31 Never before in U.S. history, had there been a military unit like the Mormon Battalion. Their incredible march across the U. S. was historic. What they accomplished during and after their grueling 2000-mile trek to San Diego was unprecedented and unrivaled. The eventual impact of their service changed the history of California and the U. S. At Council Bluffs, Iowa in June of 1846, U.S. Army Captain James Allen, represent- ing President James Polk, recruited into military service, 500 men and 38 women as laundresses. The Battalion left Fort Leavenworth Kansas in July of 1846. Traveling on foot, they ful- filled their assignment to build a wagon road from Santa Fe to San Diego. They fought no battles but instead became peace-keepers in Southern California. They became instant friends with the local citizens because they gave hundreds of hours of service to them white-washing almost every building in town. They built a brick kiln, then showed the local citizens how to make and fired 40,000 bricks. They used the bricks to line wells that they had dug and built the first fired-brick building which was used as a school and the first U. S. courthouse in California. A replica of this building is found in the Old Town State Park. The citizens loved this particular battalion so much that when it was time for them to be re-assigned, the citizens did not want the Battalion to leave. They were so attached to them that they signed a petition to the governor…to use his influence to keep them the service…(it) was signed by every citizen in town. This however did not fit the plans of the Army. They were then sent to Los Angeles to finish building Fort Moore. After thei- renlistment finished some went north; 112 were hired by John Sutter, six of whom built the sawmill at Coloma for James Marshall where gold was discovered. After participat- ing in that gold discovery, they made the second and largest gold find of returning Battalion veterans developed an all-weather freighting road through the Cajon pass in the San Bernardino Mountains to Los Angeles. Their legacy was road building and service, sacrifice and faith. They helped to open the West for travel and commerce. The maps they created during their march became the basis for the U. S. Gadsden Purchase. Norma B. Ricketts, The Mormon Battalion. U. S. Army of the West, 1846-48, Logan, Utah State Uni- versity Press, 1996. Daniel S. Tyler, Concise History of the Mormon Battalion, Salt Lake City, 1881. Armyof theWest the gold Rush on an island in the Ameri- can River. In spite of their lucrative find, they left it for something more pre- cious to them…they left to rejoin their families; many still camped on the plains road, known as the Mormon Emigrant of Iowa. Heading east they carved the first Trail, through the Sierra Nevada Mountains which became the “Forty- niner’s Highway.” This opened Northern California to the god Rush. Over 50,000 wagons and 200,000 people used this trail during that time. A few years later,