Utah Military Records
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This entry was originally written by Patricia Lyn Scott, CA and Gary Topping Ph.D. for Red Book: American State, County, and Town Sources.
On 19 July 1846, five hundred volunteers of the Mormon Battalion left Council Bluffs, Iowa, heading southwestward at the request of President James K. Polk. They joined other federal troops at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and proceeded west to Santa Fe and then to San Diego, California, arriving on 29 January 1847. After a year of duty, the battalion left eighty-one officers and enlisted men in San Diego, while the main group walked north to Sutter’s Fort, where half of the contingent remained for a while. Eventually, the entire group was reunited with their fellow Mormons at Salt Lake City.
A Mormon unit of 13,000 troops, known as the Nauvoo Legion, a territorial militia that included both Mormon and non-Mormon military aged males, engaged in military activities from its earliest inception to the end of the Black Hawk War in the late 1860s. The original records for 1849–70 are at the Utah State Archives, along with an extensive collection of other state militia, service, and veterans records including various indexes compiled by the archivists. Many are also available on microfilm through the National Archives (see pages 11-12) and the FHL. An online reference guide “Utah Military Service Records” is at http://archives.utah.gov/referenc/referen.htm.
Volunteers from Utah served during the Civil War, and a unit of 500 engaged in the Spanish-American War in 1898; 21,000 soldiers were supplied during World War I, and many more during World War II. Utah servicemen are included in the 1890 special census of the Union veterans and widows of the Civil War, as are those who served elsewhere, but were living in Utah by 1890. Some regular army troops served on the frontier in Utah and remained after discharge to take advantage of mining or commercial ventures. Printed sources for military history and records include:
- Carter, Kate B. The Mormon Battalion. Salt Lake City: Utah Printing, 1956.
- Long, E. B. The Saints and the Union: Utah Territory in the Civil War. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press, 1981.
- Powell, Alan Kent, ed. Utah Remembers World War II. Logan, Utah: Utah State University, 1991.
- Prentiss, A. The History of the Utah Volunteers in the Spanish-American War and in the Philippine Islands. Salt Lake City, W.F. Ford, 1900.
- Ricketts, Norma B. The Mormon Battalion: U.S. Army of the West, 1846–1847. Logan: Utah State University, 1996.
- Warrum, Noble. Utah in the World War. Salt Lake City: Arrow Press, 1924.
For veterans of all wars buried under the jurisdiction of the federal burial program since 1861, write to Cemetery Service, National Cemetery System, Veterans Administration, 810 Vermont Ave., Washington, D.C. 20420. Headstone applications taken from 1879 to 1924 were filed by applicant, state, county, and cemetery.
FamilySearch.org has a variety of collections available for free online: