Mormon Battalion Monument, Yuma, AZ
During the period of January 9-11, 1847, the Mormon Battalion arrived at and crossed the Colorado River. The crossing site was near the area of present-day Yuma, Arizona. Their starving and weakened condition was described by one battalion member as “extreme suffering.” The crossing was particularly challenging for the soldiers. Some of the animals had died while others were broken and struggling. Moreover, they dreaded the many miles of barren desert still ahead of them. It took a considerable while for all to get across the river. Battalion leader Lieutenant Colonel Philip St. George Cook described the river as being “so barren, so desolate and difficult, that it has never been explored.” The present-day Colorado River at Yuma is much smaller and less wild than it was in 1847 because multiple states draw out so much water for a number of uses.
Battalion member William Coray noted in his journal that it was the one year anniversary of his receiving blessings in the Nauvoo Temple. He then added, “I little thought of being here at this time, I am certain.” This monument to the battalion is located where that story unfolded at Yuma in West Wetlands Park on the banks of the Colorado River. It was put in place in 2007.
Map and Directions
The monument is located within the boundaries of West Wetlands Park, a 110-acre area situated in north Yuma near the Colorado River. The park is owned and maintained by the city of Yuma. It is open to all at no charge each day until 8:00 pm at which time the park closes.
Articles & Resources
William Coray, cited in Michael N. Landon & Brandon J. Metcalf, The Remarkable Journey of the Mormon Battalion, 71.
Philip St. George Cook, cited in Sherman L. Fleek, History May Be Searched in Vain: A Military History of the Mormon Battalion, 303.