Wandering Lizard
Northeastern California

An Online Magazine with Information relating to attractions, lodging, dining,
and travel resources in selected areas of California

Siskiyou County
Lava Beds National Monument
Gillem's Camp

Gillem's Camp and Gillem's Bluff are named after a prominent Civil War commander that was influential in the Captain Jack Affair for about 24 days. Alvan Cullem Gillem had distinguished himself for bravery in several Civil War battles and held the rank of Brevet Major General of Tennessee Volunteers at the end of the war. Following the war, he was mustered out of the Volunteers and assigned to the Regular Army with the rank of Colonel. On April 2,1873, Colonel Gillem was placed in command of all Army units besieging Captain Jack's band of Modoc Indians in the Lava Beds. He replaced Lieutenant Colonel Frank Wheaton. Up to that point in the conflict, the army had failed to dislodge the Modoc from their position in the Stronghold and had lost an unacceptable number of people trying. Wheaton was held to be responsible for the inadequate performance of the troops.

On April 11, 1873, General Canby was murdered by Captain Jack while attempting to negotiate a peaceful end to the conflict. On April 15, Colonel Gillem ordered a full scale attack on the Modoc position. On April 16, the Army succeeded in cutting the Modoc off from their access to water. That night, the Modoc successfully exited their position without the Army being aware of their movement. On April 17, Gillem's troopers entered the Stronghold unopposed. Gillem was not credited with having flushed the Modoc out of the Stronghold so much as he was criticized for having failed to destroy them. On April 26, a unit of Gillem's force, in pursuit of Captain Jack, was ambushed and suffered heavy losses in what became known as the Battle of Sand Butte. Immediately following that clash, Colonel Gillem was accused of having mismanaged his forces and was removed from command. He was replaced by his immediate superior in the chain of command, the Department of the Columbia Commander, Colonel Jefferson C. Davis (no relation to the former President of the Confederacy).

There is the skeletal remains of the Army encampment at the foot of the bluff and a trail to the top of the bluff is nearby. The hike up is short and relatively easy and the view from the top of the bluff is one of the very best in the entire Monument.

Gillem's Camp

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Gillem's Camp


Lava Beds National Monument
Gillem's Bluff | Big Painted Cave | Fleener Chiminies | Black Crater | Whitney Butte
Valentine Cave | Hospital Rock | Captain Jack's Stronghold | Petroglyph Point | Modoc Indian War
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