California State Military Department
The California State Military Museum
Preserving California's Military Heritage
Historic California Posts:
Fort Defiance
(Imperial County)
 

Founded in 1849 by settlers to guard an important ferry crossing, the "post" was given the name "Fort Defiance" to indicate their attitude to the hostile Indians.

In 1850 Lieutenant George H. Derby on orders of Major General P. F. Smith, made a reconnaissance of the Colorado River. His map, dated December 1850 shows Fort Defiance on the California side of the river, about half a mile above the Mexican boundary. The remains of this non military installation are located four miles below Fort Yuma.
 
According to John R. Bartlett's book, Personal Narrative (1852) "'This is the spot where we first encamped, and were unable to reach the water. It was an old ferrying place, and the scene of a massacre by the Pumas the year before our visit." According to the War Department, a military post known as Fort Defiance, garrisoned by a lieutenant and 10 men, was also established at Pilot Knob to the northeast. The soldiers and ferrymen garrisoned the stockade that had been erected by the Glanton party.

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