Skip to comments.MORMON BATTALION MONUMENT (the true story vs. the lies of KTTV reporter Tony "Reconquista" Valdez)
Posted on 05/04/2006 9:55:00 AM PDT by doug from upland
Hear the incredible MP3 of the exchange between KTTV news reporter Tony Valdez and KFI's John and Ken -- CLICK AND LISTEN
"And here in California there's a monument to the Mormon Battalion, the great heroes who killed a lot of Mexicans, enough Mexicans so that this part of the world could be taken by force, by force by the United States." ...Tony Valdez, KTTV Newsman, 5-1-06 Simulcast on KFI radio and KTTV =====================================================================
I've spoken to the public affairs spokesman for the Mormon church in Los Angeles and sent them the clip. I suspect that the apology the station is making him give on his Sunday morning Channel 11 show at 9:00AM may include a special apology to the Mormons and a corrected version of his distorted view of history. This clown belongs on Univision or Telemundo or Aztlan Radio, not regular network television posing as a real newsman.
And now, here is the real history.
Mormon Battalion monument, State Capitol Grounds
In July 1846, under the authority of U.S. Army Captain James Allen and with the encouragement of Mormon leader Brigham Young, the Mormon Battalion was mustered in at Council Bluffs, Iowa Territory. The battalion was the direct result of Brigham Young's correspondence on 26 January 1846 to Jesse C. Little, presiding elder over the New England and Middle States Mission. Young instructed Little to meet with national leaders in Washington, D.C., and to seek aid for the migrating Latter-day Saints, the majority of whom were then in the Iowa Territory. In response to Young's letter, Little journeyed to Washington, arriving on 21 May 1846, just eight days after Congress had declared war on Mexico.
Little met with President James K. Polk on 5 June 1846 and urged him to aid migrating Mormon pioneers by employing them to fortify and defend the West. The president offered to aid the pioneers by permitting them to raise a battalion of five hundred men, who were to join Colonel Stephen W. Kearny, Commander of the Army of the West, and fight for the United States in the Mexican War. Little accepted this offer.
Colonel Kearny designated Captain James Allen, later promoted to Lieutenant Colonel, to raise five companies of volunteer soldiers from the able-bodied men between the ages of eighteen and forty-five in the Mormon encampments in Iowa. On 26 June 1846 Allen arrived at the encampment of Mt. Pisgah. He was treated with suspicion as many believed that the raising of a battalion was a plot to bring trouble to the migrating Saints.
Allen journeyed from Mt. Pisgah to Council Bluffs, where on 1 July 1846 he allayed Mormon fears by giving permission for the Saints to encamp on United States lands if the Mormons would raise the desired battalion. Brigham Young accepted this, recognizing that the enlistment of the battalion was the first time the government had stretched forth its arm to aid the Mormons.
On 16 July 1846 some 543 men enlisted in the Mormon Battalion. From among these men Brigham Young selected the commissioned officers; they included Jefferson Hunt, Captain of Company A; Jesse D. Hunter, Captain of Company B; James Brown, Captain of Company C; Nelson Higgins, Captain of Company D; and Daniel C. Davis, Captain of Company E. Among the most prominent non-Mormon military officers immediately associated with the battalion march were Lt. Col. James Allen, First Lt. Andrew Jackson Smith, Lt. Col. Philip St. George Cooke, and Dr. George Sanderson. Also accompanying the battalion were approximately thirty-three women, twenty of whom served as laundresses, and fifty-one children.
The battalion marched from Council Bluffs on 20 July 1846, arriving on 1 August 1846 at Fort Leavenworth (Kansas), where they were outfitted for their trek to Santa Fe. Battalion members drew their arms and accoutrements, as well as a clothing allowance of forty-two dollars, at the fort. Since a military uniform was not mandatory, many of the soldiers sent their clothing allowances to their families in the encampments in Iowa..
The march from Fort Leavenworth was delayed by the sudden illness of Colonel Allen. Capt. Jefferson Hunt was instructed to begin the march to Santa Fe; he soon received word that Colonel Allen was dead. Allen's death caused confusion regarding who should lead the battalion to Santa Fe. Lt. A.J. Smith arrived from Fort Leavenworth claiming the lead, and he was chosen the commanding officer by the vote of battalion officers. The leadership transition proved difficult for many of the enlisted men, as they were not consulted about the decision.
Smith and his accompanying surgeon, a Dr. Sanderson, have been described in journals as the "heaviest burdens" of the battalion. Under Smith's dictatorial leadership and with Sanderson's antiquated prescriptions, the battalion marched to Santa Fe. On this trek the soldiers suffered from excessive heat, lack of sufficient food, improper medical treatment, and forced long-distance marches.
The first division of the Mormon Battalion approached Santa Fe on 9 October 1846. Their approach was heralded by Col. Alexander Doniphan, who ordered a one-hundred-gun salute in their honor. At Santa Fe, Smith was relieved of his command by Lt. Col. Philip St. George Cooke. Cooke, aware of the rugged trail between Santa Fe and California and also aware that one sick detachment had already been sent from the Arkansas River to Fort Pueblo in Colorado, ordered the remaining women and children to accompany the sick of the battalion to Pueblo for the winter. Three detachments consisting of 273 people eventually were sent to Pueblo for the winter of 1846-47.
The remaining soldiers, with four wives of officers, left Santa Fe for California on 19 October 1846. They journeyed down the Rio Grande del Norte and eventually crossed the Continental Divide on 28 November 1846. While moving up the San Pedro River in present-day Arizona, their column was attacked by a herd of wild cattle. In the ensuing fight, a number of bulls were killed and two men were wounded. Following the "Battle of the Bulls," the battalion continued their march toward Tucson, where they anticipated a possible battle with the Mexican soldiers garrisoned there. At Tucson, the Mexican defenders temporarily abandoned their positions and no conflict ensued.
On 21 December 1846 the battalion encamped on the Gila River. They crossed the Colorado River into California on 9 and 10 January 1847. By 29 January 1847 they were camped at the Mission of San Diego, about five miles from General Kearny's quarters. That evening Colonel Cooke rode to Kearny's encampment and reported the battalion's condition. On 30 January 1847 Cooke issued orders enumerating the accomplishments of the Mormon Battalion. "History may be searched in vain for an equal march of infantry. Half of it has been through a wilderness where nothing but savages and wild beasts are found, or deserts where, for lack of water, there is no living creature."
During the remainder of their enlistment, some members of the battalion were assigned to garrison duty at either San Diego, San Luis Rey, or Ciudad de los Angeles. Other soldiers were assigned to accompany General Kearny back to Fort Leavenworth. All soldiers, whether en route to the Salt Lake Valley via Pueblo or still in Los Angeles, were mustered out of the United States Army on 16 July 1847. Eighty-one men chose to reenlist and serve an additional eight months of military duty under Captain Daniel C. Davis in Company A of the Mormon Volunteers. The majority of the soldiers migrated to the Salt Lake Valley and were reunited with their pioneering families.
The men of the Mormon Battalion are honored for their willingness to fight for the United States as loyal American citizens. Their march of some 2,000 miles from Council Bluffs to California is one of the longest military marches in history. Their participation in the early development of California by building Fort Moore in Los Angeles, building a courthouse in San Diego, and making bricks and building houses in southern California contributed to the growth of the West.
Following their discharge, many men helped build flour mills and sawmills in northern California. Some of them were among the first to discover gold at Sutter's Mill. Men from Captain Davis's Company A were responsible for opening the first wagon road over the southern route from California to Utah in 1848.
Historic sites associated with the battalion include the Mormon Battalion Memorial Visitor's Center in San Diego, California; Fort Moore Pioneer Memorial in Los Angeles, California; and the Mormon Battalion Monument in Memory Grove, Salt Lake City, Utah. Monuments relating to the battalion are also located in New Mexico, Arizona, and Colorado, and trail markers have been placed on segments of the battalion route.
See: Sergeant Daniel Tyler, A Concise History of the Mormon Battalion in the Mexican War 1846-1848 (1969); Philip St. George Cooke, et. al., Exploring Southwestern Trails, 1846-1854 (1938); Frank Alfred Golder, Thomas A. Bailey, and Lyman J. Smith, eds., The March of the Mormon Battalion From Council Bluffs to California Taken from the Journal of Henry Standage (1928).
Susan Easton Black
Here's a link to the documentary about The Mormon Battalion that I think
aired on the generally wretched PBS affiliated run by the LAUSD.
Google shows that PBS also covered The Mormon Battalion in their documentary
series on "The West".
Veteran broadcast journalist Tony Valdez is a general assignment reporter specializing in reporting breaking news, crime and minority affairs for KTTV FOX 11s top-rated FOX 11 10 O'clock News. Valdez joined the station in June 1980, and served as weekend news anchor from November 1991 to January 1993.
Valdez profiles criminal suspects and missing persons in L.A.s Most Wanted, a weekly news segment that has become Los Angeles longest running and most successful law enforcement segment. L.A.s Most Wanted has resulted in the arrest and surrender of more than 100 suspects since January 1992.
Since 1988, Valdez has hosted Midday Sunday, an Emmy-winning weekly public affairs forum that examines local and national issues along with current headline news and news makers. In 1992, Midday Sunday was lauded with a Los Angeles area Emmy Award as best Public Affairs Series (Studio-based).
Valdez is the recipient of numerous Emmy, Golden Mike and Los Angeles Press Club awards, including a 1990 local Emmy in the category of Best News Reporting for his examination of Los Angeles street gangs. He has been cited by several community and government organizations, including the Criminal Justice Panel of the Los Angeles City Attorneys Office for community service in 1995, the Los Angeles City Council for community contributions in 1994 and the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, which lauded his support of the Earthquake Preparedness Program with a public service commendation in February 1991.
Prior to joining Fox 11, Valdez was a writer, producer and reporter at KTLA from 1975-1980. Before working at KTLA, he worked at KCET and several Los Angeles radio stations as a reporter. He also worked for La Opinion and The Herald Examiner.
Valdez career as a Los Angeles-based journalist has included coverage of the war in Southeast Asia and the political turmoil in Central America.
A native of Los Angeles, Valdez attended Los Angeles City College and California State Northridge.
He is also a veteran of the United States Army.
... In fairness, the Mexicans were maybe being prudent in making a temporary surrender, er, withdrawal.
Per my buddy at the Museum of Arizona History - At the time the Mormon Battalion headed towards Tucson, the garrison in Tucson was a shadow of the force the Spanish kept there in the past - between 30 to 40 reuglars supplemented by a similar number of part-time militia. Most of the regulars were effectively militia themselves, holding down part-time jobs in the small town of Tucson or prospecting for gold or silver in the wilderness of Southern Arizona.
I think discretion would be the better part of valor in this case. There are a few Mormon Battalion monuments scattered around southern Arizona, including the presumed site of The Battle of the Bulls.
Frankly long travel in the days before antibiotics, motor vehicles, and antiperspirant must have been horrendous.
Although Mexico provided the new settlers with a couple of decades of peace, the settlers would find themselves living in a country at war with itself in the Mexican Revolution.
Francisco "Pancho" Villa made his way north, residing in Casas Grandes in the center of two Mormon colonies. Neither he nor his army ever intruded on the colonies although he considered the United States to be the enemy. In fact, when Villa raided Columbus, New Mexico, in March 1916, he detoured around the colonies, rather than going through them in a more direct route.
When Villa was hiding from Carranza, whom the Americans backed, he traveled over the Sierra Madres, taking with him several Mormon men as aides. Villa did not harm the Mormons and allowed them to return home.
As they pursued Villa, the American forces set up base in Colonia Dublán. Historian Raymond J. Reed notes, "The Mormons, having already proven themselves capable of getting along with and commanding respect of the Mexican army under Villa, now undertook the task of playing host to the American army." The Army even recruited a few Mormon soldiers as scouts.
But soon, the colonists found their efforts to remain neutral increasingly difficult. President Taft ordered all Americans living in Mexico to leave. Junius Romney, President of the Juárez Stake of the Mormon Church, followed suit in July 1912, directing the nearly 5,000 Saints to return to the United States.
The colonies were evacuated, with only two, Colonias Juárez and Dublán, surviving to be reestablished in 1916. These two colonias, about 18 miles apart, still exist.
The Mormon Battalion was formed in July 1846 and disbanded one year later. The Mormon Colonies were formed in May of 1885 with the approval of local officials. Now if the Mormon Battalion had killed hundreds of Mexicans, would Pancho Villa have ignored a colony of Gringo Mormons in his midst? So much for Mr. Valdez's theory.
Thanks for helping to set the record straight.
In fairness, the Mexicans were maybe being prudent in making a temporary
surrender, er, withdrawal
Tony musta grew up with JOHN KERRY...sounds just like him.
When the Mormoms were discharged from service in California, they took a wagon back to Salt Lake City, thus opening the Santa Fe Trail through south end of Death Valley.
Unbelievable journey. Thank you for the ping.