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Welcome to Drum Barracks

Welcome to Drum Barracks

Located in Wilmington, California, Drum Barracks Civil War Museum is housed in the last remaining original wooden building of the 22 structures built as a military post during the Civil War in the Los Angeles area. Drum Barracks, named after Lt. Col. Richard Coulter Drum, Adjutant General of the Department of the Pacific in San Francisco, served as the Union Army headquarters for Southern California and the Arizona Territory from 1861-1871. Please enjoy exploring our past and our present.

Closed for Special Event 2/24 and 2/28

Closed for Special Event 2/24 and 2/28

The museum will be closed the following days...

Saturday, February 24 and Wednesday, February 28





The third largest Civil War library in California!

The McDowell Library is available to researchers, requires an appointment, so researchers may be assisted in utilizing the wide variety of resources that comprise the collections. To inquire about using the library, please call the Museum at 310-548-7509.

The collection includes the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies and Navies, and the Supplement to the Official Records.

  • Welcome to Drum Barracks

    Welcome to Drum Barracks

  • Closed for Special Event 2/24 and 2/28

    Closed for Special Event 2/24 and 2/28

  • Library


Drum Barracks Highlights artifacts, exhibits & historical figures...

Gatling Gun

Dr. Richard Gatling, who designed and patented the gun in 1861...

1864 Steinway square grand piano

Square Piano

The Museum's square or box piano was built in 1869 by Steinway...

Dunbar autograph book

Dunbar Autograph Book

This autograph book, with signatures collected by Gilbert Edwin Dunbar, contains...

34-star flag

34-Star Flag

This 34-star flag was hand made during the Civil War and was found on the...


Did You Know... frequently asked questions

Due to special programming the museum will be closed:

Saturday, February 24 and Wednesday, February 28

Find Us:

1052 N. Banning Boulevard, Wilmington, CA 90744
(310) 548-7509
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Public Tour Schedule

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday
10:00 am and 11:30 am

Saturday and Sunday
11:30 am and 1:00 pm

The Drum Barracks Civil War Museum is closed to the public Monday and Friday.

There are no self guided tours, the only way to view the museum is on a guided tour.
A $5 donation is requested per person, children under 12 are free.

Reservations are required for groups of six or more.  Appointments are required to use our research library.  Call 310.548.7509 for an appointment.  

Dunbar Autograph Book and Commissions


A gift from the estate of Edwin Sargent Dunbar, Jr., this extraordinary leather-bound autograph book contains signatures gathered from 1862 to 1916 by his great-grandfather, Captain G. Edwin Dunbar, including:

  • 50 Union generals including Sherman, Rosecrans, Hooker, Burnside, Meade, Custer, Sheridan, Kilpatrick, Wheeler, Thomas, Slocum, and Bragg
  • Presidents William Howard Taft, Ulysses S. Grant and Rutherford B. Hayes
  • Admiral George Dewey
  • Celebrities of the time such as W.T. "Buffalo Bill" Cody, William Jennings Bryan, Helen Keller and actor Edwin Booth (brother of President Abraham Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth)
  • Confederate General J. B. Gordon

The book also contains a fragment of a star shot from the flag of the 13th Michigan Volunteer Infantry and the envelope that contained the final flag of truce letter from Gen. Joseph E. Johnston to General J. Kilpatrick, which was carried by Dunbar.

Also in the Dunbar Estate gift are two commissions. The first is that of his great-grandfather, our autograph collector, naming G. Edwin Dunbar as Assistant Regimental Quartermaster with the rank of Captain, dated March 1864, signed by President Abraham Lincoln and Secretary of War Edward Stanton.

The second is that of his great-great-grandfather; the New York State Ensign's Commission of John Dunbar, dated November 9, 1793, signed by Governor George Clinton and Secretary of State Louis A. Scott.

The signatures in this autograph book were collected from 1862 to 1916 by G. Edwin Dunbar, a Union Officer.  Dunbar served with the 13th Michigan Volunteer Cavalry under General T. J Wood, rising to the rank of Captain and Assistant Quartermaster, U. S. Volunteers.

As Chief Quartermaster of the Cavalry Command of the Army of Georgia under General Sherman, he went on the march to the sea, through Atlanta, the Carolinas and Virginia to Washington. Dunbar asked only Generals and important celebrities of the time to sign in his book.

Gatling Gun

The Gatling gun was designed and patented in 1861 by Dr. Richard Gatling, who intended to make the war so terrible it would end quickly. But the gun was used very little in the Civil War.

This is a .45 caliber long Gatling gun of 1875. It used a four man crew, has ten barrels and could shoot up to 350 rounds per minute, controlled by the speed of the gunner turning the crank. The clip held approximately 30 rounds. Originally on an 1883 brass naval ship mount, today it sits on a reproduction Army carriage.

The Army gun and Naval mount were originally purchased by the Wilmington Cemetery Association and mounted in the Wilmington Cemetery in 1924. While in the cemetery, someone tried to load and fire the gun; a .32 caliber bullet became lodged the wrong way in one of the barrels. Vandals cut the gun from its cement foundation and it disappeared in 1962…until seven years later, when it was found dismantled, in a San Pedro dump! It was turned over to the police, who contacted the Society for the Preservation of Drum Barracks and the Wilmington Cemetery and it was identified as the missing gun by the .32 bullet still stuck in one of the barrels. It was kept in the basement of the Banning House, restored in the 1970s, and donated to the Society for Preservation of Drum Barracks. It has been on display since the Drum Barracks Civil War Museum opened in 1987.

Ladies Morning Wrapper

The Civil War era ladies morning wrapper is made of Paisley printed wool and cotton challis, and dates to 1860-1870. It was donated by Toni Van Beveran, who is pictured with the display in the Officer's Bedroom.

Wrappers were the nineteenth century equivalent of the modern house robe and were one of the few types of clothing that provided a woman some relief from the typically constricting and multi-layered garments of the day such as the corset and hoop skirt.  Generally worn in the morning before dressing, it was also worn by ladies who would nap in the afternoon to escape the summer heat or to rest before the evening's activities.

Although surviving garments of this nature are found in all types of fabrics from calicos to silks, the most popular styles during the mid-19th century were made of paisley challis, as is this example.

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California and the Civil War
California and the Civil War
Drum Barracks Events
Remembrance Day
Remembrance Day
Nov. 17, 2018 | 2 pm
A Civil War Christmas
A Civil War Christmas
Dec. 1-2, 2018 | 11 am - 4 pm
Civil War Book Club
Civil War Book Club
2nd Tuesday of the month

Drum Barracks logo Drum Barracks Civil War Museum
U.S. Army Headquarters for Southern California and Arizona Territory, 1862-1871
City of Los Angeles Historic Monument #21, 1963
State of California Historical Landmark #69, 1935
National Register of Historic Places, 1971