Did you know that the United States had a one time religiously based unit? I didn't. Though I am Mormon and knew of the Mormon Battalion, not until I had done some research, did I realize that it was the only religiously based unit in United States military history. It served from July 1846 to July 1847 during the Mexican-American War.
The battalion was a volunteer unit of over 500 Latter-day Saints men, commanded by regular US army officers. During its service, the battalion made a grueling march nearly 2,000 miles long from Council Bluffs, Iowa to San Diego, California.
The battalion's march and service was key in helping the US secure much of the American Southwest, including new lands in several Western states, especially the Gadsden Purchase of 1853 of much of southern Arizona. The march also opened a southern wagon route to California. Those who served in the battalion played a vital role in America's expansion in California, Utah, and Arizona.