Sunday, August 16, 2009

Civil War California

The Backroads article in the latest issue (Volume XXVI, Issue #1) of Blue & Gray Magazine leads readers through the remnants of Civil War-era Sacramento, and it reminds me indirectly of how little shelf space Civil War California occupies in the literature. Sure, there are some good pieces scattered around, but I am aware of no decent book length study of the Civil War years in CA [Aurora Hunt's now dated The Army of the Pacific covers military operations in a very general manner, and this one, apparently, isn't much good, so if someone knows of any hidden gems I would love to hear about them].

The glittery metal was just a part of California's legacy. Its social and political characters and conflicts were as interesting as any other state, and its military volunteers ranged all over the West ensuring civil order, policing emigrant trails, garrisoning forts, and fighting hostile Indian bands. Given the magnifying glass that's been taken to legions of Civil War subjects of far less significance, a comprehensive look at The Golden State would seem to be in order.

David, put off your writing no longer. Your project awaits.


  1. I agree about how little there is written about California's role in the Civil War. More should be done.

    I remember a interesting segment on the old show 'Unsolved Mysteries' about the various 'ghosts' of the Civil War-era Drum Barracks in Wilmington, California. Looked like a neat Civil War related site to visit.

  2. re: "...fighting hostile Indian bands."

    Not just hostile ones. The volunteers who replaced the regulars took the opportunity to clean house of friendlies and hostiles alike.

    Thanks for the encouragement. I'm really going to have to renew my B&G subscription. You're right -- CW California is my book! I'll thank you in the acknowledgments.

    "And oh I ain't wastin’ time no more
    'Cause time goes by like hurricanes, and faster things



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