Tucked into a corner of Old Town San Diego is a place where people of all ages can step back in time and discover some unsung heroes. At the Mormon Battalion Historic Site, visitors learn about the only religion-specific military unit in American historyand what motivated their 19th-century trek from Iowa to California. The recently remodeled site offers a fun, interactive experience for the whole family.
In July 1846, the United States was involved in the Mexican-American War and the Mormon pioneers were in the middle of their trek to the Salt Lake Valley. While the pioneers were in Council Bluffs, Iowa, a request came from President James K. Polk for volunteers to march to Fort Leavenworth (present-day Kansas) and then to California on a one-year U.S. Army enlistment.