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  1. #1
    us
    Just an old man enjoying life...

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    1,838
    176 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    California's Civil War battle... kinda.....

    Thought you Civil War buffs might like this:

    Historic California Posts:
    Camp Wright
    (Warner's Ranch Camp) (San Diego County)

    First established on October 18, 1861, on the grounds of Warner's Ranch by elements of the 2nd Infantry, it was designed to protect the emigrant travel route between Arizona and California. Moved about November 23, 1861, to Oak Grove, also in San Diego County, the camp was reestablished by Major Edwin A. Rigg, 1st California Volunteers. The post was then renamed for Brigadier General George Wright. The camp was abandoned in December 1866.

    ----------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------


    History
    by Colonel Herbert M. Hart, USMC (retired)
    Executive Director, Council on America's Military Past
    California's only Civil War battle was fought by Camp Wright troopers, but the honor is somewhat minimized because no shots were exchanged and the rebels were civilians. The affair bore a considerable resemblance to other secessionist disturbances in the state except that Confederate agents were involved and Dixie was their destination.

    Hardly a week after Camp Wright was founded on October 18, 1861, Major Edwin A. Rigg, commanding, was alerted that 40 rebel sympathizers were heading his way. Their leader was former State Assemblyman Dan Showalter, admitted secessionist who recently had, killed a fellow assemblyman in a duel over politics. His disappearance after the duel was explained by common gossip that he held a Confederate commission and was on his way to Dixie.

    On October 27 Rigg dispatched an 11-man patrol to intercept "someone passing out through here," but no one was found. Faced with the possibility of attack, Rigg decided to test the alertness of his new garrison. He was not disappointed.

    "At one o'clock this morning I had an alarm," he wrote Colonel James H. Carleton at Los Angeles; "the long roll was beat, and with every soul in camp, ignorant of such an intention, the companies were under arms in good order in eight minutes . . . I was very much pleased with their conduct, and am satisfied that they are ready at a moment's warning for service."

    After dusk on October 28, Rigg was told that a party of 16 to 20 men was nearby. A 50-man detail was sent "to hem them in" while a 20-man contingent "crossed above them to close in on them and capture them." The opponents turned out to be several stray horses.

    When Rigg was informed that two Confederate groups already had made their way out of California, he knew that it was vital to capture Showalter for both political and morale purposes. The previous parties had included Albert Sidney Johnston, former commander of the Pacific Department, and judge David S. Terry. The surviving half of the 1859 Broderick-Terry duel, Terry had gathered recruits for Dixie as he made his way into Arizona.

    "If any party . . . attempt to pass you," Rigg was directed, "stop it, search the persons and baggage if you suspect them of being enemies of our country, and cause them to take the oath of allegiance to our Government. If you find upon them evidence of their being disloyal, bold them in confinement . . . We have had enough of the bullying and treason of such men . . . Keep your own counsel; act with great circumspection, but with great firmness."

    A month of observing Carleton's directive to "keep a sleepless vigilance," was rewarded on the morning of November 27. A civilian brought in a letter that he had been asked to deliver but, as the recipient was missing, he had read instead. Reference to a group of 18 at Temucla, 20 miles away, left little doubt that the waiting was almost over.

    Several detachments were sent out. A cavalry patrol under Lieutenant C. R. Wellman learned that the Confederates were hiding at the ranch of John Minter.

    Taken by surprise early on November 29, Showalter and company knew it was too late to fight. They tried to bluff, as Carleton predicted they would. Showalter, in particular, refused to be taken to Camp Wright, preferring instead to "take the consequences." He agreed to go without a fight after Wellman promised that the party would be freed if no evidence of disloyalty could be found.

    Rigg questioned each of the 18 prisoners and received from each a statement of pro-Union sentiments and a sworn oath of allegiance. Despite this, Rigg told Carleton, "there is no doubt but every one of them is a rank secessionist, and are on their way to lend aid and comfort to the enemy."

    "They now regret that they did not resist," Rigg added. "If they had, they would have given us a hard fight . . . They have pack-mules and are well fitted out, and a desperate set of men."

    The papers found on the party convinced Rigg that they planned to do more than just head south into Mexico. All were arrested while Rigg awaited instructions from Carleton.

    It was not until December 13 that orders were issued for the prisoners to be marched to Fort Yuma. By this time, Rigg also had been transferred to Yuma. The new Camp Wright commander was complaining that his 118-man garrison was "rather a small force for our situation, having 20 secession prisoners to guard." His concern was increased by a reliable report from San Bernardino that a party of 75, "armed with shotguns and revolvers . . . intend to attack your camp at night . . . in order to release Showalter and party."

    The rescue plot was abandoned. The Showalter party was taken to Fort Yuma by soldiers whose instructions from Carleton included: "You must be on your guard against attempts to rescue these prisoners, and against their rising on and overpowering them men set to guard them. There must be no escape and no rescue."

    The prisoners spent six months at Yuma fairly quietly, except for two men who had to be chained after trying to escape. When their release was directed, the party was given back their property and the loan of transportation. In this fashion, and on his promise not to steal the borrowed horses and equipment, Showalter once again passed Camp Wright. His destination was the same as before, Dixie, but this time Showalter made it in time to serve as a Confederate regimental commander.



    The Crossroads of Southern California branched off here in three ways: to Los Angeles, San Luis Rey, and San Diego. Site of Camp Wright after it was moved an eighth of mile to high ground nearer Warner's Ranch in November 1861, was passed by Army as early as Kearney and Cooke expeditions of 1846-7. Both forces rested here after crossing desert. "A poor location," Kearney officer wrote, "with a hot spring and a cold one." Camp Wright commander was less tactful 15 years later: "Climate is unfavorable, very windy, with hot days and cold nights, and in winter said to be very inclement and unhealthy."

    TO GET THERE: From San Diego take U.S. 80 east to State 79, about 40 miles. Turn left (north). Stay on State 79 for about 40 miles to intersection with San Felipe road. From this point, sites of first two Camps Wright are to left in valley. Continue north on State 79 about 16 miles to Oak Grove site, marked on left side.


    ----------------------------------------- ---------------------------------------


    Camp Wright Monument


    Dedication of the Camp Wright Monument, 1953

    CAMP WRIGHT
    1861-1866

    Camp Wright, named for Brigadier General George Wright, United States Army, who commanded the Pacific Department and California District from 1861 to 1865, was first established October 18, 1861 on Warner's Ranch to guard the line of communication between California and Arizona. The camp was moved to this site by Major Edwin A. Rigg, First California Volunteers, about November 23, 1861 and was abandoned December 1866.


    Camp Wright marker claims post was abandoned in 1866, but records indicate no permanent garrison was assigned after Carleton's California Column took troops from it in May, 1862. Tents were pitched under trees at edge of nearby meadow which had Barefoot pine flagpole in its center. This was where Company A, 1st California Infantry mutinied in February, 1861, when all of its privates but one "refused to obey the order this morning to 'drill with their knapsacks only " the commanding officer reported. Carleton wrote CO., "Give them one hour to reflect on the consequences of their conduct" then discharge hold-outs without pay. All but 13 obeyed. Guardhouse terms were awarded to holdouts.


    Dedication of the Oak Grove State Station Marker, 1953

    OAK GROVE STAGE STATION

    Oak Grove is one of the few remaining stations on the Butterfield Overland Mail route, which operated between San Francisco and two eastern terminals-St. Louis, Missouri and Memphis, Tennessee-from September 15, 1858 to March 2, 1861. During the Civil War the station was used as a hospital for nearby Camp Wright.


    The Oak Grove Stage Station was where Camp Wright moved in December, 1861, because wind near Warner's Ranch "blows in a perfect gale (not a moderate breeze) more than half the time driving the dust in clouds, and blinding the eyes of everyone, and infiltrating into every coffee pot, camp kettle, water bucket, etc" the surgeon reported. Food could not be cooked because wind put out fires. Gales blew down all tents and tipped over tables and inkstands so that company reports could not be written. The Stage Station was used as hospital and officers' quarters at Oak Grove camp.

    For your entertainment
    PLL

  2. #2

    Jul 2006
    Central California
    221
    8 times

    Re: California's Civil War battle... kinda.....

    Thanks Pegleglooker for sharing some civil war history of California,

    I enjoyed reading your attached post, It reminds me of the several military post and camps I have detected throughout California.....Also, Recently Tom from Salinas invited me a couple of times to hunt a civil war military camp, Last time in there one of my friends dug up a shield nickel.

    Most people who hear the words (Civil War) think about the bloody battles back east, But here in California the war was between civilians. Yes, Civilians did in fact stir up enough trouble and fear the military were brought in and stationed at key points throughout Ca to protect the Citizens.

    One of the few military camps I have detected was a Calvary camp stationed here in Visalia Ca. during the Civil war, Later when the civilians calmed down the Calvary transferred to another location. Actually, The finds came from but a few hundred yards from the camp site.

    I'll post a picture of some of the finds, One of the finds from near this Calvary camp is a Calvary Officers buckle and at the moment can't remember the date, I believe it was an 1852-58 era buckle and is an Calvary Officers buckle for sure. Also, dug up a large mans ring, One early shield nickel, two seated coins (quarter and half.) The seated quarter is an 1864 and the half is a 1870, Of course the 1870 seated half and some of the other artifacts from this area are not from the civil war era and are possible drops from later pioneers who were traveling through or settled in the same vicinity.

    Thanks again Pegleg for sharing and hope you can share again soon, Appreciate your passion for Ca history.
    Paul (Ca)

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  3. #3
    us
    Just an old man enjoying life...

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    1,838
    176 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: California's Civil War battle... kinda.....

    Hello Old Cal,
    Thank you so much for the those very kinds words. Yes California History is a MAJOR passion of mine and I hope to find and or collect as much as I can. I will post as much and as many stories that I can find. Down here in SoCal I have been given permission to detect the old Warner stage station and ranch ( The curator said -go and enjoy the whole grounds- ) I just haven't had the time yet. I want to go where the " orginial " camp was before it was moved. Right now I have no coins and no relics... But that will change. I do have a nice little rock collection and quite a few books and archival paperwork. Please, if you know of a story yourself, share it.

    Thanks Again
    PLL

  4. #4

    Mar 2007
    Salinas, CA
    Explorer II, Compass 77b, Tesoro shadow X2
    11,203
    7194 times
    Banner Finds (4)

    Re: California's Civil War battle... kinda.....

    Peg-leg-looker: YOU got permission to hunt Warner's Ranch?? Do you realize the significance & history connected to that area? I have mused for a long time to go down to that part of CA, and see what's out there to detect. It's still fairly remotely populated area (kinda country-like setting, right?). It was a cross-roads area that existed even from pre-CA statehood times. Like a ranch that travelors coming in from the desert route, would pass on their way to parts of So. CA. Then during the gold-rush, it was a stopping point for people coming in on that route too. Then during the stage era (post-gold-rush), it was a busy hub as well. Blah blah blah. It has many mini-eras. And as all us md'rs know, anytime you mix travel, commerce, stopping/camping points, history, it's a great mix for md'ing!

    Tread REAL carefully with your permission. I have seen several times, where a well-meaning curator or caretaker says "sure why not? Go for it" ... only to be over-ruled when someone else sees you out there. For example: A friend of mine was on a volunteer crew at one of the CA missions. They tended the flowers, greens, landscape, etc... One day he asked the head docent "Would it be ok for my friend & I to metal detect around here?" The head person says "sure, I don't see why not, go ahead". So we set the date for a few weeks later, and went. We were having a good time. I even got a rare cannon/mortor phoenix button (1820/30s button worth $300-ish), pistol balls, man-killer ball, blacksmithed copper slag, etc.. Our fun was cut short when someone from the museum/gift shop saw us. She came out and gave us the riot act. My host tells her "we have permission from so & so". This threw her for a loop, so she retreated back in to the museum to make some phone calls. Sure enough, my friend was right, the mid-manager had indeed given us permission. So this museum gal calls the DIOCESE office headquarters, asks around of enough property personell or archies or whatever. She comes back out 5 minutes later and tells us "the person who gave you permission didn't have the proper authority" blah blah. So we had to leave

    So tread very carefully with your permission, in a case of something as historically sensitive as Warner's ranch. You certainly can get into no trouble now. That is a "given". But I would still keep a low profile, go at off-times, don't make waves, etc..... Because the curator, himself, may be a hired hand.... accountable to someone else. Naturally, don't ask him if "his upline" is ok with it, because the LAST thing you want him to do, at this point, is check. You're "golden" right now, as it is. Just run with this!

    If you need any help, I'm willing travel. Will give you (or the museum or whatever) any goodies found. Have detected many stage stops (some of which I found virgin), mission era sites, etc.... In fact, my study of the missions up here, and the events at the dawn of state-hood, is where I kept running into the geographic name "Warners Ranch". I looked into that for awhile, thinking "there's a place I should travel to", but as of yet, had not gotten around to it. (probably 6 or 7 hrs. from me)

    Did your curator friend happened to mention if he's ever seen any other md'rs around there? How long has he been curator at this location?
    Metal detecting is my one worldy vice!

  5. #5

    Apr 2007
    286
    6 times

    Re: California's Civil War battle... kinda.....

    Old.Calif., Nice finds,that belt buckle is a beauty. My photo here shows a quartz specimen with a green tint,I picked from the side of a mountain near the East San Gabriel river ,where I also panned some color. The watch and the flat tool I dug near a So.Cal. mission,the 45/70 shell,1890 vintage came from a stage trail dig. I usually sell what I find,so I dont have a lot to show. I am planning a trip back to the stage trail soon,and I would like to pan some more in the Angeles forest,as well as follow up a lead I developed on a bootlegger dureing the 1920"s who had a cabin up in there.
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  6. #6
    us
    Just an old man enjoying life...

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    1,838
    176 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: California's Civil War battle... kinda.....

    Hey all,
    To Tom in Cal, I am FULLY aware of the significance of the Warner's ranch permission is. It is because of this that I haven't done any digging there yet. I went to Warner's for a history lesson and was greeted by the " curator " of the museum and was quite shocked how little was there. I told her that I actually had more info then she did and would send her a copy. i then copied about 2-300 pgs of stuff and put it all in a binder with protective sheets and presented to her. At the time I was trying to get info an a old mainstay by the name of Julio Ortega. Julio sat in front of the adobes and told anyone about his life from the late 1800's up until his death in the early 1900's. Can you imagine sitting on a porch talking to this guy. WOW!!!! Anyway I presented the binder to her with a lot of stuff on Julio as well. She told me in appreciation I have carte blanche on the property. If I was going to MD I would still go back to her first and ask again, and I agree that anything found should be turned into the museum. Plus to keep the arche happy I would take a pix of the find and also record the gps location for them. I just don't feel very confident with my Radio Shack Bounty Hunter and my ability... ( still very much as novice ) But, I would LOVE to take maybe one person with me who has experience and go play. The 2 area's I would like to search would be the original location of the ranchhouse and the original site of Camp Wright ( not in Oak Grove ). maybe we should get together and plan this out ?

    PLL
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  7. #7
    us
    Just an old man enjoying life...

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    1,838
    176 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: California's Civil War battle... kinda.....

    Here are some pixs from the outside and inside of the building

    PLL
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  8. #8
    us
    Just an old man enjoying life...

    Jun 2006
    Banning, California
    ace 250
    1,838
    176 times
    All Types Of Treasure Hunting

    Re: California's Civil War battle... kinda.....

    here are some pixs of the Gimbel store about 1-2 miles from the ranch

    PLL
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  9. #9

    Jul 2006
    Central California
    221
    8 times

    Re: California's Civil War battle... kinda.....

    Sorry for the slow reply Pegleg and ghostdog, Just came back from a hunt.

    Thanks again Pegleg for sharing, Many of us here appreciate your passion for Ca history. I know allot of silent folks out there do not Partake with responding but rest assure they do enjoy what you have been sharing here on the forum.

    Have patience and enjoy the hunt, The relics and other cool artifacts will come but the real joy comes from making the find itself, Especially when you devote yourself to research and continuous planning for a particular site...Or, In some cases finding the settlement or camp site or whatever the location may be is the fine itself. You don't really need to dig up artifacts but finding the long lost civilization will be the prize.

    Enjoy and good luck in your future adventures Pegleg! All cool pics

    Ghostdog,

    Thanks for sharing some of your finds, I can understand not having finds to show, I usually give mine back to the property owners or misplace or loose them.

    Sounds like you've done well recovering bits and pieces of old Ca. history, That's what it takes (determination)

    Congrats and looking forward to your future post,
    HH, Paul

  10. #10

    Apr 2007
    286
    6 times

    Re: California's Civil War battle... kinda.....

    Pegleg @Paul,Tom,etc., It takes a lot of field work to make great finds. Pegleg you have a really good opurtunity and you should get right on it. With your dectector and a long thin metal probe you should be makeing discoveries right away. Just take some wooden stakes out and use them as a guide and grid off 1 section at a time to hunt. You should make a few finds everyday..........Paul, I use to live in Fresno around Blackstone area,about 40 years ago, and I heard a story 1 day from a friend who lived in Hanford,I think it was. He told me when the Chinese were building the railroad going on the outskirts of Hanford, they would dig underground dugouts to live in as they moved through the area. He personnally had been in a few,and found some relics. They used a lot of Adobe mud in their construction of these makeshift dugouts. If I were to locate 1 today, I would use a black or ultraviolet light on the Adobe,to locate the newer patches,then dig them out,to see what was stashed. Be aware of insects you find on the inside. Frank Fish did this a lot and found a lot more than most. The dugouts should run parralel with the tracks,and not to far away.

  11. #11

    Jul 2006
    Central California
    221
    8 times

    Re: California's Civil War battle... kinda.....

    Hello Ghostdog,

    Fresno has changed allot since you lived here 40 years ago, It's not in any means the same but still has a few areas giving up old coins and relics.

    And thanks for sharing the Hanford dugout story the Chinese dug during the building of the railroad, That sounds like a neat idea using ultraviolet light...I have metal detected near the Hanford railroads or surrounding areas but never knew about the Chinese dug-outs...We had them here in the City of Visalia and about 15-18 years ago I did find an opening once from a demo in the down town area and traveled beneath the city for about a block, Found some old bottles and a few Chinese cache coins.

    Thanks again, Paul

 

 

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