“Comment,” Ensign, Sept. 2007, 80
Several readers have pointed out discrepancies in the image of the Mormon Battalion on the cover of the July 2007 Ensign. Some noted that the weapons appear to be bolt action rifles not in use until about 50 years after the Battalion disbanded. Also, historical accounts indicate that the clothing and hair does not accurately represent what Battalion members would have worn upon reaching San Diego.
Battalion members were issued money to buy uniforms. However, most chose to give this money to the Church to aid the Saints who were crossing the plains. The majority of Battalion members would have worn clothing they already owned at the time they fled Nauvoo. This would have varied from person to person. Most of the men would have worn broad-rimmed felt hats, wool shirts, vests, and trousers with either a fall or fly closure. Accounts indicate that for the most part their clothing was in tatters and shoes or boots had been worn to bare feet by the time they arrived in San Diego.
The military equipment issued to each Battalion member included a model 1816 musket, a bayonet with sheath and shoulder strap, a cartridge box with ammunition and shoulder strap, a waist belt, a canteen with strap, a haversack for carrying personal effects, a knapsack, and a bedroll. The musket pictured (see accompanying photo) is a model 1816 made at the Harper’s Ferry arsenal in 1827 and was carried by Battalion member James T. S. Allred.
The article in the June issue, “New Religion, New Life,” is a great story. I see it as two friends strengthening each other along the way. I have had a similar experience with a friend, whom I have been helping in the Church. She has helped deepen my understanding and happiness through letting me teach her the gospel.
Stephanie Matthews, Utah
In the June 2007 Ensign, page 72, there is a picture of a newborn baby with a suggestion that one way to provide community service for those with limited time might be to knit newborn hats. This sweet baby picture brought a rush of tears to my eyes. Last November my first grandchildren were born, a little girl and boy, twins. Because they were born several months premature they each weighed barely one pound. On the day of her birth, I held my tiny granddaughter’s body in my arms for the first and only time, as she died soon thereafter. One week later, I held my grandson, also to say goodbye. Amid my grief, on both occasions I was keenly aware of the little hand-knitted caps that had been tenderly placed on their heads, as well as the beautiful little items of clothing some strangers had prepared. I thanked God for those strangers, and how He teaches us to help each other. “I was a stranger … and ye clothed me.” These quiet acts of service and kindness brought a moment of sweetness to my aching heart and provided much needed evidence of God’s care, even in the deepest trials.
Jean Strickland, Nevada
I just read the article on the Mountain Meadows Massacre in the September Ensign. I just wanted to let you know that I was very impressed with your ability to compress an account of the events into such a short space, as well as provide a fair-minded narrative. Kudos. Kudos also to all involved for addressing the issue forthrightly in a Church magazine. Thank you.
Nathan Oman, Virginia