Arizona, Battle of Stanwix Station, California, California Gold Rush, Edward Dickinson Baker

California During The Civil War

California soldiers during the Union counter charge at Cedar Creek.

Before the start of the Civil War, and after North Carolina left the Union, confederate sympathizers sought to have California join the Confederacy. California ended up siding with the Union despite attempts to change the allegiance of the state. Abraham Lincoln’s friend, Oregon Senator Edward Dickerson Baker, trained the California Brigade in Pennslyvania.

Photograph of California secessionist Daniel Showalter.

Daniel Showalter was a California Southern sympathizer who lobbied for funds to invade California and other western states. Daniel eventually left the state of California and joined the Texas Confederate forces. On March 30, 1862, the Battle of Stanwix Station, the westernmost battle of the U.S. Civil War, occurred which led to a confederate eastward retreat to Tuscon, Arizona. Captain Sherod Hunter managed to get rangers to take over the town of Tucson. While Civil War battles did not occur in the state of California, a regiment of California Union soldiers were sent to Tucson, to find out of their western plans, and to prevent Confederates from taking over Arizona and Southern California. On April 15, 1862, the Battles of Picacho Pass and Picacho Peak led to a further Confederate retreat of the western front. The Confederacy would not try to invade California again after Battle of Picacho Peak. However, Confederates planned various schemes to interfere with the Union effort in California. Ashbury Harpending schemed to steal a ship transporting gold from San Francisco to the Panama Canal and in 1865 the English-built confederate cruiser Shenandoah, a sister ship of the Alabama, maintained attacks on various New England whaling vessels. Even when the Civil War ended, the captain of the Shenandoah planned to conduct an attack in San Francisco in August 1865, because he had not gotten word that the war was over. Eventually, when the captain finally received news of Robert Lee’s surrender and the capture of President Jefferson Finis Davis, the San Francisco attack was called off.

In 1913, the reunion of veterans of the California Regiment at the site of Pickett’s Charge.

Many of the fifteen thousand California Union volunteers devoted time to reunions after the end of the war. Most notably, fifty years after the Battle at Pickett’s Charge, California Union veterans returned to the site of the battle for a reunion.

Battle Of Ball’s Bluff, Edward Dickinson Baker, Oregon, President Abraham Lincoln, Presidio of San Francisco, San Francisco, California

President Lincoln’s Congressional Race Rival And Friend Who Became The Only U.S. Senator To Die In Battle During The Civil War

Edward Dickinson Baker was Abraham Lincoln’s rival in a Congressional race in Illinois that the former president lost. After the race, Edward Dickinson Baker and Abraham Lincoln became friends. After serving in Congress, Baker moves to Oregon and was elected as a U.S. Senator.

During the U.S. Civil War, Baker continues to serve as a Senator and offered to directly help Lincoln with the military command. Baker served at the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, in Loundon County, Virginia, and became the only U.S. Senator to die in battle. In addition, Baker was the highest ranking Union Officer to die in the war.

Edward Dickinson Baker is buried at the Presidio in San Francisco, California.

During the 150th Anniversary of the U.S. Civil War, the State of Oregon held an event in honor of former Senator Baker.

Battle Of Ball’s Bluff, Edward Dickinson Baker, Loudon County, Virginia

The Battle Of Ball’s Bluff

On October 20th, 1861, union reconnaissance troops caught sight of what they believed was an unguarded confederate camp. Union General Charles Stone gathered troops from Maryland to attack the camp.

U.S. Senator Edward Dickinson Baker, whom was a friend of Abraham Lincoln, died in the battle and was the only U.S. Senator to ever die in battle. Balls Bluff was a humiliating defeat from the union and General Charles Stone was fired from his position and sentenced to six months in jail for his failure there.

In present day the area of Ball’s Bluff is a Battlefield Park.