Smoke Creek Cemetery

Smoke Creek Cross 1981

On April 29, 2015, I wrote a post concerning Camp Smoke Creek, a military post of the 1860s, and this is a follow up on that topic.

One remnant of Camp Smoke Creek is a small cemetery that was established on the hillside across the creek from the camp for the four soldiers who died there while in service. On January 18, 1863, Pvt. John Smith Co C2 Calif Cav died from gunshots at Deep Hole, Nevada, over an argument with his commanding officer Second Lt Henry W. Williams. On November 9, 1863, Pvt. Gustavus W. Platt Co. C2 Calif Cav died of typhoid fever at Smoke Creek. On July 3, 1864, Sergeant William McCoy, age 28, died from an unknown illness. On November 17, 1865, Pvt. David O’Connell Co. B2 Calif. Cav was killed in action at the Pine Forest battle near Black Rock.

Soldier’s grves at Smoke Creek, March 15, 1964. Left to Right: Frances Amesbury, Mary Morrill and Gil Morrill. Courtesy of Gil Morrill

Nearly a 100 years after the last internment, members of the Lassen County Historical Society went to locate this site. In 1964, on their first excursion they located it. Over time they decided that something needed to be done as a memorial. In June 1968, they ventured again, this time erecting a large cross on the hillside.

Phil Lord and Bob Amesbury at work putting up the cross, June 1968. Courtesy of Gil Morrill
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