Camp Bidwell

Last updated

Camp Bidwell, later Camp Chico, was a U.S. Army post during the American Civil War. Camp Bidwell was named for John Bidwell, the founder of the nearby town of Chico, California, and a brigadier general of the California Militia. It was established a mile outside Chico, by Lt. Col. Ambrose E. Hooker with Company A, 6th California Infantry, on August 26, 1863. Although a Company F, 2nd California Cavalry and Company K, 2nd California Infantry under Captain Augustus W. Starr had been there from July 31, 1863, Lt. Col. Hooker moved the camp to a new location for its better defense and for better sanitation.


By early 1865, it was being referred to as Camp Chico when a post called Camp Bidwell was established in the far northeastern corner of California, later to be named Fort Bidwell. [1] Observing confusion between the two, [2] Robert W. Pease explained that such a transfer of name between outposts was a common Army practice of the time. [3]



Related Research Articles

California in the American Civil War The War effort in the U.S. state of California

California's involvement in the American Civil War included sending gold east to support the war effort, recruiting volunteer combat units to replace regular U.S. Army units sent east, in the area west of the Rocky Mountains, maintaining and building numerous camps and fortifications, suppressing secessionist activity and securing the New Mexico Territory against the Confederacy. The State of California did not send its units east, but many citizens traveled east and joined the Union Army there, some of whom became famous.

The following Union Army units and commanders fought in the Battle of Fredericksburg of the American Civil War. Order of battle compiled from the army organization during the campaign. The Confederate order of battle is listed separately.

Galvanized Yankees was a term from the American Civil War denoting former Confederate prisoners of war who swore allegiance to the United States and joined the Union Army. Approximately 5,600 former Confederate soldiers enlisted in the "United States Volunteers", organized into six regiments of infantry between January 1864 and November 1866. Of those, more than 250 had begun their service as Union soldiers, were captured in battle, then enlisted in prison to join a regiment of the Confederate States Army. They surrendered to Union forces in December 1864 and were held by the United States as deserters, but were saved from prosecution by being enlisted in the 5th and 6th U.S. Volunteers. An additional 800 former Confederates served in volunteer regiments raised by the states, forming ten companies. Four of those companies saw combat in the Western Theater against the Confederate Army, two served on the western frontier, and one became an independent company of U.S. Volunteers, serving in Minnesota.

2nd California Cavalry Regiment Military unit

The 2nd Regiment California Volunteer Cavalry was a cavalry regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It spent its entire term of service in the western United States, with most of its companies dispersed to various posts.

Samuel H. Starr United States Army officer (1810–1891)

Samuel Henry Starr was a career United States Army officer, regimental commander and prisoner of war. A collection of his letters provide a rare view of military life, the War with Mexico, Indian conflicts, the Civil War, his fall from grace, recovery and post Civil War service. Despite his rough demeanor he was a religious man and reflective of the times he served.

Fort Gaston was founded on December 4, 1859, in the redwood forests of the Hoopa Valley, in Northern California, on the west bank of the Trinity River, 14 miles (23 km) from where the Trinity flows into the Klamath River. It was located in what is now the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation. Fort Gaston as part of the Humboldt Military District was intended to control the Hupa Indians and to protect them from hostile white settlers. The post was named for 2nd Lieutenant William Gaston, of the First Dragoons, who had been killed May 17, 1858, during the Spokane–Coeur d'Alene–Paloos War.

3rd California Infantry Regiment Infantry regiment in the Union Army

The 3rd Regiment California Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War. This regiment was organized at Stockton and at Benicia Barracks, from October 31 to December 31, 1861, to serve three years. The regiment was first commanded by Colonel Patrick Edward Connor. After the formation of the regiment at Stockton, four companies were sent to Humboldt County during the month of November, 1861. During the month of July, 1862, Colonel Connor was sent, with his regiment, to the District of Utah, in which it was on duty for the balance of its term of service.

1st California Cavalry Regiment Military unit

The 1st Regiment California Volunteer Cavalry was a cavalry regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It was first formed of five companies as 1st Battalion, 1st Regiment California Volunteer Cavalry between August and October 31, 1861, at Camp Merchant near Oakland. After the battalion was organized it was sent to Southern California, three companies being stationed at Camp Latham, near Los Angeles, and two at Camp Carleton, near San Bernardino. November 20–29, 1861, a detachment under Second Lt. C. R. Wellman was stationed at Camp Wright, and pursued and captured Dan Showalter's party west of the San Jose Valley and Warner's Ranch. The battalion remained in Southern California until the spring of 1862, when it became part of the California Column, and formed the advance force of that Column during the march to New Mexico Territory and Texas. In 1863, the Regiment was brought to full strength when seven more companies were raised to bring it to a full strength of twelve companies. The five companies first organized were mustered out August 31, 1864, the terms of service of most of the men having expired. Two new companies, B and C, were organized in New Mexico, by consolidation of the few men whose terms had not expired, and by new enlistments, and two new companies were enlisted in California, A and E, which, upon the completion of their organization, were sent to Arizona. All of the companies of First Volunteer Cavalry stationed in New Mexico and Texas, were ordered to assemble at Baird’s Ranch, near Albuquerque, to be mustered out of the service, during the month of September, 1866. Company M was the last mustered out on the September 30, 1866. 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment spent its entire term of service in the western United States in California and New Mexico Territory and Texas.

The 1st Battalion of Native Cavalry, California Volunteers was a cavalry battalion in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Recruits were largely drawn from the Californio population, though its ranks included Yaqui and Mission Indians as well as immigrants from Mexico, Hispano America and Europe. In addition to its ethnic makeup, the Battalion is also considered unusual for being one of the few lancer units in the United States Army.

The District of California was a Union Army command department formed during the American Civil War. The district was part of the Department of the Pacific, the commander of the department also being District commander. The district was created as a separate command on July 1, 1864, after Irvin McDowell took command of the Department of the Pacific, relieving General Wright, who then remained as District of California commander. The District comprised the state of California and the areas of the Rogue River and Umpqua River in Southern Oregon. Its headquarters were in San Francisco, co-located with those of the Department of the Pacific. On March 14, 1865, the District of Oregon was extended to include the entire state of Oregon, removing the Rogue River and Umpqua River areas from the District.

The 6th Regiment California Volunteer Infantry was an infantry regiment in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It spent its entire term of service in the western United States attached to the Department of the Pacific. The Regiment was organized at Benicia Barracks, San Francisco on February 1, 1863. 6th Regiment mustered out from October 25 to December 20, 1865. The only recorded engagements of the Regiment occurred with the detachment sent to the Humboldt Military District in 1864, near the end of the Bald Hills War. It had engagements with the Indians in the Skirmish at Booth's Run, May 1 and Kneeland's Prairie May 2, near Boynton's Prairie May 6 and at Grouse Creek May 23.

1st California Mountaineers Battalion Military unit

1st Battalion California Volunteer Mountaineers was an infantry battalion in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It spent its entire term of service in the western United States, attached to the Department of the Pacific. It was organized from men from the counties of Humboldt, Mendocino, Trinity, Klamath, Siskiyou, and Del Norte, and other parts of California, between May 30, 1863, and March 16, 1864, for special service in the redwood forests and mountains that was being fought over in the Bald Hills War in Humboldt County within the Humboldt Military District. The Battalion mustered out June 14, 1865.

Fort Cummings is a former U. S. Army post located near Cooke's Springs, in Luna County, New Mexico. It is located 20 miles northeast of Deming, New Mexico.

Fort Wright, was an Army post located in the Round Valley of Mendocino County, about 1.5 miles (2.4 km) s northwest of the present town of Covelo, California. The principal duty of the garrison was to protect the Round Valley Indian Reservation's Indians from the intrusions, thefts and attacks of white settlers. From 1858, Federal troops had garrisoned the Round Valley Reservation until they were sent east in late 1861.

Camp Curtis

Camp Curtis, California State Historic Landmark #215, was located about one mile north of Arcata, California, and served as the headquarters and garrison of the 1st Battalion California Volunteer Mountaineers from 1862 to 1865.

The Owens Valley War was fought between 1862 and 1863, by California Volunteers and local settlers against the Owens Valley Paiutes, and their Shoshone and Kawaiisu allies, in the Owens Valley of California and the southwestern Nevada border region. The removal of a large number of the Owens River Native Californians to Fort Tejon in 1863, was considered the end of the war. Minor hostilities continued occasionally until 1867.

2nd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment (Slemons) Military unit

The 2nd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment (Slemons') (1861–1865) was a Confederate Army cavalry regiment during the American Civil War. This regiment was also referred to in the official records as the 4th Arkansas Cavalry Regiment. Another regiment, commanded by Colonel Thomas J. Morgan, was also designated as the 2nd Arkansas Cavalry Regiment. Following Price's Raid in 1864, the survivors of the regiment were reorganized as the 18th Arkansas Cavalry Battalion, which was also referred to as McMurtrey's Arkansas Cavalry Battalion.

'Bold text'Moses A. McLaughlin (1834–1899) was an Irish-born California Militia officer, Union Army officer, farmer, later a doctor. As Captain, 2nd Regiment California Volunteer Cavalry, he is best known for his role in the 1863 Keyesville Massacre, and subsequent campaign that forced the capitulation of the Owens Valley Paiute in the Owens Valley Indian War and their removal to Fort Tejon.

The 3rd Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry Regiment was a cavalry regiment that served in the Union Army during the American Civil War. It was organized by consolidating the 41st Massachusetts Mounted Infantry and the 2nd Battalion Massachusetts Cavalry on June 17, 1863. The regiment served with the XIX Corps, Army of the Gulf during the Red River Campaign in 1864. Its heaviest combat during this campaign took place during the Battle of Sabine Crossroads.


  1. War Department, United States; John Sheldon Moody; Calvin Duvall Cowles; Frederick Caryton Ainsworth; Robert N. Scott; Henry Martyn Lazelle; George Breckenridge Davis; Leslie J. Perry; Joseph William Kirkley (1897). The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. I. Vol. L. Washington: Government Printing Office. pp. 593–594, 1125.
  2. Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 378. ISBN   1-884995-14-4.
  3. Pease, Robert W. (1965). Modoc County; University of California Publications in Geography, Volume 17. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. pp. 77–78.
  4. Records of California men in the war of the rebellion 1861 to 1867, p. 48.
  5. Records of California men, p. 429.
  6. Records of California men, p. 721.
  7. Records of California men, p. 835. Corporal Samuel D. Barnes of Company B, 1st Battalion California Volunteer Mountaineers was killed by Indians while at Camp Bidwell May 6, 1864, while in charge of a Government pack train. Company B, at the time, was officially stationed at Camp Anderson fighting Indians in the Humboldt Military District. Perhaps a detachment was sent to occupy the site of the camp in the gap of occupation by the Companies F and I of 2nd California Cavalry.
  8. Records of California men, pp. 193.