California Confederates

Confederates in Cali

There were apparently a lot of Confederates in California.  Kevin Waite, a history professor at Durham University, explains at The New Republic:

Earlier this month, the last major Confederate monument in California came down. It was a curious one: a nine-foot granite pillar in an Orange County cemetery, bearing the names of several Southern leaders, including Jefferson Davis and Robert E. Lee, who never even set foot on the Pacific coast.

Dead Confederates are hard to find in California. Yet the Golden State once contained far more rebel tributes than any other state outside the South itself.

Beginning in the early twentieth century and continuing into the twenty-first, Confederate memorial associations in California established more than a dozen monuments and place-names to the rebellion. They dedicated highways to Jefferson Davis, named schools for Robert E. Lee, and erected large memorials to the common Confederate soldier.

Why was a free state, far removed from the major military theaters of the Civil War, once such fertile soil for Confederate memorialization?

Read the rest here.

2 thoughts on “California Confederates

  1. I often used Lone Pine in the Owens Valley as a getaway destination. The valley was settled in the 1850s (between the Gold Rush and Civil War, when Owens Lake had water) and some of the local place names from that time are… interesting.

    Just west of Lone Pine (midway to Mount Whitney) lie a series of boulder-pile craggy hills called the Alabama Hills. (You’ve seen them in movies, from Gunga Din to Tremors.) The hills were named for the CSS Alabama (the Graf Spee of its day).

    North of it, in the foothills of the Sierras west of Independence (the county seat) and Manzanar, is the ghost town of Kearsarge, named for the USS Kearsarge which sank the Alabama in 1864.

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  2. Yes, indeed. This post takes me back to my undergrad days at UC Berkeley and my seminar paper for my TA, Bill Gienapp, on David Broderick and the California Democratic Party of the 1850s. The Kansas-Nebraska Act tore them apart.

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