Camp Bidwell

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Camp Bidwell, later Camp Chico, was a U.S. Army post during the American Civil War. Camp Bidwell was named for John Bidwell, the founder of the nearby town of Chico, California and a that time a Brigadier General of the California Militia. It was established a mile outside Chico, by Lt. Col. Ambrose E. Hooker with Company A, 6th California Infantry, on August 26, 1863. Although a Company F, 2nd California Cavalry and Company K, 2nd California Infantry under Captain Augustus W. Starr had been there from July 31, 1863, Lt. Col. Hooker moved the camp to a new location for its better defense and for better sanitation.

By early 1865, it was being referred to as Camp Chico when a post called Camp Bidwell was established in the far northeastern corner of California, later to be named Fort Bidwell.[1] Observing confusion between the two,[2] Robert W. Pease explained that such a transfer of name between outposts was a common Army practice of the time.[3]


  • Lt. Colonel Ambrose E. Hooker, August 26, 1863 - October 20, 1863
  • Captain Augustus W. Starr, October 20, 1863 - April 1864
  • Captain James C. Doughty, June 1864 - May 1865



  1. ^ War Department, United States; John Sheldon Moody; Calvin Duvall Cowles; Frederick Caryton Ainsworth; Robert N. Scott; Henry Martyn Lazelle; George Breckenridge Davis; Leslie J. Perry; Joseph William Kirkley (1897). The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. I. L. Washington: Government Printing Office. pp. 593–594, 1125. 
  2. ^ Durham, David L. (1998). California's Geographic Names: A Gazetteer of Historic and Modern Names of the State. Clovis, Calif.: Word Dancer Press. p. 378. ISBN 1-884995-14-4. 
  3. ^ Pease, Robert W. (1965). Modoc County; University of California Publications in Geography, Volume 17. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. pp. 77–78. 
  4. ^ Records of California men in the war of the rebellion 1861 to 1867, p. 48.
  5. ^ Records of California men, p. 429.
  6. ^ Records of California men, p. 721.
  7. ^ Records of California men, p. 835. Corporal Samuel D. Barnes of Company B, 1st Battalion California Volunteer Mountaineers was killed by Indians while at Camp Bidwell May 6, 1864, while in charge of a Government pack train. Company B, at the time, was officially stationed at Camp Anderson fighting Indians in the Humboldt Military District. Perhaps a detachment was sent to occupy the site of the camp in the gap of occupation by the Companies F and I of 2nd California Cavalry.
  8. ^ Records of California men, pp. 193.