Continued from previous posts:
On March 29, 1862, a Humboldt Times headline read, “Horrible Indian Outrages!—The Savages Become Bolder!”
According to a letter submitted to the paper on March 27, 1862, the citizens of Arcata were “really alarmed at the extent of their [Indians’] evil deeds and the increased boldness and daring… “
The letter goes on to say that local Indians shot Zehendner and burned his home, burnt Goodman’s house and the next day, Mrs. Brehmer’s. On Friday, March 28, Augustus Bates was shot and killed. The Natives then torched his house. At the time, Bates, coincidentally, had homesteaded what is now our property. He could have died within feet of where I type this blog. But that is a story for another day.
The letter ends with this sad lament,
“What a sudden reverse—peace and fancied security one day—death and destruction the next. Surely human life is mutable and occurrences like this bring the fact impressively to our mind.
This is a gloomy letter, and ours is a gloomy town. I can think and write of nothing else.”
On April 2, 1862, many of the citizens of Arcata signed a petition asking the military to remove the indigenous people from the county completely and place them in Mendocino County or Crescent City. An application was made to General Wright for an increase of military force in the area, “that operations against the enemy may be effective and the war short.”
So hopes were high that the military would prove effective against the native threat when young James Brown and his fellow troops arrived in Humboldt county.
Brown landed by ship in Eureka on April 20, 1862. The soldiers were quartered in a two story farmhouse and “Nearly all of the two Co’s drunk, breaking through the guard and going to town. Noisy and quarrelsome.”
The next day Brown was on guard with Sgt. Gillis, Co. H and described his comrades- in- arms as “a perfect bedlam of drunk and noisy soldiers.” Brown was kept busy all day running after them in town where they were creating a continual disturbance. The next day, 25 soldiers faced court martial.
On April 26, the Humboldt Times editor noted that at least forty soldiers faced charges and at that rate “half of the soldiers will shortly be under arrest, and a large proportion of the other [s]… will be guarding them; while the officers, who should be leading their men against the hostile Indians, are obliged… to sit week after week as members of a Military Court….”
So much for “effective” operations against the Indians…