19th Century Military


Camp Cady – 1863, Rudolph D’Heureuse

The 19th century was a period of significant expansion and change in the United States, and the military played a crucial role in securing and maintaining control over newly acquired territories. The Mojave Desert was part of this expansion in the southwestern United States. Here are some key points about the military in the Mojave Desert during the 19th century:

  1. Mexican-American War (1846-1848): The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo 1848 ended the Mexican-American War and ceded a large portion of territory, including the Mojave Desert, to the United States. The U.S. Army played a central role in the conquest and occupation of these new territories.
  2. California Gold Rush (1848-1855): The discovery of gold in California in 1848 led to a massive influx of settlers and prospectors. This increased population in the region and the military was tasked with maintaining order, protecting settlers from Native American resistance, and resolving conflicts among different groups.
  3. Mormon Pioneer Expeditions: In the mid-19th century, Mormon pioneers, led by Brigham Young, established a series of settlements in what is now Utah and the surrounding areas, including parts of the Mojave Desert. The military presence was important for maintaining peace and resolving disputes between the settlers and other groups.
  4. Butterfield Overland Mail Route: In the late 1850s, the Butterfield Overland Mail Company established a stagecoach route through the Mojave Desert, connecting the eastern and western coasts. The U.S. Army protected the mail coaches and stations along the route.
  5. Civil War (1861-1865): During the Civil War, many military forces were withdrawn from the western frontier to participate in the conflict. This temporarily reduced the military presence in the Mojave Desert. Additionally, the Confederate Army briefly invaded Arizona and New Mexico territories, which included parts of the Mojave Desert.
  6. Indian Wars: The 19th century saw conflicts between the U.S. military and various Native American tribes in the Mojave Desert region. The military was involved in efforts to control and relocate Native American populations.
  7. Fort Mojave: Established in 1859, Fort Mojave played a significant role in the military’s presence in the Mojave Desert. It served as a base for operations against local Native American tribes and protected settlers and travelers.
  8. Railroad Construction: The late 19th century also saw the construction of railroads through the Mojave Desert. The military played a role in ensuring the security of railroad workers and the transportation of goods.

Overall, the military presence in the Mojave Desert during the 19th century was shaped by the expansion of the United States, the Gold Rush, conflicts with Native American tribes, and the development of transportation routes across the region.