Sierran Civil War
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|Sierran Civil War|
Contemporary lithograph of the Capitulation of Isaiah Landon
|Commanders and leaders|
John C. Frémont
Issac M. Johnson
James Henry Carleton
Albert Sidney Johnston †
|Casualties and losses|
The Sierran Civil War, widely known within Sierra as simply the Civil War, was a civil war fought from 1874 to 1877 between the Monarchists who were loyal to the King and his government, and the Republicans led by senator Isaiah Landon who opposed the monarchy. The Monarchists won, preserving the Kingdom, with Parliament passing reforms on the monarchy and federal government but many Republican leaders sentenced to life imprisonment or death for treason.
26,000 were killed throughout the course of the war, with the conflict being primarily confined to the Pacific coast and Central Valley in the form of skirmishes. Several major battles in the cities including San Francisco City and Porciúncula occurred during the later stages of the war, as support for the militant Republicans waned and the leadership grew more aggressive. The war ended on November 11, 1877 with the capitulation of Isaiah Landon outside of Ridgecrest, Central Valley, after his forces surrendered in the Battle of Indian Wells, and his lieutenants revealed his location to the Monarchists.
Hostilities began when angered citizens, mostly farmers and members of the Democratic-Republicans in the Central Valley provinces revolted against the local governments in response to the apparent death of Prime Minister Ulysses Perry. Perry, a prolific republican and ardent opponent of Charles I, led a nearly successful movement to abolish the monarchy, but he descended into depression following his wife's murder. Perry was later reported missing before personal bodyguards revealed that he was dead, as his disappearance coincided with several gunshots. Although the government declared that his death was suicide, opponents and the public believed he was assassinated at the order of the King.
News of his death galvanized republicans who believed the monarchy had descended into tyranny. Isaiah Landon, who was a close friend of Perry, and a senator from San Joaquin declared an armed rebellion against the monarchy, and prompted many of his constituents to take up arms to depose the monarchy. Inactive militia groups which fought during the Mexican-American War and held republican sentiments throughout the nation joined.
In the Deseret region, the Mormons, a Christian group originally from the United States, took advantage of the chaos, and declared independence while engaging in open hostilities with the Canaanites, another religious group that were loyal to the Kingdom. The Republicans supported the Mormons' move, and urged all provinces in opposition of the monarchy to secede to form a republic. Towards the end of the war, the conflict placed a great burden on the nation's economy, discouraging investors, merchants, and immigrants from entering the country, and disoriented many citizens tired of violence.
The Democratic-Republican Party, whose leadership was dominated by moderates throughout the war, and opposed armed insurrection, denounced Landon following his ascendancy as president of the self-declared Second California Republic consisting of several Republican-controlled towns and forts throughout the Kingdom, and released a series of publications known today as the Principled Papers, which persuaded radical Republicans to cease hostilities and sue for peace.
With waning support, Landon resorted to more extreme and controversial means to win his battles, including accepting no prisoners, burning fields, forcing civilians of both sexes and of all ages to fight, and sending ill spies over to enemy lines to infect them. Landon and his men spent their final months criss-crossing the Central Valley, evading the Monarchists, before being caught-off guard in an ambush during the Battle of Indian Wells. Leaving his men at the battlefield, Landon was set off to the United States to gain American military support and spent a night at a republican safehouse in Ridgecrest before his men betrayed him, and revealed his location to the Monarchists. After a brief exchange of gunfire, Landon surrendered, and was arrested. Minor skirmishes would continue for months after Landon's capture and the war's end.
The war strengthened the nation's views on the monarchy, whose status as a stabilizing and dignified force, greatly improved the royal family's image. The monarchy worked to establish a stronger dialogue between itself and its citizens, and Parliament passed various laws pertaining to agricultural reform and water rights to please disaffected agrarian farmers. Parliament passed an amendment establishing a legal, controlled process for secession while many leaders of the Republicans, including Landon, were tried and convicted of treason. Landon, who was regarded as a revolutionary hero, was sentenced to death for his war crimes toward the end of the conflict but his sentence was commuted by the King himself, as a symbolic gesture of goodwill between the factions.
Landon spent the rest of his life under house arrest at his Fresno estate while other leaders were sentenced to death or incarcerated in federal prisons. The independence of Deseret was not recognized and consequently, its self-declared republic was dismantled, but through an agreement, the Mormons would be allowed to exercise a substantial degree of autonomy as an organized territory. The Canaanites, who had fought alongside the Monarchists, were not given their own territory, and many of the Baahgulist sect fled to southeastern Rainier.
|Republicanism in Sierra|
After securing independence from Mexico through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, the California Republic was established, controlling all of the territory constituting the present-day contiguous Sierra. The Republic, modeled after the American democratic republican government, lasted for ten years from 1848 to 1858 before a new constitution was drafted and passed which would fuse elements of the monarchy with the original government, thereby creating the Kingdom of Sierra. The change, which was met by fierce opposition by those who supported republicanism was especially prevalent in Central Sierra where citizens were deeply suspicious and wary of the monarchy and feared the entrenchment of the government.
Immediately following the ascension of Charles I as Sierra's first monarch, two political parties were formed: the Royalist Party of Sierra which supported the monarchy and the Democratic-Republican Party of Sierra which favored reverting the Kingdom back to the Republic. Parliament, bitterly divided, was subject to intense disputes over the scope and legitimacy of the monarchy, further compounded by differing interests between the coastal, urban provinces (which were predominantly Royalists) and the inland, rural provinces (predominantly Democratic-Republicans).
Under the Royalist ministries of Frederick Bachelor, Sr. and Richard Trist, the federal government moved in a direction towards continued centralization and the expansion of federal power, at the expense of the provinces. Through industrialization and an open, lucrative global market, the interests of the farmers and rural workers were neglected, in favor of the businesses who were seen as steadfast allies of the monarchy. This rift only intensified as the Royalist-dominated Parliament funded projects and policies that primarily benefited the coastal provinces including roads and tariffs.
In 1869, after Richard Trist resigned amid charges of corruption, Democratic-Republican senator from San Joaquin ran for the office of the prime minister and won, defeating Royalist challenger Frederick Bachelor, Jr.. In addition, the Democratic-Republicans enjoyed a significant wave election that year in 1870, gaining control of both houses in Parliament. An avowed republican, Perry centered his ministry around reversing the policies of the Royalists and included a plan to abolish the monarchy legally. The animosity between Perry and Charles I was highly publicized, reflecting the rivalry between the Democratic-Republicans and Royalists. While prime minister, Perry adopted the silver standard, passed the Kingdom's first antitrust laws, and curtailed the powers of the King with the goal of abolishing it by the end of his tenure.
During the summer of 1872, Perry's wife, Catherine Perry, was murdered by unknown assailants. Suspecting Royalists may have been connected to the murder, Perry took a more aggressive, hard-line approach in Parliament, persuading parliamentary leaders to move bills pertaining to the monarchy faster and higher in the priority queue. Descending into depression, Perry had his deputy prime minister, Issac Johnson, fill in for his duties. On February 14, 1873, Ulysses burned down his private estate, claiming he had seen his wife's spirit. Instructing his guards to leave him alone, Perry wandered off he was murdered. The guards, who rushed to the sound of several gunshots, found a pool of blood leading to a river. While the government led an investigation, the death of Perry was met with strong reaction from the nation. Many Democratic Republicans, who believed the death was an assassination issued by the King, called for retribution and vengeance. The official government report that Perry's death was suicide only bolstered support for the abolition of the monarchy.
Within days, farmers and urban republicans led demonstrations and strikes, demanding justice for Perry and a thorough investigation on his death. Parliament established a select committee of mostly Democratic-Republicans to investigate the death of Perry, including a testimony by the King himself.
On April 13, 1874, Isaiah Landon, a San Joaquinian senator delivered a speech in Bernheim, urging protesting citizens to take up arms and overthrow the monarchy. A close friend and political ally of Perry, Landon and his men led a mob to the Bernheim Armory Depot, seized its weapons, and occupied the local government seat and the San Joaquin Provincial Legislature Building. Swearing to ensure that Perry's wish for a republic to be fulfilled, Landon delivered his famous speech, known as the Bernheim Address, decrying the king's alleged grievances.
"Through the course of recent events most peculiar to this nation, never have I witnessed here a greater offense against the people by the King then now. A murderer, a wily dog in robes dared laid hands on the people's elected, in cold blood. We impugned the King our queries, and he had only returned our earnest favors a dismissal of contempt and silence. After repeated injuries against the interests of the common man, we demand the return of power to the people away from the hounds of the city and their wretched King. So as the noble French have done, off with his head!"—Isaiah Landon, Bernheim Address (1874)
Unilaterally declaring the "Second California Republic", news of Landon's revolt spread within days as others throughout the nation took up arms. A provisional government was established, and Landon headed the Executive Council, with himself as its chairman. Taking two days to reach the capital in Porciúncula, the King declared a state of emergency and ordered an armed response to quash the revolt.
Within days, the provinces of Tahoe, Reno, Santa Clara, and the Central Valley had seceded, joining the Second California Republic, pitting rebels and loyalists in the region. An independent paramilitary force of former Mexican-American War veterans and others with military experiences with republican sentiments formed the "Bear Flaggers", who led attacks against Sierran public and military buildings.
None of the secessions that took place during the war were recognized following the war as valid by the Kingdom as the provincial governments in each were overthrown by force. In addition, the notion of secession itself was illegal at the time. The passage of the Fourth Amendment however, in response to the attempts, legalized secession through a legal pathway.
Course of the war
A large number of national troops comprised mainly of new recruits and volunteers were organized within days of the revolt in San Francisco City. Prime Minister Maxwell Gibson, who worked closely with Ulysses Perry and Perry's deputy prime minister and former acting prime minister Issac Johnson, commissioned two generals (John C. Frémont and Issac M. Johnson) to lead the first responding troops outside the rebellious provinces into the conflict. Parliament also authorized the military to establish temporary provisional governments over the rebellious provinces if they were successfully neutralized to restore the original local governments.
The first major battle between Monarchist troops and the Republicans occurred in the Battle of Silver Creek near San Jose, Santa Clara, on April 19, when hundreds of Republican troops led by Lieutenant Edmund York ambushed a line of about 2,000 Monarchists led by Colonel Tyler Eden who were heading towards the rebel provinces. The city of San Jose had just been taken over two days prior to the attack, and was originally intended to serve as a buffer town to delay Monarchist advancement. Caught by surprise, the Republicans decisively won the battle, with only 33 casualties while the Monarchists had over 400 including Colonel Eden himself who was killed while on horseback.
News of the battle was met with jubilant response for Republicans who believed independence was now definitively possible. Monarchists, who initially doubted the military capabilities of the Republicans and hoped for a quick-end to the rebellion, were shocked, and fearful of further, larger gains of the Republicans. Soon after, the main line of Monarchist troops led by General Frémont had crossed the Santa Cruz Mountains in late April and ventured into Republican territory.
Meanwhile, in southern Sierra, several uncoordinated Republican insurgents attempted to overthrow the local governments. The largest of these uprisings occurred in Porciúncula and San Diego where 2,000 and 1,200 rebels in each respective town violently led an insurrection. In the Porciúncula uprising, the rebels attempted to storm the Parliament Building and Occidental Palace, before the majority surrendered before national troops, resulting in a virtually bloodless rebellion. In San Diego, there was a minor skirmish between Republican rebels and national troops and police, resulting in the death of 43 rebels and 13 soldiers.
In May, Frémont's forces launched a major offensive against Republicans toward Bernheim and Fresno. The Republicans, who were stationed along the western front of the Second California Republic, engaged in a series of battles which yielded to the Monarchists' favor. Reaching as far south into the Republic as Newark, Frémont and his men were pushed back by a replenished force of 2,800 Republicans led by Colonel Phillip Pierce.
Under the orders of the Acting Prime Minister, General James Henry Carleton led a Monarchist force of 5,000 troops up San Joaquin Valley from Porciúncula to add military pressure against the Republic on the southern front, and to secure resources and towns the rebels would otherwise utilize to their benefit.
Anticipating a Monarchist wave from the south, Landon desired to intercept the advancement, cripple communication, and break up the railroads running between the north and south. Understanding the distance between the Republic and Porciúncula was the Monarchists' troops' vulnerability, he exploited this fact hoping his men could launch a surprise assault along the Monarchists' advancement from behind. Landon sent a main force of 3,000 men under the command of General Samuel Greene to meet the Monarchists. Under Greene, he divided his troops into four columns, marching within five miles of each other, sweeping Central Valley southward. In addition to this contingency, Landon sent a force of 250 cavalrymen and 500 footmen to shadow the main force, and flank the Monarchists on the side.
Meanwhile, Frémont and Pierce's combined forces attempted to retake Newark, slowly gaining ground over the course of a week. In what became known as the Siege of Newark, on May 13, Newark was overtaken by the Monarchists, and the Republicans were driven eastward, to defend the heart of the Republic. Although a tactical victory, Frémont and Pierce lost more men then the Republican forces, and were forced to halt military advancement until they could receive reinforcements. This decision would only help the Republicans, who had time to fortify their territory.
During the months of June and July, there was a de facto ceasefire between the Monarchists and Republicans, which saw only minimal skirmishes, the most notable of which involved an incident in Visalia when a small Monarchist regiment marched into Republican territory. The Kingdom, which needed the time and resources to recuperate from its losses, began formulating a more effective strategy in retaking the Republic with minimal losses.
As the Republic was entirely surrounded and landlocked by Sierra, Sierran lawmakers believed, much to the objection of military leadership, that the Republic would eventually surrender as access to external trade and resources crippled. The Republic on the other hand, also refrained from upsetting the peace, believing if it clenched on the Kingdom's largest farmlands, the Kingdom would be forced to surrender and grant the Republic independence. In addition, Britain began indirectly supporting the Republic through their naval blockade of Sierran ships outside maritime borders, declaring that its interests were threatened.
Open and armed hostilities broke out again in early August when a force of about 200 Republican militiamen incited a rebellion in the city of Concord, provoking Monarchist action. The Kingdom, which had not expected a Republican attack, prematurely responded by authorizing troops to enter Republican territory and resume military operations. Although the rebellion was an act done outside the channels of Republican leadership, Landon believed that the Republic was strong enough to fight the Kingdom head-on. Stationed in Bernheim, the Republic tried to build their own arms and ammunition as Kingdom-owned arms stolen from depots began to deplete. In addition, covert trade from outside supporters, particularly Britain and Brazoria allowed the Republic to sustain itself militarily. Without the threat of a food shortage, Landon invested much time in fastening the Republic's manufacturing and industrial capabilities. The two months the Republic had to recover also prompted Landon to end the ceasefire, hoping to turn in what would be a defensive front into an offensive campaign.
The Republic successfully repelled the Kingdom's advances into its territory, much thanks to the former Mexican-American War general-tactician Hubert Fisher, who ordered a small regiment of foot soldiers to lure the main Monarchist advances into the town of Gustine away from Merced, where the Republicans were rallying. Distracting and eluding the Monarchists, the Republican ragtag team delayed Monarchist advancement until the Republicans came back reinforced, surrounding the Monarchist men in Gustine. Surrounded, the Siege of Gustine lasted for five days as 3,200 Monarchists attempted to defend their position from a 5,500 strong Republican force. The Republicans eventually overcame the Monarchists, with as much as 2,000 casualties from both sides, and taking in over 1,000 prisoners. The success once again proved the strength of the Republicans and their existential threat to the Kingdom, and greatly boosted Republican morale. Upon hearing news of the Gustine siege, Landon believed that it was possible, and therefore now necessary that the Republic destroy the Kingdom completely.
In October, as the Monarchists tried again to break into but fail to take Republican land, Landon ambitiously ordered Generals Fisher and York (who had been promoted due to his exemplary service on the field) to capture San Francisco City with an 8,000-men army. By seizing the strategic naval port and eliminating the only major Monarchist-controlled city in northern Sierra, the Kingdom would be greatly crippled and pressure against the Republic would be immensely reduced. Fisher and York spent weeks training and equipping their armies, marching briefly from Bernheim before staying at Modesto.
Meanwhile, the Monarchist forces, having faced yet another major defeat in Gustine, switched to a more defensive strategy as Porciúncula began to lose confidence in retaking the Republic. Frémont was ordered to protect Monterey while Pierce was to be left stationed in San Francisco City as these two were the most likely Republican targets if attack. However, Acting Prime Minister Johnson made the mistake of believing Monterey was more vulnerable to attack. Johnson believed that if Monterey was attacked, it would completely separate the Kingdom from the north including San Francisco City and allow the Republicans to project its naval power to both sides. As a result, Monterey under Frémont wounded up being more fortified and defended than San Francisco City.
Fisher had suspected the Kingdom may have undervalued the defenses of San Francisco City in favor of Monterey, and believed that swift action up the San Francisco Peninsula and support from across the San Francisco Bay would entrap the northern stronghold. Fisher marched towards San Jose with 6,000 men while York led the other 2,000 upward to Mount Diablo where they would receive reinforcements and await Fisher's command in mid-November.
San Jose fell under siege on November 29 as Fisher's advances overtook the relatively under-defended town. The Monarchists and civilians within San Jose had anticipated Republican advancement, and so they had strung out miles of trenches and traps that would slow down incoming attacks. Halting advancement, Fisher brought in the artillery force to bombard San Jose. The city remained under siege for well over a week before surrendering, allowing Fisher to safely capture the city and adding about 800 city residents to his forces.
Into December, as Fisher marched northward into the peninsula, Landon ordered General Albert Sidney Johnston to seize Monterey to prevent Monarchist troops from going northward to assist San Francisco City. Johnston was given 4,000 men and was instructed to get to Monterey before the torrential rains January would bring. Beginning his march in mid-December, Johnston had at first disagreed with Landon's orders, believing the Republicans should seize Santa Cruz instead, fearing his arrival to Monterey may be too late when Frémont marches north.
Fisher, who had expected the insular region of the peninsula to be largely undefended, found himself engaged in at least five battles along the way from Monarchist outposts and particularly strong defenses. Halting his advances, Fisher stalled his troops San Mateo, 25 miles southeast of San Francisco City. As his men prepared for a siege, he sent scouts to survey the city to test the line, and found that the city had built a heavily fortified ten-foot wall outside city limits and estimated that as much as 10,000 soldiers and militamen could be waiting inside. However, upon additional excursions while approaching, Fisher found that the reports were grossly embellished, with the scouts as Monarchist sympathizers, fearing civilian loss of life. The scouts were relieved of their duty and placed under martial discipline, and Fisher discovered that the wall did in fact exist, but was incomplete in some areas and easy to overtake. In addition, Fisher found from examination atop San Bruno Mountain that much of the city's defenses were in the northernmost section of the peninsula at the Presidio. By taking advantage of the morning fog, Fisher would attack just before dawn on Christmas Eve.
In the early hours of Christmas Eve, Fisher led the charge into the city while on the other side of the Bay, York descended Mount Diablo and attacked the city of Oakland. The few soldiers on-watch in the city were caught off-guard as Republican forces rushed into the city, storming buildings and killing any who resisted. By sunrise, much of the city was under occupation and the only Monarchist stronghold left was the Presidio where they were pent up in the King's estate and former home, the Palace-by-the-Bay.
Fires were exchanged throughout the day as the Republicans attempted to enter the Presidio area, which had been fortified and well-stocked with supplies and ammunition. As it would be called, the Siege of the Presidio lasted for over a week, into the new year, as the Monarchists under the command of Phillip Pierce defiantly fended off their post from Fisher's forces. A temporary ceasefire was arranged on New Year's Eve as the less-experienced Republican forces grew exhausted. In the meantime, Fisher declared the city under the control of the Republic and proclaimed that the citizens were "emancipated from the tyranny of the King".
On New Year's, the truce expired and fighting resumed as the Republicans wrestled for control against the Monarchists. In Oakland, the troops under York occupied the city and seized the Royal Navy vessels docked there, using them to move across the Bay and add naval pressure on the Monarchists in the Presidio. With communication lines cut, the Monarchists had no choice but to hunker down for a few weeks before Monarchists from the south would eventually come to help them.
When York's fleet arrived, the ships moved into the Golden Gate, harassing the Presidio's exposed side and forcing the Monarchists to fight a two-sided battle. By mid-January, the Monarchists' supplies had finally depleted, and a breach in the defenses led to the Republicans storming in and capturing the Palace, signifying the end of the Peninsula Campaign.
During the Peninsula Campaign, General Albert Sidney Johnston under the orders of Chairman Landon marched towards Monterey where they would launch an offensive campaign against the forces of Frémont. As couriers from the north informed Johnston that San Francisco was being captured, Johnston believed Monarchists had already known and Frémont's troops were heading northward. Originally planning to take Santa Cruz first, on the chance Frémont was there, Landon had disapproved of the plan and ordered that Johnston prioritize Monterey first. When Johnston arrived to Gilroy, he had a change of heart and decided to head to Santa Cruz, defying Landon's orders. Unbeknownst to Johnston, but right to his deductions, Frémont was marching northward with a majority of his troops, having heard of the attacks in the province of San Francisco.
Johnston and Frémont's troops encountered each other at Santa Cruz, triggering the four-day long First Battle of Santa Cruz, which was one of the deadliest battles of the war, resulting in over 2,500 casualties in total. Johnston's troops simply overwhelmed Frémont's men, forcing Frémont to retreat back to Monterey, unable to come to San Francisco City's aid. Johnston pursued the weary troops of Frémont, engaging in a brief battle in Monterey, where Johnston once again emerged victorious and expelled Frémont's troops from northern Sierra.
With virtually all Monarchist troops expelled from northern Sierra, Landon shifted his focus from maintaining the Republic in the north to completely eliminating the Kingdom entirely. Impressed by the successes of Albert Sidney Johnston, Landon entrusted him in leading the first offensive force in the southern expedition. Landon hoped that by showing brute force in the south, he would inspire those with Republican sentiments there, demoralize the Kingdom, and force it to surrender and the King to abdicate. Johnston rallied a new brigade of 4,000 soldiers composed of both fresh recruits and war veterans from the Monterey Campaign and began his march towards Porciúncula on April 19.
Folly at Tejon Pass
Fully aware of Republican plans to rush into the Southwest Corridor, Prime Minister Gibson mustered a force of 5,000 volunteers under General Roderigo Alvarez who were ready to defend the Kingdom at Tejon Pass, an important and wide mountain pass linking Central Valley with southern Sierra through the Tehachapi Mountains. Although the trek was difficult, the Monarchists arrived two days before the Johnston and his forces approached the pass. Frémont, who returned with his men, split into two groups: one that would assist Alvarez's men, and the other led by Frémont on their march back to defend Porciúncula.
Johnston finally arrived on April 23, unaware of the ambush ahead. Operating under the assumption that all of the Monarchists were waiting further south in San Fernando Valley, Johnston was prepared to spend three days for his men to rest and camp before battling. Although Johnston was known to be quite cautious when marching into unfamiliar territory, he made the mistake of failing to send scouts to survey the area. This miscalculation proved deadly, and when Johnston's men entered Tejon Pass, they were attacked at both sides by Monarchist troops who had prepared dynamite and other crowd-control weapons. Overwhelmed, Johnston's men were trapped by debris that blocked the northern end of the pass, and another contingent force attacked the Republicans who were separated from Johnston's front lines. Divided and with Johnston himself killed in the initial explosion, the Monarchists emerged victorious and executed many of the captives.
The casualties on the Republican side were exceptionally high with estimates upward to 2,500 killed, most being crushed by debris or obliterated by the ambushing dynamite. The Monarchists only suffered about 78 casualties, mostly those who were killed in the blasts as well or ensuing but brief crossfire. The prisoners of war who were spared were brought back to the capital, and news of the success were meant with a reinvigorated sense of confidence and morale. Emboldened for having wiped out one of Landon's best forces, Gibson made the order to Frémont to retake the north and capture Landon himself.
Southern Valley Campaign
Retreating and leaderless, the Republicans decided to perform a scorched earth escape, in hopes of delaying Monarchist advances. Setting ablaze miles of farmland and homes, Monarchist forces were forced to either circumnavigate the flames, and risk losing track of enemy movement, or extinguish the flames and remaining highly vulnerable. Gibson elected to navigate through the flames, instructing his men to stop the fires, and assist and recruit any townspeople who were affected by the fires. The first major settlement re-captured was Bakersfield, with citizens complaining that republican forces had burned through their crops, and ransacked their possessions. Monarchist and Republican forces met each other again near the town of Delano, with Gibson's men defeating the Republicans, successfully securing Southern Central Valley.
With the southern territories of the Central Valley secured, Gibson and Fremont decided to pursue the remaining republican forces located in Visalia and Fresno counties, both of which were the only remaining territories of the Central Valley that remain under republican control. Visalia county was the first to be attacked and was subjected to an offensive lead by General Gibson and began on May 17th and attacked republican forces from the north. Fremont attacked from the south at Fresno country two days later and the two men ordered their forces to route and encircle the republican troops into a large pocket that they can control and subject to a large siege. The encirclement worked as the republican forces were still leaderless and relied on guerrilla attacks from the UFF and parts of Fisher's Army to slow down the advance. In an act of desperation, republican officers conscripted locals into their ranks and forced them to fight off the monarchist forces and were able to hold out, but were surrounded and cut off by the beginning of June. The pocket was surrounded and the monarchist troops received fresh supplies while the republicans used up what little they had and under the pressure from the summer heat and no central leadership, capitulated and surrendered on July 18th ending the campaign and handing the Central Valley over to the kingdom.
The second year of the war started off bad for the republicans as their forced in Central Valley had been routed and destroyed with most of the forces stationed there either being killed, wounded or captured with only a fraction ever escaping the encirclement. Due to the lost forces making up a sizable percentage of the Bear Flaggers and UFF militias, both groups were re-assigned as home guard and second line units with only Fisher's Army and the New Republican Army remaining on the field to engage the monarchist forces in a conventional war. Republican losses began to take its toll and the Executive Council passed the Emergency Conscription Resolution ordering citizens of the republic between the ages of 16 and 51 to register for potential conscription and almost no exceptions were made meaning anyone regardless of race, religion, social status and even gender was subjected to forced military service as a means of compensating for depleting manpower issues ravaging the republican armies.
While the Second California Republic was attempting to muster up new forces, the monarchists received fresh reinforcements and generals Gibson and Fremont were now given the opportunity to march into the Styxie, the republic's heartland, but had other objectives to take first before they could reach the gates of Bernheim. General Gibson was tasked with retaking the province of San Francisco while General Fremont was tasked with marching north towards Santa Clara and into San Joaquin afterwards. If both men achieved their objectives, the two of them would surround San Joaquin's western and southern borders and be able to surround and lay siege to Bernheim.
In February 1876, General Fremont commanded the 2nd Infantry Corps and 4th Artillery Corps and was ordered to march into Santa Clara and capture Merced County. Once the county was captured, he was to stop and await new supplies and the arrival of Gibson's forces and other fresh reinforcements from San Francisco and the Peninsula once both were retaken by the Royal Army and Navy. The campaign began on February 13th and began with the crossing of royalist troops from the Central Valley into Santa Clara and well into the Merced County. The first wave of republican reinforcements had arrived as Edmund York now commanded the 17th and 22nd Infantry Divisions as part of the 2nd Santa Clara Regional Army and was tasked with facing off Fremont's 2nd Infantry Cops.
Liberation of the Peninsula
By the start of 1877, San Francisco was retaken and Monarchist forces successfully landed in the liberated province and began marching towards Bernheim as both the city and the entire province of San Joaquin were left vulnerable. The retreat of republicans forces from San Francisco came as a result of the early defeats and combined with republican troops stuck at the Central Valley, Bernheim's defense was weak and the only force capable of defending the city was Fisher's Army. General Fisher recruited and drafted thousands of native San Joaquiners and Bernheim residents into his army and created a large system of trenches and defenses to hold off against the oncoming monarchist assault. The campaign began a long protracted siege that lasted for three months and only ended after Landon abandoned the city and the remnants of the republican armies fled after their decisive defeats at the Central Valley and the province fell to the monarchists. Bernheim was left in ruins and fell to the monarchists by March 27th.
Pursuit for Landon
After the loss of San Francisco and his forces stranded and encircled at the Central Valley, Landon and his cabinet began to evacuate Bernheim knowing that he couldn't stay. He fled up north towards Reno and on the fringes of Shasta where he established a "temporary capital". Landon sought to create a government-in-exile to receive international support for his government and could continue the fight against the monarchists to abolish the monarchy. His first try was at Rainier where he believed he had a chance due to British support for Landon and the republicans. General Fremont was tasked with capturing Landon and lead the campaigns to pursue him such as the Bernheim Campaign, Central Valley Campaign, and later the final offensives that lead to Landon's surrender. The chase for Landon was halted due to the Siege of Bernheim and attacks from the UFF.
Central Valley Campaign
Battle of Indian Wells
Capitulation of Isaiah Landon
Support for the Monarchists
Brazoria primarily provided material and logistical support to the Monarchists during the course of the Civil War. The official government policy towards the Civil War was one of support for what was described at the time as the "rightful government of Sierra," that is, the Monarchy and its associated institutions; this position was taken due to the strong relationships which had been established between Brazorian and Sierran political elites at the time. The number of Brazorian volunteers to Sierran Monarchists was high enough that they self-organised into a small expeditionary force in September, 1874, known as the Brazorian Crown Legion, which was composed of some 3,000 ground troops, mostly skilled cavalrymen and sharpshooters. Upon the conclusion of the war, some of the Crown Legion remained in Sierra on land which had been confiscated from Republican officers. The remainder returned to Brazoria and helped establish the Crown of the Brazos Movement, a minor political campaign which sought to establish a monarchy in Brazoria. Though the lasting effects of the Crown movement were minimal, with the majority of its support dying out in the 1890s, the veterans of the Crown Legion were honoured in both Brazoria and Sierra.
Despite having been defeated by Sierra during the War of Contingency, the United Commonwealth supported the monarchists during the war due to the government's fear of the Landonist revolution spreading to the Commonwealth's borders. Landon's revolutionary ideology and the new state he created in the form of the Second California Republic worried the Commonwealth government under the control of the Federalist Party and sought to prevent a potential revolution from spreading to the country by supplying arms to the monarchist forces. Despite the official support to the monarchists, elements of the Commonwealth government favored supporting the republicans citing Sierra's intervention in the Contingency War and blamed them for preventing the restoration of the United States.
Support for the Republicans
The Conservative British government of Benjamin Disraeli did not officially recognize the republic, but from the offset of the war imposed a naval blockade over Sierra whilst shipping arms and other equipment to republican forces. When Sierran foreign minister Morris Wiggins confronted his British counterpart, the Earl of Derby over the blockade, he was dismissed, with Derby stating that Sierra's war was harming British trading interests in the region, and that Britain would only lift the naval blockade if the Sierran government moved to negotiate with the rebels and end the hostilities. Britain lifted the blockade following the surrender of Isaiah Landon.
During the war, thousands of citizens from across Anglo-America and other parts of the world flocked to Sierra to volunteer in the armed forces of the Second California Republic and to fight for the Republican cause. These volunteers were organized into the Volunteer Army and were lead by various officers from their respective countries who led their respective units while the whole army were lead by Styxie-born officers. They were used in the various campaigns the republican forces fought in during the war including the Central Valley Campaign and the Bernheim Campaign towards the end of the war. After the war, the surviving volunteers returned home, though many stayed behind and moved to the Styxie in hopes of keeping the republican cause alive in the future despite the monarchists' victory in the war.
War crime trials
Sierran Civil War Memorial
The Sierran Civil War Memorial is a 30-feet tall cenotaph made out of marble and granite located in the Sierran Civil War Memorial and Museum Center near the City Square of Bernheim. The cenotaph, which features brass statues of Civil War soldiers and honorary inscriptions, was commemorated in 1927 on the 50th anniversary of the war's end. The Center itself contains over hundreds of artifacts, documents, articles of clothing, equipment, paintings, and weapons of the Civil War. In addition, the Museum features a room bearing over 20,000 names on all four sides of its walls of both Monarchist and Republican soldiers who were killed during the war.
Portrayal in popular culture
The Sierran Civil War has been a popular subject of interest in Sierran culture, and its events have been portrayed in various films, books, songs, and television shows.
- The book Tales from the Farm (1917) tells the story of a soldier of the UFF during the war.
- The war drama film, For King and Country (1941) covers the early stages of the war from the perspective of a Royalist soldier.
- Farm Boy (1967) is an adaptation of Tales from the Farm and is about a UFF soldier during the late stages of the war.
- Landon's Last Stand (1977) tells the story of his final surrender and capitulation at the end of the civil war.