- Historic California Posts, Camps,
Stations and Airfields
- Fort Humboldt
- Established on January
30, 1853, by Captain Robert C. Buchanan, 4th Infantry, this post
was situated on a 35 foot high bluff overlooking Humholdt Bay
at what was then Bucksport, presently a part of the city of Eureka.
Intended to provide protection for the area's inhabitants from
Indian hostiles, it served also as a supply depot for other posts
in northern California. Ulysses S. Grant served here in 1854
as a 4th Infantry captain. In 1866 the garrison, except for one
company of artillery was withdrawn and the post then became a
subdepot, maintained primarily to provide supplies to Fort Gaston. Department commander Brigadier
General Irvin McDowell reported on September 14, 1867, that the
company of Artillery had been withdrawn and the post completely
abandoned. One historical chronologist reports abandonment took
place in 1866, in accordance \with Special Order Number. 243.
Department off Californiania. On April 6, 1870, the military
reservation, now a state historic monument was transferred to
the Department of the Interior. The post hospital, completely
renovated, was moved a short distance from its original site.
It is now a Museum with Native American and military artifacts,
text and photographs. The second building that has been restored
is the Surgeons Quarters. This building Is open only for special
occasions. Visitors can look in the windows and see photographs
of Josiah Simpson, Army Doctor, and his wife Harriett, who lived
in the residence from 1854-75. In 2001 the Park added the History
in Bloom garden designed to represent a typical personal garden
at the Fort in 1853-63. The Fort Museum is open daily from 8:00
am until 4:00 pm most of the year. It is closed on weekends only
from November through February. For more info on Fort Humboldt,
people can call the State Park at (707) 445-6567.
- by Colonel Herbert
M. Hart, USMC (retired)
- Fort Humboldt was headquarters
for the Northern California District of the Humboldt, an area
of 20,000 square miles during the Civil War. With its rugged forests and mountains, the Humboldt
District presented its commander with no easy task. "There
are so many Indians and they are so hard to find," Colonel
Francis J. Lippitt reported, "that to bring them all in
by sending small detachments after them would take as long as
it would to bring in the squirrels and coyotes."
- When the fort was built
in 1853, a lieutenant named George Crook was in its first detachment,
it was just about the only military establishment in the area.
By 1861, the Humboldt had four forts (Humboldt, Crook, Gaston,
and Bragg) and as many camps (Baker, Lyon, Anderson, and Lincoln).
This had shrunk to only Humboldt, Gaston, and Lincoln by 1865,
and Camp Iaqua, built near Blue Lake in 1863.
- Humboldt had its problems.
One of its early captains, a U. S. Grant, served there for five
months in 1854, but spent more time at Ryan's Tavern in Eureka
than at the fort. In 1861 the rains were so bad that the 26 buildings
were abandoned temporarily and shelter was sought in Eureka.
- Twenty-five men scouted
through the brambles and brush in the sixties with such enthusiasm
that they were "so entirely destitute as to make it impossible
for them to leave the camp, however urgently their services are
needed," Lippitt reported. In other words, they had no pants.
- At one time, Lippitt had
300 Indians and 35 soldiers under guard at the fort. He built
a circular stockade 10 feet high and 80 feet in diameter and
put everyone in it.After the Civil War, the need for Fort Humboldt
lessened. It was closed in 1866 and abandoned in the 1870's.
Only one building, the hospital, remains today. It was shifted
from its original position, so today nothing at Fort Humboldt
remains as it once was.
|| Laundress Quarters
|| Officer's Quarters
- U.S. Grant's home
in 1854 was said to be the L-shaped one in top row of officers'
quarters. (Redrawn from California Beaches and Parks data.)
This page was reprinted
with permission from Old Forts of the Northwest, published