While writing my forthcoming novel, California Rifles: the Major, the Marshal, and la Mujer, I learned of the Knights of the Golden Circle (KGC). The KGC turned out to be a great literary foil for my protagonists. Were the knights real? Let’s find out.
The KGC was a secret, paramilitary organization active prior to and during the American Civil War. The KGC was dedicated to preserving slavery and creating a southern empire in the golden circle region, which would encompass the southern United States, the Caribbean, and Northern Mexico. Some leaders envisioned an empire that stretched as far south as Central America and as far west as southern California.
The KGC was founded in Ohio in 1859. It is often associated with several aliases, e.g., “Knights of the Columbian Star,” “Order of the Lone Star,” “Order of American Knights,” and “Sons of Liberty.” It is not clear if all of the entities operating under these names were truly elements of one secret society or were loosely affiliated organizations with similar goals. While the KGC was represented in the rebel southern states, federal reporting indicates that it was most active in the Ohio Valley—Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and Kentucky—as well as Missouri. In 1864, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton received a report that delegates to the KGC supreme council claimed there were nearly one million members in the north, including an armed militia of 340,000. Federal authorities based their estimates on a variety of evidence, ranging from confessions, testimony, human intelligence, and seized documents, to include documents taken from an office associated with an Indiana U.S. Congressman. Although the magnitude of the KGC was likely exaggerated, Union leaders could not afford to ignore the claims.
In the west, the KGC plotted to merge California and Oregon into one independent, proslavery republic. This is not surprising. Pro-slavery sentiment was common in both states. As early as September 1861, “mysterious notices of the Knights of the Golden Circle…covered with mysterious characters” were being posted in Placerville, California. The Placerville reporting complements other reports in California of secessionist activity preceding the September 7th gubernatorial election. In southern California, the Knights were especially active in Los Angeles and San Bernardino. One newspaper estimated that there were 16,000 knights in California. In October 1864, a detective working for the Army Provost-Marshal provided a detailed report of KGC activity in San Luis Obispo and Los Angeles Counties. He reported that San Luis Obispo had 242 armed members and Los Angeles had 253, and that they met north of Los Angeles in Rock Creek for guerrilla warfare training.
KGC clandestine operations included smuggling, spying, communicating, propagating, plotting, and preparing for insurrection. In 1864, the KGC was reportedly planning to raise an army in Illinois by releasing and arming rebel prisoners in camps across the state. KGC leaders threatened “an extended revolt in the event of the re-election of President Lincoln.” John Wilkes Booth, the man who assassinated President Lincoln, was reported to be among its members.
The Knights were organized into lodges that they called “castles.” They were sworn to secrecy, relying on secret grips and passwords to protect themselves. The countersigns that I used in the story were reported in by a Union provost-marshal in California in 1864.
The grandest scheme of the KGC was to create an agricultural empire, driven by slave labor, stretching from the American south to Cuba, Mexico, and California. The knights perceived the turbulent fighting of the late 1850s between the Conservative and Liberal factions in Mexico as an opportunity to plant their flag. The French invasion of Mexico in 1862 might have dampened that plan, but the knights still perceived the possibility of exploiting the distracted belligerents. In the end, the KGC’s filibustering ambitions flickered out as did its influence in the north and west.
Some scholars suggest that the KGC was the predecessor of the Ku Klux Klan.
 Ollinger Crenshaw, “The Knights of the Golden Circle: the Career of George Bickley,” The American Historical Review, Oct. 1941, vol. 47, no. 1 (Oxford University Press), 23.
 Joseph Holt, Judge Advocate General of the Army, report to Secretary of War E. M. Stanton, October 8, 1864, accessed 8/9/2023, https://ehistory.osu.edu/books/official-records/120/0935, 935-936.
 “The Knights About,” Daily Alta California, September 4, 1861, 1, col 7, accessed 8/9/2023, UCR, California Digital Newspaper Collection.
 David D. Keehn, Knights of the Golden Circle: Secret Empire, Southern Secession, Civil War (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2013), 126, 129, accessed on 8/7/2023, https://ebin.pub/knights-of-the-golden-circle-secret-empire-southern-secession-civil-war-conflicting-worlds-new-dimensions-of-the-american-civil-war-illustrated-9780807150047-0807150045.html.
 Detective Gustav Brown’s report to Captain James A. Jones, Army Provost-Marshal, Southern District of California, October 16, 1864, accessed 8/7/2023, https://ehistory.osu.edu/books/official-records/106/1018.
 Newton Bateman (ed.), Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois (Chicago: Munsell Publishing Company, 1905), 538, 671, accessed 8/7/2023, https://libsysdigi.library.illinois.edu/oca/Books2007-06/historicalencycl/historicalencycl02bate/historicalencycl02bate_djvu.txt.
 Joseph Holt, Judge Advocate General of the Army, report to Secretary of War E. M. Stanton, October 8, 1864, accessed 8/9/2023, https://ehistory.osu.edu/books/official-records/120/0953, 953.
 David D. Keehn, Knights of the Golden Circle, 1.
 Robert Robinson, Captain and Provost-Marshal, letter to Brigadier General John S. Mason, Acting Assistant Provost-Marshal General, San Francisco, CA, August 10, 1864, accessed 8/9/2023, https://ehistory.osu.edu/books/official-records/106/0939.
I am surrounded by strong, loving, beautiful women. They inspired me to include three strong women in my forthcoming novel, California Rifles: the Major, the Marshal, and la Mujer. Here are two extracts that introduce one of my fictional characters:
Her eyes opened. It was morning. Today would be a long day, a hard day--
a pivotal day. She lay in bed staring at the adobe ceiling. She noticed a hairline crack. “How long have you been up there?”
Linda Imelda Cortés-Colón sat up in her bed. Her leg ached but not beyond toleration. She massaged the muscles for several minutes. Better. She stood. Good. She walked to the dressing table. She brushed her long, mahogany hair—one hundred strokes. Her face was youngish, but no longer youthful. “Maybe the Norteamericanos are right to call it a ‘vanity’,” she thought regarding the table and mirror.
Linda hurried down the stairs to cook breakfast for la familia. They were not her family. They paid her salary…
A woman in a nearby pew stood and said, “Está bien padre.” She lifted a white, lace veil from her face, faced Roarke, and announced in English, “I am Linda Cortés-Colón.”
Roarke looked at the woman. She was about his age, taller than average—nearly his height. Her modest dress could not conceal her voluptuous figure. Her face, though not beautiful in a traditional way, was intriguing. Perhaps her nose was a bit larger than most, but it was perfectly symmetrical. Perhaps her almond-shaped brown eyes were set a bit wide, but they were highlighted with attractive golden flecks. Her lips were full.
She cocked her head, smiled, and repeated, “I am Linda Cortés-Colón.” Roarke recognized the smile. Rigo had described it many times. He had said that it always brought him joy.
Sci-Fi! What? While "California Rifles" is out for edit, I decided to explore a different genre. I am writing a science fiction short story. Part of the story takes place in Camp Saturnino, New Mexico. Saturnino—isn’t that a great name for a sci-fi scene? Camp Saturnino is located 60 miles west of the infamous Hangar 84 at Roswell Army Airfield.
Today, Camp Saturnino is managed by the U.S. Forest Service as Baca Campground. It is a serene campground at the foot of the Capitan Mountains in the Lincoln National Forest. Baca Campground is chocked full of history: a Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp, a young women’s job-skills academy, and a Japanese immigrant detention facility. It has also been known as CCC Camp F-17-N, Old Camp Raton, Old Raton Ranch, and Camp Capitan.
The camp’s namesake, Saturnino Baca, was a prominent citizen of Lincoln County in the 1870s and beyond. During the American Civil War, Baca served as a lieutenant in the Union’s 1st New Mexico Cavalry Regiment. In 1866, he was promoted to captain and served briefly as the commanding officer of Fort Stanton. He left the army and became a sheep rancher. On July 11, 1889, he was shot by cattlemen in an apparent grazing rights dispute, which caused his right arm to be amputated. Baca died in 1925. I’m not sure of his relationship to the camp that was named after him; the 22-acre site was deeded to the U.S. government two years after his death in 1927.
When cowboy William M. Crow purchased the “old Raton ranch in Lincoln county from [sheep rancher] Martine Chaves” in April 1914 it was described as:
Here is a U.S. Forest Service summary of Camp Saturnino’s history:
I camped at the Baca Campground in May 2023. It is a primitive, spacious site off U.S. Highway 380 between the towns of Capitan and Lincoln, New Mexico. The access road is a 5.3-mile, dirt road that is passable in a compact car if nature has been recently kind. I saw deer, elk, fox, and bighorn sheep in the vicinity of the campground. One of the highlights is the chimney that was built in the 1930s. If you’re curious, check out my 6+ minute video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Gv_2Eo_9yDw.
So, back to my story… the protagonists rescue a creature from Hangar 84. They hightail it to Camp Saturnino where they learn that they have more in common with the creature than they expected. Then, they head to China where… never mind, you’ll have to read the story after it’s published.
 “Another Cowardly Affair in Lincoln—Saturnino Baca Shot,” Santa Fe Daily New Mexican, August 12, 1889, p. 4, col. 4 (accessed on 6/23/2023, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020631/1889-08-12/ed-1/seq-4/).
 Diane Stallings, “Two Historical Markers slated for Lincoln County,” Ruidoso News, July 30, 2015 (accessed on 6/23/2023, https://www.ruidosonews.com/story/news/local/lincoln/2015/07/30/two-historical-markers-slated-lincoln-county/71568900/).
 “Cowboy Buys Cattle Ranch in Lincoln County,” El Paso Herald, April 28, 1914, p. 10, col. 3 (accessed on 6/23/2023, https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn88084272/1914-04-28/ed-1/seq-10/).
 Santa Fe Daily New Mexican, April 18, 1895, p. 4, col. 3 (accessed on 6/23/2023). https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020631/1895-04-23/ed-1/seq-4/).
 “Recovering History through Metal Detection,” U.S. Forest Service, September 28, 2018 (accessed 6/23/2023, https://www.fs.usda.gov/inside-fs/delivering-mission/deliver/recovering-history-through-metal-detection).
Never, perhaps, in the postwar decades was the situation
in the world as explosive and hence,
more difficult and unfavorable, as in the first half of the 1980s.
--Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev , February 1986
I hurried from the Midway’s carrier intelligence center (CVIC) up to the flight deck. The cloud ceiling was only a couple hundred feet. Flight ops had been cancelled.
From the flight deck I could see a large aircraft approaching below the ceiling. The Soviet bomber, a Tu-16 Badger, flew the length of the ship and disappeared. The Tu-16 Badger was a twin-jet-engine bomber. I was surprised to see a bomber flying at such a low altitude. Seemed risky to me, but these types of inter-adversarial antics were common in the 1980s.
In the 1980s, a third generation of cold warriors were engaged in a clash that would linger into the 1990s. The United States and the Soviet Union were in the midst of a cold war. Although the actual combat involved proxies, there were occasions when the belligerents faced off toe-to-toe.
On March 27, 1983, my squadron mates and I were enjoying our last day of liberty in Busan, a major port city in South Korea. We had met several international students, who were attending a finishing school in Busan. Their daddies had money. The girls were buying—a pleasant surprise. The soju was sweet; the dancing was sweeter. Despite the distractions, when the USS Midway’s Officer of the Deck hoisted the final brow at 0600 the next morning, the Marines of VMFP-3 Det Bravo were all onboard. I think.
The month prior to our Busan port call, the USS Midway and Carrier Air Wing 5 (CVW-5), which included our four RF-4B reconnaissance Phantoms, had been dancing with the puny but feisty military of the People’s Democratic Republic of Korea (i.e., communist North Korea). Little did we know as we slipped out of Busan Harbor—the real dance was about to begin.
Instead of heading toward the Midway’s homeport in Yokosuka, Japan, we were sent northeast toward the Tsugaru Strait. Our destination was the contested Bering Sea.
By April 9, the Midway battle group had merged with two other American carrier battle groups in the Northern Pacific (NORPAC). Combined with the USS Enterprise and USS Coral Sea and their escorts, this super task force was the largest U.S. flotilla to operate in the Northern Pacific since World War II. U.S. Air Force and Canadian aircraft, U.S. Coast Guard Cutters, and Canadian vessels also participated in the operation. More than 23,000 Marines, sailors, and airmen, 300 aircraft, and 40 ships took part in the operation dubbed Fleetex 83-1.
The task force commander, Rear Admiral Thomas Brown said that the operation was designed to display our resolve “to defend this part of the world, the Aleutians.” The Soviets did not sit back and admire our resolve. They responded to the American flotilla with intelligence collecting vessels, submarines, and aircraft. Of particular concern to the Midway was the Soviet Naval Aviation Tu-22M, nicknamed “Backfire” in NATO parlance.
Designed by the Tupolev Design Bureau, production of the supersonic, swing-wing Backfire bomber began in the mid-1970s. The Backfire was armed with the supersonic AS-4 Kitchen anti-ship missile, which had a range of over 250 nautical miles. In 1977, Senator Gary Hart announced before the Senate that “armed with modern air-launched antiship missiles, the Backfire could pose a very serious threat to our shipping. . . The Backfire is clearly an important element in the Soviet naval challenge.” Hart introduced a U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings article into the Congressional record that concluded, “the heavy investments the Soviets are making in offensive, long-range antiship aircraft [i.e., the Backfire/Kitchen combo] speak eloquently on their intentions.”
The first report of Soviet Naval Backfires running simulated attacks against U.S. aircraft carriers occurred on September 30, 1982 during NORPAC-82. The Midway and Enterprise were the targets. During that same timeframe, the Midway and the Enterprise jointly launched aircraft toward Soviet targets in a four-cycle operation called Combat Readiness Assessment Exercise (CRAE) 83-1. The Soviets were surely startled. By 1983, the Soviets had 80 Backfires in the Soviet Far East. Nearly half of them belonged to Soviet Naval Aviation and were stationed at the far eastern Alekseyevka Naval Airbase.
In April 1983, as the Midway transited along the Kiril Island chain, my shipmates and I faced an extraordinary challenge. Soviet Naval Aviation Backfires armed with Kitchen missiles were running attack profiles on us.
The Backfire/Kitchen combo posed a serious challenge to the ageless Midway. The Midway’s first line of defense against incoming air-launched cruise missiles (ALCMs) were upgraded, Vietnam era Phantoms and their Sparrow air-to-surface missiles. However, a Backfire could launch a Kitchen “outside the tactical reach of a carrier battle group’s CAP [Combat Air Patrol], which remained at just over 150 nm [nautical miles] from the carrier.” Even as the effective Phantom/Sparrow CAP was extended to 200 nautical miles, the Kitchen, travelling at Mach 3 with a standoff range of up to 250 nautical miles, presented a formidable threat to the American carriers.
Escort vessels of that era offered minimal defense to the Midway. For example, the durable Oliver Hazard Perry class frigates (FFG-7 class) had a limited missile tracking capability. “If a ‘Backfire’ bomber equipped with an AS-4 ‘Kitchen’ antiship missile is likely to attack, the capability of the FFG-7 class—without a three-dimensional radar and with only a medium-range surface-to-air missile—makes an intercept unlikely.”
The outer air battle did not belong to the Midway Battle Group. The Soviets were running Backfire/Kitchen attack profiles—unchallenged—against us. We came up with a little bait-and-switch scheme to thwart the Soviets by employing a deception to trap the Backfires with our Phantoms before they launched the Kitchens; essentially, we refashioned a tactic employed by the Midway and Enterprise during NORPAC-82. In 1982, the two carrier battle groups were the objectives of Soviet surveillance as they transited toward the Soviet Union’s submarine base at Petropavlosk. There are many assertions and assumptions regarding the effective use of deception tactics and emission control restriction during NORPAC-82; however, it seems plausible that Soviet Naval Badgers running attack profiles against the Enterprise were surprised when Midway Phantoms popped-up on their six 500 nautical miles from the Enterprise.
Midway aviators and intelligence officers proposed that we repeat the provocative flytrap. Send an escort vessel ahead emitting carrier communications and radar emissions. The Midway would silently lag 250 nautical miles behind the mock carrier. As the Backfires completed their attack profiles on the mock carrier, they would be surprised by Midway phantoms popping up on their six. Our proposal was deemed too provocative by the brass.
In the end, in April 1983, the Midway and Enterprise did depart NORPAC with a figurative bang by running mini-ALFA Strikes against the Soviet military installation on Zelenny Island (aka, Zelyoni Island and Habomai-Shoto) in the Kuril Island chain.
“As the [FleetEx 83-1] exercise approached its conclusion, the Midway performed a particularly intimidating maneuver. All electronic emissions were shut off, and the ship sailed quietly toward the Kurile Islands. Without an electronic signal to track, the only way the Soviets could have known its location would be by direct visible observation, which they did not have. When the Midway reappeared southeast of Kamchatka, the Soviets were ‘clearly surprised’.”
 Benjamin B. Fischer, “A Cold War Conundrum: the 1983 Soviet War Scare,” p. 2. https://www.cia.gov/static/4f74a357a4372cc542944cd39e5e30bc/Cold-War-Conundrum.pdf (accessed 3/28/2023).
 The Midway rendezvoused with the Enterprise on March 30, 1983, in the Sea of Japan. On April 9, 1983, they were joined by the Coral Sea in the northwestern Pacific Ocean. Commanding Officer, USS Enterprise (CVN-65), “1983 Command History,” April 23, 1984, p. II, https://www.history.navy.mil/content/dam/nhhc/research/archives/command-operation-reports/ship-command-operation-reports/e/enterprise-cvn-65-viii/pdf/1983.pdf (accessed 12/18/2022).
 USCINCPAC Command History 1983 (declassified), September 27, 1984, Volume II, pp 395-398, https://nautilus.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/c_eightythree.pdf (accessed 12/18/2022).
 “Navy Puts on a Big Show in Alaskan Waters,” Press Enterprise (AP article), April 16, 1983, p. A-1.
 Senator Gary Hart, “Soviet Backfire Bomber: A Naval Threat,” Congressional Record—Senate, July 27, 1977, pp 25127-25129, https://www.govinfo.gov/content/pkg/GPO-CRECB-1977-pt20/pdf/GPO-CRECB-1977-pt20-4-1.pdf (accessed December 17, 2022)
 CINCPAC Command History 1983, September 27, 1984, Volume I, p. 83, 90, https://nautilus.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/c_eightythree.pdf (accessed 12/18/2022); Commanding Officer, USS Enterprise (CVN-65), “1983 Command History,” April 23, 1984, p. 2. “Eight of the long-range Backfires for the first time staged mock attacks against the nuclear-powered carrier Enterprise and the convention carrier Midway Sept. 30 and Oct. 1 during maneuvers in the northern Pacific” UPI 11/8/1982.
 Commanding Officer, USS Enterprise (CVN-65), “1982 Command History,” March 28, 1983, p. 7,https://www.history.navy.mil/content/dam/nhhc/research/archives/command-operation-reports/ship-command-operation-reports/e/enterprise-cvn-65-viii/pdf/1982.pdf (accessed 12/21/2022).
 Thomas P. Ehrhard, PhD and Robert O. Work, “Range, Persistence, Stealth, and Networking: The Case for a Carrier-Based Unmanned Combat Air System,” Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, 2008, p. 71, https://csbaonline.org/uploads/documents/The-Case-for-A-Carrier-Based-Unmanned-Combat-Air-System.pdf (accessed December 17, 2022).
 Frederick E. Grosick, Patrick L. Massey & Mark W. Petersen, “Harpoon Employment in Naval Antisurface Warfare (ASUW),” Air War College Research Report, 1988, p. 37, https://apps.dtic.mil/sti/pdfs/ADA202045.pdf (accessed 12/18/2022).
 Lieutenant Dennis T. Stokowski, U.S. Navy, “The FFG-7s in War and Peace,” Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute, April 1984, vol. 110/4/974. https://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/1984/april/ffg-7s-war-and-peace (accessed on December 17, 2022).
 On September 29, 1982, 100 miles east of the Enterprise, the Midway was operating under emissions control (EMCON) (Aviation Geek Club).
 Andy Pico, “How to Hide a Task Force, June 2, 1999. http://www.navweaps.com/index_tech/tech-031.php (accessed 12/21/2022). Pico served in VAW-115 embarked on the Midway from 1981-1983.
 Robert Kozloski, “1983 Revisited,” May 31, 2013, https://blog.usni.org/posts/2013/05/31/1983-revisited (accessed 12/24/2022).
 Andrew R. Garland, “1983: The Most Dangerous Year,” UNLV Theses, Dissertations, Professional Papers, and Capstones, May 2011, p. 32, https://digitalscholarship.unlv.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1902&context=thesesdissertations (accessed 12/18/2022). Ben B. Fischer, “The 1983 War Scare in US-Soviet Relations,” undated (approved for release by the CIA on 3/11/2020), p. 68, https://documents2.theblackvault.com/documents/cia/EOM-2019-00973.pdf (accessed 12/23/2022).
The steamer Salvador was the second failed attempt by the Confederacy to conduct privateering in the Pacific. Back in January, I posted the story of “Rebel Pirates” and the Chapman—the first futile effort. Let’s take a closer look at the second attempt, the rebel attempt to seize the merchant steamer Salvador, which was owned by the Panama Railroad Company. How confident these rebel “pirates” must have been. They had a secret plan, the required gear, and the approval of the Confederate government.
Hi everyone, below, I just posted the chapter 3 draft (pdf file) of the forthcoming sequel. In this chapter I introduce a character that was only briefly mentioned in California Blood at Gettysburg. Check it out. I think that you will like Linda. Hey, don't forget to subscribe by pressing the white button above.
You asked, "what happens to the characters after Gettysburg?" So I'm previewing chapters chapters of the sequel here.
I hope that you enjoy the preview chapters. Please let me know if you find any errors or have any recommendations. Spoiler alert for those that have not read California Blood at Gettysburg, these previews might reveal some elements of the plot and climax in California Blood.
If you want to receive notices of future draft/preview posts, hit the white subscribe button above or let me know.
Thank you, ---Mig
Chapter 1 (posted June 27); Chapter 2 (posted August 1)
Years ago, I discovered the value of the information presented in a phonebook. While working on my next novel, I rediscovered the value when I found an 1865 San Francisco directory. Of course, it didn’t include phone numbers, but it did include residents’ names and addresses. It also included the resident’s job and annotated whether the person was colored. The latter was helpful in my search for an 1865 San Francisco hotel that served African-Americans.
In the 1865 directory, I noticed the name Barney Fletcher several times associated with colored organizations in the yellow pages. His name kept popping up. According to the directory, Barney Fletcher was an African-American janitor at San Francisco’s Exchange Building in the 1860s. He also served as a trustee at the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, Vice-President of the California Contraband Relief Association, Secretary of (Masonic) Hannibal Lodge No. 1, Secretary of the Ladies Union Beneficial Society (Colored; aid sick members), and President of the Young Men’s Union Beneficial Society (Col’d; aid sick members).
The AME Church has long been associated with the 19th century abolitionist movement and the name “Contraband Relief Association” speaks for itself. I wondered if Barney Fletcher was a black abolitionist. I needed to look beyond the directory. Looking at the names of Barney’s fellow organization officers, I discovered that Barney ran with the San Francisco’s prominent black abolitionists, including
Barney also served briefly as the pastor of the AME church in Oakland in 1862. One report indicated that Barney was associated with the Sacramento Zouaves formed in 1863 in San Francisco; there first public event occurred on January 1, 1868 in San Francisco. Barney actively sought to improve the education of black children and participated in California’s colored conventions.
One could argue that Barney Fletcher was one of San Francisco’s prominent black activists during the city’s pioneer days. One can only wonder what else Barney would have accomplished if equal opportunities existed in California in the 19th century. --Mig
 Phonebook: a relic of the 20th century that contained names, addresses, and telephone numbers that was printed annually by telecommunication companies and distributed to their customers.
 Yellow pages: a section of antiquated phonebooks printed on yellow paper that listed businesses and other organizations.
 The San Francisco Directory 1865, pp. 179, 599, 606, 609, 611, and 613 (accessed May 22, 2022, https://archive.org/details/sanfranciscodire1865lang/page/179/mode/2up).
 The Poetical Works of James Madison Bell, p. 8, 1901, reaffirmed Bell’s association with Barnet Fletcher while Bell was in San Francisco between 1860 and 1865.
 Guy Washington, California Pioneers of African Descent, National Park Service, December 17, 2010, pp. 74-75 (accessed May 22, 2022, https://www.nps.gov/npgallery/GetAsset/a8faefce-d534-4728-9c47-0a4f291627af).
 The San Francisco Directory 1865, p. 12 presents an estimated “total permanent population of 110,100, of which 3,000 were Chinese and 2,100 (2%) were colored.
 Michael Stolp-Smith, “Saint Andrews African Methodist Episcopal Church, Sacramento, California,” March 16, 2010 (accessed 5/23/2022, https://www.blackpast.org/african-american-history/st-andrews-ame-church-1850).
 African American Citywide Historic Context Statement (draft), prepared for the City and County of San Francisco, January2016, p. 34 (accessed May 23, 2022, https://default.sfplanning.org/Preservation/african_american_HCS/AfricanAmericanHistoricContextStatement_Draft_Jan2016.pdf).
 Martha C. Taylor, From Labor to Reward, pp. 8 and 18, June 24, 2016 (accessed May 23, 2022, books.google.com).
 William Burg, “Black History in Sacramento Part 1” [video: 48:07-49:30], July 15, 2020 (accessed May 23, 2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TaDXlvTR44s).
 “Call for a State Convention of the Colored Citizens of California,” The Elevator, July 14, 1865, p. 2 (accessed June 21, 2022, https://cdnc.ucr.edu/?a=d&d=EL18650714.2.8&e=-------en--20--1--txt-txIN--------1).
President Lincoln never said it, but that was what he was thinking. One objective of Lincoln’s foreign policy was to deter European countries from recognizing the confederacy as a nation. This objective undoubtedly dissuaded Lincoln from enforcing the Monroe Doctrine when the French invaded Mexico in 1861; by June of 1863 the French occupied Mexico City and the Mexican President was on the run. A natural U.S. response would have been to support our republican neighbor’s effort to repel the European invaders. Instead, Lincoln chose to leave Mexico to its own means, so as not to push France into the rebel camp.
The Mexicans pleaded for arms, if not via outright aid, then through purchases. Mexican Ambassador Matías Romero’s purpose in Washington City was to convince the U.S. government to support the elected president of Mexico, Benito Juárez, and oppose Napoleon III’s military intervention in Mexico. Romero befriended the Lincolns—both Abraham and Mary—but was unable to convince President Lincoln to change his course. Romero shifted his attention to the U.S. Congress.
With Romero’s blessing, U.S. Senator James McDougall (Democrat, California) presented several resolutions condemning the French invasion and demanding U.S. aid to the Republic of Mexico. In the House, Congressmen John Kasson (Republican, Iowa) and Henry Davis (Republican, Maryland) objected to Lincoln’s cautious response to the French occupiers. Although these efforts garnered attention, in the end, they manifest neither in legislation nor military aid to Mexico.
An example of the passion that some Americans held on this issue is apparent in correspondence from Surveyor-General of California and Nevada (appointed by Lincoln in 1861) E. F. Beale, e.g., “do this act [stop the exportation of arms to Mexico], go and bury your dead infant in the same grave in which you will have buried Mexican independence. . . I implore you in the name of your party, of your own hopes and your country, in the name of republican institutions in the name of the great commons of America, who will assuredly impeach you to all posterity if you betray freedom in their name, and finally in the sacred catholic name of liberty itself to give these arms to Mexico.”
Similar to Romero’s campaign in Washington, was that of Plácido Vega in San Francisco. President Juárez dispatched General Vega to San Francisco to acquire weapons and funds for the Mexican Army. Vega sought to obtain arms, with mixed results, both openly and clandestinely. Vega openly declared his mission as “procuring the means necessary for repelling the usurpation of Maximilian in Mexico.” On one occasion, the Commander of the U.S. Department of the Pacific, Major General Irvin McDowell, advised Vega, “the seizure after you had attempted to secretly carry off the arms, were acts done in conformity to the most explicit and peremptory order of His Excellency the President himself.” Similarly, the U.S. Customs Collector in San Francisco, “informed General Vega of the existence of Executive orders forbidding the export, and stated the same would be enforced by me.”
What order were they referring to? On November 20, 1862, President Lincoln signed an Executive Order “Prohibiting the Export of Arms of Munitions of War.”
Washington City, November 20, 1862
Ordered, That no arms ammunition, or munitions of war be cleared or allowed to be exported from the United States until further order: that any clearances for arms, ammunition, or munitions of war issued heretofore by the Treasury Department be vacated if the articles have not passed without the United States, and the articles stopped; that the Secretary of War hold possession of the arms, etc., recently seized by his order at Rouses Point, bound for Canada.
The purpose of this order was to sustain the fragile neutrality of the European states, especially France and England. Although sympathetic to President Juárez and the Republic of Mexico, Lincoln and the Union could not afford to compel France to enter the American Civil War on the side of the “insurgents.”
On May 3, 1865, President Johnson rescinded the 1862 executive order prohibiting the exportation of arms, as well as the 1863 extension to livestock. The U.S. began providing overt and covert aid to Juárez. In 1866 and 1867, Napoleon withdrew French troops from Mexico. The Mexican “emperor” Maximilian was executed on May 19, 1867.
P.S. This research was completed while writing my second novel (to be published in 2022)
 Jason H. Silverman, “A Most Unlikely Friendship: Abraham Lincoln and Matias Romero,” January 26, 2017 (accessed May 10, 2022, https://www.lincolncottage.org/a-most-unlikely-friendship-abraham-lincoln-and-matias-romero).
 Marvin Goldwert, “Matías Romero and Congressional Opposition to Seward's Policy toward the French Intervention in Mexico,” The Americas, July, 1965, vol. 22, no. 1, pp 22-40. Senator McDougall’s resolutions were presented on January 19, 1863; January 11, 1864; March 22, 1864; and July 2, 1864.
 E.F. Beale letter to Charles James, July 16, 1864, (accessed May 10, 2022: https://ehistory.osu.edu/books/official-records/106/1090).
 Vega letter to Major General Irvin McDowell (Commander of the U.S. Department of the Pacific), November 2, 1864, (accessed May 10, 2022: https://ehistory.osu.edu/books/official-records/106/1038).
 McDowell letter to Vega, November 26, 1864, (accessed May 10, 2022: https://ehistory.osu.edu/books/official-records/106/1073).
 Charles James, Customs Collector, letter to McDowell, December 14, 1864 (accessed May 10, 2022: https://ehistory.osu.edu/books/official-records/106/1096).
 The American Presidency Project, UC Santa Barbara (accessed May 10, 2022: https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/202686
 U.S. Department of State, Office of the Historian, Historical Documents (accessed 5/9/2022, https://history.state.gov/historicaldocuments/frus1863p1/pg_659).
 The American Presidency Project, UC Santa Barbara (accessed May 10, 2022: https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/203194).
During a visit to the Gettysburg battlefield, being a SoCal boy, I found myself wondering if any Californians fought in this eastern theater battle. I discovered the First California Regiment was at the “angle” during Pickett’s charge. This was intriguing news. Then I discovered the First California Regiment and others that comprised the California Brigade were paid for with California gold but were comprised primarily of men recruited in Philadelphia. Okay, I was a bit disappointed, but wanted to learn more about the First California Regiment.
I found numerous informative articles on the Internet, which motivated me to take a deeper dive. If you want to take that dive, here are four of my key references books: