Historic California Posts, Camps, Stations and Airfields
Fort Tejon
(Camp Canada de las Uvas)
 
 
Established on August 10, 1854, by 1st Lieutenant Thomas F. Castor, 1st Dragoons, to replace ineffectual Fort Miller on the San Joaquin River, Fort Tejon was located in the Canada de las Uvas, about 15 miles southwest of the Tejon (Sebastian) Indian Reservation, near present Lebec in Kern County. "The location had been selected by Brevet Major John Donaldson of the Quartermaster Corps, apparently with the approval of Lieutenant Edward F. Beale, U.S. Navy, who was named superintendent of Indian affairs for California in 1852. The post was intended to guard the pass through the Tehachapi Mountains, to control the areas tribes, and to protect the Indians on the reservation which had been established the previous year. In 1858, when the fort became a station on the Butterfield overland route, the garrison provided military escorts through the pass.

The post was considered comparatively small by Army standards, with an average garrison complement of 225 men. Adobe built Fort Tejon was the principal military, political, and social hub of central California's vast area during the early American period. Fifteen of the officers who served there eventually became generals in the Civil War, eight Union and seven Confederate. While the fort was being constructed, the troops were encamped adjacent to its site, and their temporary quarters were called Camp Canada de las Uvas. Lieutenant Beale, associated with all facets of Fort Tejon's history, made the post his headquarters. Serving as director of the large survey team planning a wagon road from Texas to California, he brought a caravan of 28 camels across the Southwest from a point near San Antonio to Fort Tejon in 1857.
 
The experimental use of camels was so successful that Beale strongly recommended their continued use by the Army throughout the arid Southwest. The breaking out of the Civil War, however, in addition to other factors, put an end to his proposal. The fort was evacuated on June 15, 1861, by order of Brigadier General Edwin Vose Sumner. Fort Tejon was reoccupied on August 17, 1863, by California Volunteers in compliance with an order of Brigadier General George Wright. The permanent abandonment of the post on September 11, 1864, in accordance with a directive issued by Major General Irvin McDowell, was coincident with the termination of Tejon Reservation. The military reservation and its 25 structures then became a part of the Rancho Tejon, a Mexican land grant, purchased by Lieutenant Beale, who eventually increased his holdings to nearly 200,000 acres. Part of Fort Tejon's site is now a state historical monument and a number of the old fort's original buildings have been restored.
 
 
Fort Tejon
by Justin Ruhge
 
In the spring of 1853, Lieutenant Edward Fitzgerald Beale was made Superintendent of Indian Affairs in California and a little more than a year later Fort Tejon, which was to be his headquarters for administrating Indian Affairs, was established. General Hitchcock, on approving Lieutenant Beale's plan, addressed the Secretary of War to the effect that it appeared to him that the choice of the government lay necessarily between accepting Lieutenant Beale's plan or giving the Indians over to rapid extermination. Lieutenant Beale, who figures prominently in the history of Fort Tejon, was later a brigadier general and also Minister to Austria under President Grant.
 
A study of the topography of the location of Fort Tejon makes it evident that the selection of the site for the Fort was made with complete disregard for any strategic advantage that a Fort might possess as a result of its location. The lack of defensive terrain emphasizes the unusual purpose for which this particular Fort was built.
 
Fort Tejon was established on August 10, 1854 at a point in the Tejon Pass where the Coast Range meets the Sierra Nevada and about three miles north from the present Lebec Station.
 
Two special orders of the Department of the Pacific authorized the establishment of the post. The first, No. 60, June 24, 1854, ordered the construction of quarters for one company of Dragoons and one of Infantry on the site designated by E. F. Beale, Esq. and approved by Captain Jordan, Assistant Quartermaster. The second, No. 62, June 30, ordered a detachment of Company A, 1st U.S. Dragoons, under the command of 1st Lieutenant Thomas F. Castor with sixteen men, to march to the place selected at Canada de las Uvas, fifteen miles southwest of the Tejon (Sebastian) Indian Reservation near present Lebec, Kern County. Brevet 2nd Lieutenant Lattimer, 4th Infantry arrived at Canada de las Uvas August 15, 1854.
 
It continued to be occupied until June 15, 1861 when its regular garrison was removed for transfer to the east. It was reoccupied by California Volunteers from August 17, 1863 to September 11, 1864, when, with the final removal of the Native Americans from Tejon Pass to the Tule River Reserve, it was abandoned.
 
The location had been selected by Brevet Major John Donaldson of the Quartermaster Corps, apparently with the approval of Lieutenant Beale, U.S. Navy who was named Superintendent of Indian Affairs for California in 1852. The post was intended to guard the pass through the Tehachapi Mountains, to control the area's tribes, and to protect the Native Americans on the reservation, which had been established the previous year. In 1858, when Fort Tejon became a station on the Butterfield Stage route, the garrison provided military escorts through the pass.
 
Fort Tejon was considered comparatively small by Army standards, with an average garrison complement of 225 men. Fort Tejon's buildings were constructed of adobe even though some of the 25 buildings were three stories high. While the buildings were being constructed, the troops were encamped adjacent to its site and the temporary quarters were called Camp Canada de las Uvas.
 
The 1st U.S. Dragoon Regiment supplied most of the manpower that garrisoned the Fort from 1854 to 1861. Dragoons were trained to fight as either mounted infantry or cavalry. Companies A, H, I, F, B and K served at the post in that order over the years with some overlapping of units.
 
From 1857 to 1858, a detachment of Company I, 3rd U.S. Artillery, sent from the post of Mission San Diego, was part of the garrison. The artilleryman of Company I, 3rd U.S. served primarily as infantrymen and proudly called themselves the "Marching 3rd."
 
Artillerymen at Fort Tejon wore primarily the red collar and cuff 1851 frock coat, gray-blue foot trousers, and the 1851 pattern dress caps. Sky blue shell jackets piped in the old yellow markings or the same old jacket reissued with deep red markings were issued for field and fatigue duty. The musket was the Model 1842 smoothbore in .69 caliber with the 1835 steel bayonet.
 
While the companies supplied themselves with their own weaponry, the Fort also had its own weaponry and ammunition supply under charge of the post ordnance sergeant. When the Fort was established Brevet 2nd Lieutenant Alfred Latimer, 4th Infantry, brought with him two Model 1835 12-pounder bronze mountain howitzers. The 6.1 caliber barrel barely weighed 220 pounds and when fired on its carriage was subject to a very violent recoil. These very light howitzers, however, were the only feasible crew-served weapon for rough country and were therefore much more popular in the west than in the east. It could be mule-packed over rough ground, hence the name "jackass battery."

These two howitzers were transferred to Colonel J. H. Carleton, 1st Infantry, California Volunteers for his march into Arizona and New Mexico and became part of the 3rd Artillery attachment of the "California Column." The guns were first fired in anger at the battle of Apache Pass in 1862. What happened to the guns after that is not known.
 
Fort Tejon became the principal military, political and social hub of central California's vast area during this early pioneer period. Tejon was one of the most pleasant garrisons in the mid-century Army. All of the quarters were furnished in the best style and it was generally acknowledged to be one of the finest, if not the best post on the Pacific Coast. The beauty of the place was widely advertised. It was a major training ground for Civil War generals. Fifteen of the officers who served there eventually became generals in the Civil War, eight Union and seven Confederate.
 
Lieutenant Beale, who was associated with all facets of Fort Tejon's history, made the post his headquarters. Serving as director of the large survey team planning a wagon road from Texas to California, he brought a caravan of 28 camels across the Southwest from a point near San Antonio to Fort Tejon in 1857. The experimental use of camels was so successful that Beale strongly recommended their continued use by the army throughout the arid Southwest. The Civil War, in addition to other factors, put an end to his proposal.
 
Fort Tejon was evacuated on June 15, 1861, by order of Brigadier General Edwin Vose Sumner. California Volunteers reoccupied Fort Tejon on August 17, 1863 in compliance with an order of Brigadier General George Wright who brought with them 1,000 Native Americans from the Owens Valley. The Volunteers used the Tejon buildings only occasionally, usually rushing there from some other fort whenever the peace was threatened. The permanent abandonment of the post on September 11, 1864, in accordance with a directive issued by Major General Irvin McDowell, was coincident with the termination of the Tejon Reservation.
 
Eight men died at Fort Tejon, seven of them memorialized by tiny markers. The first Dragoon Commander at Fort Tejon, Lieutenant Thomas F. Castor was buried there in 1855.
 
The military reservation and its 25 structures then became a part of the Rancho Tejon, a Mexican Land Grant, purchased by Lieutenant Beale, who eventually increased his holdings to nearly 200,000 acres. Part of Fort Tejon's site is now a State Historical Monument under the California Beaches and Parks System. It was deeded to the State in 1939 by Rancho Tejon. Three of the old Fort's original buildings have been restored. Civil War reenactments are held on the parade grounds yearly with hundreds of re-enactors and many cannon of various ages and design.
 
The Fort Tejon Park had three original cannon from the Civil War period. These are a 2.9 inch Parrott Rifle, a 3-inch Ordnance Rifle and a 12-pounder Napoleon. These have been sent to Fort MacDowell on Angel Island. Fort Tejon has two 12-pounder South Bend replicas mountain howitzer, which it fires during its interpretive history programs.
 
Old Adobes of Forgotten Fort Tejon by Clarence Cullimore, 1941, is a detailed presentation of the history and remains of the old Fort to that time. The Artilleryman, Spring 1997, Fort Tejon State Historic Park Has 3 Original Guns & Howitzer Replica by Peter A Frandsen.
 
 
 
A 1941 map of Fort Tejon showing the arrangement of the fort's buildings, and their conditions. Source, Old Adobes of Forgotten Fort Tejon by Clarence Cullimore, 1941.
 
 
 
 
History of Fort Tejon
by George Stammerjohan, State Historian II, California Departmentof Parks and Recreation
Fort Tejon is located in the Grapevine Canyon, the main route between California's great central valley and Southern California. The fort was established to protect and control the Indians who were living on the Sebastian Indians Reservation, and to protect both the Indians and white settlers from raids by the wide-ranging and rather warlike Paiutes, Chemeheui, Mojave, and other Indian groups of the desert regions to the south east. Fort Tejon was first garrisoned by the United States Army on August 10, 1854 and was abandoned ten years later on September 11, 1864.
The Native Americans who lived in this area prior to the establishment of Fort Tejon are generally referred to as the Emigdiano. They were an inland group of the Chumash people who lived along the Santa Barbara channel coastline. Unlike their coastal relatives, however, the Emigdiano avoided contact with European explorers and settlers, and were never brought into one of the missions or even incorporated into the Sebastian Indian Reservation. One of their villages was located at Tecuya Creek, north of Castac Lake. Another village, Sasau, was on the north shore of the lake, while a third and still larger village, Lapau, was located at the bottom of Grapevine Canyon. once Fort Tejon was established, the Emigdiano often worked as independent contractors for the army, providing guides for bear hunts and delivering fresh fruits from their fields for sale in officers row.
In 1852, President Millard Fillmore appointed Edward F. Beal to the position of Superintendent of Indian Affairs for California and Nevada, and sent him to California to head off further confrontation between the Indians and the many gold seekers and other settlers who were the pouring into California. After studying the situation, Beale decided that the best approach was to set up a large Indian reservation at the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley and to invite displaced Indian groups to settle there.
In order to implement his plan, Beale requested a federal appropriation of $500,000 and military support for the 75,000 acre reservation he had selected at the foot of Tejon Pass. Colonel Ethan Allen Hitchcock, commander of the Pacific Division of the U.S. Army, supported Beale's plan and agreed to set up a military post on or near the Indian reservation. The army was eager, in any case, to abandon Fort Miller (near Fresno) in favor of a more strategically advantageous site in the southern San Joaquin Valley.
In August 1854, Major J.L. Donaldson, a quartermaster officer, chose the present site in Canada de las Uvas. The site was handsome and promised adequate wood and water, It was just 17 miles southwest of the Sebastian Indian Reservation, and it was right on what Major Donaldson was convinced would become the main route between the central valley and Southern California.
 
 
 
 
The Mythical Fort Tejon "Camel Corps"
George Stammerjohn, State Historian II, California Department of Parks and Recreation
At Fort Tejon, camels were NOT an essential element of the Fort's history. Camels were at the Fort for only 5-1/2 months, from Nov. 17, 1859 to mid April 1860. The camels were never used by the soldiers at Fort Tejon. They were government property and were kept here only a short time during the winter of 1859/60 before being moved to the Los Angeles Quartermaster Depot on their way to Benicia where they were auctioned off at a loss to the Government in 1864.
Fort Tejon was never any "Terminus" for the camels. There was never a "U.S. Camel Corps" as has been stated by so many authors; it was just an experiment. E.F. Beale was a civilian under contract to survey a road from New Mexico to California by the U.S. Government. He was never in command of Fort Tejon, the camels or any soldiers.
The camels have been one of the greatest myths and legends of Fort Tejon's past. The story is great and many writers have latched on to it. It is great stuff for western lore, but most stories about this interesting experiment have little grounding in fact. Unfortunately, many writers are perpetuating these myths and rely on the early authors that wrote in the 1920s to 1960s who based their research and assertions on non-historical methods.

The Camel Experiment in California
The victories and settlements of the Mexican-American War increased the expanse of the territorial United States. To control and protect this new territory and the new citizens encompassed within its boundaries or rapidly moving into the new territories, the government deployed the vast majority of the U.S. Army. Quickly, Congress and the War Department became appalled at the unexpected new cost of simply supplying the outposts scattered over the new region. The transportation cost of the Quartermaster Department alone was more than the entire pre-war budget for the whole of the United States Army.
Distances were great, and often now through arid or semi-arid country. The Army posts, once conveniently established along waterways and supplied cheaply by contract steamboats, were now hundreds of miles from water. This meant expensive civilian contracts with drayage companies or even more expensive government owned wagon trains managed, operated and maintained by large numbers of employed civilians, paid at the prevailing wage - which out west was several times higher than eastern wages. The expenses seemed never to stop. Army wagon trains, using mules or oxen, needed regularly spaced repair, water and feed depots. Water and feed points were necessary at least a days journey apart and had to be resupplied either by Army contract or supply trains. If local farmers could not deliver forage, hay and grain, to given points, then the Army had to buy it at one point and stock the feeding points or it had to carry feed for the animals which were pulling the freight Wagons. This often meant a ratio of two forage wagons to every freight wagon. If a train was outbound for a destination which could not supply livestock feed for the return journey and grazing along the route was minimal, then empty wagons (actually partially loaded wagons for the animals pulling them had to be fed) would start back for a depot point, to load up with forage to meet the homeward bound wagon column. If timely contact was not effected, costly government mules (or oxen) would die. And the feared auditors in Washington, D.C. would want to know why.
Despite the motion picture image of the western Army on the frontier, the biggest problems were not "wild Indians" or "renegade Mexican bandits". They were transportation, forage, live drayage animals and a constant demand for economy.
Spurred by a hope for improved and economical transport across the more arid sections of the west, the U.S. Government dusted off an old plan to experiment with camels as freight animals. Some 75 Mediterranean camels were imported in the mid-1850s and delivered to an Army quartermaster at CampVerde, Texas.
Fanciful legend has overshadowed the real story of the camel experiment. There never was a "Camel Corps"; Edward F. Beale was never appointed to command a camel corps, and Fort Tejon, California, was never the headquarters of the non-existent "camel corps." There is myth and reality about the Army's camels, and the truth is a more interesting story than the fiction which surrounds the story. Over developed romantic fiction has the Army using the camels to haul freight, regularly to carry the mail, and for active patrols against bandits and hostile Indians. In reality, very little of this actually happened or was true.
 
On trips east across the Great American Desert, Gwin Harris Heap, a proselytizing convert to the idea of camels as a cheap transportation methodology for the American west, foisted upon Edward F. Beale the recently published book by the Abbe Huc, Travels in Tartary, Tibet and China, During the Years 1844, 1845 and 1846. While Beale later claimed be was immediately captivated by the journal, at the time the opposite was true. It seemed to have made no impression upon him. In fact, Beale may have considered Heap somewhat a pushy zealot of a relative, for they later parted ways under less than happy circumstances.
Gwin Heap became the proponent of camel transportation and ultimately the buyer of camels when the U.S. Navy was ordered to acquire camels from Turkey and Egypt and bring them to Texas. Nowhere in government correspondence of the time is to be found any advocacy for the use of camels originating with Edward F. Beale.In fact, when Beale won the contract for a re-survey and road development along the 35th Parallel, Secretary of War John B. Floyd ordered Beale to take 25 camels to California (and return with them) as part of the expedition. Beale exploded in anger and in ink to the Secretary. He protested mightily and insisted that Floyd was wrong to order him to use the camels. Secretary Floyd stood firm: he wanted to see what these expensive forage burners, lounging about Camp Verde outside of San Antonio could do. Reluctantly Beale, who had no choice, traveled to Camp Verde, Texas, and picked up the 25 camels.
The majority of the foreign laborers hired by the U.S. Navy to work with the camels were Greek urbanites from the streets of Constantinople (modern day Istanbul) who had no experience in the employment of camels. They had seen a free ride to the United States, where it was rumored the streets were paved with gold and it was a true land of flowing milk and honey. The two Turks who were hired by the Navy, and actually knew how to handle camels were soon disillusioned by the flat Texas prairies. They wanted to go home. The Navy contract specified that all foreigners associated with the camels coming to Texas were to work six months and then, if they wished, be discharged, given a bonus, and transported home for free by the Navy. The two Turks went home. This meant that the Greeks available to Beale were absolute novices in handling the camels.
 
"Ned" Beale soon discovered this flaw, to his anger as his correspondence to the Secretary of War points out The Greeks seemed untrainable and totally incompetent, but in time several mastered their new chore and went on to a long historic, association with the camels which came west. The others departed the scene upon arriving in California, leaving a confusing trail for the historian to follow. Three of the men had names similar to George (Georgics, Georgious and Georges) and only one emerged out of the confusion as "Greek George": Georges Caralambo.
Two of the other Greeks also had similar names: Hadji Alli and Hadagoi Alli. While Hadji Alli became historically known as "Hi Jolly", the other Alli disappeared after leaving behind a total confusion caused by the numerous ways his name could be spelled. All five floated through the story of the camels until about December 1859, when government records clarified only two were still in view: "Greek George" and "Hi Jolly".
Despite his initial outrage, Beale did develop an appreciation of the camels' ability, docility and temperament. He gained trust in the animals' patience; camels would not stampede, while mules scattered to the four winds. The camels did have to be watched. While they would not run in fright, they would amble about for miles to feed. By the time Beale's expedition reached California, Beale was a believer in the camels' worth.
This did not mean, however, that Beale was totally honest in his report to the government over the camels' usefulness. He failed to report that be had lost three camels, the expense of which would have been deducted from the contract's final financial settlement. And he failed to report that the Mojave Desert's rocky soil nearly crippled the animals' soft hooves. They were bred for work in the softer, sand-gravel deserts of the eastern Mediterranean.
Beale also ignored orders to bring the camels back to New Mexico. Using the lame excuse that the camels would be invaluable if the troops in California were to become involved in the "Mormon War", then seeming to be a reality on the Pacific Coast, Beale left the camels with his business partner, Samuel A. Bishop, and hurried home in early January 1858.
This homeward journey created another myth, whereby in later years Beale adopted a heroic leadership which does not match the historic correspondence of the time. Once again Beale had outlived the other participants and this allowed him to tell his version of the story without eyewitness contradictions. So "the story" became "history".
As Beale remembered it, he departed Los Angeles in early January 1858, with a group of dragoons to protect "him" to the Colorado River. When he reached the river, "he" stopped a river steamer and ordered it to ferry him and his men across the river. "He" had brought along ten camels to carry forage for his mules and then "he" sent the camels back to Fort Tejon in case of war in Utah. It is a great heroic tale and you can find it in all the biographies on Beale, but it only happened that way in Beale's imagination, 28 years later.
While Beale was moving west in the early fall of 1857, the U. S. government was moving troops westward against the Mormon colony in Utah. In California, the Mojave and Salt Lake Road connected Los Angeles, San Bernardino and Salt Lake City. The majority of citizens in, southern California harbored strong anti-Mormon attitudes. While pending "war news" filtered into California along the Salt Lake Road, a fantastic set of rumors emerged that the Mormons departing California were smuggling tons of firearms toward the Utah colony. The newspapers reflected these rumors by playing them to the hilt, often with wild embellishments. Added to the gunrunning rumors were others, particularly that Mormon special agents were organizing the desert Indians to attack "Gentile" parties crossing the Mojave Desert into southern Utah (now southern Nevada).
While the Army in San Francisco did not put much faith in these rumors, it decided to launch an investigation. Major George A. H. Blake, then senior 1st U. S. Dragoon officer in California, was ordered to take a large patrol out along the Mojave Road and to examine these rumors. His orders also included closing the 1st Dragoon headquarters which had been at Mission San Diego since August of 1857, and relocating them at Fort Tejon at the end of the expedition. The Department headquarters also informed Blake that on the way he should meet Beale, who was returning east, at Cajon Pass and escort him as far as the Colorado River. Blake received his orders in mid-December of 1857 and immediately wrote an order to 2nd Lieut. John T. Mercer, commanding Company F at Fort Tejon, to join him at Cajon Pass.
Major Blake's orders reached Los Angeles in the midst of a driving rainstorm, a freak break in weather during the two year old drought torturing southern California. First Lieut. William T. Magruder, the commanding officer at Fort Tejon, was doing Army business in Los Angeles when the correspondence from San Diego arrived. Despite the miserable weather, he attempted to return to Fort Tejon. It took him four muddy days and a broken wagon to get across the San Fernando Valley. Then, once in the mountains, he was caught in a wind-whipped blizzard and nearly lost his way in a world of blowing snow. On January 2, 1858 he finally managed to reach Fort Tejon, buried in snow, where he informed Lieut. Mercer of the task before him.
Meanwhile, Beale was in Los Angeles, organizing his return trip. He had brought ten camels to the pueblo to haul forage for his mules, leaving the other twelve at Bishop 's Ranch - not at Fort Tejon. At Mission San Diego, Major Blake immediately organized his part of the expedition and, despite the weather, moved out with Dragoon headquarters staff, band and part of the escort detachment of Company F troopers left behind when the company had relocated to Fort Tejon in late August. To guard company and regimental property at the old Mission, Blake left a small detachment of many F troopers. He hurried on his way, assuming that Mercer would also be on the move. Blake was an impatient, headstrong martinet, who listened only to his own opinion. He reached Cajon Pass on New Year's Eve 1858, and gloweringly looked northward for Mercer's approaching column. As Blake stood on the eastern flank of Cajon Pass, Mercer had not even heard yet that he was ordered to join Blake.
Lieut. Mercer took his time obeying the orders from Blake. The weather was impossible. It snowed and snowed and the snow, driven by terrible winds, piled up ten foot drifts along the route to Antelope Valley and Los Angeles. Finally, four days into the new year, Mercer moved his men out. He did not taDuring 1858, Bishop continued to use the camels privately. He hauled freight to his own ranch and to the developing town of Fort Tejon, located three-fourths of a mile south of the Army post. He did not haul Army freight, for Phineas Banning of New San Pedro had won the quartermaster contract once again. Banning held the contract until the Los Angeles Depot was finished in mid-1859 and then the Army hauled its own freight, often with Banning contracted to make up the shortages in mules and wagons.ajon Pass. He joined a very angry major Blake on January 10, 1858.
Edward F. Beale was also detained by the weather and by the afternoon of January 10, had not reached Blake 's camp at Cajon Pass. The next morning, Blake took up the march over the Mojave Road for the Colorado River. Beale was at least thirty hours behind Blake and never caught up. When Blake reached the river he hailed an exploring river steamer and requested it to wait. Beale finally arrived, ferried his men and mules over the Colorado and sent the camels back with Samuel Bishop to Bishop's ranch in the lower San Joaquin Valley. Blake, moving fast, led the way back and took his own command on to Fort Tejon.
During 1858, Bishop continued to use the camels privately. He hauled freight to his own ranch and to the developing town of Fort Tejon, located three-fourths of a mile south of the Army post. He did not haul Army freight, for Phineas Banning of New San Pedro had won the quartermaster contract once again. Banning held the contract until the Los Angeles Depot was finished in mid-1859 and then the Army hauled its own freight, often with Banning contracted to make up the shortages in mules and wagons.
The few immigrants to use the poorly developed 35th Parallel wagon road were harassed by Mojave Indians at the Colorado Crossing (Beale's Crossing). None of the immigrants were able to cross and they turned back. To protect the new route, the government ordered a fort to be established near the northern crossing of the Colorado River.
Major William Hoffman, 6th U.S. Infantry, led a reconnaissance in January 1859. He was escorted by dragoons of Companies K and B from Fort Tejon. There was trouble with Mojaves at the river; the dragoons killed perhaps a dozen and Hoffman recommended to San Francisco a full scale campaign from Fort Yuma against the Mojave Indians. Hoffman requested a depot be placed at Los Angeles to haul supplies for his expedition across the desert; the War Department approved and ordered Captain W. S. Hancock to Los Angeles. Knowing it would take Hancock time to organize his wagon trains, Major Hoffman requested that the Army take charge of the camels and use them to haul supplies an the desert. The Secretary of War refused Hoffman's request, stating that the camel experiment was in the hands of civilians in California and would remain so. Hoffman's expedition went forth without the camels.
In the meantime, Beale had been ordered by the government to improve the 35th Parallel wagon road and to do it right this time. Immigrants had complained about the road, saying it was not in reality what Beale's propaganda said it was. For this second expedition, Beale was assigned 25 more camels, which worked well along the route. These 25 camels did not cross into California. At the same time, Bishop was using the original camels to haul freight for Beale's work crews, and his own.
Bishop had several large skirmishes with the Mojave, who were willing to attack civilians but not the soldiers. Possibly the skirmish with the dragoons had taught the Mojave a mild lesson, or it could be they were surprised by the numbers of soldiers along the river. The civilians were fewer in number. Hoffman, having fought no Mojave, concluded peace, established his fort (to become Fort Mojave) and withdrew, leaving many warlike Mojaves still out in the desert, eager to kill a white man.
East of the river, Bishop's men encountered a large force of Mojaves who showed all signs of wanting an open battle. Bishop mounted his civilian packers and laborers onto the camels of this party and charged. They routed the Mojaves. It was the only camel charge staged in the west and the Army had nothing to do with it. Then Bishop moved on eastward to find Beale.
On their march home to San Bernardino, Hoffman's troops ran out of food and allegedly broke into one of Bishop's buried desert food caches. Three thousand pounds of food was stolen. Beale was outraged, demanded compensation and opened a major breach between himself and the Army. This breach widened and, beginning in the late summer of 1859, the Quartermaster Department began to demand that the camels under Bishop's control be turned over to the Army at Fort Tejon. Finally, on November 17, 1859, Bishop delivered all of the camels but four to 1st Lieutenant Henry B. Davidson of the 1st Dragoons, regimental and post at Fort Tejon. Davidson hired two civilians to herd and care for the animals: Hi Jolly and Greek George. Three of the four missing camels were found near San Bernardino and finally, after Christmas of 1859, the fourth was found at Whiskey Flats in the Kern River gold country.
 
On November 17, 1859, the Army at Fort Tejon took charge of the camels from Bishop. The post quickly discovered that most of the camels were in poor physical shape, with sore backs, and that it was very expensive to feed 28 camels on hay and barley. In early March 1860, they were moved to a rented grazing area 12 miles from the post, under the care of the two herders, Hi Jolly and Greek George.
One of the government projects for the western experiment of the camels was to see if they would breed and procreate in the far western territory. The camels, with males and females intermixed, proved to the Army that they could procreate, and produce young, strong, healthy camels. The herd continued to grow, if slowly. There is a great deal of nonsense written about the brutality of Army camel herders to their charges. Camels were reputedly shot dead, bludgeoned to death, or stabbed to death by their herders or packers. The Army took a dim view of herders or packers destroying government property. Camels were expensive, and if a herder, camel packer, or soldier had killed a camel, he would have paid for it by deductions from his salary. An examination of the salaries of herders, packers, and soldiers in government employment records revealed no such incident. The death of each camel (those few that died before 1864, when they were sold) is documented in government quartermaster records in the National Archives. However, Beale managed to lose a total of 13 camels and also managed to escape from paying for the animals. In 1861, the Army at Fort Smith, Arkansas, was still trying to get back 10 of the camels sent with Beale on the second expedition.
There is also a great deal of undocumented story-telling on how Army camels frightened and routed herds of government horses, overturning wagons or dumping troopers on the hard ground. Attempts to confirm these stories have not proven fruitful. Rather, Army reports indicated how regularly the animals blended together in the same corrals or fields, and tolerated each other with natural ease. When the camels were introduced to the government mule corrals at the Fort Tejon Depot in November 1859, the quartermaster reported no panic, no tumult; in fact, he was surprised at how easily the animals adapted to one another. The camels, showing effects from hard labor, primarily wanted to eat, and they consumed expensive oats, barley and hay at alarming rates.
Brevet Major James H. Carleton of Company K, 1st Dragoons, refused to use the camels for his Mojave River expedition in the spring of 1860. The camels, having only joined the Army in November 1859 and moved to a grazing camp in March 1860, had not yet recovered from the hard usage of Samuel Bishop, who had worked them to haul supplies to Beale's road expedition, his ranch, and to merchants in the civilian town of Fort Tejon from New San Pedro and Los Angeles. The camels remained at the grazing camp 12 miles east of the fort under the care of two civilian herders, and a small detachment of soldiers to protect the herders, until September 1860.
The first official test for camels by the Army in California was conducted by Captain Winfield S. Hancock, Assistant Quartermaster in Los Angeles, in an attempt to cut the expense of messenger service between Los Angeles and the recently established Fort Mojave on the Colorado River. This trial, in September 1860, featured the camel herder Hadji Alli ("Hi Jolly"), riding a camel like a Pony Express rider, carrying dispatches for Fort Mojave. One camel dropped dead from exhaustion at the Fishponds (modern-day Daggett), while a second attempt to use an "express camel" killed it at Sugar Loaf (modern-day Barstow). The Army discovered that while camels died, and it was cheaper, the camels were no faster than the two-mule buckboard in service under contract to haul the mail to Fort Mojave. They also discovered that these camels were not express animals; they were not bred for speed, but to slowly carry heavy weights.
At the end of September 1860, Hadji Alli and Georges Caralambo were dropped from Army payrolls, and two former soldiers were hired as "camel herders" at Fort Tejon, at a higher salary. Hi jolly was fortunate that he had been ordered by Captain Hancock to race a camel to Fort Mojave. He was not held accountable for the two dead camels and received his full month's pay of $30.00 for the last month of his employment. Greek George was fired "for causes", which translated as stupidity, being unable to read or write, and a too-frequent fondness for American whiskey.
The second experiment, during the early months of 1861, was again by a government-contracted civilian party. They were to survey the California-Nevada boundary, under the leadership of Sylvester Mowry, a former Army officer and currently a citizen of west New Mexico Territory. Mowry stayed in Los Angeles fighting a bitter war with the California State-surveyor and turned the field work over to J. R. N. Owen. Owen had charge of four of the camels and hired "Hi Jolly" to care for them. The expedition went forth to Fort Mojave with only three camels.
The survey was a fiasco, poorly led, poorly organized, and hopelessly confused. The group was often lost and never fond the coordinates for the new Nevada-California boundary line. Instead the expedition drifted into the northern Mojave Desert and faced disaster in the barren wilderness. Mules died, equipment was abandoned; it was only the steady plodding of the camels which saved the expedition from becoming a fatal exploration statistic. When they finally struggled over the Sierras to the village of Visalia it was obvious that the camels had saved the day.
At the end of the survey, the three camels were returned to Los Angeles. On June 17, 1861, the camels, 31 in number, of which three were still at the Los Angeles Quartermaster Depot, were transferred from Fort Tejon to Captain Hancock at the Los Angeles Depot. There is no further documentable association of camels with the later Civil war period at Fort Tejon.
 
William McCleave, a former First Sergeant of Company K, 1st Dragoons, delivered the camel herd to Captain Winfield S. Hancock on or about the 19th of June 1861. The camels were placed in the government corrals at the Los Angeles Quartermaster Depot, where once again they easily mixed with the government mules. Macleave continued as chief herder until early August, when Brevet Major James H. Carleton lured the former sergeant away from Los Angeles to accept a commission as a Captain in the forming 1st Battalion of California Cavalry. Emil Fritz, another former dragoon first sergeant, also traveled to San Francisco with Carleton to accept a captaincy in that same battalion. To command the battalion, Carleton, who would become Colonel of the 1st California Infantry, gathered in Captain Benjamin Davis of Company K, who would receive the grade of Lieutenant Colonel of California Cavalry. Carleton, who was expected to lead an expedition along the California Trail, wanted his developing cavalry force commanded by former dragoons. Much to Carleton's disgust, the Governor appointed a number of men to be officers in the battalion who did not have mounted experience.
When Carleton and comrades boarded a steamer for San Francisco in early August 1861, they were joined by Captain Hancock who had turned over the Los Angeles depot to Second Lieutenant Samuel McKee of the Dragoon regiment. Hancock, rumored to have received a staff promotion to the rank of Major at the San Francisco Quartermaster Department headquarters, took along his chief clerk, leaving his office and paperwork in disarray. At San Francisco, Hancock discovered he was authorized a leave of absence with War Department permission to seek an Ohio senior officer's commission. Hancock soon had his general's star and a command moving from Ohio into western Virginia.
When McCleave departed for San Francisco, Charles Smith also gave up his position as assistant camel herder. McKee then sought out Hadji Alli and Georges Caralambo and hired them as camel herders for the depot. When McKee departed for the east with his regiment, the camels were left in limbo with Alli and Caralambo looking out for them. They were moved to Camp Latham, in what today is Culver City, in early December 1861.
The next two years were a period of frustration for the Army on what to do with the camels, which continued to eat while some of the females produced healthy young. When the Los Angeles depot was transferred to Camp Latham and then to Wilmington on the establishment of Drum Barracks in February 1862, the camels went along. For a short period they were the concern of George C. Alexander, the former sutler or post trader at Fort Tejon, who was the first senior clerk and financial accountant at Drum Barracks. Alexander soon gave up the clerkship, and the post quartermaster office.
First Lieut. David J. Williamson, 4th Infantry, California Volunteers, then became the guardian of the camels. Hadji Alli ("Hi-Jolly") and Georges Caralambo ("Greek George") continued to be in charge of direct supervision. The question was: what to do with the growing and useless herd? No one wanted, or had time, to bother with them.
 
Schemes were proposed by the Drum Barracks officers. A mail express was proposed for the San Pedro to Fort Yuma run; it was not tried. Then in late 1862 and again in early 1863 there was a proposal, by Major Clarence Bennett, to carry mail from San Pedro to Tucson, Arizona. Nothing happened. An irregular mail express was attempted from San Pedro to Camp Latham (Culver City) and from Camp Latham on to Los Angeles. A few trips were made, but then the service was dropped. Bennett then suggested a mail run to newly re-opened Fort Mojave on the Colorado River. The express was tried, but the camel foundered and died 65 miles from Los Angeles and "Hi-Jolly" once again carried the mail packet on his back across the desert on foot to reach the fort on the far side of the Colorado River.
 
Major Bennett then proposed sending the camels to Fort Mojave but Lieut. Williamson, the former acting assistant at Camp Latham and Drum Barracks, rigorously protested the move. He could barely feed his own mules, which were necessary for the operation of the desert fort. He had no extra forage to feed a small herd of camels. Furthermore, the camels were unsuited for the rocky desert roads of the Mojave. The camels' hooves were too tender; they became lame and were useless. Williamson declared that Edward Beale had learned this years ago, but had not reported the truth about his use of camels on the California desert floor.
 
At this point Federal Surveyor-General Edward F. Beale of California and Nevada, from his San Francisco office, again appeared on the scene. He requested the use of the camels in order to conduct land surveys of the uninhabited portions of the new State of Nevada. Brigadier General George Wright, then in command of the Department of the Pacific, endorsed Beale's concept and Lieut. Colonel Edwin B. Babbitt, the Department' s quartermaster, pondered the suggestion and then agreed with Wright's opinion. In reality, Babbitt felt the camels would never be "used profitably" and as early as November 1862, had recommended that the experiment be cancelled and the camels sold. However, Beale's request and the Army decision to turn the camels over to another federal agency were kicked upstairs to Washington, D.C. The Quartermaster General in Washington endorsed Wright's proposal and Wright was then about to take action when two separate developments delayed his decision.
 
In mid-July 1863, Captain William G. Morris, Assistant Quartermaster at Wilmington, penned a letter to Colonel Babbitt. Beale, Morris stated, only wanted part of the herd and the camels from his experiments had developed a personality problem. The camels did not like being used in small groups away from the herd. They became sulky when separated, refused to eat or drink, and on reaching a stream of water a camel would suddenly lie down in it, throwing the rider and refusing to move. On rocky or gravelly roads their feet became tender, and very sore. They became cranky and refused to take commands and often upon nearing a creek dumped their riders into the water.
 
In the meantime, Beale was accused of misusing government funds and of irregularities in conducting surveys. It would appear that Beale was only surveying property in which he, or his friends, had a financial interest. The main charge was that Beale had spent a great deal of his federal budget on redecorating his own office in San Francisco. The amount of $64,000 spent on new carpets and furnishings was bandied about in anti-Beale circles. Beale was suddenly in disfavor and General Wright withdrew his support.
In early September 1863, the General in Washington, D.C. wrote to Colonel Babbitt that the Department of the Pacific should sell the camels. Babbitt requested opinions from his quartermasters. Lieutenant Williamson wrote that the camels were of no use. Again, he stated the failures of their use at Camp Latham and at San Pedro. And he reminded Babbbitt that the experiments by "Lieutenant Beale and his partner Samuel Bishop" showed that mules were superior. The roads when rough and rocky crippled the animals. They were only good on sandy ground. Williamson reminded Babbitt that the recent trial run of a camel to Fort Mojave had foundered the animal just 65 miles from Los Angeles, and the mail carrier had to walk on to Fort Mojave. The express mail could be carried by "horses or mules with regularity and with much less expense to the government." Babbitt was convinced; the camels would be sold at auction as soon as possible.
 
A decision was made to sell the camels at auction at Benicia Arsenal. Obviously too many people in the Los Angeles area knew their weaknesses and there was an import market for camels in the San Francisco area where, after several false starts, a merchant had been bringing in Siberian camels since 1860.
 
Captain Morris was informed to prepare to send the camels northward at the earliest moment, but at the cheapest method. On November 19, 1863, Morris replied to Babbitt that the camels, apparently 35 or 37 in number, were "in first rate condition for the trip to Benicia Depot." However, he was delayed in forwarding them due to the heavy winter storms along the coast route. After two years of terrible drought, it was raining. Morris also considered that the current storms would produce grass along the coastal road, allowing the animals to be fed cheaply enroute. The camels were started north in late December 1863. For a brief period Morris thought of shipping them by sea, but the cost of feeding them was unreasonable and so Morris decided the final answer was to drive them overland.
 
The camels reached Santa Barbara on December 30, 1863 and the herders held them there while they celebrated the coming of the New Year. Then they crossed the mountains and moved on to the Salinas Valley and progressed to Mission San Jose. They skirted the south end of the bay and traveled up the east road of the shoreline of the Contra Costa, arriving at the landing site for Martinez on January 17, 18 64. The next day the camels were ferried across the lower Carquinez Straits to the government wharf at Benicia Arsenal and were then moved to the corrals behind the stone constructed buildings at the Benicia Quartermaster Depot. They were placed in the open corrals; they were not stabled in any of the fairly newly buildings at the depot.1
 
Auction notices were published and on February 26, 1864, the gavel came down on each camel as a separate government item. The high bidder for almost all the camels was Samuel McLeneghan, who reputedly had worked with the government camels earlier. However, nowhere in government employment hiring records was McLeneghan's name found. The 37 camels brought only $1,945, much to the grief of the Benicia Depot's quartermaster for be had expected more active bidding and a higher sales profit. Apparently McLeneghan was the only bidder, and the auctioneer had trouble getting any response from the meager crowd that showed up. McLeneghan got the whole herd for $52.56 each.
 
The next day, the Benicia quartermaster wrote a report to his senior in the Department of the Pacific headquarters in San Francisco. He expressed his regrets that the total amount of money was so low, explaining that few of the people who attended were interested in putting forth money for camels. He had hoped for more; the auctioneer had tried mightily to encourage the group of interested or curious spectators, but at least the camels were sold. The experiment in California was over. As consolation he offered a thought of relief: "They have been but a source of expense for years past."
 
Author's Note: For years I have worked on the fascinating, if disappointing, story of the camel experiment in the West. I have plowed through clouds of myths and good stories, and have been supported by the ongoing humor of my colleagues in this business. My friends have sent numerous new clues, or badly interpreted or footnoted tales of the camels. But there is one last tale. Humboldt Lagoons State Park has been one of my history projects with the Department of Parks and Recreation and the lagoons are located in Humboldt County, far away from Fort Tejon, Drum Barracks and Benicia Arsenal. Yet, the camels haunt me.
 
In mid-1865, two camels of government vintage were sold by McLeneghan, or his associates, to the Portland, Oregon, Zoo. They were placed aboard the ocean going steamer, the Brother Jonathan, in the same compartment where George Wright's big black riding horse was also stabled, and the ship steamed out of San Francisco for the Columbia River. Off Crescent City the Brother Jonathan struck a submerged rock and went down, with only a few of the human passengers surviving. All the animals aboard were lost. Several weeks later, on the long sandbar which blocks Stone Lagoon from the ocean, the bodies of General Wright's horse and a "Fort Tejon camel" washed ashore. The local ranchers were forced to bury the stinking carcasses. One just cannot get away from the Army camels.
 
The "Camel Barns" at Benicia Arsenal are not camel barns. The elongated double tiered stone buildings were "construction buildings" where the Quartermaster Department manufactured equipment or altered civilian items purchased on the open market prior to delivery to the troops in the field. Later, the buildings were used for storage as warehouses.

Sources

There are good and bad descriptions of the camel story. Beginning with those who tried to be accurate:

• A Bibliography of the Camel, California Historical Society Quarterly, December 1930.
• A. A. Gray, "Camels in California", California Historical Society Quarterly, March 1930.
• Lewis B. Lesley (ed.), Uncle Sam's Camels, the Journal of May H. Stacey, 1929.
• Woodard, Arthur and P. Griffin, The Story of El Teion, 1942. A very incomplete and undocumented work.
• Faulk, Odie B., The U.S. Camel Corps, 1976. A readable but sloppy work. The section an the far west is filled with errors.
And the bad:
• Howard, Helen A., "Unique History of Fort Tejon", Journal of the West. A mythical account; almost nothing is factual.
• Fowler, Harlan D., Camels in California, 1950. A cut and paste rip-off of history published by Stanford University.
• Robertson, Deane and Peggy, Camels in the West, 1979. Riddled with errors.
• California History Commission, Booklet, Drum Barracks and the Camel Corps. Hilarious collection of errors, mistakes, and folklore.


Fort Tejon and California during the Civil War
by Sean T. Malis, State Park Interpreter I, California Department of Parks and Recreation
California and the rest of the Pacific and Southwest played an important and largely ignored role in securing the region for the Union during the Civil War. When discussing the War in the Pacific, I often encounter the opinion that "nothing happened in the Pacific States." I've even been told, "The Civil War in California?! California wasn't even a state!" Wrong! Since statehood (September 9, 1850), Californians had formed many a volunteer and militia company, mostly in the northern part of the State to combat a perceived Indian threat. These militia units, along with the Regular Army, helped to form a sense of order and authority in a new state with a rapidly expanding citizenry resulting from the "Gold Rush."
 
In Lincoln's initial call for 75,000 volunteers to quell the secessionist uprising in the South, the State of California was not asked to supply any troops. But by July 24, 1861, California was asked to provide one regiment of infantry and five companies of cavalry to guard the overland mail. A second request for California volunteers was sent on August 14, 1861. This request was responsible for the 2nd through 5th Infantry, and the 2nd Cavalry Regiments. In 1863, and again in 1864, further calls produced three more infantry regiments, and a battalion of native (Californios) cavalry from the Santa Barbara and Los Angeles areas. All total, California provided 17,500 troops for the Union, more troops per capita than any other state.
 
Early in the war, California Volunteers in Federal service helped to take over responsibilities from the Regular Army that was being recalled to the East. Californians served along the entire western coast from Washington Territory to the Mexican state of Sonora, and campaigned as far east as Utah and Texas and throughout New Mexico and Arizona Territories. The Californians primary enemy was the Indian and the environment. They did meet and close with Confederate troops in the Southwest as part of the "California Column." The California Volunteers served their country from July, 1861 to January, 1867, when the last troops were mustered out of service.
2nd Infantry Regiment, California Volunteers
 
From the August, 1861 request for troops, the 2nd California Volunteer Infantry was formed. Colonel Francis J. Lippitt was appointed as commander of the regiment. Lippitt had been a member of Stevenson's 1st New York Volunteers that came to California in 1846 to help wrest California away from Mexico in the Mexican-American War.
 
The 2nd Regiment was first organized at the Presidio in San Francisco. After completing its organization, five companies were sent to Northern California, Oregon and Washington Territory to relieve Regular troops, while two companies were sent to Santa Barbara. Most of the companies were organized from San Francisco, Cal. and Carson City, Nev., with the earliest enlistments having been made on September 2, 1861.
 
Company G was first organized on September 21, 1861, at a meeting held in the theater at Angels Camp, Cal., by Captain William W. Stuart. On October 9, 1861, the company arrived in San Francisco where more men joined, the company being officially mustered into service on November 29, 1861. Company G spent the next month in camp at Camp Sumner at the Presidio, moving to Alcatraz Island on December 20, 1861. On March 8, 1862, Company G set sail for Crescent City on board the steamer Oregon. Upon reaching Crescent City, the company marched to Fort Ter-Waw and then to Camp Lincoln where it would remain until being ordered to report to Benicia [near San Francisco] on June 16, 1863.
 
At Benicia, Company G traded its old M/1816 converted smoothbores for new M1855/1861 Springfield rifles. The company remained at Benicia for two months until it received orders to march southward through the San Joaquin Valley to Camp Babbitt in Visalia, on August 12, 1863. On its march south, the company passed through Camp Stanford and Fort Miller, now under Lake Millerton near Fresno.
 
Company G reached Camp Babbitt on August 28, 1863, where it was garrisoned for just over three months, and then was ordered to Fort Tejon, arriving there on January 16, 1864, one day after Company B.
 
Company B was first mustered into United States service on September 5, 1861 in San Francisco, Cal. The company remained in San Francisco only a short time before being shipped to Washington Territory on September 17, 1861. In Washington Territory, the company concerned itself with Indian trouble until July 31, 1862 when it arrived back in San Francisco. The company was sent to Alcatraz Island for only 3 days before being sent to Fort Humbolt in Northern California on August 3, 1862.

Company B was engaged in chasing after Indians in Klamath and Humbolt counties for almost a year. Their scouting missions took them through the most rugged of terrain and the company was employed in hacking out a 15 mile road through this wilderness. On June 15, 1863 the company sailed on the steamer Panama for Benicia, where the company was rearmed and refitted before marching for Fort Miller in route to Fort Tejon. The company marched 60 miles from Fort Miller to Camp Babbitt in only two days, arriving at the latter on December 30, 1863. Company B finally arrived at Fort Tejon on January 15, 1864 after marching 140 miles in six days.

Fort Tejon
 
Fort Tejon was founded in 1854 on Grapevine Creek, 17 miles from its originally intended location on Tejon Creek. Maj. Donaldson of the 1st U.S. Dragoons selected the site for the new Fort at its present location because of the ready availability of water, fuel and forage. Originally called Camp Canada de las Uvas for the wild grapes in the area, it was officially christened Fort Tejon, (Tejon meaning Badger in Spanish), over the objection of Brevet Lt. Col. Benjamin L. Beall, 1st Dragoons, who suggested "Fort Le Beck," after a trapper who had been killed by a bear there.
 
The primary purpose of the garrison at Fort Tejon was to protect and control the Indians on the Sebastian Indian Reservation, and to control the major north-south road through Grapevine Canyon. Fort Tejon was garrisoned by various companies of the 1st Dragoons, and briefly from late 1857 to 1858 by a detachment of the 3rd Artillery, serving as infantry. In December, 1856, the regimental headquarters of the 1st Dragoons was moved from Fort Union, New Mexico Terr., to Fort Tejon, where it remained until the post was abandoned on June 15, 186 1.
 
The rapidly expanding war in the eastern United States forced the government to recall the Army to the new seat of hostilities as fast as possible. This need for troops back in the East along with a growing fear of prosecessionist activities in the Los Angeles and San Bernardino areas, ultimately forced the closure of Fort Tejon.

Fort Tejon and the Civil War
 
As discussed above, much of the Californians' time was concerned with battling the so-called Indian menace. In 1863, it was deemed necessary to reoccupy Fort Tejon. On July 24, 1863, Fort Tejon was regarrisoned by Companies D and G of the 2nd California Cavalry under the command of Capt. James M. Ropes.
 
The 2nd Cavalry reactivated Fort Tejon with approximately 300 Paiute Indians camping near the Post. When the Paiutes were forcibly marched from the Owens Valley by the 2nd Cav., they numbered 1000, a third of them being sent to Fort Tejon. The Indians were kept in a camp down Grapevine Canyon from the Fort called the "Pot Holes." After the arrival of the 2nd Infantry, the garrison provided the Paiutes with a meager ration to keep them in place and to keep them from starving [which the Volunteers were not supposed to do; Capt. Schmidt satisfied headquarters by deeming the rations for "Prisoners of War".]

The government Indian Bureau agents refused to assume responsibility for their care.
 
As the two Infantry companies settled into their new home, their time was occupied at repairing and maintaining the Fort's buildings that had fallen into disrepair during the two years that the post had been abandoned. There were frequent patrols mounted from the Fort to keep track of unruly whites and to maintain control over the Paiutes encamped nearby. There were always duties to perform in the garrison relating to the maintenance of the Fort. There was wood to be hauled and cut, rations to be prepared, inspections and endless drills on the parade ground. In short, Army life.
 
Life at Fort Tejon was dismal to say the least. 1st. Sgt. Curtis Greenleaf, Co. G, complained in his journal that Fort Tejon was worthless because the local town was devoid of a whorehouse. Of some intrigue, however, Pvt. James Anderson of Co. B, was murdered one evening while returning from a night out in town. The investigation turned up one James Conrad, Co. G, as a suspect, but the subsequent court martial could not confirm guilt.
 
Company G left Fort Tejon on June 4, 1864 for Drum Barracks in Wilmington. Fort Tejon would finally be closed when Company B left the post on September 11, 1864, ending the last period of military occupation of the Post, lasting from 1854 to 1864.
 
After serving at Fort Tejon, Companies B & G were ordered to Arizona Territory, from August, 1865 until March 31, 1866. The two companies were mustered out at the Presidio, San Francisco, May 10, 1866.

Uniform of the 2nd Infantry Regiment, California Volunteers
 
When the War broke out, the State of California had no plan for providing its volunteers with uniforming and equipment. In fact, the State's adjutantgeneral could not even account for the arms and equipment that had been issued to the pre-war militia organizations. The Federal government had to open up its Arsenal at Benicia to the California Volunteers.
 
This evidence, along with photographs of California Volunteers, would suggest that the 2nd Infantry wore the standard regulation Federal uniform.
 
A letter from the quartermaster at Camp Babbitt asking what to do with surplus property of the 2nd Infantry lists:
 
• Metallic Scales, mostly broken o Knapsacks, M1858
• Tin canteens and cloth straps, M1858
• Haversacks
 
Some of these items would suggest that the regiment had the full dress uniform at Fort Tejon.


Sources
 
Eldredge, Zoeth S., History of California, 1914.
 
Kibbe, William C., Adjutant-General. Annual Report Of The Adjutant General Of The State Of California. 1861-65,1862-1866.
 
Orton, Brig. Gen'l. Richard H., Records Of California Men In The War Of The Rebellion, 1861 To 1867., 1890. Rodgers, Fred B. "Early Military Posts of Del Norte County," California Historical Society Quarterly, Vol. XXVI, 1947
 
Stammerjohan, George, Fort Tejon State Historic Park, A Short Interpretive History, 1993.
 
Stammerjohan, George, State Historian II. Numerous conversations and readings of his monographs.

 
 
Additional Online Histories
 
California State Parks
Fort Tejon Historical Society
FortWiki
Historical American Building Survey
Wikipedia
 
 
Updated 15 December 2015