April 2013 Program

Partisan Intrigue in the Golden State During Civil War

Tuesday, April 9 - 7:30 PM

The Old Mint
88 Fifth Street at Mission

At the time of the Civil War, it would seem that California was so removed from the eastern hostilities that it was uninvolved. However, there were strong partisan feelings about secession in this state with Confederate sympathizers, primarily in Southern California, plotting to divide the state. Private militias sympathetic to the South were organized and federal troops dispatched to curtail the rebels.

The gold and silver of Northern California and Nevada, so vital to funding the Union cause, needed to be transported out of San Francisco, so there had to be additional fortifications to protect against Confederate raiders. Fort Alcatraz and Fort Point are part of that heritage. The Confederacy did send a ship of sympathizers north but as they were about to enter the bay, they met another ship that informed them the war had ended. That also ended the threat.

Volumes have been written about the massive Civil War battles fought in the East, the South and the raids in he Midwest, but little mention is made of the tension and skirmishes in “neutral” California. Charles Fracchia will recount this seldom-told history of the intrigue and hostilities played out in California during the Civil War.

SFMHS events are sponsored in part by a grant from Grants for the Arts/San Francisco Hotel Tax Fund.