The Civil War in California



"The time has arrived when individual rights must give way, and I shall not hesitate to adopt the most stringent measures to crush any attempt at rebellion within this department."

-Brigadier General George Wright from San Francisco to the War Department, December 10, 1861.

Southerners residing in California accounted for a substantial portion of the population. Following the Gold Rush of 1849 California was settled primarily by Midwestern and Southern farmers, miners and businessmen. In 1860 California had a population of some 430,000. About 130,000 were voters. Of them 50,000 were Northern born, 30,000 Southern born, and another 50,000 were foreign born, mostly Irish, British, and German. Thus, Southerners, most of whom were Confederate sympathizers, exercised a good deal of influence in the state. Southern Democrats sympathetic to secession were in the majority in Southern California and Tulare County, and were in large numbers in San Joaquin, Santa Clara, Monterey, and San Francisco counties.

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