Archives for July 2012

Major General Sherman steps down from militia

After the failed meeting with Governor Johnson in Benicia, General Sherman found himself in the uncomfortable position of serving a governor under the influence of men who favored confrontation with the Committee of Vigilance while under orders to quell the strife in San Francisco where the majority of the people were against him and after General Wool, the only authority able to supply him arms and ammunition, refused to do so. Though he truly felt that he would have been able to bring the … [Read more...]

SF moderates fail in Benicia talks

About an hour after General Sherman and the moderates from San Francisco arrived at Benicia the boat from Sacramento with Governor Johnson docked. Sherman hurried to the wharf and found Johnson there accompanied by a group he described as “known to be of the most violent kind, determined to bring about a collision of arms if possible.” The governor seemed completely under their influence and asked Sherman if it was true that vigilantes had come from San Francisco to see him. Sherman replied that … [Read more...]

Citizens meet with Johnson over vigilantes

While the argument over arms for the militia continued, a number of moderate but influential San Franciscans undertook to attempt a settlement between the governor and the Committee of Vigilance. On June 3rd they spoke with the committee but little came of the meeting. Then, on Saturday, June 7th, as these citizens were set to leave for a conference with the governor in Benicia with a hope to convince him to withdraw his proclamation, the executive committee of the vigilantes, in view of their … [Read more...]

Governor seeks arms to fight vigilantes

General William T. Sherman issued orders for the 2nd Division of the California militia on June 4th, and called for all volunteer and independent companies of San Francisco to report for duty and all citizens subject to military service to organize into companies and prepare in case they should be needed. But only a handful of men, certainly less than a hundred, accepted his call as most of the volunteer companies had already disbanded and joined the vigilantes. Those who did enlist were part of … [Read more...]

Sherman to assemble militia against vigilantes

While the Committee of Vigilance busied itself with casting out the bad characters in San Francisco, their enemies, particularly politicians and officials with whose schemes the committee interfered, made almost constant efforts to defeat it by attempting to bring about a conflict with state or federal authorities. The first attempt came from the Governor, J. Neeley Johnson. While not a bad man, Johnson was a weak one and could be easily influenced by others with a superior mind and he drifted … [Read more...]

Black list members deported by the vigilantes

Edward Bulger, arrested on Friday evening, was sentenced to the same terms as Billy Mulligan on Sunday, June 1st. On that same day Charles Duane was taken into custody and convicted the following Tuesday of repeated assaults, often with a deadly weapon, and interference in elections, and sentenced to leave the state with a penalty of death should he return. On Monday nine more men were ordered to leave California. On the same day notice was sent to John Cooney over the signature of 33 … [Read more...]