History May be Searched in Vain: A Military History of the Mormon Battalion

searched-in-vain(Thank heavens for subtitles attached to mystifying “poetic” book titles.) A number of good books on the Mexican War’s Mormon Battalion have been published, but this is the first detailed study from a strictly military point of view. The battalion of Latter-day Saints, all volunteers, followed Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny’s Army of the West to California from Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1846. Reports usually reveal that the LDS soldiers fought no battles but made one of the longest (1,900 miles) and most grueling marches in military history. Actually, the Mormons had a small skirmish with Indians in California and, near Tucson, Arizona, a bizarre Battle of the Bulls. The West’s wild longhorns were much more bellicose than buffalo bulls. Some of these feral cattle on the San Pedro River charged and, temporarily, routed the fighting men in this crazy engagement—the battalion’s only defeat. —Richard H. Dillon

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