Camp Yosemite

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Camp Yosemite (1891-1913) - A seasonal U.S. Army Camp established as Camp near Wawona or Detachment at Yosemite National Park in 1891 by Captain Abram E. Wood (Cullum 2424), 4th U.S. Cavalry. The camp was established in Yosemite National Park, Madera County, California, to protect the park. Renamed Camp A.E. Wood in 1901 after the first park superintendent, Captain Wood. Moved and renamed Camp Yosemite in May 1907. Discontinued in 1916.

Camp Yosemite History

Established by Captain Abram E. Wood, 4th U.S. Cavalry in 1891 to protect the national park from visitors and ranchers grazing cattle and sheep. The U.S. Army involvement included the administration of the park and the commanding officer of the Camp also functioned as the Park Superintendent. The army provided small detachments at outlying points to assist and control visitors and trespassers. Over the years the U.S. Army also built an infrastructure of camps, roads and trails to support the increasing numbers of visitors and their own operations. Eventually the camp came to be a semipermanent facility. The U.S. Army presence in the park was from May through October each year and in their absence a limited number of civilian rangers patrolled the park.

Access to the park from the south was controlled through a check point established at a stagecoach change station that came to be known as Fort Monroe, named for one of the stagecoach drivers. This was not a military post although the checkpoint appears to have been manned by the soldiers from Camp A.E. Wood.

In 1905 Camp A.E. Wood was upgraded with several permanent buildings including a kitchen and a mess hall. In 1906 the camp was moved into the Yosemite Valley and later renamed Camp Yosemite in May 1907. The new camp site was a mix of tent and permanent structures that now included a small hospital for both military and civilian use.

The seasonal military garrison usually arrived at Yosemite in the first part of May and departed Yosemite at the end of October. The method of travel was usually by march, covering some 20 to 30 miles a day with stops at towns and local ranches along the route. The 1912 march to Yosemite was the last one documented in the post returns and included the following detail:

Troops C & D, 1st U.S. Cavalry left the Presidio of San Francisco at 2:00 a.m. April 22, 1912:

1912 March from the Presidio of San Francisco to Camp Yosemite
  • 22 Apr 1912 San Mateo - 22 Miles
  • 23 Apr 1912 Santa Clara - 27 Miles
  • 24 Apr 1912 Marane Hill - 22 Miles
  • 25 Apr 1912 Wilson's Ranch - 19 Miles
  • 26 Apr 1912 San Luis Ranch - 29 Miles
  • 27 Apr 1912 Los Banos - 14 Miles
  • 28 Apr 1912 Dos Palos Ranch - 20 Miles
  • 29 Apr 1912 New Columbia Ranch - 14 Miles
  • 30 Apr 1912 Madera - 20 Miles
  • 2 May 1912 Raymond - 23 Miles
  • 3 May 1912 Ahwahnee - 22 Miles
  • 4 May 1912 Wawona - 22 Miles
  • 5 May 1912 Camp Yosemite - 26 Miles

They marched a total of 280 miles to Camp Yosemite arriving 5 May 1912. The garrison departed the post at the end of October 1912 and returned to the Presidio.

The Camp Yosemite garrison departed the camp for the last time 10 Jul 1913 per Special Order 173 and the operation was turned over to a civilian manager, Gabriel Sovulewski, and five full time rangers.


Camp Yosemite Partial Commanders List (edit list)
Assumed Relieved Rank Name Cullum Notes
1891 1893  Capt. Wood, Abram E. 2424 I Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry Camp Near Wawona
1894 1894  Capt. Gale, G. H. G. 2769 C Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry Camp A.E. Wood
1895 1895  Capt. Rogers, Alexander N/A K Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry Camp A.E. Wood
1896 1896 •Lt. Col. Young, S.M.B. N/A B Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry Camp A.E. Wood
1897 1897  Capt. Rogers, Alexander N/A K Troop, 4th U.S. Cavalry Camp A.E. Wood
1898 1898  Capt. Caine, Joseph E. N/A Camp A.E. Wood
1899 1899 Lieutenant McMasters, W.H. N/A 24th U.S. Infantry Camp A.E. Wood
1899 1899 Lieutenant Forse, William N/A 3rd U.S. Artillery Camp A.E. Wood
1899 1899  Capt. Wilcox, Elon F. N/A F Troop, 6th U.S. Cavalry Camp A.E. Wood
1900 1900 ”Maj. Rucker, L.H. N/A F Troop, 6th U.S. Cavalry Camp A.E. Wood
1901 1901 ”Maj. Craig, Louis A. 2541 H Troop, 15th U.S. Cavalry Camp A.E. Wood
1903 1903 •Lt. Col. Garrard, Joseph 2478 K & L Troops, 9th U.S. Cavalry Camp A.E. Wood
1904 1904 •Lt. Col. Bigelow, John 2686 C & D Troops, 9th U.S. Cavalry Camp A.E. Wood
1905 1906  Capt. Benson, Harry C. 2938 K & M Troops, 4th U.S. Cavalry Camp A.E. Wood
1907 1908 ”Maj. Benson, Harry C. 2938 I & M Troops, 4th U.S. Cavalry Camp Yosemite
1909 1909 ”Maj. Forsyth, William W. 2953 I & M Troops, 14th U.S. Cavalry Camp Yosemite
1910 1910 ”Maj. Forsyth, William W. 2953 D & K Troops, 1st U.S. Cavalry Camp Yosemite
1911 1912 ”Maj. Forsyth, William W. 2953 C & D Troops, 1st U.S. Cavalry Camp Yosemite
1912 1912 ”Maj. Littebrant, William T. 3278 A & B Troops, 1st U.S. Cavalry Camp Yosemite
Dates are formatted in yyyy-mm-dd to sort correctly.
The Cullum Number is the graduation order from the United States Military Academy by year and class rank and links to a page for the officer on the website version of the Cullum Register. Listings without a Cullum Number indicate that the person was not a graduate of the United States Military Academy.

Current Status

Yosemite National Park near Wawona, Madera County, California.

Location: Yosemite National Park near Wawona, Madera County, California. Map point may not be accurate.

Maps & Images

Lat: 37.5390137 Long: -119.6557528

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