The First Battles: April 1861 to February 1862

Movements in the West

What was the situation like in California in 1861?

Throughout 1861, California manifested a strong desire to remain within the Union. In part this was thanks to the tireless efforts of a Massachusetts Unitarian minister, Thomas Starr King, who traveled the state, giving speeches on behalf of the North. There were economic reasons too, however.

Gold miners dredging the bottom of a California river in the 1850s. Gold from the state became a critical source of income for Washington, D.C., while California needed trade and labor with the East. The result was that California chose the North over the South.


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