There’s a North/South tension in California that dates, to some degree, back to the Civil War or earlier (even if Southern Californians are unaware of it). San Francisco’s Union Square, reportedly the scene of pro-Union speeches, took its name during that period, but there were no such squares way down in the City of Angels. Edwin Vose Sumner, sent west to relieve Albert Sydney Johnston, was on the job following the bombardment of Fort Sumter, and he knew where to find the trouble-makers. Forget the Indians – all of a sudden there were other hostiles to worry about! To wit:
HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE PACIFIC,
SAN FRANCISCO, CAL., April 30,
Lieut.-Col. E.D. TOWNSEND, Assistant Adjutant-General, Headquarters Army:
SIR: I have the honor to report that I have found it necessary to withdraw the troops from Fort Mojave and place them at Los Angeles. There is more danger of disaffection at this place than any other in the State. There are a number of influential men there who are decided Secessionists, and if we should have any difficulty it will commence there. Fort Mojave is represented as an entirely useless post. There are no hostile Indians near it, and there is no traveling whatever on the road it is intended to protect.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
Brigadier-General, U.S. Army, Commanding.
Sumner, who would receive wounds in the Seven Days Campaign, and at Antietam, and die of a heart attack at about the half-way point of the war, never gets credit for saving Los Angeles for the Union, though it's possible that eventually he will be blamed for it. . . For more on California and the lead-up to the war, head on over to Drew Wagenhoffer's excellent blog, Civil War Books & Authors, where the latest entry -- I just noticed -- is a very useful review of The California Gold Rush and the Coming of the Civil War, by Leonard L. Richards. Drew writes that, "Although clearly futile, effort was also made by pro-Southern politicians (with the support of influential Mexican landowners in Southern California) to divide the state in half." I've seen this book around, and am definitely going to pick up a copy.
Stay tuned: in the coming days, more on my recent sojourn in Arkansas, where you can buy accessories like these for your car.