Helaman on the Western Front

Battle of Cumeni

Alma 57:6–7

Helaman receives supplies and reinforcements: 6,000 men from Zarahemla, and 60 more Ammonite boys; with this renewed strength, Helaman plans an attack to regain the city of Cumeni.

And it came to pass that in the commencement of the twenty and ninth year, we received a supply of provisions, and also an addition to our army, from the land of Zarahemla, and from the land round about, to the number of six thousand men, besides sixty of the sons of the Ammonites who had come to join their brethren, my little band of two thousand. And now behold, we were strong, yea, and we had also plenty of provisions brought unto us. And it came to pass that it was our desire to wage a battle with the army which was placed to protect the city Cumeni.

Alma 57:8–10

Helaman’s army surrounds the city of Cumeni shortly before provisions are scheduled to arrive; they hold their ground and ambush the crew of Lamanites carrying the supplies.

And now behold, I will show unto you that we soon accomplished our desire; yea, with our strong force, or with a part of our strong force, we did surround, by night, the city Cumeni, a little before they were to receive a supply of provisions.

And it came to pass that we did camp round about the city for many nights; but we did sleep upon our swords, and keep guards, that the Lamanites could not come upon us by night and slay us, which they attempted many times; but as many times as they attempted this their blood was spilt. At length their provisions did arrive, and they were about to enter the city by night. And we, instead of being Lamanites, were Nephites; therefore, we did take them and their provisions.

Alma 57:11–12

Helaman sends the intercepted provisions to Judea and Zarahemla, and after a few days isolated from their provisions, the Lamanites surrender the city of Cumeni.

And notwithstanding the Lamanites being cut off from their support after this manner, they were still determined to maintain the city; therefore it became expedient that we should take those provisions and send them to Judea, and our prisoners to the land of Zarahemla. And it came to pass that not many days had passed away before the Lamanites began to lose all hopes of succor; therefore they yielded up the city unto our hands; and thus we had accomplished our designs in obtaining the city Cumeni.

Alma 57:13–14

Helaman struggles to deal with the massive number of surrendered Lamanites; Cumeni is lost and 2,000 Nephites die in Lamanite prisoner riots.

But it came to pass that our prisoners were so numerous that, notwithstanding the enormity of our numbers, we were obliged to employ all our force to keep them, or to put them to death. For behold, they would break out in great numbers, and would fight with stones, and with clubs, or whatsoever thing they could get into their hands, insomuch that we did slay upwards of two thousand of them after they had surrendered themselves prisoners of war.

Alma 57:15–16, 29

The Nephites kill the more violent prisoners, and a guard named Gid begins to escort the remaining prisoners down to Zarahemla, where they can be sustained by more abundant provisions.

Therefore it became expedient for us, that we should put an end to their lives, or guard them, sword in hand, down to the land of Zarahemla; and also our provisions were not any more than sufficient for our own people, notwithstanding that which we had taken from the Lamanites. And now, in those critical circumstances, it became a very serious matter to determine concerning these prisoners of war; nevertheless, we did resolve to send them down to the land of Zarahemla; therefore we selected a part of our men, and gave them charge over our prisoners to go down to the land of Zarahemla.


Now Gid was the chief captain over the band who was appointed to guard them down to the land.

Alma 57:17

The next day, more Lamanites arrive and begin fighting Helaman’s army.

But it came to pass that on the morrow they did return. And now behold, we did not inquire of them concerning the prisoners; for behold, the Lamanites were upon us, and they returned in season to save us from falling into their hands. For behold, Ammoron had sent to their support a new supply of provisions and also a numerous army of men.

Alma 57:18

Gid and the prisoner escorts return from Zarahemla just as Helaman’s army is losing.

And it came to pass that those men whom we sent with the prisoners did arrive in season to check them, as they were about to overpower us.

Alma 57:19

Helaman’s Ammonite army fights desperately.

But behold, my little band of two thousand and sixty fought most desperately; yea, they were firm before the Lamanites, and did administer death unto all those who opposed them.

Alma 57:20–21

The Ammonites, remembering their mothers’ words, become exceptional soldiers.

And as the remainder of our army were about to give way before the Lamanites, behold, those two thousand and sixty were firm and undaunted. Yea, and they did obey and observe to perform every word of command with exactness; yea, and even according to their faith it was done unto them; and I did remember the words which they said unto me that their mothers had taught them.

Alma 57:22–23

Thanks to prisoner escorts’ help, the Lamanite army is driven back to Manti, and Cumeni is repossessed by the Nephites.

And now behold, it was these my sons, and those men who had been selected to convey the prisoners, to whom we owe this great victory; for it was they who did beat the Lamanites; therefore they were driven back to the city of Manti. And we retained our city Cumeni, and were not all destroyed by the sword; nevertheless, we had suffered great loss.

Alma 57:24

Helaman immediatly orders that all wounded soldiers receive immediate medical attention.

And it came to pass that after the Lamanites had fled, I immediately gave orders that my men who had been wounded should be taken from among the dead, and caused that their wounds should be dressed.

Alma 57:25

Again, to Helaman’s amazement, his 2,060 Ammonite warriors are all still alive, though many have suffered severe blood loss, and all are wounded.

And it came to pass that there were two hundred, out of my two thousand and sixty, who had fainted because of the loss of blood; nevertheless, according to the goodness of God, and to our great astonishment, and also the joy of our whole army, there was not one soul of them who did perish; yea, and neither was there one soul among them who had not received many wounds.

Alma 57:26–27

The Ammonites have been preserved by the goodness of God.

And now, their preservation was astonishing to our whole army, yea, that they should be spared while there was a thousand of our brethren who were slain. And we do justly ascribe it to the miraculous power of God, because of their exceeding faith in that which they had been taught to believe—that there was a just God, and whosoever did not doubt, that they should be preserved by his marvelous power. Now this was the faith of these of whom I have spoken; they are young, and their minds are firm, and they do put their trust in God continually.

Alma 57:28

Helaman buries those who died in the battle, then prays about what to do with the prisoners in Zarahemla.

And now it came to pass that after we had thus taken care of our wounded men, and had buried our dead and also the dead of the Lamanites, who were many, behold, we did inquire of Gid concerning the prisoners whom they had started to go down to the land of Zarahemla with.

Alma 57:30

Gid tells Helaman about the prisoner revolt and why he returned so quickly.

And now, these are the words which Gid said unto me: …

Alma 57:36

Upon hearing Gid’s story, Helaman feel joy for God’s hand in his life.

Now it came to pass that when I, Helaman, had heard these words of Gid, I was filled with exceeding joy because of the goodness of God in preserving us, that we might not all perish; yea, and I trust that the souls of them who have been slain have entered into the rest of their God.