Drum Barracks in Wilmington served as U.S. Army Headquarters in the Southwest from 1861 to 1871. Also known as Camp Drum, the post served as garrison for about 6,000 U.S. Army troops. The post was built during the Civil War on 60 acres of land sold to the Army by Phineas Banning and B. D. Wilson. Banning, a pro-Union advocate, was an active supporter of the presence of federal troops in Los Angeles because of strong pro-Confederate sentiments in the area. More than $1 million was spent on construction of the barracks and more than 13,000 Union soldiers were processed there for deployment east. Its military hospital was considered to be the best equipped and staffed medical facility west of the Mississippi River. Drum Barracks was finally decommissioned in 1880s and served for a time as a college campus. The Officer's Quarters are the only surviving structures. It now serves as a Civil War museum.
Drum Barracks during Civil War. Note the camel.
Jefferson Davis imported camels from Arabia during the
1850s for hauling Army freight through the desert.
Photo courtesy of Drum Barracks Civil War Museum.
Visit Drum Barracks Civil War Museum, 1052 Banning Blvd, Wilmington 90744; telephone (310) 548-7509
The Isthmus of Catalina Island, also known as Two Harbors, is the narrowest section of the island. Silver, lead and zinc mining operations took place there in the 1860s. In 1863, the U.S. Army stationed a small garrison of troops in the middle of the isthmus to guard the island from Confederate privateers (some maintain that the Army was there on behalf of the Bureau of Indian Affairs to survey the island as a possible reservation for rebellious Native Americans from Humboldt County). Upon the Army's arrival, all civilian inhabitants were ordered to vacate the island within two months. Some miners and ranchers, however, had lived on the island for more than decade. The Army later rescinded this order and allowed civilian residents to remain subject to certain conditions. Today, the Union Army barracks building remains and is now home to the Isthmus Yacht Club.