Civil War South West

September 26, 2013

Los Angeles may appear irrelevant through distance to the American Civil War but Your Correspondent discovered in his travels that the City of Angels did have an important role in defending the Union. While California was a free Union State, Southern California had strong Confederate sympathies given its large population of southern transplants. In fact, only 25% of Los Angelinos voted for Lincoln in the 1860 election. Soon after the War began, the Confederacy set its sights on seizing California with its gold fields and harbors and in the summer of 1861 Confederate Brigadier General Henry Sibley launched an invasion of the New Mexico and Arizona Territories, reaching as far west as Tucson. From the Drum Barracks in south central LA, the California Column of volunteers was sent eastwards to check the Confederatesí westward advance. Over 17,000 Californians fought for the Union with over 8,000 dispersed throughout the Southwest. While no battles were fought in California, the Golden State did play its part in preserving the Union... Today, there is an active Civil War Reenacting community based to the north of Los Angeles at Fort Tejon.

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