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The History Mystery #63

The Mariposa Indian War, Campaign from 13 April to 2 May, 1851.

The question is to more accurately locate where this particular skirmish took place. The map indicates that it took place along the banks of Fine Gold Creek, somewhere close to Fine Gold Gulch. The text of the report indicates that it was on the Little San Joaquin River.

Is Fine Gold Creek and the Little San Joaquin River one in the same? Do any of the readers have any additional information related to this particular campaign and the location of this skirmish?


The Mariposa War
By: David A. Smith, Historian
The Burdick Military History Project
San Jose State University

The following passages are taken directly from the published report cited above. The accompanying map was also included in the report.

The first skirmish occurred in May of 1850, and the last shot was fired in June of 1851.

On 14 April (1851), Major Savage (James D. Savage) left with the battalion, minus part of Company A who were to be stationed at Mariposa, to begin an extensive expedition against the remaining Chowchillas. The force headed towards the South Fork of the San Joaquin River by way of Coarse Gold Gulch to the Fresno River and downstream to the South Fork (Camp McLean).”

Major Savage’s first major encampment was established in Crane Valley. From this camp, the troops reconnoitered the proposed line of advance. Searching for the natives, Lieutenant Chandler and a scouting party reached the Little San Joaquin River where they discovered several Indian fires. After a rousing speech by Captain Boling (John Boling), the battalion advanced to the site of the encampment.

Upon arrival, it was discovered that the natives had drawn up to give battle on the opposite side of the river. The next day, 26 April, the battalion crossed the river to attack the Indians, but by the time they had made their crossing, the Chowchillas had dispersed, leaving only their villages behind.

The villages were burned, and pursuit of the natives was attempted, but they easily eluded the searchers. After this incident, Savage’s force returned to its Mariposa Creek camp on 3 May.

E Clampus Vitus Chapter 41-49
George Raymond, Historian

History Mystery #62 Follow up

Thank you very much for your comments. We are still curious about this photo so please continue to share!

The Sierra Mono Museum is embarking on the complete renovation and expansion of our current facility. Come see the “before” museum within the next couple of weeks.

Once our doors close in mid to late April we will continue to serve the community with in-bound visits and mobile exhibits to schools. You are welcome to visit our temporary office next to the Pizza Factory in North Fork once our facility closes.

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