A dramatic event in Church history, the mustering in of the Mormon Battalion, will be re-enacted here July 12-13, and descendants of battalion members, as well as other interested persons, are invited to participate.
"It will probably be the only time in their lives that descendants will have the opportunity to re-enact the mustering-in of their ancestors into the battalion," said Elder William Price, public affairs missionary assigned to sesquicentennial activities of the Mormon exodus from Nauvoo, Ill. "However," he explained, "those who are not descendants of battation members are also welcome to muster."The re-enactment will mark 150 years since the 500 men of the battalion, accompanied by 85 women and children, were mustered in. The event will be in connection with a community celebration that includes the dedication of the rebuilt Kanesville Tabernacle, originally constructed by the Saints after their exodus from Nauvoo. The tabernacle was where Brigham Young was sustained as president of the Church on Dec. 27, 1847.
The extravaganza will be at the Grand Encampment site of President Young's Camp of Israel.
Because of limited seating and parking at the tabernacle, proceedings of the dedication, to be held July 13 at 4 p.m., will be at the mustering grounds site. A crowd of 10,000 spectators is expected to attend, said Elder Price.
Events of the community celebration are sponsored by the Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce and the Iowa and Nebraska Mormon Trails associations. Other activities will include a music cantata, pancake breakfast, barbecue dinner, children's parade, country music concert, wagon trains, and Indian dancers and singers.
The commemoration will begin July 12 at 6 p.m with the country music concert by Michael Martin Murphy and continue the next day at the southeast corner of Highway 92 and 275, near the site of the original mustering in. The mustering-in ceremony will be July 13 at 10:30 a.m. Final registration for the ceremony will be 9 a.m. and participants are asked to wear period clothing. Throughout the day, Pitts Brass Band will provide musical entertainment.
A Mormon Battalion Ball will be held July 13 at 8 p.m. on the mustering grounds to commemorate a similar event 150 years ago at which battalion members were bid farewell. Participants will sing "The Girl I Left Behind," which was sung at the ball in 1846.
Originally in 1846, Council Bluffs was named Miller's Hollow. When the Saints settled it, they named it Kanesville in honor of Col. Thomas L. Kane, an influential friend of the Church.
For more information about the Mormon Battalion mustering-in re-enactment, contact 150th Mormon Battalion in care of Joe Carlson, telephone 308-237-4447, or Deniece Beck, 712-323-1952