The route of the Mormon Battalion winds its way through the desert of the American Southwest. I created this map of the Mormon Battalion's march after visiting the San Diego Mormon Battalion Historic Site in the summer of 2014. While there, I enjoyed meeting and talking with the missionaries serving there. I learned about the several hundred Mormon men—including some of my own ancestors—called away from their families on one of the longest infantry marches in US military history. The men positively impacted the growth of San Diego, and some were present at the first discovery of gold at Sutter’s Mill.
I inquired of one of the missionaries whether or not they could use a map for the site. As it turns out, he thought a map would be great for those visitors who could not stay for the full 45-minute tour. It would give them a takeaway to learn about the Mormon Battalion. No such document was in use at the historic site.
The map’s content was created using official publications of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and coordinated with the historic site to be consistent with their authoritative guides. The base map integrates Natural Earth data with routes determined from National Park Service maps and articles from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ official publications. Final compilations were done in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.
The map was never publicly used by the site. Despite support from the site director and missionaries, it did not receive official approval from the church to use the map. Not to despair, I used an idea from the site missionary and developed a bookmark version of the map. If you would like a copy of the bookmark (2 in. x 8 in. on 14 pt gloss coated stock), contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For the 170th anniversary of the Battalion's departure, I wrote a feature article for Meridian Magazine discussing my creation process.