A contingent of the Illinois state militia provided for in the Nauvoo city charter. The Nauvoo Legion was organized into two cohorts: one infantry and one cavalry. Each cohort could potentially comprise several thousand men and was overseen by a brigadier general. On 4 February 1841, Joseph Smith was appointed lieutenant general, the commanding officer of the Nauvoo Legion. In addition to training in regular military exercises as required by Illinois statute, the Legion frequently mustered for reviews and inspections. The Legion’s main purpose, according to Smith, was to protect the city from mobs and enforce city ordinances and state laws. In June 1844, when Nauvoo was threatened by increasing conflict in Hancock County, Governor Thomas Ford demanded that the Legion surrender its arms. In January 1845, the Nauvoo charter was repealed and the Nauvoo Legion lost its legal standing.
Retrieved with permission from The Joseph Smith Papers.