Lessons Learned : The Nauvoo Legion and What the Mormons Learned Militarily in Missouri
Spencer, Thomas M.
The Missouri Mormon Experience
University of Missouri Press
"The story of the Nauvoo Legion begins in Missouri. What began in 1831 with eager anticipation among a people anxious to establish Zion, their New Jerusalem, in Jackson County, Missouri, ended with a solemn proclamation of expulsion in October 1838 by a governor convinced the Mormons had to leave the state. Rather than establish a place of peace and safe refuge from the world, the Mormons were forced to take up arms and defend themselves. By the time they quit Missouri for Illinois in the winter of 1838-1839, they had learned bitter lessons in how to survive in an American frontier setting, lessons they would put to use in establishing the Nauvoo Legion. Here we identify what some of those lessons were, especially those of a military nature, and argue that two of the well-known Mormon military expressions in Missouri - Zion's Camp and the Danites - were models for how not to run a militia. In other words, we will explore the salient difference between those two earlier Mormon military efforts and the Nauvoo Legion." [Author's introduction]