Mojave River Valley Museum
Mojave History - Military:
Bitter Springs - Fort Irwin
(Bitter Springs (Aqua de Thomoso), April 1848)
The Mormon Battalion left Council Bluffs, Iowa to fight in the Mexican War.
Their first stop was Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to be outfitted with some
military equipment. From there they marched 2,000 miles to San Diego,
California. They arrived just as the war was ending and had moved back
into Mexico. Being no longer a direct threat to the United States the Mormon
soldiers were discharged in July 1847 in San Diego and began traveling to
their new homes in Salt Lake City, Utah. A small group commanded by
Captain Daniel C. Davis re-enlisted for 8 months. The newly formed
Mormon Volunteers were responsible for patrolling Cuidad (City) de los
Angeles, San Diego, San Luis Rey Mission, and the surrounding areas. They
were to protect the citizens from Indians and Mexican raids until both
governments could sign a treaty.
By 1848 approximately 35 Mormon soldiers headed to Salt Lake City, Utah
accompanied by Captain Davis, his wife Susan, and her son Daniel. They
made camp at Bitter Springs (Aqua de Tomoso) in April 1848. Jefferson
Hunt, a member of the party and a former Captain in the Mormon Battalion,
named this spring "Bitter Spring" because of the alkali in the water that gave
it the bitter taste. He noted the name on his map and the name remains
The importance of the Mormon Volunteers passing through this region is that
they were the first U.S. military forces on what is known today as Fort Irwin.
Captain Davis brought the first military covered wagon drawn by mules into
this area along with the first military flag “Mormon Batalion” (note
spelling). The Native Americans had never seen a "white" woman or boy
before and their strange clothing. They keep their distance.
The Mormon Battalion is unique because it represents the only U.S. Military
Battalion to have been raised based solely on religion. The flag has five
orange bars representing the 5-infantry companies and 28 stars representing
each state in the Union as of 1846. The migration of Mormons to and from
Salt Lake City through San Bernardino to San Diego re-established the Old
Spanish Trail from Santa Fe to Pueblo de los Angeles in part by developing a
branch trail that quickly became known as the Mormon Trail.
Captain Jefferson Hunt
Captain in the Mormon Battalion - Led the Mojave/San Joaquin Company (Mojave Sand-walking Company) to Southern California, a portion of this company became the ...
Old Spanish Trail
In 1847, Mormons initiated wagon travel along the western half of the trail while traveling between Salt Lake City and Los Angeles. The Mormon wagon route replicated ...
The history of the Mormon Trail cannot be understood without an awareness of the ...
Flag of the Mormon Battalion (note the spelling)