The idea of retaking the former Territory of Arizona for the Confederacy and then continuing on to pro-secessionist Southern California held great importance for many throughout the Civil War, not the least because of the allure of the open Port of Los Angeles.
This letter of February 14, 1864, written to General Edmund Kirby Smith, the Confederate general in charge of the western front, advocated an army be formed for that purpose under the command of Dan Showalter.
In addition to the signatures of Dan Showalter and others are those of Granville H. Oury, who had been the representative of the Territory of Arizona to the Confederate Congress, and Showalter's second-in-command, Major F.E. Kavanaugh.
Although still nearly a year and a half before the end of the war in Texas, no further attempts were made by the Confederacy to reach the Pacific.
Photograph of Granville H. Oury.
In late 2010, having volunteered to assist Drum Barracks Civil War Museum in Wilmington, California, with research in pro-secession activity in California, director Susan Ogle handed me a list of names, places and events for possible investigation. One of those names was that of Dan Showalter, a California politician turned Confederate cavalry officer of whom I'd never heard.
Becoming fascinated just after reading the barest outline of Showalter's life, the next year found me hunting down everything I could find about this largely forgotten character. When I had finished my research -- which included the discovery of several previously unpublished items as well as obtaining the only known photograph from a Showalter descendent -- I had so much material that Susan exclaimed, "You've got a whole exhibit right here!"
And with her guidance, on November 5, 2011, co-curated by myself and Susan Ogle, my "Dan Showalter: California's Arch Rebel" exhibit went on display at the Drum.
Now being slated for removal in August 2012 in that ongoing round of ever-successive new exhibits that mark good museums, I've started this website as a place where, over time, I can memorialize and expand upon all the material accumulated on this remarkable Californian.
Hope you'll return often as this website expands and enjoy!