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Civil War conspirators come to the library

By January 19, 2012

The 1860s come alive in a free multimedia show on Wednesday evening, Jan. 25, when the Clarksville Regional Historical Society presents California and the Civil War.

“We’ll look back to the beginning of the war and examine Lincoln’s fear that the Golden State would break away with the South,” said Richard Hurley, the show’s co-author. “We’ll see portraits of the men who determined California’s fate, like Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, who was in charge of the U.S. Army on the Pacific Coast when the war began.

“Johnston was one of the highest ranking officers in the Army, a veteran of many battles. He opposed Secession, but when his adopted State of Texas left the Union, Johnston made it clear that he would not fight against her,” Hurley added

“Gen. Johnston commanded the forts and heavy artillery at the Presidio and Alcatraz, and arms caches for 50,000 troops,” he continued. “When Texas seceded in the spring of 1861, controversy and intrigue swirled around him — would he hand over the defenses of the West Coast to Rebel conspirators? In the end, only Johnston’s personal sense of honor stood between war and peace in California.”

“Our multimedia show grew out of the research for our historical novel, ‘Queen of the Northern Mines’,” said show co-author T J Meekins. “The novel begins in the steep canyons of the Sierra, just before war breaks out. Will Stafford, a young Virginia attorney, arrives in the Northern Mines and instantly attracts the attention of bloodthirsty outlaws and passionate females.

“Our mother and daughter heroines, Molly and Ida Hatfield, run a stage stop near the You Bet Diggings. The depot is called ‘Missouri House,’ and it’s a microcosm of the colliding cultures that are forming California.”

The show takes place 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday , Jan. 25, at the El Dorado Hills Library, 7455 Silva Valley Parkway. Signed copies of “Queen of the Northern Mines” will be available. Admission is free.

More about the novel and California and the Civil War can be seen online at bearriverbooks.com. The novel and presentation have been chosen by the Folsom History Museum for an exhibit that will open March 30. Costumes and firearms of the period will be on display.

For more information e-mail [email protected] or call (530) 677-5533 or (916) 933-3173.

Special to Village Life


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