Members of the Mormon Battalion served their country, answering a call from President Polk. Even more, however, they served the Lord, answering a call from Him, issued by the Prophet Brigham Young.
The hardships they survived are unimaginable, including an attack by wild cattle, heat exhaustion, sickness, and insufficient food. That several women accompanied the march is even more remarkable.
Personal gain was never a motive for the men, as their salaries were sent to their families and the Church as a whole to help with the Mormon exodus to the Salt Lake Valley. Sacrifice was their watchword.