Picturing the Nauvoo Legion

When artists sought to visually depict the history of Nauvoo, they not surprisingly included images of the Nauvoo Legion and its officers. Most of the Legion artwork centered on Joseph Smith himself or on his involvement with the militia as it prepared for self-defense. These images ensured a place for the twenty-five hundred Legion members in the visual history of Nauvoo, but also they raise interesting questions about the historical accuracy of the portrayed information, including the setting and the militia uniforms. However, careful examination of the visual record and other independent sources provides some assurance of the historical validity of these early illustrations. Each picture not only imparts a particular interpretation of the person or event it portrays, but also communicates significant information.

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