Historic California Posts:
U.S. Military Posts, 1847-1900
by Warren A. Beck and Ynez D. Hasse

Acquisition of California after the Mexican War made the War Department responsible for the protection of the area. The gold rush influx of Americans into every corner of the state caused an intermittent conflict with the Indians. Soldiers, therefore, had to protect the newly-arrived whites from depredations by the "first Californians," but, in many instances, also had to protect the Indians from brutal and senseless attacks by the settlers. To accomplish these objectives the United States Army ultimately dotted California with military installations. The more permanent were usually along the coast, often on the site of a former Mexican facility. Posts were established in the mining country to protect the miners, and garrisons were posted along communication routes, especially at key mountain Ipasses, to protect the large traffic to and from the mines. Many of these establishments existed for only a short time and were built to fill a real or imagined need. When the emergency had passed, they were abandoned and their garrisons moved elsewhere.

Because the terms forts, camps, and barracks, are often used interchangeably to describe the same site. They are omitted on the map. Some installations were of limited significance and these have been omitted at the discretion of the authors. Nor have all of the names by which a facility was known been used. For example, Fort Rosecrans has had various names as well as many sub-forts or associated installations in the San Diego area such as Fort Stockton, Presidio of San Diego, Fort San Diego, Garrison at San Diego, San Diego Barracks, Mission of San Diego and Fort Pio Pico: Fort McDowell was Camp Reynolds (1863-66) and Post of Angel Island (1866-1900), and since 1900, Camp and Fort McDowell.

Among the military installations existing for supply purposes the greatest concentration was, naturally, at San Francisco. Camp Drum (or Drum Barracks, Wilmington Depot, or Camp San Pedro) serviced the Los Angeles area; Fort Rosecrans the San Diego area. Forts Bragg and Humboldt performed similar duties along the north coast, while Fort Gaston acted as a supply point on the Colorado River. Fort Bidwell was located to protect the strategic route into California from the northeast and Fort Yuma performed a similar function in the southeast corner of the state. Camp Cajon and Fort Tejon existed to protect strategic passes. The purpose of Fort Moore, Camp Rancho del Jurupa, and the detachment at Rancho del Chino was to prevent another Hispano uprising against American rule. The remaining military installations in California, in most cases, were located to deal with conflict with the Indians.

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To learn more about California History, we suggest reading
Historical Atlas of California
by Warren A. Beck and Ynez D. Hasse
Paperback, Published by the University Of Oklahoma Press 1975
A good basic book in California history. An outstanding collection of maps of maps tracing the routes of early Spanish and Mexican explorers, early Indian wars, the Bear Flag revolt, and other items of interest to California historians.
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Updated 19 July 2017
This page was reprinted with permission from Historical Atlas of California, published in 1975 by the University Of Oklahoma Press