At first glance it might seem that the Confederacy had no assets to threaten the West. Actually, the reverse might be stated, the U.S. had little assets to defend the vast land mass of western United States and the Pacific. Over 1 million square miles of land in the west in 1860 were divided up into 5 military departments, TX, N.M., UT, OR, and CA. The Secretary of War reported that on June 20, 1860 12,984 federal troops were stationed in the west. Most were withdrawn east and replaced with new recruits, the majority of which came from California. The gold steamers were vulnerable like a child with candy, the U.S. Pacific fleet consisted of only a few ships.
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