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New Book on California Military History: The California Center for Military History is proud to announce the publishing of its latest book on the history of San Francisco during World War II. Order now by clicking here.
San Francisco in World War II
CW2 John Garvey and the California Center for Military History
Paperback, 128 pages
Arcadio Publishing (January 15, 2007)
Everything changed on the morning of December 7, 1941, and life in San Francisco was no exception. Flush with excitement and tourism in the wake of the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition, the city was stunned at the severity of the Pearl Harbor attack, and quickly settled into organized chaos with its new role as a major deployment center for the remainder of the war. “Frisco” teemed with servicemen and servicewomen during and after the conflict, forever changing the face of this waterfront city. Warships roamed the bay, and fearsome gun embankments appeared on the cliffs facing the sea, preparing to repel an invasion that never happened.
Camp Roberts
California Center for Military History
Paperback: 128 pages
Arcadia Publishing (August 24, 2005)
Camp Roberts, in the Salinas Valley, is one of California’s largest military training camps. Named for a heroic World War I tank driver, it took the threat of global war in 1940 to kick-start its construction. Soon Camp Roberts had a capacity to house and train 23,000 men. During the war, almost half a million men trained here. Row upon row of wooden buildings, replete with churches, stores, a hospital, and an amphitheater where A-list stars performed, made it a mobilized city of 45,000 at its peak. In 1946, it became a ghost town overnight. Revived during the Korean and Vietnam conflicts, it passed into National Guard control in 1971. However, all branches of the military continue to train here, and the camp has renewed relevance for troops bound for the Middle East.
Camp San Luis Obispo
California Center for Military History
Paperback: 128 pages
Arcadia Publishing (November 17, 2004)

Camp San Luis Obispo, founded in 1928 amid the starkly beautiful rolling hills north of San Luis Obispo, has an ideal central California location. It is the original home of the California National Guard and remains today the Guard's principal training facility. In 1941 the U.S. Army commandeered the post, enlarging it to over 10,000 acres for the training of half a million soldiers and 42 infantry divisions. Salinas Dam, 20 miles away, was built to provide a dependable source of water for the troops. Reverting to the state after major conflicts, the camp is also the headquarters for the U.S. Army Reserve, California Specialized Training Institute, and a host of agencies and academies. It remains on the frontline for modernizing the military into the 21st century.
The story of this vital military installation is told here by the California Center for Military History using the extensive archives of the Guard, Camp San Luis Obispo, and the California State Military Museum. Over 200 photographs capture the experiences of many soldiers who served their state and nation at Camp San Luis Obispo, the natural beauty of the area, and the prominent buildings of this historic post.
Their Horses Climbed Trees: The Chronicle of the California 100 and Battalion from San Francisco to Appomattox
by Larry Rogers and Keith Rogers
Hardcover 480 pp. 20 b/w photographs October 2001
Schiffer Publishing
Tells the little known story of the five hundred volunteers from California known as the "California Hundred and Battalion", who fought in the East during the Civil War years 1863-1865 as a part of the Second Massachusetts Volunteer Cavalry Regiment. Genealogists, teachers, researchers, and historians will gain new insights into California's involvement in the Civil War in the East, which has been largely overlooked.
The American Home Guard: The State Militia in the Twentieth Century
Barry M. Stentiford
Hardcover - 352 pages (June 2002)
Texas A&M University Press
Since colonial times Americans have used the militia to maintain order during both war and peacetime. Barry M. Stentiford tells the story of these militia units—variously called home guards, State Guard, National Guard Reserve, and State Defense Forces.

Stentiford traces the evolution of the militia over the past century, demonstrating its transformation from an amalgamation of state units into the National Guard. Ironically, the National Guard made the creation of other militia forces necessary during periods of war, as the home guards were organized to fill the vacuum left when the National Guard was called up.

Stentiford analyzes the challenges faced by State Guards as they built their new militia with leftover men and material. He also examines the role of the State Guard: providing relief during disasters, providing military training for future draftees, and broadening participation in military units during wartime by giving a role to men who, because of their age or occupation, could not join the federal forces.

Today modern state militias must define a role for themselves in a society that increasingly views them as anachronistic. They must also compete with so-called unorganized militias for the title of true heir to the American militia tradition.
Bear Flag and Bay State in the Civil War : The Californians of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry
by Thomas E. Parson
Hardcover - 219 pages (October 2001)
McFarland & Company
The Second Massachusetts Cavalry included the only organized group (5 companies totaling 504 men) from California to fight in the east during the Civil War. Led by a young Boston aristocrat, Colonel Charles R. Lowell, these men began their wartime careers in Northern Virginia in 1862, clashing with the partisan rangers of Major John S. Mosby, in a deadly world of guerrilla warfare. In August of 1864, the regiment was assigned to Major General Phil Sheridan's Army of Shenandoah and served through all of the battles in the victorious campaign to clear the valley of Confederates, witnessing the final surrender at Appomattox Courthouse. This account tells what these men from California and Massachusetts accomplished, how they communicated, and how they viewed themselves. The book contains three appendices that list the battle casualties of the regiment during its largest engagements. Photographs and a bibliography are also included
Miwoks to Missiles: A History of Angel Island
by John Soennichsen
Angel Island Association, 2001
This first complete history of Angel Island covers more than two hundred years of the island's complex and fascinating historic past, including Miwok Indians, Spanish explorers, U.S. Army occupation during the Civil War and World Wars I and II, the Immigration Station and a Nike Missile base during the Cold War.
California Sabers: The 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry in the Civil War
by James McLean
Hardcover (December 2000)
Indiana University Press
This is the story of the California Battalion and Hundred, a group of 500 select men who were the only organized group of Californians to fight in the East during the Civil War--as the cadre of the Second Massachusetts Cavalry. The Second Massachusetts fought a bloody guerilla war against John S. Mosby, the confederacy's "Gray Ghost," and then went on to battles across Virginia and finally to a stand that blocked Lee's army at Appomattox. This work, based on extensive research, is the first comprehensive history of this relatively unknown group and will be of great interest to Civil War enthusiasts and historians.
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