Union Sentiment in California

The beginning of actual hostilities indeed changed many a wavering person into a strong Union advocate. When news reached California in April, 1861, that Sumter had been fired upon, the feeling against secession was intensified, and the Union sentiment of the great majority of the people became strong and demanded expression. Monster mass meetings were held throughout the State. In San Francisco in February, 1861, nearly 12,000 persons assembled at a Union meeting. In May, 1861, 25,000 were in attendance at a similar meeting, which “was the largest and most complete and emphatic public demonstration that had ever been held on the Pacific Coast.”

(News that Sumter was fired upon reached California “per telegraph to St. Louis; thence by telegraph to Fort Kearny; thence by pony express to Fort Churchill: thence by telegraph to San Francisco.” San Francisco Evening Bulletin, April 24, 1861.)