In the midst of preparations for their exodus to the valley of the Great Salt Lake, the Mormon Pioneers were asked by the United States Government to enlist a battalion of 500 volunteers for service in the war with Mexico. These troops started from western Iowa in July 1846, and arrived in San Diego January 29, 1847, completing the longest infantry march in history. This expedition helped win the war, prepared the way for colonization of the southwest, opened new trade routes, and strengthened distant National boundaries.
Erected as a gift to the City of San Diego during its 200 year anniversary by the National Society of the Sons of Utah Pioneers November 22, 1969.
The Mormon Battalion At San Diego
On arriving in San Diego January 29, 1847, soldiers of the Mormon Battalion occupied Fort Stockton on this site. They promptly began to improve this community, digging the first wells, creating the first pumps to draw water, building the first kiln in California, and used the brick to surface side walks, face wells and buildings. They taught irrigation and built the first blacksmith shop and bakery. When orders came for them to leave, the citizens drew up a petition signed by every adult resident requesting the governor to use his influence to keep the battalion in San Diego. Fairness and hard work earned the men of the Mormon Battalion the admiration and respect of all with whom they had contact. (see HMdb)
Services of the Mormon BattalionThe historic march of the Mormon Battalion -- -- More than 2000 miles through the wilderness -- -- was made in fulfillment of official U.S. orders. Brigham Young, Prophet – Leader of the Mormons, personally recruited these troops. The Battalion blazed the first wagon trail to the Pacific over the Southern Route, was instrumental in acquiring the vast southwestern empire for the United States; and raised the Stars and Stripes for the first time over Fort Tucson and Fort Moore. Later some of the these men helped in the discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill while working their way back to Salt Lake City to rejoin Brigham Young and their families. Lt. Col. P. St. George Cooke, not a Mormon, praised his men, saying: “History may be searched in vain for an equal march of infantry.” (see HMdb)
A nearby mural illustrates the march of the Mormon Battalion.
No 257Erected 1959Women ofThe Mormon BattalionMormon women were anxious to reach the glorious West and any means offered seemed an answer to prayer to help them on their way. When it was learned four laundresses would be allowed each of the five companies, the wives of the soldiers made application and twenty were chosen. Men who could meet the expenses were permitted to take their families. Hence nearly eighty women and children accompanied the Battalion. They endured the hardships of the journey knowing hunger and thirst. Four wives, Susan M. Davis, Lydia Hunter, Phoebe D. B. Brown, and Melissa B. Coray traveled the entire distance arriving in San Diego 29 January 1847. Mrs. Hunter gave birth to a son April 20, 1847, the first L.D.S. child born in San Diego. She died two weeks later.
The artwork on the marker was quite obscure when I visited in 2015.
Syd Whittle's 2006 photo (here modified by me) is much cleaner.
On the rear is this list of the Women and children who accompanied the Mormon Battalion.
They Accompanied The Mormon Battalion
Mary Brown, One Child
Eunice Brown, Five Children
Mary Button, Four Children
Celia Hunt, Six Children
Matilda Hunt, Two Children
Sarah Higgins, Five Children
Fanny Huntington, Four Children
Malinda Kelly, One Child
Sarah Kelly, One Child
Martha Sharp, One Child
Elizabeth Shelton, Five Children
Catherine Steele, One Child
Albina Williams, Three Children
Ruth Abbott Mary Ann Hirons
Susan Adams Phoebe Merrill
Aliza Allred Ellen Nease
Elzadie Allred Caroline Sargent
Jane Boscoe Rebecca Smith
Harriet Brown Caroline Sessions
Agnes Brown Sarah Shure
Phoebe Brown Sophia Tubbs
Jane Hanks Isabella Wilkin
Finally, all these monuments mark the site of Fort Stockton.
Fortified briefly by Carlos Carrillo in 1838. This site became Fort Dupont (July–November 1846) after American forces took Old Town during the Mexican War. Retaken and held briefly by the Californios, it fell once more to the Americans, who renamed it Fort Stockton and used it as campaign headquarters for ending the Californio Revolt in early 1847. The Mormon Battalion stayed here later that year. The post was abandoned on September 25, 1848.
California Registered Historical Landmark No. 54
First Registered December 6, 1932. Plaque placed by the State Department of Parks and Recreation in cooperation with the San Diego City Department of Parks and Recreation and Squibob Chapter, E. Clampus vitus, August 3, 1991.