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Picturing history: San Bernardino Ranch camp, Mormon Battalion

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 27 2014 7:07 a.m. MDT

Updated: Wednesday, Aug. 27 2014 7:07 a.m. MDT

In an expanse of desert about 15 miles east of what is now Douglas, Arizona, the Mormon Battalion set up a rest camp near the San Bernardino Ranch or hacienda. The monument seen here notes the date the battalion camped at the ranch as Dec. 5, 1846. Some journals note it differently but within a day or two.

Kenneth Mays

After leaving Santa Fe, New Mexico, the Mormon Battalion followed the Rio Grande and then worked through Guadalupe Pass. This is a remote area close to where Mexico and the states of Arizona and New Mexico come together.

In an expanse of desert about 15 miles east of what is now Douglas, Arizona, the battalion, which were mostly members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, set up a rest camp near the San Bernardino Ranch or hacienda. The ranch was established in 1822 but had been abandoned by the time members of the battalion camped there in early December 1846.

Here they rested, washed, traded with Native Americans and hunted. Several wild animals, probably cattle, were killed, adding to their meager but much-needed food supply.

The monument seen in these images notes the date they camped at the ranch as Dec. 5. Some journals note it differently but within a day or two.

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