- California in the American Civil War
California's involvement in the American Civil Warincluded sending gold east, recruiting or funding a limited number of combat units, maintaining numerous fortifications, and sending troops east, some of whom became famous.
Republican supporters of Lincoln took control of the state in 1861, minimizing the influence of the large southern population. Their great success was in obtaining a Pacific railroad land grant and authorization to build the Central Pacific as the western half of the transcontinental railroad.
California was settled primarily by Midwestern and Southern farmers, miners and businessmen. Though the southerners tended to favor the Confederacy, the state did not have slavery, and they were generally powerless during the war itself. California was home for powerful businessmen who played a significant role in Californian politics through their control of mines, shipping, and finance, and the Republican Party. The possibility of splitting off Southern California as a territory (not a state) was rejected by the national government, and the idea was dead by 1861 when a fervor of patriotism swept California after the attack on
From Statehood to the Civil War
When California was admitted as a state in 1850, Californians had already decided it was to be a free state--the constitutional convention of 1849 unanimously abolished slavery. As a result, Southerners in Congress voted against admission in 1850 while Northerners pushed it through, pointing to its population of 93,000 and its vast wealth in gold. Northern California, which was dominated by mining, shipping, and commercial elites of San Francisco, favored becoming a state. However, some people in lightly populated, rural Southern California wanted territorial status, or at least separation from Northern California.
In 1860 California gave a small plurality of 38,733 votes to
Abraham Lincoln, whose 32% of the total vote was enough to win all its electoral votes; 68% voted for the other three candidates.Johannsen, Robert W. . "Lincoln, the South, and Slavery: The Political Dimension", Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1991).] [http://www.multied.com/elections/1860Pop.html Popular vote in 1860] ]
Eighty-eight violent incidents of various sizes were fought in California, many of them against outlaws trying to capture gold for their own benefit. (No captured gold was sent to the Confederacy.) Most of the fights were guerrilla battles, or in the terminology of the day, battles with "partisan rangers." Indeed, a few men left the guerrillas under the command of the ruthless school teacher,
William Quantrill, in Missouri, and came to California to train supporters there. One partisan warrior, Dan Showalter, once robbed a stagecoachof all its gold, leaving a receipt behind with the driver to keep him out of trouble with his bosses. The westernmost attack related to the Civil War occurred just outside downtown San Jose. A bronze historical plaque marking the site identifies it as a battle with "outlaws," rather than a battle of the American Civil War.
Civil War Era forts
At this time, the U.S. had a number of military forts to defend against the Indian threat, and to solidify the U.S. claim to the state.
New forts were founded to protect ports, defend against the Indians, and to hold Confederate soldiers and sympathizers, such as the Drum Barracks, in San Pedro Bay [ [http://www.militarymuseum.org/FtMacArthur.html Historic California Posts: Fort MacArthur - Military Museum] ] and at Two Harbors on
The coastal fortifications of San Pedro, and the
San Diegoand San FranciscoBays were also important. San Pedro was protected by the Drum Barracks. In San Francisco, Fort Pointwas built at the edge of the Presidio, as well as Fort Bakeron the Marin Headlands. The San Francisco Bay was also protected by the Navy at Mare Island, the Benicia Arsenal, Fort Masonwith the posts at San Francisco's Point San Jose, and Fort McDowellon Angel Island. Fort Tejonhad been the headquarters of the First U.S. Dragoonsuntil those regular armytroops were transferred to the East in July 1861upon the outbreak of war. Fort Tejon lies in the Grapevine Canyon ("La Cañada de las Uvas"), protecting the San Joaquin Valleyfrom the south and east. The fort was re-occupied by California volunteer troops in 1863and then was abandoned for good on September 11, 1864. Fort Tejon is now the site of Civil War reenactments presented by the Fort Tejon Historical Association. [Fort Tejon State Historic Park pamphlet, State of California, Department of Parks & Recreation, Sacramento, California, 1991.]
There was Fort Miller in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in
Fresno County; Los Angeleshad Fort Moore; San Diego Countyhad Camp Wright; Fort Yumawas on the Colorado River, Fort Bragg was on the Mendocino Countycoast and Camp Babbitt outside the town of Visalia, in Tulare County.
One Civil War-era fort,
Post of Alcatraz Islandor Fort Alcatraz, on a rocky island just inside the Golden Gate, later became an infamous Federal penitentiary, Alcatraz. Fort Humboldt, established to assist maintain peace between the Native Americans and new settlers was briefly commanded by Ulysses S. Grantprior to the war.
Military units associated with California
Due to its location, the state's local militia companies remained under state status because of the great number of Southern sympathizers, the Indian threat, and possible foreign attack. A number of state militias disbanded and went east. Therefore, the state dispensed with the usual military practice of mustering militia companies into regiments. Volunteers maintained military posts vacated by the
regular armyunits that were ordered east. Several companies did offer their services and were accepted by the Union Army.
In 1862, five companies of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry (also known as
The California 100and the California Cavalry Battalion) were enrolled and mustered into service, and sent to Massachusetts They left San Francisco by sea for service on the east. The California Battalion consisted of Companies A, C, F, L, and M. They participated in 51 battles, campaigns, and skirmishes. Oregon U.S. SenatorEdward D. Baker raised a regiment of men on the East Coast. These units and others were generally known as the " California Regiment," but later designated the 71st Pennsylvania Infantry. Col. Roderick N. Mathesonwas the leader of the 32nd New York Infantry, also known as the 1st California Regiment.
In October 1861, Colonel Baker was authorized to increase his command to a brigade. The additional regiments were commanded by Colonels
Joshua T. Owen, Dewitt Clinton Baxter, and Turner G. Morehead, all from Philadelphia, respectively designated the 2nd, 3rd, and 5th California Regiments. The 4th California Regiment, as planned, was composed of artillery and cavalry. These troops were soon detached. After Baker was killed in the Battle of Ball's Bluff, Pennsylvania claimed these four infantry regiments as a part of its quota, and they became known as the " Philadelphia Brigade" of Pennsylvania Volunteers. They were initially commanded by Brig. Gen. William W. Burnsand first served in John Sedgwick's Division of the II Corps, Army of the Potomac. They had a distinguished service career, highlighted by their actions at the Battle of Antietamand their prominent position in the defense against Pickett's Chargeat the Battle of Gettysburg.
The units recruited for service inside California included two full regiments and one battalion of cavalry, eight full regiments of infantry, and one battalion of infantry called mountaineers. The California Troops, known as the California Column, were under the command of General James H. Carleton and were composed of the 1st Regiment of Cavalry, 1st Battalion of Native Cavalry, and the 1st, 5th and 7th Infantry Regiments, which served in Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas.
The 2nd Regiment of California Cavalry and the 3rd Regiment of California Infantry under P. Edward Connor kept the overland route to California open. As a matter of Connor's proactive style, he led these troops to attack and massacre
ShoshoniIndians at the Bear River Massacre Sitein what is now Idaho, on January 29, 1863.
* [http://www.scvcalifornia.net/Vidette2.pdf "The J.P. Gillis Flag, or the 'Biderman' Flag of California"] article from the August 27, 2002 issue of "The Vidette", the newsletter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, California Division.
History of California to 1899
California State Military Museum
* [http://www.militarymuseum.org/CSM%20and%20the%20CW.html California Military Museum]
* [http://www.cocohistory.com/essays-copperheads.html Snakes in the Grass: Copperheads in Contra Costa?]
* [http://www.sandiegohistory.org/journal/61april/civilwar.htm San Diego in the Civil War]
* [http://www.santacruzpl.org/history/crime/copper1.shtml Copperheads, Secesh Men, and Confederate Guerillas]
* [http://www.sfmuseum.org/hist5/civwar.html San Francisco in the Civil War]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Outline of the American Civil War — The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to the American Civil War: American Civil War – civil war in the United States of America that lasted from 1861 to 1865. Eleven Southern slave states declared their secession… … Wikipedia
Idaho in the American Civil War — The history of Idaho in the American Civil War is atypical, as the territory was far from the battlefields.At the start of the Civil War, modern day Idaho was part of the Washington Territory. On March 3 1863, the Idaho Territory was formed,… … Wikipedia
Arizona in the American Civil War — The Arizona Territory was disputed during the American Civil War, with both the slave holding Confederate States of America and the United States Federal government claiming ownership and territorial rights. Military expeditions were sent to… … Wikipedia
Disfranchisement after the American Civil War — The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1870 to protect the suffrage of freedmen after the American Civil War. It prevented any state from denying the right to vote to any citizen on account of his race. Because… … Wikipedia
Origins of the American Civil War — For events following South Carolina s declaration of secession from the Union, see Battle of Fort Sumter and American Civil War. The Battle of Fort Sumter was the first stage in a conflict that had been brewing for decades. The main explanation… … Wikipedia
Nevada in the American Civil War — Union States in the American Civil War … Wikipedia
Colorado in the American Civil War — Union States in the American Civil War California Connecticut Illinois Indiana Iowa … Wikipedia
Missouri in the American Civil War — Confederate States in the American Civil War South Carolina Mississippi Florida Alabama Georgia Louisiana Texas Virginia Arkansas North Carolina … Wikipedia
Oregon in the American Civil War — Union States in the American Civil War California Connecticut Illinois Indiana Iowa … Wikipedia
Ohio in the American Civil War — Union States in the American Civil War California Connecticut Illinois Indiana Iowa … Wikipedia