Monday, June 6, 2011

Mayfield Canyon Battleground

Inyo County, July 29, 1998

Heading south on 395 and out of Mono County we come to the site of Inyo County’s northernmost landmark site…no marker.  

When the Civil Was began, the regular army troops in the region for the most part left to fight for the Union or Confederates in the east, leaving the military to be manned by miners and farmers as volunteers, often providing their own clothing and gear.

OAC Photo

From ‘The Owens Valley Indian War, 1861-1865’ bybCaptain John W. Key, V.,  U. S. Army Reserve:

“The winter of 1861-62 was one of the most severe in the history of the Owens Valley. The plight of the Paiutes was exceedingly bad. The bad weather had driven away almost all of the game and had killed what little game remained. Cattle were now beginning to forage on the Indian's fields of wild hyacinth and yellow nutgrass. It seemed only natural to the Paiutes that the cattle could be killed for their own use, since the cattle were feeding on their fields.”

“The settlers had meanwhile concentrated their herds about thirty miles north of Owens Lake. They then sent messages to Aurora, Nevada and Visalia, California for help. On March 28, 1862 eighteen volunteers under John J. Kellogg, a former Army captain, came from Aurora. A group of twenty-two men came from Visalia under Colonel Mayfield, a retired Army officer. This force of sixty men took to the field under Colonel Mayfield and marched fifty miles north up the valley. “

The Indians had a collective force of over 500 and by May the Indians had complete control of the Owens Valley and the military decided a permanent fort was needed and established Camp Independence on July 4, 1862.

Bishop 1911 - OAC photo

If there was a plaque it would read: NO. 211 MAYFIELD CANYON BATTLEGROUND - On April 8, 1862, a body of troopers and settlers entered Mayfield Canyon (named for one of the settlers) to fight the Indians supposed to be there. However, the Indians had evacuated the canyon so the group made camp at its mouth. The next day they went up the canyon again, but this time they were forced to retreat to Owens Valley.
Location: Mayfield Canyon, 0.2 mi N of Farmer Wells Meadow Ranger Station, 1.5 mi NW from intersection of Pine Creek Rd and North Round Valley Rd, then 1.5 mi N on Ranger Station Rd to site, 15 mi NW of Bishop
Google maps: 37.442155,-118.632646

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