A Dictionary of the Book of Mormon/Jacob (II)
JACOB. A Nephite apostate of the Zoramite sect. He joined the Lamanites in the war inaugurated by Amalickiah, and was placed in command of the city of Mulek, the most northern of the Nephite cities, on the Atlantic coast, captured by the Lamanites. It was a key to the surrounding country. While it remained in Lamanite possession, it was very little use for Moroni, the Nephite commander-in-chief, to attempt to recover the cities that lay along the shores of the east sea, yet farther south. The Nephite generals did not consider themselves justified in making an attempt to carry the place by assault. Such an effort would have cost too many noble lives, and probably have proven unsuccessful. Moroni had with him at this time two of his most trusted lieutenants, Lehi and Teancum, both of whom were little inferior to the chief captain in wisdom and valor. At a council of war it was determined to attempt the capture of Mulek by strategy. They had already sent embassies to Jacob, desiring him to bring his armies into the open plain to meet the Nephites in battle, but the Lamanite commanders were too well acquainted with the discipline and courage of the Nephite forces to take such a risk. There was, therefore, but one plan left, other than to patiently sit down before the city and reduce it by a regular siege, and that was to decoy a portion of its defenders beyond the protection of its walls, and when it was thus weakened, to carry it by storm. Moroni determined on this course. (B. C. 64.)
By command of Moroni, the gallant Teancum, with a small force, marched along the sea shore to the neighborhood of Mulek; while Moroni, with the main body of the army, unperceived by the enemy, made a forced march by night into the wilderness which lay on the west of the city. There he rested. Lehi, with a third corps, remained in the city of Bountiful.
On the morrow, Teancum's small division was discovered by the Lamanite outposts, and from the fewness of its numbers they judged it would fall an easy prey. Jacob at once sallied forth at the head of his warriors to attack the presumptuous Nephites. On their approach Teancum cautiously retreated along the sea shore towards the city of Bountiful. Jacob followed in vigorous pursuit. Moroni, in the meanwhile, divided his army into two corps, one of which he dispatched to capture the city, and with the other he closed in between Jacob's army and Mulek. The first corps accomplished its work without difficulty, for Jacob had left but a small force behind him, and all who would not surrender were slain.
The Lamanites crowded after Teancum in hot pursuit until they came nigh unto Bountiful, when they were met by Lehi and the small force under his command. At his appearance the Lamanite captains fled in confusion, lest they should be out-generaled and cut off from their fortifications. Jacob's warriors were weary by reason of their long and hasty advance, while Lehi's soldiers were fresh and unfatigued. But Lehi refrained from pressing too vigorously on his retreating foes, as his object was not to exhaust his men until the hour of battle came, and he was anxious to avoid a conflict till he and Moroni could, at the same moment, attack the Lamanites in front and rear.
When Jacob drew near the city he found himself confronted by the soldiers of Moroni, who closed in around his warriors and barred their further progress southward; while Lehi, putting forth his pent-up energies, fell with fury on their rear. Weary and worn though his troops were, Jacob would not surrender. He determined, if possible, to cut his way through to Mulek. With this intent he made a desperate, though ineffectual, charge on Moroni's lines. The Nephites being fresh and unwearied, never wavered. The battle here raged with indescribable fierceness, and with heavy losses to both sides. The wild Lamanites, in the frenzy of desperation, dashed with all their strength and prowess against the well-ordered ranks of the Nephites in the one-absorbing endeavor to force their way through. While the Nephites, in the heroic courage which religion and patriotism inspire, stood cool and undismayed. In this desperate encounter Moroni was wounded and Jacob slain.
While Jacob was thus impetuously charging on Moroni's corps, Lehi with his "strong men" was as furiously driving in the Lamanite rear. At last the soldiers of Jacob in that part of the field surrendered. Their leader being slain, the remainder of the troops hesitated between throwing down their arms and continuing the hopeless strife. Moroni, with his intense hatred of unnecessary bloodshed, when he noticed that they wavered, cried out that if they would lay down their weapons and deliver themselves up he would spare their lives. His offer was accepted. The chief captains, who remained, came forward and placed their weapons at his feet and commanded their men to do the same. Most of the warriors obeyed, yet numbers would not. They preferred death to surrender, and force had to be used to wrest their weapons from them. The Lamanite prisoners were then sent under an escort to the city of Bountiful, and when counted were found to exceed in numbers the slain on both sides in the late battle.