Civil War Chapman Plot - March 15, 1863 - San Francisco : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

On March 15, 1863, San Francisco police arrested the 15-man Confederate crew of the schooner J.M. Chapman, disrupting their plan to prey on Union ships as privateers. The men were imprisoned at Alcatraz and released after the Civil War. One of them, Thomas Egenton Hogg, came to Oregon and raised millions as "Colonel" Hogg of the Confederacy to build the Corvallis and Yaquina Bay Railroad Company in order to ship Willamette Valley grain and timber to California. The line went bust many times. The "Colonel" bankrupted his backers and supposedly spent more than $15 million for little more than 100 miles of track. He died of "apoplexy" while riding a street car in Philadelphia in 1896.

I'm looking for original and secondary accounts of this incident as well as any extant photographs because it makes for an interesting footnote to my own original research about the development of roads and trails across the mountains. All I wanted to do was develop background material supporting establishment of a 70-mile mountain bike trail from Corvallis to the Pacific Ocean, but I've gotten sidetracked with interesting western lore and lost history that involves the usual mix of heroes and villains and scalawags. It's such a good story that it deserves an online telling, especially since I've been able to unearth many original photographs to illustrate the presentation.

Thanks to all involved for developing and presenting the extraordinary material and pages that brought me to this cgi form. The c2seaTRAIL will be an epic ride, and it'll be the first mountain bike race on the West Coast in which the winner will have a chance to be eaten by a great white shark at the finish line.

-- Dennis Cowals (, August 05, 2001


A rather one-sided account of the CHAPMAN incident was written by one of the leaders in his autobiography "The Great Diamond Hoax and Other Stirring Episodes in the Life of Asbury Harpending" by (surprise) Asbury Harpending. Edited by James Wilkins, published by James H. Barry Co, San Francisco, CA, 1913.

-- John Martini (, August 06, 2001.

Read with interest your account of the Chapman incident. My great, great grandfather was Thomas Bell Poole, one of the 15 secessionists who attempted to seize the ship. After leaving Alcatraz, where his son J.E. says he was made to "pack sand for punishment," he with others from the original group went to San Jose, rreorganized and started South overland. In the Sierra Nevada Mountains between Placerville and the Straawberry Valley House, they stopped the Overland Stages. The shotgun messengers and deputy sheriffs opened fire, a deputy sheriff was killed and my great ,great grandfather was disable. The rest got away. He was arrested, brought to Placerville, tried for his life and in 1865 was executed. There is a record of the trial. This is all I have right now. Would love to the see any photos and read any other accounts of the lives of the group of 15.

-- Ann Wyckoff Carlos (, December 25, 2002.

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