Local Historic Property Inventory
'Working to preserve the rich heritage of the Temecula Valley'
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The Mormon Battalion
Inventory Number: 42
HISTORIC NAME(S): The Mormon Battalion
PLAQUE DESIGNATION: n/a
PLAQUE LOCATION: Outside of the fence around the church
PLAQUE GPS COORDINATES: 33.477550, -117.136080 or N 33° 28' 39.18", W 117° 8' 9.88"
PLAQUE CONDITION: Fair to good
LOCATION ADDRESS: 44650 La Paz Road - Temecula CA 92592
DESCRIPTION: Granite monument
CURRENT OCCUPANT OR NAME: The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
The Mormon Battalion
Longest Infantry march in United States History.
Entered the Temecula Valley on January 25, 1847.
On January 25, 1847 The Mormon Battalion
marched through the Temecula Valley on their way
into history. In 1846, with the outbreak of the
Mexican War, United Statas President James K.
Polk requested volunteers from The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, commonly known
as Mormons, to enlist for military service. Under
the direction of Colonel James Allen, their orders
were to march to California for the purpose of,
"taking possession of, and holding the country."
Entering this valley shortly after the Temecula
Massacre, "the bloodiest battle of the Mexican
War in California." the Battalion provided
protection while 38 slain Luiseno were buried near
Temecula Creek. Cutting the first wagon trail from
Santa Fe to the Pacific, the Battalion's efforts forged
the Southern Emigrant Trail, the Butterfield Stage
Coach route, and the route for the Southern Pacific
Railroad. This road opened California to
colonization by the United Statas, bringing
commerce, emigrants and gold seekers along the
trail during the 1850's.
Their final commander, Lt. Col. Philip St.
George Cooke, upon completion of their over
2000 mile trek said, "History may be searched in
vain for an equal march of infantry. Half of it has
been through a wilderness... in trackless table-lands
where water was not found for several marches.
With crowbar and pick and ax in hand, we have
worked our way over mountain,... and hewed a
passage through a chasm of living rock. Thus
marching half naked and half fed, and living upon
wild animals, we have discovered and made a
road of great value to our country. Arrived at the
first settlement of California after a single days
rest, you cheerfully turned off from the route..., to
enter upon a campaign, and meet, as we
supposed, the approach of an enemy. Thus,
volunteers, you have exhibited some high and
essential qualities of veterans."
The arrival of the Battalion brought advantages
to General Stephen Kearny'a forces in Los Angeles,
hastening the surrender of Mexican General
Flores, thus bringing an end to the Mexican War in
California. Indeed, it was while camped in
Temecula, a messenger brought the news of said
surrender. Upon discharge, many "battalion boys"
went north and were present at Sutter's Mill when
gold ws discovered. In short, the Mormon
Battalion participated in every important event
shaping the modern state of California.
Monument donated by members of the Murrieta Stake