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Camp Wright is located in the western foothills of the Laguna Mountains, in northern San Diego County, California. It is located on State Route 79, 13 miles (21 km) northwest of Warner Springs and Warner's Ranch.

Camp Wright

During the American Civil War, Camp Wright was a Union Army outpost in the Pacific Coast Theater of the American Civil War. It was established to protect the route to Fort Yuma on the Colorado River, and intercept secessionist sympathizers traveling to the east to join the Confederate Army.[1] A detachment of California Volunteer cavalry and infantry first established Camp Wright at Warner's Ranch near Warner Springs, in October 1861. The cold and windy conditions in the higher altitude of the exposed San Jose Valley caused the commander change its site to the more sheltered Oak Grove location in November.[2]

At about the same time, the Dan Showalter party of secessionists were attempting to avoid the post and make their way across the desert to join the Confederate Army in Texas. They were pursued from Temecula by a 1st Regiment California Volunteer Cavalry patrol from Camp Wright, intercepted in the hills west of the San Jose Valley (site of Warner's Ranch) with the support of a 1st California Infantry detachment from the camp, and captured without shots being fired November 20–29, 1861. After being imprisoned at Fort Yuma, Showalter and the others were released upon swearing loyalty to the Union. They later made their way to the Confederacy.[3]

For a short time in March 1862 Camp Wright was the headquarters of the 5th Regiment California Volunteer Infantry before it moved on.[4] Used for the rest of the war as a transit camp for troops moving along the road to and from New Mexico Territory and Arizona Territory, the camp was abandoned in 1866.

The Oak Grove Butterfield Stage Station, in operation between 1858 and 1860, is the only surviving station of the Butterfield Overland Mail stagecoach line across the Western United States. The adobe building the stagecoach station used was built in 1858, and on the former site of Camp Wright (1861-1862). It was a stop between Los Angeles and Fort Yuma on the San Francisco to St. Louis route. It is a well-preserved one-story adobe building among California oak woodlands.

Historic Landmarks

Camp Wright plaque

Oak Grove plaque

The site of Camp Wright was registered as a California Historical Landmark in 1950.[5]

The Oak Grove Butterfield Stage Station on its site was registered as a separate California Historical Landmark in 1952.[6] The Oak Grove station was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.[7][8] The location of another nearby station at Warner's Ranch, is also a National Historic Landmark.


External links

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