California State Military Department
The California Military Museum
Preserving California's Military Heritage
California Naval History
History of California State Naval Forces
by
Mark J. Denger, California Center for Military History

 

Naval Militia Band, 1916-1917An act of the California Legislature approved March 31, 1891, authorized the establishment of a Naval Battalion, consisting of not more than four companies of Naval Militia, to be known as the Naval Battalion of the National Guard of California.

The companies originally forming the Battalion were: Company A of San Diego, and Companies B, C and D of San Francisco. Company B was the first to perfect its organization, then in turn came Companies C, A and D. The San Diego company was designated as Company A, because of the fact that it was the first company to make application to the Adjutant General for such designation. The commanding officers of the four respective companies, met in San Francisco, October 16, 1891, and organized the Naval Battalion, National Guard of California, and elected Frederick B. Chandler as Lieutenant Commander. The organization perfected, the Naval Battalion was mustered in as part of the National Guard of the State, on the twenty-first of October, 1891.

The organization at first consisted largely of members of the yacht clubs and rowing associations of San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego, and aside from these men, preference was given to men with experience in the Navy. No appropriation had been made for the Battalion, but arms, consisting of Remington magazine rifles and Colt revolvers with the necessary equipment, were supplied by the United States Navy Department. The several companies of the Battalion arranged for the rental of armories and met that expense by collecting dues which ranged from fifty cents to one dollar per month for each active member. An admission or active membership fee ranged from $2.50 to $5.00.

Before a commission could be issued to an officer elect, the candidate would first have to pass an examination before the Examining Board. This examination, beside embodying all the requirements of the National Guard regulations, embraced the subjects of seamanship, naval construction, naval tactics, ordinance and international law. Lieutenant John J. Fitzgerald, an experienced Naval Officer, elected to the command of Company B, deserves great credit for his efforts on behalf of the organization, and for the advice and assistance rendered the officers and men of the newly organized Naval Battalion.


The uniforms worn by the officers and enlisted men of the Naval Battalion of the National Guard (later the California Naval Militia) were prescribed in General Order 18, issued September 26, 1891, the dress being similar in design to those in use in the United States Navy. As no financial aid was available, either from the State or Federal Government, each officer of the Naval Battalion furnished his own uniform. Those for the enlisted men were purchased with funds secured through private subscriptions of patriotic citizens in San Francisco and San Diego. In San Francisco alone, according to the Adjutant General, over $2,600 was subscribed for that purpose. The uniforms prescribed by General Order No. 18. To find out more about these uniforms, CLICK HERE!

Arrayed in their natty new uniforms, the officers and men of the Battalion made a distinctive appearance and their participation in social functions, public receptions and parades were eagerly sought. The members were required to devote considerable time to matters pertaining to the organization.

Company drills were held weekly either on shore or on board their training ships. Rowing exercises were had weekly, if possible, target practice with small arms was held monthly when possible, and Battalion drill in which all the companies participated was held at least once each year. With these activities and the time devoted to public function, parades in which they were required by law to participate, and the annual cruise when a practice ship was available, the officers and men of the Battalion were kept busy and required to devote considerable time to matters pertaining to the organization.

In accordance with General Order No. 2, dated February 1, 1892, the companies comprising the Naval Battalion were inspected by Adjutant Frank A. Brooks, an ex-Navy officer, on March 22, 1892. This was the first muster and inspection of the Battalion and recognizing the fact of its recent creation, the inspecting officer commended the officers and men on their proficiency in drill tactics, appearance and discipline. The inspector expressed the opinion that the battalion had every reason to look forward to a brilliant future.

The three San Francisco companies joined in a short cruise to Santa Cruise, during the summer of 1892, on board the USS CHARLESTON, furnished by direction of the Secretary of the Navy. Every facility was granted by the commander of the CHARLESTON for ship and gun drills; the beneficial results of which were shown by the increased interest manifested by the entire battalion. The Adjutant General's Department was doing its utmost to induce the Navy Department to furnish a suitable ship for the use of the Naval Battalion, but so far, without success. The use of the CHARLESTON was permitted, but that vessel was entirely inadequate for their needs.

In July 1894, Companies B, C and D, of the Naval Battalion were called for active duty in connection with the Great Railroad Strike.

 Name of Company  Date Called Strike Duty  Where Stationed Active Duty  Commanding Officers  Date Discharged Active Service
 Company B  July 15, 1894  Oakland  Lt. Cecil C. Dennis  July 30, 1894
 Company C  July 10, 1894  San Jose  Lt. Colin B. Douglas  Transferred
 Company C  July 16, 1894  Oakland  Lt. Colin B. Douglas  August 8, 1894
 Company D  July 15, 1894  Oakland  Lt. Louis H. Turner  July 30, 1894

In Oakland the Battalion was commanded by Lieutenant-Commander Stahle and was highly commended by Major General Dimond for its efficiency.

The Naval Battalion, under the leadership of Lieutenant Commander Stahle, participated in one of the finest civic and military parades that had ever taken place in San Francisco. The occasion for this parade was the opening of the Midwinter Fair in that city, on the twenty-seventh of January, 1894. The companies had been equipped with new uniforms and were placed fifth in the line of march. The Organization also participated in the ceremonies in San Francisco, November 28, 1894, at the unveiling of the Lick Monument, erected near the city hall in honor of James Lick, the noted philanthropist who spent his later years in San Francisco.

On March 26, 1895, a law authorizing one additional company to be attached to the Naval Battalion was approved by the Governor, and the Board of Location and Organization recommended that the new company be organized and located at Santa Cruz. In pursuance of that recommendation, Company E of Santa Cruz, was organized and mustered into the service as of July 1, 1895.

Another recommendation by the Board of Location and Organization resulted in the issuance of General Order No. 11, dated July 23, 1895. Section 2 of this order directed that Company B of the Naval Battalion be consolidated with Companies C and D, and that Lieutenant Colonel N. T. James of the staff of the Commander-in-Chief, Lieutenant Commander F. H. Stahle of the Naval Battalion be detailed to carry the provisions of the order into effect. They were to determine what men of Company B should be transferred to Companies C and D, and also to recommend which of the supernumerary officers, resulting from such consolidation, should be mustered out of the service. The reason for the elimination of Company B is not given in detail, but that company had the smallest membership of any company in the battalion, (although it was above the minimum fixed by law), and the inspection report for June 1895, indicated that the company had not maintained as high a standard of efficiency as the other companies, forming the battalion. Therefore it may reasonably be inferred that the Board of Location and Organization deemed it for the best interests of the Naval Battalion and that of the State, to consolidate the San Francisco Companies, and prepare the way for another company at some other point on the coast.

On the tenth of August 1895, in compliance with Section 3 of General Order No. 12, the following changes were made in the nomenclature of the companies comprising the Naval Battalion:

Company C to be thereafter known as the First Gun Division
Company D to be thereafter known as the Second Gun Division
Company A to be thereafter known as the Third Gun Division
Company E to be thereafter known as the Fourth Gun Division.

The entire Battalion was to be considered as one ship's company. The object of which was to have the name and titles of the battalion and its various units conform more nearly with those in use by the United States Navy. A new division was added to the battalion, December 7, of that year when in accordance with the recommendation of the Board of Location and Organization, Company A, First Infantry, Second Brigade, formerly Company A, Tenth Infantry Battalion, Sixth Brigade, was discounted as an infantry company and enrolled as a division of the Naval Battalion, to be known as the Fifth Division, and stationed at Eureka, California.

The Naval Battalion made steady progress during the years 1895, and 1896, and was gradually assuming a position of importance in the National Guard of California. During the summer of 1895, through the kindness of the officers of the United States Navy, the officers and men of the Battalion were permitted a cruise on board the cruiser USS OLYMPIA. In 1896 they were permitted to drill on board the USS PHILADELPHIA and USS MONADNOCK. Later in that year, the monitor USS COMANCHE, was loaned to the State by the Navy Department for the use of the battalion.

The organization was equipped with new uniforms which were furnished by the State. New arms and equipment of the latest model were supplied by the United States Government in 1896, making the branch of the State Forces the best equipped body in the National Guard at that time.

Under Section 5, of Chapter 261, of the Acts of the Legislature, approved March 11, 1897, permitting the Board of Location and Organization to distribute to four companies of the National Guard such arms of the Service as the Board deemed advisable, to additional divisions of the Naval Battalion (or Naval Militia as it was now generally called), were authorized on the twenty-fifth of June 1897. On of these to be known as the Sixth Division, with headquarters at Santa Barbara, was mustered in July 10, 1897. The other, to be known as the Engineer Division with headquarters in San Francisco, was mustered in August thirteenth of the same year, bringing the number of divisions or companies of the battalion to seven.

In 1897, the State received from the Navy Department, the USS MARION, to be used for drill and armory purposes by the three San Francisco divisions, and the USS PINTA, to be located at San Diego and used by the Third Division of the Naval Militia as headquarters and armory. The USS PINTA was also used as headquarters and armory by a detachment of the Engineer Division, subsequently called the PINTA Detachment. This detachment was also referred to as the Second Engineer Division of the Naval Battalion, although it was not a regularly organized division of the State's Naval force at the time.

It was assumed that the USS MARION and the USS PINTA were seaworthy ships and in 1897 the State Legislature appropriated $5,000 for coaling and other incidental expenses which would be incurred in the operation of them. But it was soon learned that neither of the vessels were in condition for deep sea cruising and the Naval Battalion was little better off than before. The old monitor USS CAMANCHE was returned to the Navy Yard at Mare Island, July 10, 1897, after a short cruise on San Francisco Bay by the First, Second and Engineer Divisions. During this cruise the ship was manned entirely by Naval Militiamen, thus demonstrating that they were capable of performing naval duty.

Under the second call for volunteers in the war with Spain, on July 18, 1898, twelve officers including Lieutenant Commander Turner and eighty enlisted men of the Naval Militia entered the Auxiliary Naval Service of the United States. These officers and men were chosen from the battalion staff and from the First, Second, Third and Engineer Divisions and were granted leaves of absence and furloughs for the duration of the war. The duties performed by the volunteers from the Naval Battalion during the war were principally on board converted tugs doing patrol duty along the California Coast. A few officers and men were engaged in the United States transport service.

About this time the Navy Department at Washington awoke to the necessity of a National Naval Reserve which could be utilized immediately upon the outbreak of a war. Realizing that the only class which could meet the requirements and which might be made available in an emergency was that of the State Naval Militia organizations, the Department decided to give such of these organizations as would accept, a period of drill and instruction for one week at sea with a view to the practical instruction of the officers and men in actual man-of-war routine and in target practice under varying conditions.

Pursuant to advices received from the Navy Department presenting in detail the itinerary and instructions for the proposed cruise, the Naval Militia was ordered to assemble for a cruise and drill of not less than seven days on board the USS BADGER. The entire Battalion would not be accommodated on board the BADGER and as a result the forces were divided into two sections and two separate cruises were planned.

The first section included Headquarters and Staff, the First, Second, and Engineer Divisions of San Francisco and the Fifth Division of Eureka. The second section was made up of Headquarters and Staff, the Third Division of San Diego, the Fourth of Santa Cruz, and the Sixth of Santa Barbara. The Fifth Division was picked up at Eureka on September 3, 1899. The San Francisco Divisions and Headquarters Officers and Staff went aboard the BADGER at San Francisco, September fifth. The Eureka Division returned to their home port September eleventh, and the San Francisco Divisions returned home September thirteenth. The Fourth Division went aboard the BADGER at Santa Cruz, September seventeenth, the Sixth Division at Santa Barbara on September eighteenth, and the Third Division at San Diego, September nineteenth. After completing the cruise, the San Diego Division landed September twenty-sixth, the Santa Barbara Division, September twenty-eighth, and the Santa Cruz Division, September twenty-ninth. The Headquarters Division and Staff also accompanied the Southern Divisions on their cruise, returning to San Francisco, September twenty-ninth.

The cruise on board the BADGER was satisfactory from every viewpoint. The officers and men of the Naval Militia, through Lieutenant Commander Nerney, mentioned in terms of highest praise, the constant and careful instruction they received from the officers, and men of the BADGER during the cruise. Lieutenant Commander Nerney expressed the opinion that his organization had profited more in knowledge of the art of naval warfare during the week's cruise than they would have in months of the present mode of drill and instruction in the Naval Militia.

In his report on the cruise of the BADGER for 1899, Lieutenant Commander W. H. H. Southerland of the U.S. Navy praised the 274 officers and enlisted men who participated, and expressed his belief that the week of training they received on the cruise tended more to increase the efficiency of the Naval Militia of California than a whole year of drills on shore. Lieutenant Commander Southerland stated further, that the officers of the organization were unanimous in the opinion that it should be under the jurisdiction of the Navy Department instead of being under State control; with which opinion he heartily agreed. Lieutenant Commander Southerland recommended further, that the USS MARION, now being used as an armory by the San Francisco divisions, and the USS PINTA, recently loaned to the State and being used by the Third Division at San Diego as a drill and instruction ship, be put in sea going condition and fitted with modern guns and equipment. The Lieutenant Commander also recommended that these two vessels be used by the Naval Militia for cruising purposes, and that Naval officers be detailed to drill and instruct the different divisions of the organization. A recommendation was also made that the divisions of the Naval Militia located at Eureka, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara be supplied with steam launches fully equipped, these divisions being at a disadvantage without vessels of some description.

The chief reasons advanced by Lieutenant Commander Southerland that the officers of the Naval Battalion, for segregating that organization from the National Guard proper, were:

First: The Naval Militia should be a National organization under control of the Navy Department instead of the State.

Second: Inspection of the Naval Militia should be made by Naval officers.

Third: The drills and exercises practiced by the several Divisions do not conform to the system in use in the Navy.

Fourth: The Divisions were stationed within the limits of three Brigades of the National Guard, and orders were sometimes conflicting.

Fifth: A misunderstanding concerning payment of cost of repairing the U.S. ships MARION and PINTA.

Taken as a whole, Lieutenant Commander Southerland's report commended the officers and enlisted men of the Naval Militia highly for their professional knowledge and efficiency, discipline and physique, but left no doubt that from a naval standpoint, the policy then being pursued by the State, with reference to the Naval Battalion, would fail to promote the efficiency of that organization to the desired standard.

Lieutenant Commander Southerland's recommendations and the sentiment developed within the Naval Battalion, probably brought about its reorganization, as at the next session of the State Legislature, a law was enacted which was approved by the Governor on the twenty-third of March 1901, substituting the title "Naval Militia" for "Naval Battalion", segregating that organization from the National Guard organization, and placing it under the direct orders of the commander-in-chief, through the Adjutant General's Department. The new law also provided for the organization of a pay department, a medical department and a band of not less than twenty members; all to be rated the same as in the United States Navy. Under the law, the organization was to conform generally to the laws of the United States and the system of discipline and exercises was to conform as nearly as possible, to that of the United States Navy.

The Navy tendered the use of the USS PHILADELPHIA to the Naval Militia for a cruise during the months of September and October, 1901, and all of the divisions except the Fifth of Eureka participated. Following the same procedure as was followed in 1899, the organization made the cruise in two sections. The first section composed of Headquarters, Staff and the First, Second and Engineer Divisions of San Francisco went aboard the PHILADELPHIA, September twenty-third, proceeded south as far as Santa Barbara then returned to San Francisco, arriving at the latter city on September twenty-ninth. The cruise of the second section, composed of the members of Headquarters, Staff, the fourth Division of Santa Cruz, the Sixth of Santa Barbara, and the Third of San Diego, left San Francisco, October fourth and proceeded to Santa Cruz where the Fourth Division was taken aboard. From Santa Cruz the PHILADELPHIA went to Santa Barbara and picked up the Sixth Division, and from there to San Diego for the officers and men of the Third Division. After cruising for several days in southern waters, the PHILADELPHIA headed north, reaching San Francisco on October 17, 1901.

The cruise on board the PHILADELPHIA was satisfactory and beneficial to the officers and men of the Naval Militia, and the inability of the Fifth Division to participate was regrettable. The Eureka company did in fact proceed to San Francisco as ordered. The PHILADELPHIA, however, was eight days late in her scheduled arrival at the Bay City which fact was not learned until the Eureka company had reached San Francisco, and as the private affairs of the officers and men would not permit them to await the arrival of the ship, they were permitted to return to their homes.

Following is a schedule of Drills for the cruise of the Northern section of the Naval Militia on board the USS PHILADELPHIA, July 23-29, 1901.
 
First Working Day
 9:30 to 10:30
 Quarters, muster at Stations.
Setting up exercises.
Great Gun Drill
 11:00 to 11:30
 Instructions in care and mechanism of guns
1:00 to 2:15  Secondary Battery Drill with instructions regarding care and mechanism of same.
 3:00 to 3:30  Signals


Second Working Day
 9:30 to 10:30
 Quarters
Infantry drill with bayonet exercise.
 11:00  Sighting Drill
 1:15 to 2:15  Single sticks and pistols.
 3:00  Sighting drill.

.
Third Working Day
 9:30 to 10:30
 Fire quarters
Collision drill
Abandon ship
 11:00 to 11:30  Sub calibre practice
 1:15 to 2:15  Artillery three inch and Colt Automatic Sub practice continued until all hands have fired shots.

Fourth Working Day
 9:30   Clear ship for action, general quarters with great gun target practice.
 1:15 to 2:15  Instructions at main and secondary batteries. Small arm target practice from ship.


Fifth Working Day
 9:30 to 10:30  Great gun drill and instruction.
 11:00  Lead line, compass, steering, general duties.
 1:15 to 3:30  Boats, small arms target practice from ship.


Sixth Working Day
 9:30  General instructions in duties.
 1:15  General instructions and inspection of internal arrangement of ship.

The ships and small boats loaned from the Government and in use by the Naval Militia in 1902 were as follows:

The USS MARION, stationed at San Francisco.

The USS PINTA, stationed at San Diego.

Two Steam Launches, one of which was stationed at San Francisco and one at San Pedro.

Nine small boats with equipment stationed at Eureka, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara.

Several small boats constituting part of the equipment of the MARION and the PINTA.

The ships MARION and the PINTA, loaned by the Navy Department to the State, were wooden vessels of obsolete type and not in condition to be propelled by their own steam; both vessels were being used as armories and for drill purposes. The Navy Department again in 1902 offered the use of a vessel for a cruise of the Naval Militia, but owing to the uncertainty as to the date upon which the vessel would be available, the cruise was abandoned and the only activities of importance during the year were assemblies for discipline and drill on board the MARION and the PINTA during the months of August and September.

The activities of the organization during the year 1903 were limited to routine drills and practice. In the summer of 1904, Rear Admiral Merrill Miller, U.S.N., in command of the Pacific Coast Defense District, notified Captain George W. Bauer that the Navy Department had authorized the use of the tugs at the Mare Island Navy Yard for the purpose of giving the men of the Naval Militia practical experience afloat. The tug FORTUNE was assigned for the first trips to be made by the San Francisco Division, September seventeenth and twenty-fourth. Two three day trips were planned for October when the Eureka and Santa Cruz Divisions were to be taken out and instructed in standing watch, steering and other details of seamanship. Further plans were made to have at least one tug boat voyage each month.

Efforts were repeatedly made by State officials and officers of the Naval Militia to secure serviceable vessels from the Navy Department to replace the obsolete MARION and PINTA, but their efforts were unavailing until June 10, 1906, when the USS ALERT was formally turned over to the State in exchange for the unserviceable MARION, and was placed in the custody of the San Francisco divisions. The acquisition of the ALERT, a third rate cruiser, but a seaworthy vessel, was welcomed by the organization and was expected to be a material factor in increasing the interest and efficiency of the officers and men of that branch of service.

The earthquake of April 18, 1906, which was followed by a devastating fire in the city of San Francisco, was the direct cause for calling into active service, the First, Second, Third, Fourth, Sixth and Engineer Divisions of the Naval Militia. Owing to the isolated location of the Fifth Division at Eureka, it was deemed inadvisable to order it into service.
The following Divisions of the Naval Militia of California, under the command of Lieutenant Commander George W. Bauer , were called into active service, subsequent to the earthquake and fire in San Francisco, during April and May, 1906.


 Division and Home Station  Date Called to Active Service  Where Stationed While In Active Service   Date Dismissed
 First Division, San Francisco  April 18, 1906  San Francisco   May 31, 1906
 Second Division, San Francisco  April 18, 1906  San Francisco   May 31, 1906
 Third Division, San Diego  April 22, 1906  San Francisco  May 19, 1906
 Fourth Division, Santa Cruz  April 21, 1906  San Francisco  May 19, 1906
 Sixth Division, Santa Barbara  April 23, 1906  San Francisco  May 18, 1906
 Engineer Division, San Francisco  April 18, 1906  San Francisco  May 31, 1906

Two provisional Brigades were stationed in Oakland and Alameda and the Second, to which the Naval Militia was attached, was stationed in San Francisco under command of Brigadier General John A. Koster. The principal work performed by the members of the Naval Militia, during the time they were on active duty in the distressed city, was aiding the local authorities in conjunction with the National Guard and Regular Troops in clearing debris from the streets, preserving order and assisting in relief work. The officers and men were highly praised by their superiors for their work and soldierly bearing while on active duty, and for the cheerful manner with which they sacrificed their personal interests and obeyed the command to assist their fellow citizens in the stricken city. An example of the determination of these men to perform their duty regardless of consequences was found in Los Angeles. Although more than twenty-five of the forty-two members of the detachment of the Engineer Division stationed in that city were threatened with the loss of their jobs if they responded to the call to report for duty in San Francisco after the earthquake, but the threat did not deter them, and every man of the detachment for duty.

As a result of numerous applications the Secretary of the Navy finally issued instructions for the delivery of the USS PINTA to the Mare Island Navy Yard. This vessel which had been stationed at San Diego since 1897, for the use of the Third Division and a detachment from the Engineer Division, was of obsolete type and not in condition to be propelled by her own steam. Pursuant to instructions, the vessel was returned to the naval authorities at Mare Island, November 16, 1907.

An act of the Legislature approved March 21, 1907, authorized an increase in the Naval Militia of the State from seven to nine Divisions. As the Los Angeles Detachment of the Engineer Division exceeded the minimum membership required by law for a separate organization they were desirous of forming a new Division to be stationed at Los Angeles.
In accordance with General Order No. 12, approved May 4, 1907, the First and Second Detachments, Engineer Division, located respectively at San Francisco and Los Angeles, were designated as First Engineer Division and Second Engineer Division respectively, such designation to become effective, May 10, 1907.

On the nineteenth of August 1907, General Order No. 18 was issued providing that on and after September 1, of that year, the First Engineer Division, located in San Francisco, should be known and designated as the Engineer Division, Naval Militia of California, and designated as the Engineer Division be changed to a Deck Division to be known and designated as the Seventh Division, Naval Militia of California, stationed at Los Angeles. This order restored to the San Francisco Company their original designation as the Engineer Division, Naval Militia of California. The records do not show why the Los Angeles organization was changed from an Engineer to a Deck Division; but as there was no ship stationed in that vicinity for the use of the Naval Militia at the time, it would seem that the title Deck Division was more appropriate. After these changes were accomplished the Naval Militia consisted of eight divisions.

Pursuant to General Order No. 13, dated May 11, 1907, the several divisions of the Naval Militia embarked on a cruise on board the USS ALERT. The San Francisco and Eureka Divisions went on board at Sausalito, June thirteenth, and proceeded to Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara and Venice, taking on board additional divisions of the organization at each of these points. The ship proceeded from Venice to Avalon, Catalina Island, where they remained until July eighth, when the return trip was begun. The ship arrived at Sausalito, July 15, 1907. The trip was satisfactory in every respect, and both officers and men derived much benefit from the experience.

Another cruise of the Naval Militia on the USS ALERT was made in 1908. The officers and men of the Headquarters Division, and the First, Second and Engineer Divisions going on board at Sausalito early on the morning of June twenty-eighth and sailing south via Santa Cruz, Santa Barbara, San Pedro and San Diego, taking on board the officers and men of the Fourth, Sixth, Seventh and Third Divisions. This brought the total of officers and men of the Naval Militia on board to two hundred sixty-two, in addition to which there were six regular Navy men. Owing to the limited accommodations of the ALERT, the entire Fifth Division stationed Eureka, had to be left at home and the numbers of the other divisions wee limited. The ALERT left San Diego, July third and arrived at Avalon, Santa Catalina Island that afternoon. It was the intention of Lieutenant Commander George W. Bauer to spend two or three days at Avalon for boat drill, landing force, abandon ship and other customary ship drills; but on the evening of July fourth and incident occurred on the Island which led to a dispute between Lieutenant Commander Bauer of the Naval Militia and Mr. F. H. Lowe, resident manager for the Santa Catalina Island Company, who owned and conducted a hotel and a large open dancing pavilion at Avalon. During the evening of July Fourth, a dance was in progress in the pavilion. The officers of the Naval Militia had been invited to participate, but no invitation was received on behalf of the enlisted men. Notwithstanding this, some of the men entered the dancing pavilion as the place was evidently open to the general public and no invitation was deemed necessary. If there were any special requirements for admission to the pavilion, no officer of the ALERT was made acquainted with them and every one who desired to do so passed in and without question, ticket or invitation.

Sometime between nine and ten P.M., the management through its employees, requested several enlisted men from the ALERT, who were in the pavilion to leave the hall and denied admission to other men. The reason for this action as explained by the manager to Thomas B. W. Leland, Surgeon of the Naval Militia, was that the management did not desire to have men in the bluejacket uniform on the dancing floor, although the officers and men of the ALERT immediately withdrew from the pavilion and were subsequently sent on board the ALERT preparatory to sailing.

Upon learning the state of affairs, Lieutenant Commander Bauer personally requested the manager of the pavilion to state his reasons for excluding the men and was told that the men were "drunk and disorderly." Lieutenant Commander Bauer immediately investigated these charges and finding them false, he informed the management of the resort, that in his opinion the men were denied admission to the pavilion on account of their uniform. The manager denied this and again repeated the charge that the men were intoxicated, whereupon Commander Bauer became aggravated and informed the manager that he, Commander Bauer considered him a "Damned liar". At this, the manager of the resort, apparently surmising that if the altercation was to be continued, his own physical well being would be best secured by carrying it on by correspondence, beat a hasty retreat toward the hotel entrance. Commander Bauer then ordered all his officers and men to board the ALERT. In compliance with orders, the Naval Militia sailed from Avalon shortly after midnight for San Diego where the officers and men were taken aboard the United States Torpedo Boat Destroyers PREBLE, FARRAGUT and PERRY for instruction in the workings of these vessels.

From San Diego the ALERT proceeded to San Pedro, then on to Santa Barbara and via Santa Cruz to Sausalito, arriving there at noon July 12. The cruise was considered by far the most satisfactory that the Naval Militia had undertaken up to that time and there remained no doubt of the ability of officers and men to navigate the waters off the California coast.
In regards to the Avalon affair the management of the resort sought to lead the Navy Department and the Adjutant General's Department to believe that the men were denied admission to the pavilion because they were intoxicated and disorderly, and that the commanding officer of the ALERT used violent and abusive language in his interviews with the manager, that the commander was under the influence of liquor at the time. The letter of the Avalon Company to the Adjutant General was accompanied by signed statements of several employees of the company, asserting that they believed that the men from the ALERT were under the influence of liquor while on shore leave the evening of July Fourth, but no proof of this assertion was submitted. It is worthy of mention that in his written statement of the occurrence, the manger of the Avalon Company did not make a direct assertion, that either Captain Bauer or his men were intoxicated on July Fourth, although his subordinates did. In reply, Lieutenant Commander Bauer, in a written report of the incident, made a general denied of the accusations set forth in the statements of the Avalon Company and its employees. His statements were supported by the affidavits of a score of the officers and men of his command, completely refuting all charges made by the Avalon Company and establishing to the satisfaction of the commander-in-chief and the Adjutant General, that the men of the Naval Militia were denied admission to a public dancing pavilion at Avalon for the sole reason that they wore the bluejacket uniform.

Captain Bauer's position was fully sustained by the Governor and the Adjutant General, and his statement supported by the affidavits of the officers and men of his command, were considered sufficient reputation of the charges made by the Santa Catalina Island Company. No further investigation or inquiry in connection with the incident was made. It had been determined to the satisfaction of the Commander-in-Chief and the Adjutant General that the Naval Militia of the State had been insulted at Avalon on July Fourth. The commanding officer was advised on August 12, 1902, that "in the future, no organization of the National Guard or Naval Militia of this State would be permitted to land on Santa Catalina Island while under the then existing ownership and management, except for purely necessary military purposes.

Another cruise on board the ALERT was undertaken on July 4, 1909, when a limited number of officers and men from Headquarters, and the First, Second, Fifth and Engineer Divisions together with a detail of officers from the Navy Department, set sail from Sausalito. The course was southerly via Santa Cruz, where a detachment of the Fourth Division went on board; then on to Santa Barbara to pick up a detachment of the Sixth Division. From that point to Los Angeles for a portion of the Seventh Division and then on to San Diego for a number of officers and men of the Third Division, making a total of two hundred thirty-four officers and men aboard, including the Navy officers. The limited accommodations on board the vessel made it necessary to limit the number from each division of the force. From San Diego the organization proceeded to San Pedro where it remained several days during which time the officers and the men where taken aboard the USS ALBANY where they were instructed and exercised at the guns, loading machines and other work of their respective divisions. While at San Pedro, every courtesy was extended the Naval Militia by the officers and crew of the ALBANY. The vessel sailed from San Pedro, July fifteenth, on the return trip, putting in at Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz to allow the Sixth and Fourth Divisions to disembark, and arrived at Sausalito, July eighteenth. Between Santa Barbara and Santa Cruz on the return trip several gales were encountered and the vessel made slow progress, showing as little as two knots per hour, although the indicator showed full speed and a full head of steam was kept up.

The 1909 cruise was satisfactory from a Naval standpoint, but considered dissatisfaction was expressed with the limited accommodations and slow speed of the ALERT. In his report on the cruise to the Adjutant General, Lieutenant Commander Bauer of the Naval Militia urgently requested the department to consider the advisability of securing a faster and more commodious ship for the use of the naval forces of the State. As a result, an exchange with the Department of the Navy was made on March 21, 1910, and the USS MARBLEHEAD was turned over to the State for the use of the Naval Militia. The MARBLEHEAD was a comparatively modern vessel of greater tonnage and with accommodations for a much larger crew than the ALERT, thus affording better facilities as a training ship.

The cruise of 1910, on board the MARBLEHEAD was begun July second at Sausalito and ended July sixteenth. After passing through the Golden Gate the route chosen was northward via Eureka and Seattle, Washington to Bremerton. All the divisions of the Naval Militia were represented on this cruise. School for officers and men was held on board with Lieutenant B. Y. Rhodes, United States Navy, detailed by the Navy Department, as instructor. Practice was had in the various customary drills, including gun drills and signaling as well as the routine duties aboard ship. The cruise, which was a most profitable one for the Naval Militia, was followed by an inspection of the force on July seventeenth, at San Francisco by Rear Admiral T. S. Phelps, United States Navy, who made a very encouraging and complimentary inspection report.

In 1911, matters improved rapidly with the Naval Militia of California. A competent official was placed in charge of the Division of Naval Militia Affairs at Washington, D.C., an enthusiastic worker was detailed as instructor with the California Naval Militia and that organization was equipped with modern rifles and accouterments. An additional division, designated as the Eighth Division, stationed at Los Angeles, was organized April 11, 1911, making a total of nine divisions in the Naval Militia of the State.

Another cruise on board the USS MARBLEHEAD in which all the divisions of the Naval Militia were represented, was held July 1 to July 16, 1911. The MARBLEHEAD was already found to be too small to accommodate the full strength of the organization and efforts were being made to secure one or two additional ships from the Navy Department.

Early in 1912, Lieutenant Benjamin G. Barthalow of the Regular Navy, was detailed as instructor for the Naval Militia of California and under his guidance regular gun crews were organized and trained. On July 6, 1912, these gun crews with as many officers and men of the Naval Militia as could be accommodated on board the MARBLEHEAD, steamed for Bremerton and Port Angeles for target practice for the first time with large caliber guns. The target practice was done under the official inspection of Lieutenant Barthalow, United States Navy, and was officially reported by him to the Navy Department. The record established by the Naval Militia of California at this shoot was its crowning achievement, and was in fact marvelous for new men. The shooting was claimed by Adjutant General Edwin A. Forbes, to be the best ever done in the world by any gun crews of any navy at any time or place. The scores were made at a range of sixteen hundred yards at a regulation target, with four inch guns and with the MARBLEHEAD traveling at a speed of eight knots, sixty-five consecutive hits were made. This record, and the fact that the Naval Militia of California stood second in point of numbers compared with other states of the union and had competent licensed navigators, marine engineers, wireless men and other necessary mechanics, fully justified all the efforts and expenditure of money for its support.

During the interval from 1912 to 1916, the Naval Militia continued to progress. Annual cruises were made with the USS MARBLEHEAD in 1913, 1914, and 1915. Target practice was had July 3 to July 18, 1915, on board the United States Ships MARBLEHEAD, FARRAGUT, LAWRENCE, HOPKINS, HULL and WHIPPLE, but no new record was established. In the fall of 1915, the outgrown USS MARBLEHEAD was returned to the United States Navy Yard and the Navy Department assigned the USS OREGON for the use of the Eureka, San Francisco and Santa Cruz Divisions and the USS FARRAGUT for the use of the divisions stationed at Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego. A practice cruise for the four northern divisions was had on board the USS OREGON, July 15 to 29, 1916, and for the southern divisions, August 5 to August 19, 1916, on board the same vessel.

An aeronautic section of the Ninth Division was organized at Los Angeles in March 1916, and from September 9 to 22, of that year, the members of that section joined with the United States Navy Personnel in a camp of instruction at North Island, California. Later that same year, certain members of the aeronautic section were chosen to pursue a course of instruction at the Naval Flying School, Pensacola, Florida, for three months beginning December 1, 1916.

The great number of applications for action membership in the Naval Militia was primarily responsible for the enactment of laws authorizing more divisions in that organization. The Federal Government showed increased interest by supplying modern ships, equipment and a corps of instructors for the State Naval Forces. It is quite reasonable to assume that the possibility of the United States becoming involved in the World War contributed greatly to the interest taken in the organization. A law authorizing the Naval Militia to consist of not more than the twelve divisions was approved by the Governor, March 22, 1909, and on August 8, 1915, another law became effective which raised the number of divisions and companies of this branch of the State Service to fourteen.

Following this legislation, new divisions, companies and sections, were added to the Naval Militia of California as follows:

Ninth Division, stationed at los Angeles, organized November 19, 1914.
Tenth Division, stationed at San Diego, organized January 26, 1916.
Aeronautic Section of the Ninth Division, stationed at Los Angeles, organized March 3, 1916.
Eleventh Division, stationed at Los Angeles, organized April 9, 1917.
Second Engineer Division, stationed at Los Angeles, organized April 4, 1917.
First Marine Company, stationed at Los Angeles, organized April 4, 1917.
Engineer Section of the Fourth Division, stationed at Santa Cruz, organized April 6, 1917.

Due in great measure to the assistance of the Federal Government, the Naval Militia of California made splendid progress during the years 1914 to 1917, reaching the full quota of divisions and companies permitted under the State law and a numerical strength of nearly one thousand officers and enlisted men. The increased interest of the United States Navy Department in the State Naval Forces was evidently due to the possibility that this country might eventually be forced to take part in the great war which was then raging in Europe, and in the event of such participation the Navy would be in great need of trained officers and men.

On April 6, 1917, Governor William D. Stephens received a telegram from the Secretary of the Navy, calling the Naval Militia into the Federal Service and upon the Governor's orders the officers and men were immediately directed to assemble at their armories and prepare for Muster. The following organizations were mustered in as Naval Volunteers:

First Division, San Francisco
Second Division, San Francisco
First Engineer Division, San Francisco
Third Division, San Diego
Fourth Division, Santa Cruz
Engineer Section, Fourth Division, Santa Cruz
Fifth Division, Eureka
Sixth Division, Santa Barbara
Seventh Division, Los Angeles
Eighth Division, Los Angeles
Ninth Division, Los Angeles
Aeronautic Section, Ninth Division, Los Angeles
Tenth Division, San Diego
Eleventh Division, Los Angeles
Second Engineer Division, Los Angeles
First Marine Company, Los Angeles

The entire organization was subsequently mobilized on board the USS OREGON, USS SAN DIEGO and USS HUNTINGTON at Mare Island, California. Officers and men were assigned to duty on vessels of the Pacific Fleet, under orders to proceed to the Atlantic coast, the members were also assigned other duties ashore and aboard ships, and in conjunction with their duties were taken to all parts of the world.

The Naval Militia of California was acknowledged by the United States Navy Department as one of the best organizations of its kind to enter the Federal service and the group of grim seamen who were mobilized at Mare Island that day in April 1917, ready to embark in the service of their country, was a vastly different aggregation from the handful to carefree youngsters who formed the original Naval Battalion and strutted about the deck of the old Charleston in San Francisco Harbor twenty-six years before.

No provision was made for a reorganization of the Naval Militia after the World War, although the organization had performed valuable service which more than justified its existence. In his report for the two years ending June 30, 1930, Adjutant General R. E. Mittelstaedt, stated that the United States Naval Reserve Force, which consists largely of former members of the Naval Militia, was desirous of resuming its former status as a part of the armed forces of the State. The Adjutant General anticipated that such a measure would increase the efficiency of that branch of the Naval service and recommended its favorable consideration by the State and National Governments.

A barrier to such legislation exists in the form of an act passed by the 68th Congress, which provides for the creation, organization, administration and maintenance of a Naval Reserve and Marine Corps Reserve. Section 28 of this act states that no facilities of the Regular Navy shall be furnished for use by any portion or unit of the Navy Militia unless at least ninety-five of its personnel has been appointed or enlisted in the Fleet Naval Reserve and unless its organization, administration and training conform to the standard prescribed by the Secretary of the Navy for such units.

It should be noted that there remains no prohibition against the State from reestablishing its Naval Militia without funding from the Federal Government.

Although the California Naval Militia was not reactivated during the Second World War, the California State Guard did activate eight deck divisions and two marine companies throughout the state that patrolled California's coastal water during the opening day of the war.

The California Naval Militia was reactivated by order of the Governor on July 4, 1976. At that time, the governor established the Naval Militia First Company Law which is patterned after the British Army's Inns of Court and City Yeomanry. Our current Naval Militia organization provides legal expertise in the field of Military and Naval matters of the Military Department of California.


Ships of the State Naval Forces

During the years 1891 to 1917, the following United States ships were loaned to the State as training ships for the Naval Battalion:

 Name of Vessel  Type of Vessel  Where Stationed  Dates
 Comanche  Monitor  San Francisco  1895-1897
 Marion  Cruiser  San Francisco  1897-1906
 Alert  Cruiser  San Francisco  1906-1910
 Marblehead  Cruiser  San Francisco  1910-1916
 Oregon  Battleship  San Francisco  1916-1917
 Pinta  Gun Boat  San Diego and Los Angeles  1897-1907
 Farraugut  Torpedo Boat  Los Angeles  1915-1917

In addition to the above, the following United States ships were used b the Battalion for short periods of time for drills:

 Name of Vessel  Type of Vessel  Date and Purpose For Which Used
 Charleston  Cruiser  Cruise, 1892
 Olympia  Cruiser  Cruise, 1895
 Monadnock  Monitor  Drill, 1896
 Badger  Cruiser  Cruise and Drill, 1899
 Philadelphia  Cruiser  Cruise, 1901; Drill 1896
 Chicago  Cruiser  Cruise, 1905
 Wyoming  Monitor  Drill, 1905
 Perry  Torpedo Boat Destroyer  Drill, 1905
 Albany  Cruiser  Drill and Practice, 1908
 Preble  Torpedo Boat Destroyer  Drill and Practice, 1908
 Hopkins  Torpedo Boat Destroyer  Drill and Short Cruise, 1915
 Lawrence  Torpedo Boat Destroyer  Drill and Short Cruise, 1915
 Hull  Torpedo Boat Destroyer  Drill and Short Cruise, 1915
 Whipple  Torpedo Boat Destroyer  Drill and Short Cruise, 1915



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