The Civil War and the Pacific Northwest

While we’ll have to wait until March 6 for our program with the Center for Columbia River History at the Fort Vancouver National Historic Reserve, Larry Cebula at the excellent Northwest History blog has been sifting through the most recent addition to the Washington State Library’s digital collections and came up with this nugget from Charles Prosch’s Reminiscences of Washington Territory:

At an early stage in the great civil war it became apparent that there were in California, Oregon and Washington, men ready to aid in the destruction of the Union by every means within their power. They were creatures who had not the courage to face the dangers of the battle field, else their zeal would have led them to remain at the east or induced them to go there and openly espouse the Confederate cause by taking up arms in its defense. They were northern copperheads and doughfaces, (so called then) far more despicable and treacherous than the worst of those in open rebellion against the best government on earth. Here, thousands of miles from the theater of war, it was safe to hatch treason, and they lost no time in availing themselves of the opportunity their isolation afforded. In secret they plotted, here and elsewhere on the coast, to dismember the Union, with a view to aiding their confederates in the Southern states.

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2 responses to “The Civil War and the Pacific Northwest

  1. At the risk of self-promotion, folks might be interested in reading my study _”An Indispensable Point”: A Historic Resource Study of the Vancouver Ordnance Depot and Arsenal, 1849-1882_. In it, I discuss the politics of several early Arsenal commanders, as well as a reported Civil War-era plot — by the very Copperheads Prosch describes above — to take over Vancouver Arsenal and arm pro-secession forces in the Pacific Northwest.

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