On July 15, 1847, after their year of enlistment, members of the Mormon Battalion were discharged in San Diego. Approximately 276 discharged men headed north on their way to meet their families on the plains. One group of about 155, led by Levi Hancock, arrived in New Helvetia, or Sutter’s Fort, on Thursday, August 26, 1847, and camped on the bank of the American River. Skilled labor was nonexistent at the fort and, since wages of $25 to $60 a month were being offered, it was decided that about 100 of them would stay and work through the winter. (A letter from Brigham Young and the Twelve, stated that as many as could should remain in California for the winter, as there was not sufficient food in the Salt Lake Valley to sustain all of them.) The remainder headed east over the Sierra Madre Mountains to reunite with their families in the Valley of the Great Salt Lake.
Sutter’s Fort is located at 2701 L Street, in Sacramento, California 95816 Traveling on I-80 from San Francisco take Business 80/Highway 50 east. Take Business 80 exit (North towards Reno) and take the N Street exit. Travel straight on 30th Street, then turn left under the freeway at L Street to the Fort which will be located on your right. Monday-Saturday bring quarters for the parking meters. Parking is free on Sundays. Admission is $4 (18 years and older), Youth $2 (ages 6-17), Children free (5 and under). For more information go to www.parks.ca.gov/suttersfort/