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V. THE GOLD BLUFFS (continued)


The premium paid for gold during the Civil War years caused operations to be resumed at the Gold Bluffs, as well as other points between Trinidad and Port Orford, Oregon, where "auriferous sands" were found. In commenting on this development, the editors of the Alta California observed that these bluffs bore a resemblance to the "auriferous hills of Nevada, which are now being washed away by the hydraulic process. Along the beach a natural hydraulic washing has been in progress for thousands of years."

At Gold Bluffs a company posted a beach-watch, and whenever they discovered black spots on the seacoast, it was reported to the superintendent. Preparations were made to begin work. The mules were loaded with their saddlebags and led to the shore. Men and mules then waited for the surf to strike the bluffs and recede. As the sea tide ebbed, leaving the beach uncovered, the miners led their mules out at a fast trot. The men then filled the saddlebags and beat a hasty retreat in advance of the breakers.

They then deposited the sand at the washhouse, where it was washed in a wooden box, with a big hole in the bottom, positioned under a ten-foot waterfall. A large round stone was at times placed under the falls to divide its force. As the gold was very fine it required great care in the adjustment of the water pressure. [13]

With the end of the Civil War and a fall in the price of gold, operations at the Gold Bluffs were shut down.

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Last Updated: 15-Jan-2004