City Guard, Company B, 1st Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade,
California Militia (after 1866, National Guard of California)
Location: San Francisco, San Francisco County
The First California Guard was originally organized as a train of artillery, and exercised in the standing gun drill, besides drilling with muskets. Early in 1854, however, they changed into a horse battery, receiving from the state two six-pound brass guns with carriages and all appliances.
This change did not meet with favor from all the members of the battery, some particularly desiring to retain the old form of organization, as they did not care for the mounted work; nor did they relish the manner in which their captain, Woodworth, conducted the drills and affairs of the battery, he being absent therefrom, and very inattentive to the duties required of a company commander.
These members, therefore, turned their attention to-the accomplishment of a new organization in accordance with their desires, the proceedings being entirely harmonious between all parties concerned.
With this object in view, they held a preliminary meeting pursuant to the following notice:
"You are requested to attend a meeting of the second company California Guard at the armory this evening, at 7 o'clock. Dated Monday, March 13, 1854."
At this meeting, or at one held perhaps a few days later, the name of the new organization must have been agreed upon, for in the columns of the Daily Alta California under date of March 21, 1854, the following notice and order appears:
"By virtue of the authority in me vested, I hereby appoint R. S. La Motte to superintend the election for officers of the 'San Francisco City Guard' as required by law. Dated, San Francisco, March 21, 1854.
"J. H. Creigh, County Judge.
" In accordance with the above, an election for officers of the ' San Francisco City Guard' will be held at Armory Hall, on Friday evening, March 31, 1854, at 7:30 o'clock.
" R. S. La Motte."
Pursuant to the above order, the twenty-two gentlemen previously mentioned in this chapter met, and duly accomplished the organization of the ''San Francisco City Guard," electing the following officers and noncommissioned officers for the term of one year: Captain, John A. Clark; 1st Lieutenant, George F. Watson; 2nd Lieutenant, R. McLean Stephenson; Jr. 2nd Lieutenant, R. S. La Motte; Orderly Sergeant, Thomas B. Parker; and Sergeants, in order of rank, E. W. Crowell, James C. Briggs, who was also treasurer, John W. Conner; Q. M. Sergeant, H. Frank Wadsworth; the corporals, in order of rank, were, Asa L. Loring, P. R. Moore, Samuel C. Loring, and Charles Le Gay; Surgeon, J. Russel Gerry, M. D.; Secretary, John Ames.
Of these charter members there are now living, H. D. La Motte, Lake county, California; E. G. Hilton, New York; Charles Le Gay, Paris, France. Doubtful, H. Frank Wadsworth and R. McLean Stephenson.
By-laws for this new company were adopted, and the drill night set for Friday of each week.
Captain Clark spent a great deal of time and money in perfecting the organization of his command. His donations were used principally in purchasing the first uniform, which consisted of a close-fitting jacket of a very light fawn color, all trimmings and pipings being of red; the men wore any dark colored trousers. The uniform cap was a high affair of blue material, trimmed with red. This is the only uniform worn by the company for perhaps six or seven months, when a full dress was adopted.
The company, being organized as artillery, drilled as such with a large wooden bronzed model to represent a heavy gun. The drill, however, was mostly as infantry, and all parades were made with the musket.
Upon a proper requisition from the captain upon the state authorities, the quartermaster and adjutant general, the corps received the following arms and accoutrements: 60 percussion muskets; 60 ammunition and cap boxes, belts, and plates; 60 waist belts and plates; 60 musket appendages; 60 artillery sabers, belts, and plates; the company furnishing its own uniforms.
The original company commander is described as being neither light nor very dark complexioned, but with black hair, 5 feet 6 inches in height, weighing in the neighborhood of 115 to 120 poundsa small man. He was full of life, however, quick-witted, and a noble-hearted fellow. His father, Aran Clark, was at one time mayor of New York city. Coming to California, Capt. Clark was for a long time deputy county recorder of San Francisco. He died on November 22, 1877, at the age of 53 years, while in the employ of the treasurer's department at Washington.
Armory Hall, the first home of the " San Francisco City Guard," was situated on the northeast corner of Sacramento and Montgomery streets, in Sam Brannan's new building, having a frontage of 60 feet on both thoroughfares. Four other companies also occupied this building, each having separate company rooms in the third story, with the use of the drill hall on the fourth for its allotted evening of the week.
Nothing that was particularly startling occurred during the balance of this, to the " City Guard," the most eventful year of 1854, nor during the next for that matter, to mar the calm serenity of ordinary military life. Drills, parades, outings, banquets, and social events vied with each other to fill the interim; all of which served to interest, not only the members themselves, but others as well, in the welfare of this organization. Many prominent men joined the ranks of the " City Guard," and the high standing thus early attained served to place the company on a firm and permanent basis, assuring to it a long, prosperous, and most honorable existence.
To chronicle all the different incidents and happenings of this early period, and those too of more recent dates, would be out of the question at this present writing; prominent among them, however, we find the following interesting items:
It was on the afternoon of the 3d of July, 1854, that the " San Francisco City Guard" journeyed by water to the town of Martinez for its initial excursion and outing, and, after celebrating the Fourth by a parade, drill, and prize shoot, the corps returned homeward, being received and escorted to the armory by the California Guard.
The 17th day of August following, found the company on the Oakland side of the bay for the regular target practice and medal shoot. It was upon this occasion that the company commander presented the now famous " Clark Medal " to the corps, the condit.ons being that it remain a permanent annual prize in the company. This medal is still the valued property of the " City Guard," and is placed in competition as provided for in the original deed of gift. On one side of the large quartz medal is inscribed: "'CityGuard,'organized March 31, 1854," and on the reverse side we have "Company medal, presented by Capt. John A. Clark, August, 1854."
It may be of general interest to the active guardsman of the present day to learn that on April 25, 1855, the legislature of California duly enrolled upon the statute books the law exempting active militiamen from jury duty.
Armory Hall remained the home of the " City Guard " until the 1st of June, 1855, when, during the following fifteen or sixteen months, the company occupied three different armories, namely: No. 95 Battery street, corner of Clay; northeast corner of Kearny and Clay, this being the place where the reorganization took place as the " I. C.G."; thence to an armory, for a very short time, on the northeast corner of Halleck and Sansome streets, over the American Theatre.
Chapter 2, Independent City Guard
The political corruptions, ballot-box stuffing, and the great number of homicides committed with impunity, were the causes leading up to the Vigilance Committee of 1856. These criminals depended upon their fellows, some of the worst then being themselves officials, to shield them from prosecution and to again set them free. The opinion steadily gained ground with the better element of society that it would be utterly impossible to correct these evils by due process of law; still none would make a move toward taking matters into their own hands, and the worse element thus held full sway.
It was while popular feeling was thus strained to a high tension that the Evening Bulletin made its appearance, with James King, of William, as editor. King devoted his energies in denouncing the crimes and all criminals who had given most offense to the community.
The crisis finally came when this fearless editor, on May 14, 1856, published in his journal the fact that James P. Casey, who had but lately stuffed the ballot-box with his own name while inspector of election, and had declared himself elected supervisor of the Twelfth Ward, was a graduate of the New York state prison at Sing Sing, which statement was true. Casey thereupon, within two hours, mortally wounded King. The news of this fresh homicide spread like wildfire, and Casey's friends hurried him to jail, deeming it the safest place.
An immense congregation of excited citizens assembled on the Plaza, closing upon and threatening to storm (he jail in order to execute dire vengeance upon the murderer. This crowd grew to wonderful proportions.
n the mean time the authorities were not idle; the military were called upon to preserve order, and, in obedience to its sworn duty, the "City Guard," within an hour thereafter, left the armory (corner Kearny and Clay) for the scene of trouble. Although the company had hut a short distance to go, it was a march to be long remembered, for upon appearing on the street, the members met with a warm reception. The crowd jeered, they stormed, they threatened, they threw all sorts of missiles (no one was seriously injured however), did every thing possible to impede their progress toward the jail, but with no avail. These soldiers, putting all their personal feelings aside, were doing but their duty, and they did that duty well.
Lieutenant Watson, who was in command during the absence of Captain Clark in Ihe East, had the muskets loaded with ball, and it became necessary, not only to use the bayonet occasionally, but two or three times was the command "aim" given, and the men silently and with determination waited for the word " fire," so were their tempers worked upon by this time: it was a hot crowd. Fortunately for some one, however, the mob gave way under this pressure, and the " Guard " finally entered the jail, taking position best adapted for its proper protection. Here the company remained all night and until 10:30 o'clock the next day, when the excitement becoming somewhat abated, they returned to the armory and were dismissed, with orders to report again immediately upon hearing the alarm sounded.
This summons never came. But, on the other hand, notwithstanding the prompt response and constant readiness of the boys to perform their duty, Lieutenant Colonel West and Sheriff D. Scannell mistrusted them, and quietly removed the arms and accoutrements from the armory that day, thus leaving the organization without the means of effective service. This high-handed proceeding upon their part was resented by the '- City Guard," as will be shown by the following proceedings of a meeting held at the armory at 2 o'clock p. M. of the following day, the 16th (it being duly advertised in the papers of that time), to take into consideration the removal of arms and accoutrements from their armory on the 15th instant:
" Lieutenant Watson in the chair.
"Lieutenant Colonel West appeared to explain his action in relation to the removal of said arms and accoutrements, stating that said arms were removed by order of Major General (William Techumseh) Sherman (Commanding 2nd Brigade, California Militia), and that he held himself personally responsible therefor.
" After which the following resolutions were unanimously adopted:
" Resolved, that in the opinion of this corps we have been unjustly and improperly deprived of our arms without the consent or knowledge of our commandant.
"Resolved, therefore, that a committee be appointed to wait on Colonel J. R. West and request the return of the arms, and, in the event of said request not being complied with, the 'City Guard' do immediately disband.
" Meeting adjourned to 7:30 o'clock p. M.
" Pursuant to adjournment, the corps assembled at the armory, when the following preamble and resolutions were unanimously adopted upon the call of the roll:
" Whereas, the request for the return of our arms and accoutrements has been refused, we find ourselves wholly unable to equip our members, and deprived of the power to respond, as ever heretofore, to the call of duty that may be made upon us, therefore,
"Resolved, That the 'City Guard' do hereby disband.
" Resolved, That the events of the past few days prove that we have ever held ourselves ready for the prompt discharge of a soldier's duty."
These resolutions were signed by the sixty-one members.
On Tuesday evening, May 27, 1856, the members again met and organized the " Independent City Guard," and elected the following officers and non coms.: Captain, John A. Clark; First Lieutenant, George F. Watson; Second Lieutenant, Asa L. Loring; Bvt. Second Lieutenant, Peter Van Pelt; Orderly Sergeant, E. M. Crowell; Sergeants, Wm. H. Watson, H. Van Pelt, Nathaniel M. Ford; Corporals, H. H. Thrall, Luke Wilder, John Ames, and Chas. E. Rand; Quartermaster Sergeant, Ephrain B. Clement; Treasurer, W. H.Watson; Secretary, John Ames. By-laws were adopted on June 25th following.
Through the generosity of the citizens who fully indorsed the action of the company, the " Independent City Guard" was fully equipped with a full set of arms and accoutrements similar to those taken away. The donations thus furnishedfor the equipment amounted close on to $2,000. The corps retained, of course, the uniforms previously adopted, they being the personal property of its members.
Immediately following the shooting of King, and of the events above described, many prominent business men and citizens determined upon decisive action, and, without further delay, the Vigilance Committee was formed, many companies armed and equipped. Within a comparatively short time three thousand men were enrolled into the companies and regiments thus raised. Although the " Independent City Guard " took no part as an organization, the members individually did, and they played a very prominent part in this array. Chas. Doane, afterwards captain of the company, was Grand Marshal over all the troops, Watson and many others being officers therein, while the balance went into the ranks.
On Tuesday, May 21st, Casey, together with Cora, who had killed United States Marshal Richardson, were taken from jail, there being no resistance, and hurried to the headquarters of the committee. There they were tried, convicted, and both hanged on the 22d, the day that King was buried.
The Law and Order Party were also well organized, and many conflicts were narrowly averted. The committee's troops, however, succeeded in disarming the others, making them practically powerless.
Both the California Guard and the National Guard followed the example of the " City Guard," and formed independent organizations.
It may be well to here add that, in all, four persons were executed, and a great many others were banished. On August 18th following, all these troops, 5,137 in number, after a grand review and parade, were mustered out, the object of the Vigilance Committee having been accomplished.
The three years following this important epoch in the history of the company were uneventful as to military requirements. The company drilled regularly, besides parading on both stated and public occasions.
During the month of July, 1856, or perhaps a little earlier, the "I. C. G." moved from the armory then occupied to one at 112 Sacramento street, between Montgomery and Sansome, where they remained until the first month of 1860.
Captain Clark resigned on April 15, 1857, and 1st Lieutenant George F. Watson was advanced to the captaincy on May 14th following, with Asa L. Loring as 1st Lieutenant; Nat M. Ford 2nd Lieutenant; Benjamin H. Freeman being Junior 2nd Lieutenant, and William C. Little Brevet 2nd Lieutenant.
The company's fancy uniform, modeled after the uniform of the City Guard of New York, was adopted during either April or May of 1858, nearly all having been made in the East; the first parade with them took place on July 4th of the same year. The cost to each individual member, including the high bearskin shako, was one hundred dollars.
May, 1858, found Lieutenant Freeman in command of the company, Watson, Loring, and Ford having previously resigned. On June 6th following, Charles Doane was elected captain, and John W. McKenzie 1st Lieutenant, Freeman and and Little 2nd and Junior 2nd Lieutenants respectively. H. H. Thrall being advanced to Brevet 2nd Lieutenant.
Here ends the career of the company as the " Independent City Guard," for on March llth, 1859, the organization was again admitted into the service of the state as the "City Guard," being attached to the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Div., C. S. M. Witness the following order:
"whereas, certain petitioners, citizens of the county of San Francisco, have presented to me, the undersigned, county judge of the county aforesaid, a memorial praying that they, the said citizens, being eligible to military duty, may be duly enrolled as a volunteer corps, attached to the Second Brigade, Second Division C. S. M., under the name of' City Guard,'
" Now, therefore, in pursuance of authority vested in me, 1 do hereby nominate and appoint Captain Thomas D. Johns to superintend an election to be held by the subscribers aforesaid, on the llth day of March, 1859, at No. 112 Sacramento street, for commissioned officers, in manner prescribed by law, between the hours of 7 and 10 p. M.
"Witness the Honorable M. C. Blake, county judge of the county of San Francisco, this first day of March, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine."
[signed] "M. C. Blake, County Judge.
"Attest: Wm. Dun, Clerk.
" By D. P. Belknap, Deputy.''
Chapter 3, City Guard from 1860 to 1870
January 1, 1860, found the "City Guard" just located in their new armory, in an iron building, situated on the north side of California street, a few doors above Montgomery street, over Wells, Fargo & Co's Express. The Union Club occupied the corner over the bank. Many of the " City Guard " members belonged to this club, and both headquarters were connected by a doorway. Here the corps remained until November 20, 1865nearly six years.
The re-election of Doane, McKenzie, Freeman, and Little occurred on April 14th following, John Hill being raised to the dignity of brevet second lieutenant.
Following close upon this election of officers, the First Battalion was organized, which consisted of all three arms of the service, namely, infantry, artillery, and cavalry. This organization was completed on June 15, 1860, the companies comprising same being the "City Guard," "California Guard," " Black Hussars," " Light Guard," " Fusileers," and " French Guard." All of the members comprising these six companies participated in the election for field officers, which was by ballot, there being over two hundred votes cast. Captain Doane was duly elected lieutenant colonel, commanding the battalion, and First Lieutenant McKenzie was raised to the rank of major. The result of this election gives to the "City Guard " the honor of furnishing the only two field officers of an organization which afterwards became the nucleus for our present First Regiment; the " National Guard" and " California Rifles" being added later, in order to make the eight-company regiment.
In consequence of the above, another company election was necessarily held for officers to fill vacancies. John A. Clark was again made captain, vice Doane; Asa L. Loring, first lieutenant, vice McKenzie; Little and Freeman retaining their former positions, while George J. Griffing was advanced to brevet second lieutenant, vice Hill resigned.
We now come upon the eve of the War of the Rebellion. Fort Sumter had been fired upon, and opportunities became numerous for able generals, and brave men to show their mettle and loyalty to preserve our glorious Union. In California, although far removed from the seat of conflict, everyone took a lively interest in the progress of hostilities. This state furnished many thousands of volunteers for the strife, the proportion being very large for the then population; in fact, California furnished many soldiers who were accredited to other states, as history will plainly show. The " City Guard " furnished a long list of fighters, among whom were the following: J. M. McNulty, M. D., brigadier surgeon, California Volunteers; John Hill, lieutenant with Colonel Baker, California Volunteers; J. P. Hackett, captain Sixth Infantry, California Volunteers; Nat M. Ford quartermaster's department; Asa L. Loring; Robert S. La Motte, captain Thirteenth New York, afterwards lieutenant-colonel United States Army; H. B. Mellon, now retired, major United States army; William Bryan, Seventh New York; George F. Watson, captain 180th New York Volunteers; W. C. Allen, captain 101st New York Volunteers; Joseph Hilton, captain Twelfth New York Volunteers; Joseph Henriques, captain Fourth New York Volunteers; William Barstow, assistant adjutant general, General Dix's staff; E. G. Hilton, quartermaster's department, and L. Parks, with California Hundred. There are others, but the writer is unable at the present time to name them. Many of these gentlemen rose to higher rank in the service during the progress of the war.
The vast majority of people on this coast elected to maintain these United States one and inseparable, still there were those who warmly supported the secession, and conditions threatened at times to become more serious in California than would have been agreeable to peace-loving people. This would be particularly the case when any news came of the defeat of the northern arms.
The provost marshal, who was on duty at all times, made many arrests of those who were too outspoken, and the militia were constantly on the alert, although they were but occasionally under arms. Armories had to be guarded, however, and the " City Guard " did full well its share of duty.
Throughout the period covered by this chapter the members of the " City Guard" continued with their regular routine duties as required, with occasional battalion drills and military ceremonies, parades and escort duties, the latter being quite numerous. This company had no difficulty whatever in keeping its ranks full of enthusiastic members, who made the corps a truly crack organization.
The writer can give no better evidence or proof of the condition of the " City Guard " than that offered in the adjutant general's report for the year 1861. In this report, speaking of the company, he says:
" This is one of the oldest and best drilled companies of the state, is well officered and equipped, and composed of men who take much pride in the military artnumbering eighty- eight men. Has had upon its roll this year one hundred and forty-three members; has furnished from its ranks during this year one brigadier general,* one surgeon, and one captain of volunteers in the United States service, and three general staff officers. Much praise is due the members of this company for the military enterprise at all times displayed, and authorities of the state can rely upon its efficiency for active service."
The " First Regiment of Infantry, California Militia," was organized on May 28, 1861, with the previously named companies composing same. John S. Ellis was elected colonel, J. W. McKenzie as lieutenant colonel and Robert Pollock major. The companies taking the letters in accordance with the dates of their original organization, as follows: " California Guard, Company A," " City Guard, Company B," " National Guard, Company C," "Black Hussars, Company D," California Fusileers, Company E," "Light Guard, Company F," " French Guard, Company G," and " California Rifles, Company H." Many changes have since taken place in the regimental organization, and now, July, 1894, of the original companies there remain but three, namely, " City Guard, Company B," " National Guard, Company C," and " Light Guard, Company F."
At the annual election for officers of the company in 1861 the same ones were continued in office, with the exception that the position of brevet second lieutenant was left vacant, vice Griffing.
Up to June 28, 1861, the "City Guard" drilled with, and used for the purposes of the state, the same arms and accoutrements so kindly furnished them by the citizens in 1856; at this time, however, the state authorities issued the following to the company, all being of the same pattern as previously owned by the corps: sixty muskets, gun-slings, bayonets, and scabbards; sixty cartridge-boxes, belts and plates; sixty waist-belts and plates, with the same number of cap pouches; four sergeant's swords and scabbards, belts and plates.
The several companies of the regiment wore different style uniforms, representing, as has been said, all colors of the rainbow. The board of officers determined upon adopting one for the entire regiment, one that would be serviceable in case they were called upon for active duty. They therefore addressed themselves to the citizens of San Francisco, who soon came forward with the requisite amount to purchase same, and along toward the middle of the year 1861 the regiment was finally fitted out with a gray regimental uniform, the cost of which was twelve dollars.
All the troops in the Second Brigade, Second Division, C. S. M., during the month of November, 1861, were required to take the oath of allegiance before Judge Blake, in substance as follows: " To support the constitution of the United States and of the state of California, solemnly agreeing to defend both against all enemies, both foreign and domestic." The "City Guard" came forward with a larger membership than any of the other companies.
The company was well received by the best society in the city of San Francisco. This fact is abundantly evident from the many events that transpired during its early history. It will be impossible, however, to detail all the interesting social festivities of these days, but in order that the writer's assertions may carry conviction with it, the following historical fact is recited: A military and civic subscription ball was given at Platt's Hall, on the evening of Friday, December 27, 1861, complimentary to the officers of the Russian steam corvette Calevala, by the citizens of San Francisco, as a token of the public appreciation of the friendly spirit manifested by the Emperor of all the Russias toward our federal government. All arrangements for this ball were confided to the members of the " City Guard " by a committee of the most prominent people. Lieutenant Wm. C. Little was floor manager, assisted by four noncommissioned officers of the company. Captain Clark, chairman of the reception committee, was assisted by all the other members of the company, every one being in the full fancy uniform of the corps. The "press," in describing the affair, spoke thus of the "City Guard ": " One of the most spirited and efficient of our local uniform militia companies, whose proverbial good taste was fully sustained in the admirable manner in which the ball was conducted."
In May, 1862, Little was advanced to Second Lieutenant, vice Freeman, Fred W.Macondry, Jr., was made junior second lieutenant, vice Little promoted. The result of the election for officers of the company with rank, from August 8th, following was: Captain, Wm. C. Little, vice Clark, promoted lieutenant colonel First Regiment; Fred W. Macondry, Jr., first lieutenant, vice Loring; R. M. Noyes, second lieutenant, vice Little promoted; John Hoyt as junior second lieutenant, vice Macondry promoted. This quartet of officers remained thus until September 4, 1865.
The first camp of the state militia was held in May, 1863, in pursuance to orders from general headquarters. This camp was named " Stanford" after the commander in chief, and the expense was borne by the state.
The legislature of California opened its heart to help the militia financially, on April 25, 1863, the first time on record. Appropriations were made for its maintenance, three hundred dollars per year for each company of infantry, besides requiring the counties to furnish twenty-five dollars per month for armory rents. It also provided for two encampments, the above being one of them, and for full-dress uniforms for the entire force. These, made of blue, were issued during same year. It also passed the clause to exempt militiamen from jury duty after serving faithfully for a period of seven years.
Company B, "City Guard," First Regiment of Infantry, participated as a company in its first camp, a Second Brigade affair, from the 6th to the 16th of October, 1863. Camp The company received its first improved arms on February 20, 1865. These were the "rifle muskets" of 58 caliber, model 1861. Sixty of these, together with a full set of accoutrements, the same kind as before used, were issued to the company, and those previously carried were returned to general headquarters during the following month. Twenty extra muskets came to the company during October following.
In April of the same year, when the news of the assassination of our martyred President, Abraham Lincoln, was re- ceived, San Francisco became wild with excitement; mobs quickly gathered, and endeavored to wreck the printing-offices of those who had advocated secession, and of those who had been so rabid in their utterances that they had really done the next thing but actually advocate the killing of the President. The feeling against these people can well be imagined. Some considerable damage was done before the authorities were able to act; finally, when the militia was called upon, the "City Guard" was the first company to report at the rende- vous, and it was the only company whose every member was in complete uniform. Guards were kept on the other offices that had escaped the fury of the mob up to this time. Guards were also kept over loyal newspapers, for fear that the rioters would so far forget themselves as to wreck them too. Considerable trouble was experienced, and many broken heads was the result. As soon as matters quieted down the troops were dismissed.
Little was again re-elected September 4,1865, with William M. Noyes as first lieutenant, vice Macondry; George W. Granniss, second lieutenant, wee Noyes promoted; T. Van Tassel, junior second lieutenant, date from October 3, 1865, vice Hoyt. The latter remained in his position but a short time, going again into the ranks, presumed to be upon the reorganization as the National Guard of California.
On November 20,1865, the company moved from California street to an armory situated on the top floor of a three-story building on the south side of Market street, opposite Dupont. Remaining there until April following.
April 2, 1868, saw the last of the " California State Militia," for upon this date the Legislature passed the law creating the "National Guard of California," together with a general revision of the codes governing the state forces. Among the principal features of this bill we find: A limit to the number of companies; allowing but three officers to each infantry company, same to hold office for two years; field officers to be elected for four years.
Soon after this bill became a law a complete reorganization took place, and many companies were necessarily mustered out of the service. Orders were issued from general headquarters on July 12, 1866 (see S. 0. No. 3 series of 1866), directing the immediate organization of the Second Brigade, in accordance with this law. This was accomplished the next mouth.
The " City Guard " Company B, retained its position in the First Regiment, and sixty-seven members of the company took the following oath on the twenty-first day of August, 1866, before the mustering-in officer, Major George W. Smiley, Asst. Adj. Gen., 2nd Brig., N. G. C.
" Company " B," First Regiment Infantry; Second Brigade, N. G. C.
" You do solemnly swear and pledge your honor that you " will support the constitution of the United States, and the " constitution of the state of California, and that you will " maintain and defend the laws and all officers lawfully employed in administering the same."
Little, Noyes, and Grauniss were retained as the three company officers, Van Tassel taking the oath as a private.
April 24, 1866, again found the "City Guard " located in a new armory, this time at No. 617 Howard street, opposite New Montgomery, in the second story, the California Guard being on the ground floor. This was its home until February, 1871.
During October, 1866, the company received eighty new full-dress uniforms from the state. They were of the same pattern as those of 1863, but without the piping of white cord.
George W. Granniss was elected captain during October also, vice Little, promoted major; Stephen H. Smith, first lieutenant, vice Noyes; and David Wilder, second lieutenant, vice Granniss promoted.
Two years after, October 19, 1868, found another change in officers. Grauniss having been elected major, Douglass Gunn was elected captain, and Chalmers Scott first lieutenant, vice Smith. Wilder was re-elected second lieutenant. Gunn resigned, and Chalmers Scott was raised to the captaincy on November 1, 1869. At the same time Wilder was made first lieutenant, and Horace D. Raulett, second lieutenant.
During the latter part of 1869 the company readopted the "fancy uniform," which lasted, as near as the writer can determine, until 1874 or 1875. It was not worn much, however, during the latter part of the period named.
Chapter 4, From 1870 To 1880.
With July, 1870, came another change in the officers of the company, Thomas J. Johnson being elected captain, to rank from April 15th, vice Scott, resigned on account of his removal to the southern portion of the state, the other officers retaining their former positions.
Following close upon this election of officers, the company received a full fatigue uniform through the exertions of Colonel Barnes. The description of this uniform is not at hand at the present time, but it is presumed that the only addition was a blue single-breasted blouse of about the pattern now (1894) worn, together with the regulation cap.
The building on the northwest corner of Howard and New Montgomery streets became the armory of the "City Guard," in February, 1871. The company occupied rooms on the second floor, together with other companies of the regiment, the first drill being held on the 7th of that month. This place was retained as headquarters until November, 1875.
1st Lieutenant David Wilder was elected captain, to rank from March 14, 1871, vice Johnson, resigned on account of sickness. Ranlett was promoted to the 1st lieutenancy, and J. Henry P. Gedge to fill the position left vacant by Ranlett, both to rank from March 23d.
An organization in Amador county, this state, known as the Laborers' League, was formed for the protection of white labor, and not only miners, but many others, belonged to it. They assumed to fix the wages to suit themselves, and any one who refused to accept their terms was not allowed to work. Trouble, therefore, ensued between them and the mine-owners, as the latter would not recognize the right of the league to interfere in their business arrangements. A strike was ordered in consequence. The mines were shut down, for the league would not allow any one to work, not even at the pumps, in order to keep the mines free from water. Damages to the extent of about $75,000 having been accomplished by the strikers, the owners of these mines called upon the governor for protection.
This was the condition of affairs on June 22, 1871, when Colonel W. H. L. Barnes, commanding the First Infantry, received orders from general headquarters at Sacramento to immediately detail a battalion of two companies for service in the field. The entire regiment was assembled, " B" reporting with forty-eight rank and file, but companies " C " and " E" were selected for this campaign. As more men were necessary than were available in the companies named, details from the balance of the regiment were made to fill up the ranks of the battalion. Although the " B " boys were all anxious to go, Captain Wilder was only allowed to detail one sergeant, two corporals, and ten privates, namely: Sergeant T. N. Weightman, Corporals James J. E. Hawkins and Arthur A. Palmer, Privates George G. Bergstrom, Charles W. Bryant, James M. Guerin, August G. Jenny, John Martin, William V. McConnell, Harry F. Middleton, William M. Noyes, E. E. Stacy, and H. Nelson Wright. The battalion was under the command of Major J. F. Bronson.
The detailed battalion left the same day that the order was received, and was gone twenty-seven days. Their duty was performed so well that they experienced no trouble from the miners.
Major Bronson died soon after his arrival home, caused by the exposure during the campaign. 0. Poindexter gives evidence to the fact that James Guerin of "B" also died from the same causes after arriving at his home.
In the latter part of the year 1871, another fire occurred in the armory of the " City Guard," this time destroying the records of the company, and doing great damage to the arms and other property of the organization. S. 0., No. 34, series of 1871, from general headquarters at Sacramento, and dated December 20th, condemns the arms and accoutrements of the "City Guard," Company B, First Regiment of Infantry, N. G. C., which were damaged by fire, and a requisition for new approved.
Lieutenant Gedge resigned on December 28, 1872, and Sidney M. Smith was elected second lieutenant to fill this vacancy, with rank from January 2, 1873. June 5th following found Wilder re-elected to the captaincy, while Smith was advanced to first lieutenant, vice Ranlett; Henry A. Plate, second lieutenant, vice Smith promoted.
In 1873 the First Regiment received new arms and equipments, and the new regulation uniform. General Order No. 1, from headquarters of the National Guard of California, dated January 30, 1873, adopts the United States regulation uniform for the forces of this state. These arms and equipments, together with the uniforms, were paid for through the efforts of Colonel W. H. L. Barnes, who raised upwards of $30,000 to pay for same. These rifles were the first of the breech-loaders to be received by any organization on the coast, and it was because of the energetic leaders that the regiment was so fitted out. On June 22d the " City Guard " received its quota of the new arms, duplicate receipts being given to Colonel Barnes, Lieutenant Colonel George W. Gran- niss, and Major Oscar Woodhams, as trustees for said property, the same to be returned upon demand, viz., sixty each of the following: Sharp's metallic cartridge army rifles, caliber fifty and model new, bayonets, cartridge boxes and plates, cartridge-box belts, waist-belts and plates, uniform hats. The company returned the old ones to Sacramento on the 25th, three days later.
The uniform adopted was of the same general description as that of 1866, with perhaps a few minor changes.
The first mention of a badge for the company was made on October 9, 1873, a number of designs being offered, but no immediate action was taken. Between this date and the New Year discussions were had upon the subject, and in February, 1874, an attempt was made to abandon the idea, but this was voted down. Matters rested until the early months of the following year, when about fifteen designs were again offered, and from these, five or six of the best ones selected, and given into the hands of a committee. This committee made up one design, adopting the best features of those in hand, and presented the result to the company for final action. This badge was accepted, as near as the writer can determine, some time during June, 1875. A facsimile of this badge can be seen on the cover of this book.
The " City Guard," together with the entire regiment, participated in the 2nd brigade encampment held at San Rafael on the 20th, 21st, and 22d of May, 1875, Brevet Major General W. L. Elliott, U. S. A., being in command. Quite a number of United States troops were also present.
One of the most pleasing episodes in the history of the company occurred on August 7, 1875, when Captain Plate, on behalf of himself and sister, Miss Josie Plate, presented to the organization a beautiful silk national flag, which has ever been prized most highly by the members of the "City Guard," and many are the times that they have paraded beneath its classic folds.
Upon this same evening the captain also presented to the company what is known as the Plate Badge. This badge is the permanent property of the " City Guard," and it is annually placed in competition as a shooting decoration. This badge is described as a massive scroll shield, weighing almost two ounces in gold. In the center of this shield is the monogram " C. G." in large lettering, surmounted by a bear, over which stands in bold relief the name " Plate Badge," all of which is enameled in black, the groundwork being beautifully hand chased. On the reverse side is the following inscription: Presented to the "City Guard" by Captain H. A. Plate, August 7, 1875. Miss Josie Plate was elected an honorary member of the company on the 19th of August. She is the only lady who has that distinction.
Some time previous to September, 1875, this company received the breech-loading Springfield rifle from the state authorities. These are the 45-70 now in use. Sixty were allotted to " B."
The second week of November of this year found the company located in a new home. This time the move was made to No. 318 Post street, opposite the square, between Stockton and Powell streets, on the north side. This armory was owned and occupied by Company C, the " National Guard " of the First. Here the " City Guard" remained until the last of July, 1879.
Another beautiful annual shooting prize was presented to the company by Miss May C. Bourn, on the evening of May 4, 1876. This handsome affair is in the shape of a heavy solid silver cup or vase, and is known generally as the " Bourn Cup." The winner of this cup holds it for one year, when it is then again competed for.
Not to be outdone by others in this era of beautiful gifts, Color Corporal Louis R. Townsend, the old-old veteran, came gallantly forward on July 4th with another very appropriate gift to the company of a flag-case. This flag-case is built of oak and ebony woods, with the entire front of glass. It is sufficiently large to hold the full spread of the " City Guard " flag so kindly presented during the previous year. The case, with the flag therein, now adorns the wall of " B's" headquarters. With the true characteristic feeling of a " City Guard " veteran, and a true soldier, the corporal caused the following inscription to be carved upon the base of this gift:
Beneath thy folds we march at duty's call,
With thee we'll conquer, or with thee we'll fall.
On October 20, 1876, the company was under arms in anticipation of a riot and threats of attack upon the Chinese quarter of San Francisco. November 7th following found the organization again under arms, and this, too, for the same reason. The National Guard was held in readiness during this period for active duty, there being considerable excitement in the city over the troubles caused by unscrupulous agitators.
December 28th found the " City Guard Rifle Range" completed at San Bruno. This range was the gift of Captain Plate, who with William Unger, Charles Slocum, and the old veteran Lou Townsend, devoted their labor to its construction. This range was used for a good many years; but, finally, on account of the time lost in traveling to and fro, and to the lack of interest in shooting, it was finally given up.
At the election for officers in 1877 John H. Dickinson was elected Captain, vice Plate; E. F. Selleck, First Lieutenant, vice O'Keeffe; and Louis R. Townsend, Second Lieutenant, vice Selleck promoted; all to rank from April 5th.
The excitement of the previous year continued well into 1877 and 1878, and things began to get warmer and warmer for the Chinese as time roiled on. Kearney and his crowd of agitators were at work, endeavoring, as they claimed, to drive the hated race from our shores. Matters got beyond the control of the local authorities, and they called upon the governor for aid. That part of the National Guard located in San Francisco was ordered under arms on July 23, 1877, and were held in its armories for a period of seven days. The Safety Committee, having been organized into pick-handle brigades, patrolled the streets of the city, while the organized and well- disciplined troops were cooped up in their armories, and were not allowed to do the duty which they had taken an oath to perform. Was this not strange? Perhaps the following will serve to explain matters somewhat.
The chief of police, together with the other civil authorities, was jealous of his powers, and feared to put matters into the hands of the military. Why? Because they feared that some one else would reap a little benefit besides themselves, and that they might lose a vote or two, perhaps. 'Tis the same old story, which is told and retold so many times over, jealousy and the narrow-minded policy of self-interest. In the absence of martial law the civil authorities were, of course, in full control, and the military were subservient unto them. They saw fit to keep disciplined organizations in their armories, while the undisciplined citizens were parading the streets with their bits of wood. Time and again have the National Guards of our different states been placed in just such a predicament, and when politics are thrust into the background, and civil offices are occupied by fair-minded men whose sole aim is the welfare of the state, and not till then,. will the National Guard occupy the place designed for it in the government of our country.
But we're outflanking our story. Therefore to resume. These much abused civil authorities must have become ashamed of themselves, for, upon the night of July 29th, they detailed the military to the water-front in order that they might protect the piles of potatoes that were strewn around on the wharves. From what ? It must have been from the wharf-rats, as all trouble had ceased to exist in the city, as is evidenced by the fact that next morning, the 30th, all were dismissed to their homes, military, pick-handle brigades, and all.
On November 10th, the troops were again called out for duty for a period of nine days, the cause being the same as above stated. Again, on January 16, 1878, the troops were called upon for aid in quelling rioters. This time their tour of duty lasted for eleven days. It is needless to say that the " City Guard " was prominent among the city's defenders, even to the guarding of the potato-sacks
The "City Guard" participated in the regimental encampment held at Sacramento from September 18th to the 22d, 1878, inclusive. This camp was named after the Commander- in-chief, Governor Irwin. It was at this camp that the State Agricultural Society gave two prizes for a competitive drill. Each competing company was to drill for an hour, three regular army officers being judges. Company " D" of the First took the first prize of $300, and the " City Guard" the second of $200. The first prize was won by but a very few points indeed.
April 5, 1879, found Captain Dickinson and First Lieutenant Selleck re-elected, and Henry A. Plate as 2d Lieutenant to rank from the same date, vice Townsend.
The company was on duty again during the Kalloch-De Young troubles of 1879. The members, with few exceptions, placed their pay direct into the treasury of the company.
On August 1st of this year the company removed from the armory then occupied to No. 428 Post street, north side, between Powell and Mason streets. The building was once known as Mrs. Mirasole's dancing academy. Many a good time was had there, too. Here the company remained until June 1, 1881.
Camp Walsh was the camp pitched by the First Regiment at Sacramento, from September 10th to the 14th, 1879, inclusive. The members of the "City Guard" enjoyed themselves very much indeed at this camp.
Chapter 5, From 1880 To 1894.
ARLY in the year 1880 the company experienced quite a boom in membership, the roll reaching to considerable proportions, prizes having been offered to the two members who would do the most recruiting within a given time. The company had in view the new uniforms to be presented by a committee of citizens, and it was the general desire that the roll he increased. The "City Guard" duly received its proportion of these uniforms, which were the regulation as previously worn.
First Sergeant Paul E. Scott was, on April 5th, elected second lieutenant, vice H. A. Plate resigned. On July 26th, following, Selleck was made captain, vice Dickinson promoted Colonel First Infantry, and J. C. B. Hebbard, first lieutenant, vice Selleck promoted.
That part of the Second Brigade located in San Francisco was on duty at the county jail, and in their armories, during the troubles of April, 1880, when Chas. de Young was shot by young Kalloch. The companies were hastily summoned, but again dismissed in a few days, when the excitement had subsided.
Camp Barnes, regimental, in which this company participated, was held at Sacramento from the 18th to the 26th of September, 1880. While returning to San Francisco, the train bearing the regiment, ran into an open switch on the Oakland Mole. Engineer Wm. C. Browne, by his presence of mind and heroic action in sticking to his post of duty, saved the members of the regiment from a fearful death, he being the only one who lost his life. The engine went through the wharf into the bay, and, when afterwards found, Browne was still standing upright, with his hand on the throttle, dead.
Proper action was taken by tie board of officers, in an elaborate set of resolutions, and substantial aid was given to his mother and sister, who were dependent upon him for support.
The next camp, Camp Upton, was held at Santa Cruz from the 2d to the 10th of July, 1881.
On June 1, 1881, the "City Guard" took possession of its new quarters on the N. W. corner of Howard and New Montgomery streets, this being the second time that the company had had its armory upon that corner. This was also regimental headquarters; remained there until early in 1888.
Samuel J. Taylor was elected first lieutenant, vice Hebbard resigned, on June 27, 1881, and, on the 15th of September following, August F. Plate was made second lieutenant, vice Scott resigned. March 2, 1882, found Taylor captain, vice Selleck retired; Plate, first lieutenant, vice Taylor promoted, and J. C. Conrad, second lieutenant, vice Plate promoted.
The regimental camps of the two following years, 1882 and 1883, were held at San Jose, from July 1st to the 9th of each year. In both cases a return trip was made to San Francisco for the Fourth of July parade, the regiment reaching San Jose again in time for the parade there in the evening. The camp of 1882 was named Camp Sheehan, and that of 1883 Camp San Jose.
Second Lieutenant Conrad resigned on July 11, 1883. Francis J. Kremple was elected first lieutenant, vice Plate resigned, to rank from December 12, 1883, the second lieutenancy being left vacant.
In 1884 the regimental camp was held at Santa Rosa from the 6th to the 14th of September.
The first, division camp held by the State troops was at Santa Cruz, from August 15th to the 23d, 1885, the camp being named after the Commander in Chief, Governor Stone- man. Company "B" was comfortably situated in its quarters with the regiment, and cheerfully performed all duties required. The First Regiment, through its own commissary, furnished the meals to its members; other regiments, however, were not so fortunate, they depending upon a caterer for their subsistence. This caterer furnished any thing but what was satisfactory to the men, the principal "kick" being against so much "tripe," which was served out too frequently for their tastes. After the sham battle of Saturday the hill upon which it took place was christened " Tripe Hill," and is known as such to this day.
Frank J. Warren succeeded Kremple as first lieutenant on May 28, 1885, the latter having resigned; the second lieutenancy being left vacant. Ex-First Sergeant George R. Burdick was elected to the captaincy of the company on October 22, 1885, vice Taylor promoted major of the regiment. There was no second lieutenant.
Major Taylor, upon leaving the " City Guard," presented the company with what is known as the "Taylor Badge." The inscription on the back of this handsome gift is as follows: First prize, Thanksgiving Day Shoot. Taylor. November 26, 1885.
"Soldier, will you work"?
Irving B. Cook was elected first lieutenant, to rank from May 19,1887, vice Warren appointed signal officer, regimental staff.
The first brigade camp held for quite a number of years was at Healdsburg for eight days, from the 2d to the 10th of July, 1887. Camp Bartlett was named after the governor, and commander in chief. Company "B" made its accustomed showing at this school of instruction, occupying the street allotted to it by the regimental commander.
This camp was styled the " Jonah camp" by the boys, as three deaths occurred, two by drowning, and one, Sergeant Major William Mitchell, appointed from this company, died from the effects of exposure.
The " City Guard" moved into its present quarters, at 1327 Market street, on April 4, 1888. The company expended a great deal of money in fitting its rooms up appropriately. "B," with companies "A," " D," " F," and " H," leased this armory, which had been built expressly for them, for a period of ten years, each having two rooms for the use of its members.
San Jose, for the third time, received the regimental camp, for the year 1888, on July 21st, for eight days.
The company received new uniforms during the year 1888. These were the United States regulation as previously worn. The state furnished this lot of uniforms, and the general fit of them was some thing terrible to look upon, being the fault of the contractors. Ten new Springfield rifles, model of 1883, came to the headquarters of company " B," these rifles being an improvement over those of 1873, in that the safety notch was added, with the Buffington rear and front sights. At different times subsequent to 1888 two more issues were made of ten and nine respectively.
At a social reunion of the " City Guard," on Monday evening, October 22, 1888, L. D. Stone, Esq., an honorary member of the company, presented the organization with a magnificent bearskin screen.
Camp Orton, named after the Adjutant General of this State, was a regimental camp held at Santa Rosa, from the 20th to the 28th of July, 1889. The next two were Second Brigade affairs, both being held at Santa Cruzthat of 1890, Camp Waterman, from the 16th to the 24th of August, and that of 1891, Camp Markham, from the 4th, after parade, to the 12th of July. In all three of these camps the " City Guard " participated.
On October 28, 1889, F. A. Baldwin was elected 2nd Lieutenant, vice self, resigned October 5, 1888, the vacancy not having been filled in the mean time.
By an amendment to the codes governing the National Guard of California the Legislature authorized the issuance of service medals for ten years and upward, the material being of bronze with a bronze bar for ten years, silver bar for fifteen, and a gold bar for twenty years' service.
On January 10, 1891, First Lieutenant Irving B. Cook was elected captain, vice Burdick promoted major. Upon ,the same date, First Sergeant Charles J. Wesson was raised to the dignity of first lieutenant, vice Cook promoted. On June 22d, same year, Edward C. Lumlquist took Baldwin's position as second lieutenant, he having resigned, and, on April 25,
1892, Lundquist was promoted to first lieutenant, vice Wesson resigned, George Filmer taking the second lieutenancy upon the same evening, vice Lundquist promoted.
The second division camp, Camp Columbus, was held at Santa Cruz, from the 5th to the 13th of August, 1892, Major General W. H. Dim on d commanding.
Perhaps the most enjoyable and most satisfactory camp participated in by the members of "B" was "Camp City Guard," a company affair held for five days at Stockton in
1893, from July 1st to the morning of the 6th. The river steamer Mary Garratt was chartered for the transportation of the men both ways. Companies "A" and " B " of the Sixth Infantry, located at Stockton, headed by their band, escorted the " City Guard," upon their arrival, to Goodwater Grove, where the advance guard had already pitched the tents. Regular routine duty was immediately inaugurated. Fifty- nine officers and men participated in Camp " City Guard," and all regretted the time for leaving, the reception accorded them by the boys and ci izens of Stockton having been most pleasing indeed. The expense of this camp was paid out of the company treasury, and amounted to a little less than $4 per man, including transportation, entertaining, and every thing.
Early in the year 1894 new fatigue uniforms were issued to the guard. The Legislature, in 1893, practically did away with the regulation full dress, giving to regimental organizations the privilege of adopting a distinct uniform, to be purchased at their own expense. (None have thus far availed themselves of said privilege.)
One of the crowning glories of the " City Guard," " B" Company, First Infantry, N. G. C., was when the company received the elegant Silver Loving Cup, a trophy presented by Major General W. H. Dimond to the regiment for competition by the seven companies, and cadets composing same,. while at Camp Dimond, Santa Cruz, covering*, the eight days from June 16th to the 24th, 1894. The judges for this competition were First Lieutenant George W. Mclver, Seventh Infantry, U. S. A.; First Lieutenant E. C. Holly, Fourth Infantry, U. S. A.; and Captain T. J. Cunningham. Second Artillery, N. G. C.
This trial for supremacy was to continue for the entire week at camp, the conditions being the best general discipline, deportment, promptness in performing all military duties, knowledge of said duties, general appearance of the men, both in camp and in town, best general condition of tents and company streets, toldierly bearing of the men, general efficiency in drill for the entire week, and the manner of con- ducting same, and any other military details that the judges may notice. All to end with a competitive drill at the end of the week.
On the Sunday that the regiment returned from camp General Dickinson presented the cup to the company, the judges having unanimously decided that the City Guard had fairly won it.
The writer has given in chapter 6 of this history a narrative of the company in musket and rifle practice, together with the improvements made in arms and shooting conditions, since its organization in 1854. It will be noted that " B " company is not only well up in drill, but the members know how to shoot also, as the following chapter will amply demonstrate.
The first experience of the "City Guard" in rifle, or rather musket, practice, was on July 4, 1854, at Martinez. Upon that occasion the members shot for an elegant gold watch, which had been donated by a friend of the organization. One shot only was allowed each man at a target placed sixty yards distant. The firearm used was the one then carried by the corps. This shoot was not the regular one as required by law.
The company journeyed to the Oakland side of the bay on the 18th of August following, for its regular medal and prize competition. This is where the " Clark" medal first made its appearance. and constituted the chief prize.
The gun used in the early days of target practice, and as issued by our State to the company, was the old style muzzle loading, smooth bore percussion musket, model of 1842, with a very long barrel, one upon the muzzle of which an average size man could easily rest his chin while standing, the butt of the piece being on the ground. The caliber of this firearm was .69 of an inch. Members were allowed to use any charge powder they wished, the bullet being round. This musket superseded the old " flint lock." No dependence could be placed upon it for close shooting, however, even at the short range of those days. It continued to be the principal arm of the California service until 1865, when an improved musket was issued.
The regulation target consisted of a one-inch board painted white, 22 inches wide by 6 feet long in the clear, to represent the size of a man, without taking the outline of one. The bull's-eye was black and round, 4 inches in diameter, and placed equidistant from each edge of the target, and two feet from the top. Three shots were allowed each man, their value being determined by " string measure," that is, the distance from center of bullet hole to center of bull's-eye. The aggregate of each man's three shots was taken, and the one with the shortest " string " took first prize, the next shortest the second, and so on. All misses, and there were many of them, counted forty-nine and one-half inches, this being the distance from the bull's-eye to the extreme lower corners of the target. Many times did the average number of hits fall below 40 per cent of the shots fired.
Other styles of targets were sometimes used by the company, but when this was done it was an exception to the general rule. A round target, two feet in diameter, occasionally met with favor, and upon one or two days of that period the company put up a target which represented the figure of an Indian warrior, nicely painted, bearing the usual bull's-eye. The guests, as a general thing, fired away at a round target about thirty inches in diameter.
Three judges, usually officers of other military organizations, and selected from the guests of the company, and who were generally stationed at a safe distance from one flank of the target, did the marking and scoring. A shot having been fired, they hastened to investigate the result, and, finding a hit, would duly measure it, plug up the hole with a wooden or cork plug furnished for the purpose, and number it to correspond with the man shooting, also numbering the target alongside the shot. Before retiring they would indicate the shot to the firing point by pointing at it, and if a miss by waving a white handkerchief. The judges kept the score by recording the value of each shot in a book kept for that purpose against the man's number. After the close of the competition, then would the winners be declared, and prizes distributed at once. It took a long time for a company of say forty or forty-five men to shoot under these conditions. This is why only three shots were allowed.
An elegant lunch was always provided by the members of the "City Guard" upon the shooting days, and the commissary wagon was loaded down with all good things that money could buy. In the evening it was the usual thing for them to entertain their guests at a banquet given at some well- known hotel of the city. These excursions cost a great deal of money, which was generally provided for by assessing the members. This custom remained in vogue for quite a number of years. In 1861, when the "City Guard" became Company " B " of the First Infantry.
1860 brought with it the first change in the regulation target, by the addition of a vertical and a horizontal black stripe, four inches in width, each passing through the bull's- eye, thus dividing the target into four parts. The writer notes that upon one or two occasions this black stripe, of only one and one-half inches in width, divided the target into four equal parts. The United States targets were twenty-two inches wide by six feet high, for distances, from one hundred and fifty yards up to two hundred and twenty-five,the material being of white cloth, or canvas, stretched upon a frame, generally made of iron, sometimes of wood; the width of the target, as did the width of the black stripes, increased at the longer ranges, one thousand yards being the extreme. Our range remained as it was previously, sixty yards, as the regular army already had the rifle that was not issued to us until 1865.
The United States Government, in 1855, after satisfactory tests made at the Springfield arsenal, adopted the Springfield percussion muzzle-loading rifle, caliber fifty-eight, with the length of barrel at forty inches, rifled with three grooves, making a half turn in its length. The bullet was of lead and cylindro-conical in shape, with expanding base, and weighed five hundred grains. Sixty grains of powder was the regulation charge. This rifle, together with the bayonet, weighed about ten pounds. Ten years after its adoption, or in other words, on February 20, 1865, the " City Guard " received its quota. The shooting distance was then increased to one hundred and fifty yards. In 1866, the following year, the rifles remaining in the arsenal were changed to breechloaders, and the regular army furnished with them, but California did not receive any.
The first competition for prizes between teams from the different companies composing the First Regiment took place on September 12,1865. These teams were of three men each, with three shots per man. The " City Guard " carried away the second prize, with a score of 92.02 inches, not counting one miss. Company " C " took first prize, also making one miss.
Ladies attended the State shoot of the company for the first time, by invitation, on November 12, 1866, also the shoots of 1867 and 1868, the latter being a regimental affair, held May 8th, at Schuetzen Park, Alameda. Upon this occasion the targets were, on account of limited space, close together, and it became necessary that pits be dug at their base for the accommodation of the judges; it was so arranged that the targets slid down into these pits to be marked and plugged. All marking and scoring was done on the same principles as before described. The width of the target was increased at this shoot to twenty-four inches.
1869 found somewhat of a change, in so much that the company held its prize competition, the sixteenth annual, alone, dispensing with the usual accompaniments of brass band, cold collations, etc., and issuing no invitations to guests, the parade being solely to comply with the requirements of law. Thus the old custom was abandoned. The company continued to shoot each year regularly in accordance with regulations, sometimes by itself, but generally with the entire regiment as an organization.
The National Guard was given the option to use either of the following described targets for the state shoot of 1873: First, that which was previously provided for, the black stripes being but one and one-half inches wide instead of four; or, second, the same size target painted black, with a four-inch white stripe the full length down the center, black four-inch bull's-eye, two feet from the top, surrounded by a white circle, the outside diameter of which was eighteen inches.
The "City Guard" received its first breech-loading rifles, the Sharp's, 50 caliber, on June 22, 1873, which were purchased and paid for by the regiment, and was not the U. S. A. regulation. This rifle was shorter than the Springfield muzzle-loader, the caliber, however, being the same. It was rifled with twice as many grooves, 6 in number, these grooves having a much heavier twist than that contained in the old barrel. The square-butt bullet weighed about 400 grains, while the charge of powder was heavier, from 65 to 70 grains. It is said that the Sharp's rifle did not give the satisfaction for target practice that was expected from it. The reader will not confound the model just referred to with the Sharp's Buchard, caliber 15, that many individual shooters used quite extensively in later years, and which gave ample satisfaction.
When the National Rifle Association of America was organized in 1871, it adopted the " Hythe" system of targets, then used by the English. These targets were made of iron, painted white, the bull's-eye being square and black, and with a value of four points; the next larger square counted 3, the balance of target, 2 points. These were classed as follows: Class "A," for distances up to and including 300 yards, 4 feet wide by 6 feet high; class " B," from 300 up to and including 600, 6x6 feet; class " C," including all distances above 600 yards, 12 feet wide by 6 high. The bull's-eyes were 8, 22, and 36 inches square, respectively. These targets werg used, unofficially, in California as early as 1873, and Interstate matches were shot upon them, as well as other local competitions between companies and individuals; but they never became the regulation targets for the National Guard of this State. Annual shoots continued to be fired at the old style 2x6 target.
About the time that the California Rifle Association was incorporated, in June, 1875, a change was made from the " Hythe" target to the " Wimbleton" or " Creedmoor" system, as it is known in the United States, taking the name from the famous rifle ranges at Creedmoor, Long Island. These targets were of the same size as the others, but the bull's-eyes and rings became round instead of square, also adding one extra ring, thus giving the bull's-eye the value of 5 points, the center, 4, the inner, 3, and the outer, 2 points. These targets, instead of being made of iron, were of canvas for a backing, stretched upon a frame of proper size. The " Creedmoor" target was the first one adopted by the California Association, none other being in use by them. Sizes of bull's-eyes and rings as follows: Class "A" target, bull's-eye, 8 inches in diameter; center, 26 inches; inner, 46 inches; outer, balance of target. Class " B," bull's-eye, 22 inches in diameter; center, 38 inches; inner, 54 inches; outer, 70 inches diameter; this ring was subsequently dropped, thus giving balance of target for the outer. Class "C," bull's-eye, 36 inches in diameter; center, 54 inches in diameter; inner was square, being 6x6 feet; outer, balance of target. The Creedmoor rules of the National Association were taken, which soon became generally recognized throughout California, the State adopting them later for the government of the N. G. C.
The Springfield breech-loading rifle, caliber 45, was adopted by the Government in 1873, after the Small Arms Board had outer, balance of target. Class " C," bull's-eye, 32 x 50; center, 51x72; inner, square of 72x72 inches; outer, balance of target.
The company nas participated in a great many matches, particularly within the last two or three years. As a general thing, these matches were for glory, with a trophy occasionally thrown in. Some of these matches the company lost, while on other occasions the rooster crowed very loudly for " B." Here are a few of the principal events:
On March 11, 1893, the company entered a team in the Midwinter Fair prize shoot for trophies. Entrance fee, twenty-five dollars; ten men to each team, and ten shots per man. The " City Guard " took third prize, an elegant one, with a score of four hundred and twenty-five points out of five hundred, an average of eighty-five per cent.
Perhaps the greatest and most satisfactory achievement of " B " Company was at Sacramento, on December 17, 1893. Company " C " of the First Regiment shot against " F " of the Eighth, located at Oroville, and this company shot against " C " of the Eighth, of Marysville. All four organizations shot on the same ground, and at the same time, the targets adjoining. This match was for thirty men on each team, ten shots per man, and to be shot upon neutral ground in the open, man for man. To accomplish this it was necessary that "B" and "C " of the First, and the other two companies meet half way at Sacramento, which they did. "C" beat Oroville, scores, 1225 to 1195. " B " beat Marysville, score 1233 to 1143, the " City Guard" coming out with the best score of the day, making an average of 41.1 points per man, a very large average for thirty men.
As a result of the Sacramento match the company received a match from the famous " Carson City Guard,"of Nevada. This interstate match was for thirty men a side, ten shots per man, the watch being held 0n each shooter for the time limit. The shoot was what is termed telegraphic, and targets were to be exchanged by express after the firing ceased. Each company had its representative at the other's range. " B " was again victorious, beating their opponents by ten points, scores 1223 to 1213. This was on May 6, 1894.
The following three matches were undoubtedly the largest ever shot by military companies anywhere in the United States or elsewhere. They were shot man for man, under the existing rules, at two hundred yards, with ten shots for each competitor, making the possible number of points 2,500. It will be noted that two of these matches were shot upon B company's opponents' ranges, both of which being strange to the members of this company.
On December 2, 1894, at Schuetzen Park, San Rafael, with D Company, Fifth Infantry, N. G. C., B wins by five points. Scores: B, 1,846, or an average per man of 36.92 points. D making 1,841, an average of 36.82.
Both companies having strengthened their teams, a return match was made for May 5, 1895, this time at B's headquarters, Shell Mound Rifle Range. B again wins by fifty-three points. Scores: B, 1,951 points, an average per man of 39.02 points, D making 1,898, an average of 37.96. Each company made a marked improvement over the previous match.
On May 19, 1895, this company shot another fifty-man match this time with C company, Eighth Infantry, N. G. C., upon their own range at Marysville, Cal., B journeying there for that purpose. This time B lost. Scores: B, 1,907 points, an average of 38.14 per man; their opponents making 1,982, an average of 39.64. The score made by C company was an elegant one, and the members are deserving of a great deal of praise for their splendid shooting.
The " Tobin Trophy " was presented to the First Regiment by the relatives of Colonel Robert Tobin, of the Third, in 1890, after his death, the regiment having performed the escort duty at the funeral. This trophy is a permanent affair for competition every year by teams selected from each company. For the first five years these teams consisted of twenty men each; but in 1895 they were increased to twenty-five men. B's record is as follows: Possible points, 1,000. In
1890, the company made 784, average, per man, 39.20. In
1891, 707; average, 35.35. In 1892, 766; average 38.3, In 1893, 787; average, 39.35. In 1894, 824; average, 41.20. In 1895, for twenty-five men, possible number of points 1,250, the company made 1,032, an average of 41.30 points to the man. In these shoots for the trophy the City Guard took second place, with the exception of the years 1891 and 1892, then falling to third place. The trophy competition was at the 200 yard range
The members of B company have received the following State decorations since the system was adopted, as previously noted, in 1887. For the year 1887: gold bars, 0; silver, 3; bronze, 11. Total, 14. In 1888: gold, 0; silver, 7; bronze, 9. Total, 16. In 1889: gold, 1; silver, 6; bronze, 19. Total, 26. In 1890: gold, 1; silver, 11; bronze, 14. Total, 26. In 1891: gold, 0; silver, 5; bronze, 14. Total, 19. In 1892: gold, 0; silver, 4; bronze, 16. Total, 20. In 1893: gold, 1; silver, 11; bronze, 20. Total, 32. In 1894: gold, 1; silver, 16; bronze, 23. Total, 40.
The City Guard originally set the pace in the matter of shooting rifle matches with teams composed of fifty men from a company. It is a recognized fact that a soldier should know how to shoot, and, in order to encourage the members, some inducements must be given. What is better than placing them in a large shooting team? Any member of a company will strive very hard indeed to win a place on such a team, especially if he thinks there is any possible show for him, while otherwise he would be rather lukewarm if simply competing for a personal decoration. Hence the desirability of large team shooting. The better shots will always take care of themselves; foster the poorer ones by interesting them in their art, and they will, in their turn, take care of themselves.
It has been, particularly for the past two or three years, the determined policy of this company to steadily increase the shooting efficiency of its members. Not only have the better shots received their proper attention, but the poorer ones have been encouraged, and, under the fostering care and instruction freely given them, they have gradually improved in their marksmanship; many of them now rank among the best shots of the company. In closing this chapter the writer predicts a brilliant future for the City Guard in rifle practice, and with proper care, attention, and enthusiasm, the "old company" will yet be the peer of them all.
Posted 24 December 2008
Updated 24 November 2014