bibliography with 22 sources. This is included in the LDS Family History Suite 2.
  • Carlsen, Ardath. Return List of the Mormon Battalion, July 1846. N.p., 1986. This record lists name, rank, birthplace, birth date, number in family, wife’s name, gear and livestock, where family was located on the trail, wishes concerning his family, and wages of each volunteer in companies A and B of the Mormon Battalion.
  • Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Camp of Israel (Iowa). Return List of Company A, and Company B of the Mormon Battalion to Council Bluffs, 16 July 1846. Included with Record of the Organization of the Camp of Israel.... Salt Lake City: Genealogical Society of Utah, 1954. This is alphabetical within each company and rank.
  • Larson, Carl V. Database of the Mormon Battalion: an Identification of The Original Members of the Mormon Battalion. 2nd ed. Salt Lake City: U.S. Mormon Battalion, 1997. Alphabetical listing of members including grave location, federal and state sources, biographical references, vital statistics, and genealogy. Includes index. The 1987 edition is indexed in the Early Church Information File.
  • Larson, Carl V. The Women of the Mormon Battalion. [Smithfield, Utah]: C.V. Larson, 1989. This book may list birth, marriage, death, a biographical sketch, and sources on the wives of the men in the Mormon Battalion. It is alphabetical by surname.
  • United States. Bureau of Pensions. Selected Pension Application Files for Members of the Morman [sic] Battalion, Mexican War, 1846–48. National Archives Microfilm Publications, T1196. Washington D.C.: National Archives and Record Service, 1934.
  • United States. Record and Pension Office. Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Soldiers Who Served During the Mexican War in Mormon Organizations. National Archives Microfilm Publications, M0351. Washington, D.C.: National Archives, 1961. These alphabetically compiled service records usually include the soldier’s name, rank, dates of enlistment and service, and the unit in which he served. It often contains abstracts of entries relating to the soldier as found in the original muster rolls and returns. Cross references were included for each soldier’s name that appear with more than one spelling.

For more records about the Mormon Battalion see: