California  Civil War Rosters

 

From the book “Records of California Men in the War of the Rebellion, 1861 to 1867

by Brig.-Gen. Richard H. Orton, pub. 1890

Transcribed by © Kathy Sedler, June 2004  pp 32-49.


 

THE CALIFORNIA COLUMN

Part One of Two. 

 

            After the proposition to invade Texas, via Sonora and Chihuahua, was given up, General Sumner was ordered East, and Brigadier-General George Wright, United States Volunteers, Colonel of the Ninth Infantry, U.S.A., succeeded to the command of the Department of the Pacific.  The California troops were stationed at various places throughout the State.  The regulars, with the exception of the Ninth Infantry and four companies of the Third Artillery, were ordered East.

            The following is the correspondence showing the strength and disposition of the troops up to the time of the organization of the “California Column;” the California Column, so called, being the force organized for the purpose of recapturing New Mexico, which at that time comprised the territory now within the limits of Arizona.  (See proclamation of General Carleton organizing the Territory of Arizona, on page 55 of this book):

 

HEADQUARTERS ARMY, September 16, 1861.

Brig.-Gen. E.V. SUMNER, U.S.A., Commanding Department Pacific, San Francisco:

                SIR:  A dispatch was sent you by the pony express the tenth instant and a duplicate the fourteenth, directing you to suspend the expedition, via Mazatlan, to western Texas, and to prepare to send all the regular troops, except four companies of artillery by steamer to New York.

                The General-in-Chief directs that you accordingly leave one company (Third Artillery) at Fort Vancouver and three companies in the harbor of San Francisco.  The remainder of the regulars you will send forward by steamer to New York as fast as they can be collected for embarkation.

                The cavalry and artillery horses will be disposed of in such manner as may be deemed best for the public interest.  The arms and equipments of the troops will be brought with them; also, ten thousand of the muskets remaining in store.  The field batteries and their equipments will be left behind.  You will send orders to Colonel Wright to repair to San Francisco to relieve you in command of the department, and after his arrival will proceed to the headquarters of the Army and report in person.

                Brig.-Gen. J.W. Denver, U.S. Volunteer Service, will be ordered to California to relieve Colonel Wright, who will then proceed to report in person at Army headquarters.

                The following dispatch was sent you this day by pony express and also by telegraph:

                “Besides the volunteer force called for from California to guard the overland mail route, the five regiments (one of cavalry and four of infantry) originally ordered will be organized and held ready for service on the Pacific Coast and elsewhere, according to future orders to be given.

                “I send a copy of this to the Governor of California.”

                                I am, sir, etc.,

                E.D. TOWNSEND,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, October 2, 1861.

GENERAL ORDERS,

No. 23.

                In compliance with instructions received from the General-in-Chief, the following movements of regular troops in this department are ordered, preparatory to their sailing for New York:

1. The garrison of each of the several posts in the District of Oregon will, upon being relieved by volunteer troops, proceed to Fort Vancouver, from whence they will be sent to this city.  The horses and horse equipments belonging to the company of cavalry at The Dalles will be turned over to the company of Oregon volunteers; the horses and equipments pertaining to other companies of cavalry in the district will be brought to this city.

2. The troops serving in the District of Southern California will, with the exception of those stationed at Fort Yuma and New San Diego, be in readiness to concentrate at San Pedro.  When relieved by volunteers the companies at Fort Yuma will unite with that at New San Diego.

3. The garrisons of Forts Churchill, Humboldt, Bragg, Crook, Gaston, Umpqua, and Ter-Waw will be relieved by volunteer troops.  When relieved, the companies of the Sixth Regiment of Infantry at these posts will repair to Benicia Barracks, and those of the Fourth Infantry and First Cavalry to this city.  The horses, with their equipments, pertaining to companies of the First Cavalry at Forts Churchill and Crook will be brought to this city.

4. The headquarters and Companies C, H, I, and L of the Third Regiment of Artillery will be in readiness to sail at a moment’s notice.  The horses, harness, etc., pertaining to Company C will be turned over to the Quartermaster’s Department, and the field battery and ordnance stores to the Ordnance Department.

5. Lieutenant-Colonel Merchant will at once transfer from Companies D, H, I, and L of his regiment a sufficient number of privates to make an aggregate of ninety for each of those companies selected to remain on this coast.

6. Paragraph 1 of Special Orders No. 165 is revoked.  Company L, Third Artillery, will immediately proceed to the Presidio of San Francisco.

7. The troops directed above to repair to this city will, upon their arrival, receive further instructions.

By order of Brigadier-General SUMNER.

R.C. DRUM,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, October 28, 1861.

                COLONEL:  I have the honor to acknowledge the receipt of your communication of the thirtieth ultimo, also an extract from Special Order No. 160, of the same date, from the headquarters of the Army.  On the seventeenth instant, five companies of the Second Infantry, California Volunteers, left this place on the steamer for Oregon, for the purpose of relieving the regular troops at the most remote stations in that district.  To-morrow five companies of the Fourth Infantry, California Volunteers, will embark for Oregon, and relieve the troops at Fort Dalles, and the garrisons in the district west of the Cascade Mountains.  After the withdrawal of the regular troops from the District of Oregon there will remain, under the present arrangement, ten companies of volunteer infantry and one company of regulars (Third Artillery).  The company of the Third Artillery now at Fort Vancouver will occupy San Juan Island, and the volunteer infantry will occupy all the posts in the district now garrisoned by the regulars, with the exception of Fort Cassady.  No more troops will be sent to Oregon for the present, and I have suspended the enrollment of the volunteer company of cavalry at Fort Dalles, as the recent call made by the  War Department for a regiment of cavalry to be raised in Oregon will, it is presumed, be ample for any emergencies likely to arise in that country.  The District of Southern California is under the command of Colonel Carleton.  He has ten companies of infantry and five of cavalry, and, should it be necessary, an additional force can be thrown into that country with promptness.  On the steamer which will leave here on the first proximo there will embark at San Pedro the headquarters staff, band, and six companies of the Fourth Infantry, one company of the Ninth Infantry, and two companies of the First Cavalry, the whole under the command of Bvt. Lt.-Col. R.C. Buchanan, Fourth Infantry.  The regular troops from Fort Yuma will reach San Diego in season to embark on the steamer leaving here on the twenty-first of November.  I shall send forward the regular troops to New York with the utmost dispatch, as fast as they can reach the coast, without regard to regiments.

                                Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT,

Colonel, U.S. Army, Commanding.

Col. E.D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D.C.

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, November 5, 1861.

                GENERAL:  I have this moment received Major-General McClellan’s dispatch of the second instant, calling for a report of the condition of my troops.  I have replied briefly by telegraph as follows: “Troops in good condition.  Cavalry regiments full.  Infantry regiments filling up.  Fifteen companies sent north.”  The organization of the volunteer force called for from this State by the War Department will be completed at an early date.  The cavalry service is the favorite arm in this country, and both regiments, the first of five and the second of twelve companies are full.  It is confidently expected that the five infantry regiments will be nearly filled by the first of December.  The First Infantry is fully organized and is in the southern district of the State.  Five companies of the Second and five of the Fourth Infantry have already been sent to Oregon to relieve the regular troops in that State and the Territory of Washington.  Four companies of the Third Infantry and one of the Second Cavalry have been sent to relieve the garrisons of Forts Bragg, Seward, Gaston, and Ter-Waw; one company of the Second Cavalry to Fort Crook; two companies of same regiment to Fort Churchill, and one to Benicia Barracks.  In the Southern District of California Colonel Carleton is in command.  He has his own regiment, First California Volunteer Infantry, and the First Cavalry, a battalion of five companies.  Commands have already been sent to relieve the regular troops at Fort Yuma and at San Diego.  Colonel Carleton’s intimate knowledge of the southern section of this State makes it of the highest importance that he should remain there in command. 

                As the War Department specially designed Colonel Carleton to command the First Infantry, California Volunteers, originally designed for protection to the overland mail service, I have taken it for granted that it was not intended to withdraw him from the volunteer service, under the instructions from Adjutant-General’s office of the third of October, 1861.  Lieut.-Col. Cady, of the Seventh Infantry, regular Army, is now in command of the District of Oregon, having been sent there by General Sumner to relieve Colonel Brott, of the First Cavalry.  The regular troops I shall send East as fast as they reach the coast.  Most of them will have sailed by the first of December; those from Colville and Walla Walla will not get off quite so soon.  Should it be the wish of the department to send volunteers from this country to the East, I doubt not that the regiments would be filled very promptly.  The personnel is not surpassed by any troops we have; all that is required is instruction and discipline.

                                Very respectfully, your most obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT,

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding.

Brigadier-General SETH WILLIAMS, Adjutant-General, at Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D.C.

[Indorsement]

                Inform General W. that Colonel Carleton and Colonel Cady will be retained in his department; that his arrangements are approved.  Recommend to the Secretary that six picked squadrons of Californians be formed for service with the Army of Potomac and four for service in Texas; that two regiments of California and Oregon infantry be raised for service here and two for western Texas.

GEORGE B. McCLELLAN

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., November 15, 1861.

                GENERAL:  At 11 o’clock this morning I received your telegraphic dispatch of the thirteenth instant.  On the seventeenth instant I shall forward the return called for, as complete as circumstances will admit of.  In the meantime, in order to keep the department fully informed of the progress we are making in organizing the volunteers in this State, I will give you a synopsis of the different regiments.  The First Cavalry, a battalion of five companies, has been filled and is posted in the southern district of the State.  The second Cavalry, consisting of twelve companies, has been filled.  Two of the companies are at Fort Churchill, one at Fort Crook, one at Fort Seward, one at Benicia, and the remaining seven are in camp four miles from this city.  Both of the cavalry regiments have their horses, but thus far they have only been drilled on foot.  They are undergoing a thorough course of discipline and instruction.  The First Infantry has been organized and is nearly full.  The regiment is stationed at Fort Yuma and other points in the southern district.  The Second Infantry has its headquarters at the Presidio, near this city.  Five companies of the regiment have been organized and sent under a field officer to Oregon to relieve some of the regular troops in that district.  The remaining five companies will, I think, be filled in the course of a month.  The Third Infantry has its headquarters near Stockton, in this State.  Four companies  have been detached to relieve the regulars at Forts Ter-Waw, Gaston, Bragg, and Seward.  The remaining six companies will soon be filled.  The Fourth Infantry has its headquarters near Auburn, in this State.  Five companies of this regiment, under the Lieutenant-Colonel, have already been sent to the District of Oregon, and the remaining five will soon be filled.  The Fifth Infantry is near the city of Sacramento.  No detachments have been made from this regiment.

                The recruiting is progressing favorably.  I think we can rely upon it that all the regiments will be filled by the close of the year.  A rigid course of discipline and instruction has been instituted in all the regiments; the officers are generally enthusiastic and zealous in the discharge of their duties, and are to be commended for their assiduity in acquiring a knowledge of their duties.  On the steamer which left here on the eleventh I sent no troops East; they could not reach here in season.  On the steamer leaving on the twenty-first I shall embark three companies of the Sixth Infantry, now at Benicia, and three of the Sixth and two of the Fourth Infantry, at San Diego, the whole commanded by Colonel Seawell, Sixth Infantry.  I expect to send the last of the regular troops in the department to New York on the steamer on the eleventh proximo.  I have nothing special to report.  Everything is quiet to all appearance, but we must not relax in our vigilance nor be lulled into a false security.

                                Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT,

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding Department.

Brig.-Gen. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

[Indorsement]

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, November 16, 1861.

                The within communication, addressed to Brigadier-General Thomas, after receiving his telegraphic dispatch of the thirteenth instant, is respectfully submitted to Major-General McClellan.

G. WRIGHT,

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D.C.

 

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[Telegram]

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY, ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE,

WASHINGTON, November 19, 1861

Brig.-Gen. GEORGE WRIGHT, U.S. Volunteers, San Francisco, Cal.:

                You are assigned to the command of the Department of the Pacific, and will retain the Ninth Regiment of Infantry in your command.

                By command of Major-General McCLELLAN.

LORENZO THOMAS,

Adjutant-General.

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, November 22, 1861

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters of the Army, Washington:

                Dispatch received from headquarters of Maj.-Gen. McClellan, dated 19 November.

G. WRIGHT,

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding

                Copy to go by steamer.

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC

SAN FRANCISCO, November 20, 1861.

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D.C.:

                SIR:  On the sixteenth instant I had the honor to acknowledge (by telegraph) the receipt of Major-General McClellan’s dispatch of the thirteenth.  I have recalled Colonel Carleton from his command in the southern district, and as soon as he arrives I shall organize his command of at least one regiment, for the protection of the overland mail route.  I have conferred with Mr. Louis McLane, the agent, as to the most suitable point to locate the troops, in order to afford the required protection.  He suggests Simpson’s Park, Ruby Valley, and Camp Floyd, as the best positions to occupy.  The first is three hundred and twenty-six miles from Sacramento, Ruby Valley is ninety-eight miles from Simpson’s, and Camp Floyd is two hundred and seventeen miles in advance of Ruby Valley.  The weather for many days past has been tempestuous in the extreme, and the snow on the mountains is reported as very deep, and it may be next to an impossibility for the troops to cross over with the necessary supplies.  Were it not for the starving condition of the Indians, no fears need be entertained of their committing any depredations.  Twenty thousand dollars’ worth of provisions, annually distributed to the friendly tribes along this section of the route, would save the Government vast sums of money.  The contract made last summer for the transportation of our supplies from this place to Ruby Valley was at the rate of $400 per ton; and at this season it will cost much more. 

                Everything is quiet on this coast; nothing of importance has transpired since my communication to the Adjutant-General of the Army, dated on the sixteenth instant, a copy of which was forwarded to the headquarters of the Army.  I have removed the Third Infantry, California Volunteers, from Stockton to Benicia Barracks.  Four companies of this regiment are already at their stations; the remaining six have been organized and are progressing favorably in recruiting.  Clothing for all the troops in the department is being made here.  Very soon the supply will be ample and of a superior quality, at a reasonable rate.  On the ninth I inspected the troops at Fort Point, one company Third Artillery, commanded by Brevet Major Austin, and on the thirteenth I inspected the troops at Alcatraz Island, two companies Third Artillery, commanded by Major Burton.  It affords me pleasure to report that I found the troops in high order.  The armament of the fort, although incomplete, was found in handsome condition, and ready for any emergency.

                                Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT,

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding.

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., November 21, 1861.

                GENERAL:  I have this day forwarded to you by steamer a return of troops of this department.  It is made up of the latest reports we have received.  My troops are occupying a vast extent of country, extending from Yuma in the south to Colville in the north, a distance of about two thousand miles, over the route usually marched.  The severe snowstorm in the mountains has completely blocked up the mail route east, and it will probably be several days before they can resume their regular trips.  In the meantime I shall avail myself of the telegraph and the tri-monthly steamers to communicate with headquarters.  Colonel Seawell sailed on the steamer to-day with three companies Sixth Infantry.  At San Diego he will receive five additional companies.  Major Lovell, Tenth Infantry, Major Flint, Sixteenth Infantry, and Brevet Major Andrews, Third Artillery, I have placed on duty with Colonel Seawell’s command.  The last steamer from Oregon brought down two companies of the Ninth Infantry, and on the steamer now due I expect five more companies of the same regiment.  They will all go East on the steamer of the first of December.  The companies from Forts Dalles, Walla Walla, and Colville may be looked for by the tenth of December.  Lieutenant Mullon has one hundred good men of the Ninth Infantry as escort to the Walla Walla and Fort Berton wagon road expedition.  An order was sent early in October for those men to join their companies, since which we have heard nothing from them.  The last General Order I have received from your office was No. 89, of eleventh of October, a single copy only.  I have not yet received the revised Army Regulations.  I would suggest that in sending out books and large packages the ocean route may be used.  Quiet pervades the Pacific Slope.

                                Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding.

Brig.-Gen. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, November 26, 1861.

ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D.C.:

                SIR:  On the twenty-second instant I had the honor to acknowledge the receipt of the dispatch of the nineteenth, from the headquarters of the Army, assigning me to the command of this department, and further instructing me to retain the Ninth Infantry under my command.

                Two companies Ninth Infantry (G and K), with the non-commissioned staff and band, arrived here on the fourteenth, and five more companies of the same regiment reached here on the twenty-second.  This command I have concentrated at the Presidio, San Francisco, to undergo a thorough course of instruction.  The remaining two companies of the Ninth Infantry are en route from Fort Colville, and I have ordered them to halt at Fort Vancouver.  I propose to send one of those companies to “Camp Pickett,” on the island of San Juan, and let the other remain at Fort Vancouver, the headquarters of the District of Oregon and the principal depot for that command.

                Company E, Ninth Infantry, left this coast on the steamer of the first instant for New York, with the command under Brevet Lieutenant-Colonel Buchanan, Fourth Infantry.  The company was without any officer present belonging to it.  The Captain, Wood, is on recruiting service East.

                Nothing was said in the telegraphic dispatch about retaining any additional medical officers, but I have assumed that I should anticipate the wishes of the General-in-Chief by keeping three assistant surgeons, Hager, Craig, and Taylor.  Their services are necessary in consequence of the retention of the Ninth Infantry.  They were selected after consultation with the Medical Director.

                After the company of the Ninth Infantry reaches San Juan Island the company of the Third Artillery now there will be brought to this place and posted in one of the fortifications in the harbor.

                I have ordered the horses and horse equipments of the four companies of the First Cavalry now in Oregon to be concentrated at Fort Vancouver.  They have about two hundred horses, but a majority of them are old and unfit for hard service.  I would recommend that they be turned over to the volunteer cavalry being raised in Oregon, should the department design furnishing those troops with horses and equipments.

                                Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding.

 

 

ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, January 3, 1862.

                Respectfully referred for perusal, and remark invited, to the Quartermaster-General, Commissary-General, Surgeon-General.

                Please return.

E.D. TOWNSEND

Assistant Adjutant-General.

 

                Respectfully returned to the Adjutant-General, U.S. Army.

                By order:

E.J. SIBLEY,

Lieutenant-Colonel, U.S. Army, Deputy Quartermaster-General.

QUARTERMASTER-GENERAL’S OFFICE, August 30, 1862.

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, November 29, 1861

To the ASSISTANT ADJUTANT-GENERAL, Headquarters of the Army, Washington, D.C.:

                SIR:  Since my communication of the twenty-sixth instant, nothing of interest has transpired within this department.  At this moment (1 P.M.) it is not probable that the steamer which leaves here to-morrow morning will take more than the headquarters and two companies of the First Cavalry.  It is possible, however, that the two companies of the Fourth and one of the Sixth Infantry may reach here in time.

                                Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding.

 

 

 

 

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SPECIAL RETURN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC, COMMANDED BY BRIG.-GEN. GEORGE WRIGHT, FOR PART OF THE MONTH OF NOVEMBER, 1861.

Number of Companies

POST

Commanding Officer

Garrison

PRESENT AND ABSENT

 

 

 

 

COMMISSIONED OFFICERS

 

 

 

 

General Officers

Aid-de-Camp

Adjutant-General’s Department

Quartermaster’s Department

Medical Department

Pay Department

Ordnance Department

Military Storekeepers

Regimental Field Officers

Regimental Staff Officers

Captains

Subalterns

Total Commissioned

11

Southern California

Col. Carleton

First California Infantry and First Cavalry

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

2

1

11

22

37

12

Camp Alert

Col. C. Sims

Second Cavalry Volunteers

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

3

1

12

23

40

10

Presidio, San Francisco

Col. F.P. Lippitt

Second Infantry Volunteers

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

3

2

4

7

17

10

Stockton, California

Col. P.E. Connor

Third Infantry Volunteers

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

4

2

10

8

25

9

Auburn, California

Col. Ferris Foreman

Fourth Infantry Volunteers

 

 

 

 

2

 

 

 

3

2

9

11

27

9

Sacramento, California

Col. G.W. Bowie

Fifth Infantry Volunteers

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

3

2

9

8

23

2

Alcatraz Island

Maj. H.S. Burton

Third Artillery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

5

6

1

Fort at Fort Point

Bvt. Maj. W. Austin

Company B, Third Artillery

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

3

4

1

District of Oregon

Lieut.-Col. Cady, Seventh Infantry

Company D, Third Artillery

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

1

 

1

2

5

1

Benicia Arsenal

Capt. J. McAllister

Ordnance

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

 

 

 

 

2

(*)

Vancouver Depot

First Lieut. A.C. Wildrick

Ordnance

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

1

 

Department Staff

 

 

1

 

1

4

1

6

 

1

 

 

 

 

14

 

Attached

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

66

Totals

 

 

1

1

1

4

9

6

1

2

20

10

57

89

200

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPECIAL RETURN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC, ETC. – Continued

 

Number of Companies

POST

Commanding Officer

Garrison

PRESENT AND ABSENT

 

 

 

 

ENLISTED MEN

 

 

 

 

Non-Commissioned Staff of Regiments

Orderly Sergeants

Hospital Stewards

Sergeants

Corporals

Musicians

Artificers, Farriers, and Blacksmiths

Privates

Total Enlisted

Aggregate

11

Southern California

Col. Carleton

First California Infantry and First Cavalry

2

 

1

44

42

20

4

829

942

979

12

Camp Alert

Col. C. Sims

Second Cavalry Volunteers

4

 

1

72

89

11

11

878

1,066

1,106

10

Presidio, San Francisco

Col. F.P. Lippitt

Second Infantry Volunteers

4

 

1

34

49

12

 

474

574

591

10

Stockton, California

Col. P.E. Connor

Third Infantry Volunteers

4

 

1

35

48

10

 

545

643

668

9

Auburn, California

Col. Ferris Foreman

Fourth Infantry Volunteers

4

 

1

31

43

23

 

545

647

678

9

Sacramento, California

Col. G.W. Bowie

Fifth Infantry Volunteers

4

 

 

31

36

15

 

553

639

662

2

Alcatraz Island

Maj. H.S. Burton

Third Artillery

 

1

1

8

8

4

1

148

171

177

1

Fort at Fort Point

Bvt. Maj. W. Austin

Company B, Third Artillery

 

1

1

4

4

2

1

74

87

91

1

District of Oregon

Lieut.-Col. Cady, Seventh Infantry

Company D, Third Artillery

 

1

1

4

4

1

1

42

54

59

1

Benicia Arsenal

Capt. J. McAllister

Ordnance

 

 

 

 

 

 

38

 

38

40

(*)

Vancouver Depot

First Lieut. A.C. Wildrick

Ordnance

 

 

 

 

 

 

16

 

16

16

 

Department Staff

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

 

 

 

1

15

 

Attached

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

 

2

 

3

4

66

Totals

 

 

22

3

9

263

323

98

72

4,092

4,882

5,082

 

HEADQUARTERS OF THE DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., November 20, 1861.

G. WRIGHT,

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding the Department

RICHARD C. DRUM,

Assistant Adjutant-General.

*Detached

NOTE: - The Ninth Infantry was on the way down from Oregon.  See letters of November twenty-first and twenty-sixth, page 36.

 

 

 

 

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, December 10, 1861.

                GENERAL:  The troops in this department are distributed over such a wide extent of country, and the communication with some of the remote stations being very uncertain as to time, we have found it impossible to prepare the tri-monthly reports required at your office with promptness.  Under these embarrassments, I avail myself of every opportunity to keep you well informed by letter of the position and condition, as well as the proximate strength, of the troops on this coast.

                In Oregon District I have two companies Ninth Infantry, one company Third Artillery, and ten companies of volunteer infantry.

                In the Central District, embracing San Francisco and the northern portion of California, I have three companies Third Artillery, one ordnance company, seven companies Ninth Infantry, one regiment of volunteer cavalry, and thirty companies of volunteer infantry.

                In the District of Southern California I have five companies of volunteer cavalry and a regiment of volunteer infantry.

The strength of the four companies Third Artillery is about……………………………………………..350

The strength of the seven companies Ninth Infantry is about…………………………………………….550

The Ordnance Company at Benicia is about……………………………………………………………… 50

The First Cavalry (five companies) Volunteers is about………………………………………………… 450

The Second Cavalry (twelve companies) Volunteers is about………………………………………...1,000

The five regiments Infantry Volunteers is about………………………………………………………3,500

 

Total……………………………………………………………………………………………………5,900

 

                The condition of the troops is good; they are all under a rigid course of discipline and instruction.

                                Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding.

Brig.-Gen. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., December 10, 1861.

Brig.-Gen. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.:

                GENERAL:  For several weeks past small parties have been organizing in the southern district of this State, with the avowed purpose of proceeding to Texas to aid the Rebels.  To enable me to frustrate their designs I have seized all the boats and ferries on the Colorado River, and have them strongly guarded.  I have reinforced Fort Yuma with two more companies – one of infantry and one of cavalry; also with two twelve-pounder brass cannon.

                Major Rigg, First California Volunteer Infantry, commanding United States troops near Warner’s Ranch, on the border of the desert between that place and Fort Yuma, has arrested a man by the name of Showalter, a notorious Secessionist, and his party of seventeen men.  I have ordered the whole party to be taken to Fort Yuma and held securely guarded until further orders.

                I have given positive orders that no person shall be permitted to pass beyond Yuma or cross the Colorado River without my special permit; also, that all persons approaching the frontier of the State shall be arrested and held in confinement unless satisfactory evidence is produced of their fidelity to the Union.  The time has arrived when individual rights may give way, and I shall not hesitate to adopt the most stringent measures to crush any attempt at rebellion within this department.  I will not permit our Government and institutions to be assailed by word or deed without promptly suppressing it by the strong arm of power, feeling assured that I shall be sustained by my Government and receive the cordial support of every patriotic citizen on this coast.

                Hoping that what I have done or propose to do may be approved by the General-in-Chief and Secretary of War, I have the honor to be your obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding.

 

[Indorsement.]

Please inform General Wright that his course is fully approved.

GEO. B. McCLELLAN,

Major-General

ADJUTANT-GENERAL.

 

 

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, December 16, 1861.

                GENERAL:  As the forts at Fort Point and on Alcatraz Island are now occupied by troops, I respectfully request that they may be named by the department.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding

Brig.-Gen. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

 

[Indorsement]

ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE, February --, 1862.

                Respectfully submitted to the Secretary of War, with the request that he will designate names for the two permanent fortifications at Fort Point and Alcatraz Island, harbor of San Francisco.

L. THOMAS,

Adjutant-General.

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, December 20, 1861 – 2 P.M.

                GENERAL:  My reports and returns already made, and which you will receive with this, will inform you of the strength of my command.  The troops are in good condition, and improving in discipline and instruction.  The country is generally quiet.  In the south-western portion of the State the sympathizers with rebellion are numerous, and small parties are constantly organized with a view to pass the frontier; but thus far we have defeated their attempts.  The most stringent measures have been adopted and enforced to prevent the Rebels from receiving any assistance from this country.

                I am now actively engaged in preparing the means of transportation and all the supplies necessary for the expedition which I am authorized to make under Colonel Carleton.

G. WRIGHT

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding

Brig.-Gen. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.

 

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., December 22, 1861.

To his Excellency J.W. NYE, Governor of Nevada Territory, Carson City:

                SIR:  I have received instructions from the headquarters of the Army to send a regiment of troops, or more, if I deem necessary, to protect the overland mail route.  The command will be under Colonel Carleton, and will move as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made.

                I am informed that it is next to an impossibility for troops with their supplies to cross the mountains at this time, and my object in addressing your Excellency is to obtain reliable data as to the practicability of the route, and particularly as to the condition of the Indians, and the probability of their committing depredations on the stock of the mail company.  As soon as practicable I design to establish troops at Simpson’s Park, Ruby Valley, and Camp Floyd, and in the meantime, is it within your power to issue such provisions to the starving Indians along the route as may be necessary for their existence?

                I have an extra supply of provisions at Fort Churchill, and although I am not authorized to issue to Indians, except in small quantities, yet I should not hesitate to sell it to the Indian Department, under existing circumstances, even if the department should not be in funds, not doubting that such a course would be approved.  I shall esteem it a favor to receive our views on the subject, with any suggestions you may deem pertinent.

                I have been assigned to the command of the department, and remain on this coast.  A service of more than nine years on the Pacific has familiarized me with the whole country, and also with the character and temper of the inhabitants.  The Union-loving people of the coast are vastly in the ascendant, their fiat has gone forth, and no secession doctrine can flourish here; nevertheless, it behooves us to be watchful at all times.

                I shall not assume a threatening attitude for the purpose of warning our enemies to refrain from unlawful acts, but pursuing the even tenor of my way, ever observant of impending events, and ready at all times to enforce a due respect and observance of the Constitution and laws of the country; and if it becomes my duty to act I shall do so fearlessly, and without regard to the personal consequences, feeling assured that I shall receive the cordial support of every true and loyal citizen of the Pacific Coast.

                With great respect, I have the honor to be your Excellency’s obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding Department

 

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HEADQUARTERS FIRST CALIFORNIA VOLUNTEER INFANTRY,

CAMP LATHAM, NEAR LOS ANGELES, CAL., December 23, 1861.

 

                All persons who have been arrested or who may be arrested in this State as Secessionists or traitors to the country will be kept in confinement at Fort Yuma until final action is had on each case.  The garrison of that fort will be at once increased to nine companies – one of artillery, six of infantry, and two of cavalry.  Its defenses will be strengthened and some heavy guns mounted, and it will be well supplied with ammunition, provisions, and forage.  It is reported that the Navajo Indians obstruct the route from Albuquerque to Los Angeles, now important a the only one on which the daily mail from the States can be carried, that of the north being blocked up with snow; that of the south being in possession of the Rebels at its eastern end and on the Rio Grande.  These Indians are therefore to be brought to terms.

                An expedition, consisting of seven companies, will move up the Colorado on Colonel Hoffman’s trail. Three of these companies (infantry) will reoccupy Fort Navajo and reestablish the ferry.  This force, as heretofore, will draw its supplies from Los Angeles.  The other four – three of cavalry and one of infantry – will proceed on to Las Vegas, near the Potosi Mines, on the Salt Lake road, and establish a post at the old Mormon fort.  This is preliminary to the movement, already ordered, of troops next summer to Fort Crittenden, near Salt Lake.  The new post at Las Vegas will be known as Fort Baker.

JAMES H. CARLETON,

Colonel, First California Volunteers, Commanding.

 

 

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HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., December 31, 1861.

Brig.-Gen. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.:

                GENERAL:  Since my communications of the nineteenth and twentieth instants nothing of importance has occurred in the department.  I am throwing forward supplies to Fort Yuma as rapidly as possible.  To-morrow a steamer will leave here for the mouth of the Colorado River, laden with subsistence and other stores required for the movement of Colonel Carleton’s expedition.  It is two thousand miles to the mouth of the Colorado, at which point the stores must be reshipped on small river steamers for Fort Yuma.  I have also embarked on the steamer a guard of one company of the Fifth California Volunteer Infantry, eighty-eight strong, commanded by a reliable officer, who has received special instructions.  Additional supplies and means of transportation are also being forwarded to San Pedro, the port of Los Angeles, Southern California, four hundred and fifty miles from this place, from thence to be sent by land to Fort Yuma, three hundred miles.  I am gradually moving a portion of the Second Cavalry and the whole of the Fifth California Volunteer Infantry to Southern California, to replace the troops designated for Carleton’s expedition.  The latter will not advance to Fort Yuma until advices are received of the arrival at that place of the stores shipped by sea.  The expedition of Colonel Carleton is one of considerable magnitude, and, operating on a long line remote from its source of supplies, cannot with propriety advance from Yuma until fully prepared for the campaign.  Fort Yuma is being fortified and will be securely held by a strong reserve.  Under the command of Colonel Carleton, an officer of skill, experience, and sound judgment, we have the strongest assurance that the expedition will be successful.

                The weather for many days past has been tempestuous in the extreme.  The floods east and north of this city have destroyed a vast amount of property and almost entirely suspended our mail communications.   The telegraph has not been in operation for several days.

Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding

                               

 

            To explain the reason for the formation of the California Column, a brief account of the Confederate occupation of New Mexico and Arizona will be given.

            During the month of July, 1861, Lieut.-Col. John R. Baylor, commanding Second Texas Mounted Rifles, arrived at Fort Bliss, near El Paso, or Franklin, as it was then called, with about three hundred men.  On the twenty-third of July he occupied the town of La Mesilla, New Mexico, located on the west bank of the Rio Grande, about twenty-five miles north of the Texas line.  About six miles below and on the east bank was situated Fort Fillmore, occupied by seven companies of the Seventh U.S. Infantry, one company of the Mounted Rifles, or Third Cavalry, an aggregate of four hundred and ten officers and men, the whole under the command of Major Isaac Lynde, of the Seventh Infantry.  The Confederate forces were permitted to pass Fort Fillmore and occupy Mesilla without resistance.  On the afternoon of July twenty-fifth Major Lynde marched against the town with nearly his whole force.  He approached as near as he could with safety, and after firing a few shots with his artillery, and a short skirmish with his other troops, retreated to the fort, with a loss of three killed and seven wounded.  Two days later he ordered the stores destroyed, and a retreat to Fort Stanton.  They left the post at two o’clock in the morning, and after one day’s march, and on arrival at a pass through the Organ Mountains, about twenty miles from the fort, surrendered his entire command to an inferior force under Baylor, who had followed in his rear, without a shot having been fired on either side.

            The following order was issued in Lynde’s case:

 

HEADQUARTERS OF THE ARMY,

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 25, 1861.

GENERAL ORDERS,

No. 102.

                Major Isaac Lynde, Seventh Infantry, for abandoning his post – Fort Fillmore, New Mexico – on the twenty-seventh of July, 1861, and subsequently surrendering his command to an inferior force of insurgents, is, by direction of the President of the United States, dropped from the rolls of the Army from this date.

                By command of Major-General McCLELLAN.

L. THOMAS,

Adjutant-General.

            The above order was revoked in November, 1866, and Major Lynde was placed on the retired list of the Army.

            In the meantime, all the posts in the territory, that now constitutes Arizona were abandoned, and the troops assembled at Fort Craig, in New Mexico.  On the first of August Colonel Baylor issued a proclamation organizing the Territory of Arizona, making the boundary line between that Territory and New Mexico the thirty-fourth parallel of north latitude, with the town of Mesilla the seat of government, and himself Governor.

            During July, 1861, the Confederate Government at Richmond authorized Gen. H.H. Sibley, formerly of the U.S. Army, to organize an expedition in Texas for the conquest of New Mexico.  His brigade consisted of Colonel Baylor’s regiment of Texas Mounted Rifles (then in New Mexico, as described above), Colonel James Reily’s Fourth Regiment, Colonel Thomas Green’s Fifth Regiment, and Colonel William Steel’s Seventh Regiment, all of Texas mounted troops.  He arrived in New Mexico about the middle of December, and assumed command of all the Confederate troops in the two Territories.  He issued an absurd proclamation to the people of New Mexico, and prepared to move up the Rio Grande and capture the rest of the Territory.

            In the meantime, General Canby, who commanded the Union forces, strengthened Fort Craig with earthworks, caused Fort Union to be moved from under a mesa to a better location about a mile away, an earthwork constructed, and the quarters of the officers and men made bomb-proof; he also enlisted several regiments of volunteers and reorganized the militia.

            On the sixteenth of February Sibley arrived in front of Fort Craig where Canby was commanding in person.  He made a demonstration to within a mile of the post, then fell back seven miles and crossed to the east bank of the river; then passed up the river between two high ridges of lava and around the eastern end of the Mesa de la Contadero (a table mountain about five hundred feet high, Contadero meaning a narrow pass, so called because it crowds the river into a narrow gorge), and into Valverde (Green Valley).  Valverde is a park-like plain just north of the mesa, studded with cottonwood trees, about two miles long, and extending back from the river half a mile to some low sand ridges.  General Canby moved up the river on the western side, and at ten A.M. of the twenty-first the action commenced.  Canby crossed his entire command excepting a small force of New Mexican militia.  The action lasted from ten o’clock in the forenoon until dark, when the Union forces were withdrawn to the west side of the river and retreated to the fort, having sustained a loss of three officers and sixty-five men killed, three officers and one hundred and fifty-seven men wounded, one officer and thirty-four men prisoners.  The enemy’s loss was forty killed and two hundred wounded. 

            The Confederate then moved up the river, capturing Albuquerque and Santa Fe.

            During the last week of March Colonel John P. Slough, First Regiment Colorado Volunteers, with one thousand three hundred and forty-two officers and men, with two small batteries of four guns each, left Fort Union to effect a junction with Canby.  On the twenty-sixth his advance, consisting of two hundred cavalry and one hundred and eighty infantry, under Major Chivington, same regiment, encountered the enemy in Apache Canon, about fifteen miles east from Santa Fe, at a place called Johnson’s Ranch.  An engagement followed, in which both sides claimed the victory.  The Union loss was five killed and fourteen wounded, while the Confederate loss was thirty-two killed, forty-three wounded, and seventy-one prisoners.  Chivington fell back to Pigeon’s Ranch, and Major Pyron, who commanded the Confederates, was reinforced during the night by Colonel W.R. Scurry and  his command, making the total Confederate force twelve or thirteen hundred men.  On the twelfth Colonel Slough arrived with the balance of the command, making the Union force about equal to the Confederates; and at eleven o’clock A.M. the enemy’s pickets were encountered.  The battle commenced in a deep gorge, with a narrow wagon track running along the bottom, the ground rising precipitously on each side, with huge bowlders and clumps of stunted cedars interspersed.  The batteries on both sides were brought forward, the infantry thrown out upon the flanks, and the firing soon became general.  Colonel Slough had been informed that the entire baggage and ammunition train of the Confederates was at Johnson’s Ranch, and before the action began Major Chivington’s command was sent over the mountain, unobserved by the enemy; it came down upon their camp, which was guarded by some two hundred men, and fell upon their train, consisting of eighty wagons, which, with their entire contents and a six-pounder gun, were completely destroyed.  Two Confederate officers and fifteen men were taken prisoners.  This loss was the most serious that the enemy had met with in the whole of their campaign, as all their ammunition, baggage, and provisions were destroyed, and it was accomplished without the loss of a single Union man.

            The fight in the canon continued until late in the afternoon, when the Confederates retreated towards Santa Fe, in a completely demoralized condition.  Colonel Slough, having accomplished all that was desired, returned to Fort Union.  This engagement is known in Union reports as the “Battle of Apache Canon,” and at the South as the “Battle of Glorietta.”  The Union loss was one officer and twenty-eight men killed, two officers and forty men wounded, and fifteen prisoners; the Confederate loss, thirty-six killed, sixty wounded, and seventeen prisoners.

            General Sibley having lost most of his baggage and supplies and hearing of the approach of the California Column, determined the evacuate the country.  His retreat commenced about the middle of April.  He left the regularly traveled routes and moved his command through almost inaccessible mountain passes, with no guides, trail, or road, cutting their way through dense undergrowth, dragging their artillery up  and lowering it down the mountain sides with long ropes.  The route was found strewed a year after with every description of abandoned military property.  He finally crossed the line into Texas just as the First California Cavalry, under Colonel E.E. Eyre, reached the Rio Grande.  Of the three thousand seven hundred men originally composing his command, only one thousand five hundred straggled back into Texas four months later, starving and demoralized.

            During the occupation of New Mexico by Sibley’s force, a small detachment under Captain Hunter was sent to occupy Tucson and to operate as far down as Fort Yuma.  The following is Captain Hunter’s report of his operations:

 

TUCSON, ARIZ., April 5, 1862.

Colonel JOHN R. BAYLOR:

                SIR:  After a march, made as rapidly as practicable, from the Rio Grande, attended by some violently stormy weather, but without any accident or misfortune save the loss of one of my men (Benjamin Mayo), who died at the San Simon, I have the honor of reporting to you my arrival at this place on February twenty-eighth.  My timely arrival with my command was hailed by a majority, I may say the entire population, of the town of Tucson.  I found rumors here to the effect that the town was about being attacked by a large body of Indians; that military stores of the Federal Army to a large amount had been burned at Guaymas, and that troops from California were on the march up the Gila River for this place; and these reports were so well accredited that a few of the citizens more ultra in their Southern feelings than the rest were about leaving rather than fall into the hands of their Northern foes, to sacrifice all their interests in this place, and look for safety among their  Southern brethren on the Rio Grande.

                Immediately after the departure of Colonel Reily on March third for Sonora, accompanied by an escort of twenty men under Lieutenant Tevis, I started with the rest of my command for the Pimos Villages, where, after my arrival, I negotiated friendly relations with the Indians; arrested A.M. White, who was trading with them, purchasing wheat, etc., for the Northern troops, and confiscated the property found in his possession, a list of which I send you.  Among the articles confiscated were one thousand five hundred sacks of wheat, accumulated by Mr. White and intended for the Northern Army.  This I distributed among the Indians, as I had no means of transportation and deemed this a better policy of disposing of it than to destroy or leave it for the benefit (should it fall into their hands) of the enemy.

                While delaying at the Pimos Villages, awaiting the arrival of a train of fifty wagons, which was reported to be en route for that place for said wheat (which report, however, turned out to be untrue), my pickets discovered the approach of a detachment of cavalry, which detachment, I am happy to say to you, we succeeded in capturing without firing a gun.  This detachment consisted of Captain McCleave and nine of his men, First California Cavalry.  The Captain and Mr. White I sent in charge of Lieutenant  Swilling to the Rio Grande. 

                I learned also while at Pimos Villages that at every station, formerly overland, between that place and Fort Yuma, hay had been provided for the use of the Federal Government, which hay I have destroyed at six of the stations thus provided.  My pickets on yesterday reported troops at Stanwix Ranch, which is on this side of Fort Yuma eighty miles. 

                Allow me to say, in conclusion, that I have no opinion to offer in relation to all these rumors that are afloat, but give them to you as I receive them, knowing that your judgment and experience will dictate the proper course to pursue.

                                I am, sir, your obedient servant,

S. HUNTER,

Captain Co. A.

 

            Further mention will be made of Hunter’s command in describing the march of the California Column.

            Captain McCleave, who was taken wholly by surprise, was exchanged after his arrival on the Rio Grande, and resumed duty in his regiment; the men were paroled and sent back to California, and were transferred from their own company to Company L, same regiment.  After his capture, Captain McCleave proposed to Captain Hunter that he should be released, and allowed to fight his whole company with his nine men, which offer Hunter declined.

            The appearance of the Confederate troops in New Mexico and Arizona, and the success they met with at first, made the authorities fear that they would establish themselves securely in those Territories, and use them as bases of supplies and for the purpose of organizing a force for the invasion of California; it was therefore decided to reinforce the troops in New Mexico with a force from that State, and thus prevent them from securing a foothold in New Mexico; hence the formation of the California Column.  The following is General Wright’s suggestion to the War Department for the organization of such expedition, and the indorsement of Major-General McClellan approving the same:

 

HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,

SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., December 9, 1861.

Brig.-Gen. L. THOMAS, Adjutant-General U.S. Army, Washington, D.C.:

                GENERAL:  I beg leave to submit to the consideration of the General-in-Chief the proposition to recapture the forts in Arizona and New Mexico by a command to move from the southern district of this State, with the exception of a battery of light artillery, which I am now organizing.  All the troops required for the expedition are in the southern district.  I have ordered a company of the Ninth Infantry, regulars, to relieve the company of the Third Artillery at San Juan Island; the latter to come to the harbor of San Francisco.  A company of the Third Artillery will be designated for the battery.  We have the guns, horses, and equipments ready, being those left here by Company C, Third Artillery (late Ord’s battery).  I haven now in Southern California the First California Volunteer Infantry, Colonel Carleton; the First California Volunteer Cavalry, a battalion of five companies, under Colonel Eyre.  I estimate that this force, with the battery which I propose to send, will amount to about one thousand five hundred men.  They are fine troops and well officered, and under the command of Colonel Carleton, an officer of great experience, indefatigable and active, the expedition must be successful.  I have never seen a finer body of volunteer troops than those raised in this State.  They are anxious for active service, and, feeling as we all do, that we are able to retake all the forts this side of the Rio Grande, I may be pardoned for urging the movement.  The difficulties and delays experienced on the present route of the overland mail show us the absolute necessity for opening the southern route; and why should we continue to act on the defensive, with Fort Yuma as our advanced post, when we have the power and will to drive every Rebel beyond the Rio Grande?

                In my communication of October thirty-first, I submitted to the General-in-Chief the propriety of our occupying Guaymas, the chief seaport of Sonora, and I still think it of great importance that we should do so, to prevent its falling into the hands of the Rebels.  At that time I was inclined to make Guaymas my base of operations; now I think Yuma a better point from which to move.  In anticipation of a favorable reply to the propositions I have made, I shall go on making arrangements to move promptly when authorized to do so.

                                Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

G. WRIGHT

Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding

 

[Indorsement.]

ADJUTANT-GENERAL’S OFFICE

December 18, 1861

                If the movement in progress has not already been authorized, please do so at once.

GEORGE B. McCLELLAN,

Major-General.

 

            The expedition was organized in accordance with the suggestion of General Wright, and consisted of the First California Cavalry, five companies, under Colonel Edward E. Eyre; the First California Infantry, ten companies, under Colonel James H. Carleton; a light battery of four brass field pieces, under First Lieutenant John B. Shinn, Third Artillery, U.S.A.  Afterwards the Fifth California Infantry, under Colonel George W. Bowie, was sent to reinforce the “Column.”  On the twenty-eighth of April, 1862, soon after the expedition had started from Fort Yuma, Carleton was promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General of Volunteers, and Joseph R. West became Colonel of the First Infantry.

            The troops composing the “Column” were assembled at Fort Yuma in April, and early in that month information was received at that post that the Confederates, under Hunter, were on their way down the Gila, when a reconnoitering party, under Captain William P. Calloway, consisting of his own Company I, First California Infantry, a detachment of Company A, First California Cavalry, under Lieutenant James  Barrett of Company A and E.C. Baldwin of Company D, and a detachment of Company K, First Infantry, under Lieutenant Jeremiah Phelan, with two mountain howitzers, was sent out with orders to proceed along the overland route as far as Tucson.  This command reached the Pimos Villages with no other signs of the Confederates than a number of burned haystacks at the different stations.  Upon approaching the Picacho, April 15, 1862, the Indian scouts brought information that a detachment of Confederates was in the immediate front.  The detachment of cavalry was ordered to make a wide detour, so as to strike them on the flank, while the Captain, with the main party, was to attack them in the front.  The enemy was not found in the immediate front, but, after traveling several miles, rapid firing was heard in advance, and, arriving upon the spot, it was found that Lieutenant Barrett had located the Rebel pickets, and the first information they had of the Union forces was their charging in among them.  Lieutenant Barrett and two men were killed and three men wounded.  These were the first California Volunteers killed or wounded during the war.  The Rebel loss was two men wounded and three prisoners.  The graves of the Union Lieutenant and his men may now be seen within twenty feet of the Southern Pacific Railroad, as it goes through Picacho Pass.  The Union force remained on the ground that night, and the next morning, the Captain, against the protests of all his officers, ordered his party to fall back.  Near Stanwix Station they met the advance of the “California Column,” under Colonel West, when all proceeded to the Pimos Villages, where a permanent camp was established, and earthwork thrown up about the flouring mill of Mr. Ammi White, who had been carried away prisoner by Captain Hunter, a few days before.  This earthwork was named Fort Barrett, in honor of the young Lieutenant who had been killed in the skirmish at the Picacho.  A halt was made here to allow the different detachments of the “Column” to close up, as not over four companies could move together over the desert on account of the scarcity of water.  On the fifteenth of May, Colonel West, with the advance detachment, moved out of Fort Barrett for Tucson.  They moved up the Gila River to old Fort Breckenridge, near the confluence of the Gila and San Pedro Rivers, where the American flag was again run up on the flagstaff of the fort, amid the cheers of the men.  On the morning of the twentieth Tucson was occupied, the Confederate force having abandoned it on the approach of the “California Column,” and returned to the Rio Grande.

            The following reports and correspondence give an account of the further operations of the “Column:”

 

HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA,

FORT YUMA, CAL., May 3, 1862.

Col. E.R.S. CANBY, Commanding Department of New Mexico:

                COLONEL:  Having no means of getting reliable information from you except by a special express, I send the bearer of this to you for that purpose.   He will be able to tell you about this part of the country, and will bring to me any communication you may desire to write.

                I have a force of light battery (Company A, Third Artillery), of two twelve-pounder howitzers and two six-pounder guns, and fifteen companies of infantry and five companies of cavalry, California Volunteers, well armed and provided for, and the men are as fine material as any in the service.  I can move on from Tucson, or Fort Breckenridge, as soon as I hear from you.  I am ready and anxious to cooperate with you.

                If necessary I can be followed by still another regiment, or more, of infantry, to be sent by steam to the mouth of the Colorado.  It will afford me pleasure to enter into any plan you may suggest, so my force can be of service to you and to the cause.

                Let me know your strength, your situation, your purpose; the strength, situation, and probable purposes of Sibley and his troops.

                Please send an escort with my messenger, to get him safely through the Apaches.

                                I have the honor to be, very respectfully,

JAMES H CARLETON,

Colonel, First California Volunteers, Commanding.

 

 

[Indorsement]

 

                At the time this letter was written it was the intention of Colonel Carleton to move forward to the Rio Grande five companies of the Fifth Infantry, California Volunteers.  Some of these companies are now serving in western Arizona.

BEN. C. CUTLER

First Lieutenant, First Infantry, Cal. Vols., A.A.A. General.

 

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HEADQUARTERS COLUMN FROM CALIFORNIA,

TUCSON, ARIZ.  June 11, 1862.

General E.R.S. CANBY, U.S.A., Commanding United States forces in New Mexico:

GENERAL:  I had the honor to write to you on the third ultimo from Fort Yuma, Cal., that I was on my way to Arizona, and desired to cooperate with you in driving the Rebels from New Mexico.  My messenger was unable to reach you via the Salinas Fork of Gila, on account of high water; I therefore dispatch another through Mexican territory.

I am ordered to recapture all the works in New Mexico which have been surrendered to the Rebels.  This I shall proceed to do, starting from here as soon as the rains have filled the natural tanks, say early in July.

What number of troops can find subsistence, say at twenty days’ notice, at Mesilla and Fort Bliss, in Texas?  I can start from here with sixty days’ supply for one battery of artillery, one regiment of infantry, and five companies of cavalry.  With this force I desire to cooperate with you.  This will enable me to hold this country besides.

I have placed Arizona under martial law, and shall continue it so until the civil officers come.  I can bring more force if necessary.  Let me know by the bearer your wishes, purposes, strength; the strength, position, and apparent purposes and condition of Sibley and his forces.

                I am, General, your obedient servant,

JAMES H. CARLETON,

Colonel, First California Volunteers, Commanding.

 

 

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HEADQUARTERS COLUMN FROM CALIFORNIA,

TUCSON, ARIZ.  June 15, 1862.

General E.R.S. CANBY, Commanding Department of New Mexico, Fort Craig, New Mexico:

GENERAL:  I have the honor to inform you that I have advanced thus far from California with a force of regulars and volunteers sufficient in numbers to occupy this Territory.

I have assumed to represent the United States authority, and for the time being have placed the Territory under martial law.

Inclosed herewith please find a proclamation to this effect.  I send this to you by express, that you may not go to the expense of sending troops from your department to occupy Arizona.

I congratulate you on your success against the Confederate forces under Sibley.  If you can send an escort to the expressman who takes this I shall feel greatly obliged.

                I am, General, respectfully,

JAMES H. CARLETON,

Colonel, First California Volunteers, Commanding.

 

 

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HEADQUARTERS DISTRICT OF SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA,

FORT YUMA, CAL., May 10, 1862.

 

MAJOR:  I inclose herewith certified copies of letters just received from Lieutenant-Colonel West, dated, respectively, May 4, May 5, and May 6, 1862.  By these you will see how matters are progressing at the Pimos Villages.  In a private letter to myself Colonel West says: “You will recollect your request for five thousand pounds of Indian presents, which was declined.  If it is not too late to get the same goods now as property, they would be of great service.  Placed in charge of the depot party here, I believe they would work wonders.”  If the General will have those goods forwarded even now, they will be a great saving of money in the purchase of grain and flour at the sub-depot for the use of the troops stationed here, for the use of trains coming with supplies, and to be forwarded if necessary.  If necessary, these goods can be receipted for and expended as money.  It is doubtful if any troops are coming from the Rio Grande to make a stand against us in Arizona.  I am forwarding supplies as fast as possible to the sub-depot, and when I have got enough in front to justify it, I shall, without delay, make still another stride onward.  It is said the rainy season in Arizona commences about the twenty-fourth of June.  Until then it is impossible to cross a large command so I hear, from Tucson to the Rio Grande, a distance of three hundred miles.  It will not do, for obvious reasons, to arrive on that river by small detachments.  The General may rely upon it that all justifiable risks will be taken.  I hear that nine Americans have just been murdered at Sally’s mine in Arizona.  I hope to be clothed with powers to regulate all matters in that Territory.  Of course, I shall take upon myself all necessary responsibility to give order and safety of life and property in that chaotic country.  I am having the road up the Gila to Fort Breckenridge reconnoitered, and shall soon occupy that post.  You may know that before the Rebellion Fort Breckenridge was to be a six-company post.  It was commenced at a site near the junction of the Aravapa and San Pedro, the best point for a post in Arizona.  The adobe walls of many buildings were made, and some were roofed over.  These may be in good preservation.  I would recommend that this fort, with a change of name, be reoccupied.  The grazing in the Valley of the San Pedro, the year round, is reported as being very fine.  Aside from its being one of the posts on the chain of communication from California to the Rio Grande, it is a fine place for weak and broken down animals to recruit.

                                I am, Major, very respectfully,

JAMES H. CARLETON,

Colonel, First California Volunteers, Commanding.

Maj. R.C. DRUM, Assistant Adjutant-General, U.S. Army, San Francisco, Cal.

 

 

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HEADQUARTERS ADVANCE GUARD CALIFORNIA VOLUNTEERS,

PIMOS VILLAGES, May 4, 1862.

LIEUTENANT:  I am as yet unable to report upon the supplies for troops available at this post with any degree of confidence.  Mr. Ammi White, who was taken prisoner by the Rebels, was the only person here conversant with the Indian resources.  I have as yet only succeeded in eking out daily a supply of forage for the command.  I can neither get any stock of forage in advance, nor have the Indians yet produced their flour in any but trifling quantities.  I am, however, trading under every disadvantage.  It is difficult to make this people understand the magnitude of our demands, and further, I have nothing but promises to offer them in payment.  When the manta* arrives I shall then understand whether they hold back their wheat and flour from fear of non-payment, or because they have but limited quantities on hand.  The first of the new crop of wheat should begin to come in within a fortnight.  Of hay I can bet but a mere daily ration.  I am negotiating, with what prospect of success it is impossible to tell, for a standing field of wheat, with the intention of feeding it and keeping the grain that comes in for future uses.

                Very respectfully, your obedient servant,

J.R. WEST,

Lieutenant-Colonel, First Infantry California Volunteers, Commanding.

To Lieut. B.C. CUTLER, Acting Assistant Adjutant-General, District of Southern California.

*White cotton cloth.

 

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