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Battle of Nauvoo

As thousands Latter-day Saints were leaving Nauvoo in 1846, a few hundred non-Mormon “New Citizens” moved in. By September, there were approximately 600 Mormons still in Nauvoo who were either too sick

or too poor to leave.

In the summer of 1846, violence by both Mormons and Anti-Mormons led to a general call for Anti-Mormons to assemble as a “posse” east of Nauvoo. On September 10, approximately 1,000 Anti-Mormons opened fire on the town with artillery. 150 Mormon men and 200 New Citizens quickly built defenses and fired back. Using guerrilla tactics and cannon made from a steamboat shaft, Nauvoo held off the posse for nearly a week.

Outnumbered and nearly out of ammunition, the Saints agreed to surrender the city and their arms to the posse on the 17th, and leave Illinois “as soon as they can cross the river.” Once the city surrendered, the Anti-Mormon posse took that literally, and began forcibly throwing Mormons into the river.

In the six days of battle, there were many injuries on both sides, but only one fatality among the posse, Thomas Humphrey. Three Latter-day Saint were also killed: David Norris, William Anderson, and August Anderson (William’s 15 year-old son).

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