The history of the Independent City Guard is written with a view of illustrating the procedure adopted and followed in the organization of early State militia companies. The main source of information is taken from the original Record Book of the Sacramento Guard, and the Independent City Guard. (1)
On June 4, 1856, the officers and men of the disbanded Sacramento Guard met to form themselves into a new company known as the Independent City Guard of Sacramento. Although they were recognized as a military organization they were not organized under the Military Law or connected in anyway with the State Militia.
For the good conduct of the corps the men adopted the following By-Laws and Constitution to the support of which they pledged themselves. (2)
Constitution of the Independent City Guard
Section 1: The company shall be denominated and known as the Independent City Guard of Sacramento, and the name shall not be changed, except by a two-thirds vote of the company at a regular meeting.
2: The officers shall consist of one Captain and one First Lieutenant, one Second Lieutenant, one Brevet Second Lieutenant, one Surgeon, four Sergeants, one Quartermaster Sergeant, four Corporals, one Clerk and one Treasurer, and shall be elected in the order named.
3: The election of officers shall be held annually at the stated meetings in August. All officers shall be elected by ballot and a majority of all votes cast shall be necessary to, a choice. In case of a vacancy occurring during the year, it shall be filled for the balance of the term, by an election held at the next regular monthly meeting of the company, and until such election be held the next junior officer shall fill the vacancy.
4: Application for membership shall be made in writing through an active member of the company, and accompanied with the sum of ten dollars initiation fee, which shall entitle him when elected to the use of the company uniform and shall be returned if the person applying furnishes his own uniform or not be elected. Any person applying for admission to the company shall state his height, age, occupation, and place of residence.
5: Election to membership shall be by ballot, and any person having received less than three black balls shall be declared duly elected, and after signing the Constitution be considered an active member of the Company.
6: The stated meetings of the company shall be held the first Monday evening of each month, and special meetings may be called at any time by the commanding officer at his own option, and at the written request of six members it shall be his imperative duty to issue an order for such meeting.
7: All meetings of the company shall be presided over by the senior officer present who shall be governed in his decision by the parliamentary rules laid down in Jefferson's Manuel. One third of the members shall constitute a quorum at all meetings of the company.
8: Application for withdrawal from the company must be made in writing, and the applicant shall be entitled to an honorable discharge, provided all dues and fines are liquidated, and all property belonging to the company returned to the Quartermaster Sergeant.
9: The commanding officer shall have power to punish by arrest, suspension or reprimand all members guilty of disobedience to orders,drunkenness or dissention when under orders, for the purpose of drill or parade. And any member so offending shall be liable to expulsion by Court Martial as hereafter provided.
10: No member shall be expelled from the company for breach of discipline except by a Court Martial, consisting of one commissioned officer who shall preside, and one non-commissioned officer, and three privates to be appointed by the company at a monthly or special meeting as occasion may require. The chair shall appoint a Judge Advocate for all Court Martials.
11: The Constitution shall not be altered or amended except by a two-thirds vote of the members present at regular meeting. Such amendment having been proposed in writing at a previous regular meeting of the company.
By-Laws of the Independent City Guard
Section 1: Each member shall pay $1.00 per month for dues, payable at the stated meeting, and such other assessments as may be voted at any meeting by two-thirds vote of the members present.
2: Members shall be subject to the following fines:
Absence from regular meeting $1.00
Absence from special meeting .50
Absence from special drill .50
Absence from first roll call .25
The four Sergeants, Quartermaster Sergeant, and Clerk shall pay double that rate, the commissioned officers.shall pay quadruple that rate.
3: It shall be the Clerk's duty to write notices collect all dues, fines and assessments at each regular meeting and pay the same over to the Treasurer, keep minutes of the business and transactions of the company and such other duties as the commanding officer may direct. He shall be exempt from all dues and assessments but not from fines.
4: The roll shall be called at all meetings and drills of the company precisely fifteen minutes after the time set in the call and again at the close of the meeting or drill, and delinquents noted by the Clerk or acting Orderly. If there is not a quorum present at any business meeting at a first roll call, those present may adjourn. If called for drill the drill shall proceed.
5: The following shall be the order of business at regular or special meeting:
1st Roll Call.
2nd Minutes of preceding meeting read and approved.
3rd Reports of committees and consideration of measures proposed by them.
4th Deferred business.
5th New business.
6th Collection of dues.
7th Election of new members.
8th Roll call.
Any member asking to be excused by the presiding officer during a regular meeting shall pay all dues and fines at the time of application. A member leaving without permission shall be fined $2.50.
6: The Treasurer of the company shall receive all monies belonging to the company and pay all bills and orders signed by the corresponding officer. He shall keep a correct account of all transaction and give full reports at the regular meeting in August and in February of all monies received and payed out by him.
7: The Quartermaster Sergeant shall have charge of all property belonging to the company. He shall provide and furnish for all parades and drills, and perform such other duties as the commanding officer may direct to who's order he shall always be subject.
8: The presiding officer and Clerk shall sign all the proceedings of all meetings after they have been approved.
9: These By-Laws may be added to or amended at any regular meeting of the company by a two-thirds vote of the members present.
On June 14, 1850, L. L. Baker, formerly of Sacramento Guard was elected Captain of the Independent City Guard and R. N. Wilcox, First Lieutenant A collection totaling $1,000 was also taken up among the members at that time from which amount Mr.Blanchard, a member of the company, was empowered to purchase forty-five muskets of the latest and most approved style used in the United States service.
On June 28, 1858, the Independent City Guard decided to organize under the laws of the State. County Judge Robert Robinson ordered Colonel J. H. Stewart to open a book to receive the names of the members of the new company. Colonel Stewart declared the company duly organized and the members again elected L. L. Baker, Captain and Josiah Howell, First Lieutenant.
Captain Baker resigned from the company on April 25, 1859, and the Independent City Guard paid him the following tribute:
"That we deeply regret the necessity which exists for the resignation of Captain Baker, and in accepting the same we convey to him our warmest thanks for the zeal and the earnestness he has manifested in the discharge of his various duties. That in the resignation of Captain Baker the company has lost a talented commander and superior instructor whose knowledge of military tactics has made his services peculiarly valuable and whose gentlemanly deportment and uniform integrity has won our sincere esteem and respect. That with a view of paying proper regard for the eminent services rendered by Captain Baker, he is hereby elected an honorary member of the Independent City Guard, and that his name shall appear first upon the toll of honorary members."
The Independent City Guard on September
22, 1859, was one of the companies composing the first military
camp ever formed in the State. A battalion consisting of one artillery,
two rifle and four infantry companies, pitched their tents about
a mile northeast of Washington, Yolo County upon a beautiful lawn
skirted by a growth of timber, affording excellent shade and convenient
water. This fine body of citizen soldiery, was under the command
of Colonel Hooker of the Sixth Infantry.
The Adjutant of the Battalion was Captain J. C. Gibson, Third
Artillery, United States Army, who was also in command of the
Third Artillery Band, which participated
in the Encampment. (3) A review was held on September 23, in the presence of a comparatively few persons due to the high winds and dense dust clouds. A line of march was formed by Colonel Hooker and the Governor and his staff, upon their arrival inspected the companies. Exercises for the day included a battalion review, to determine the Winner of a silk banner for the best drilled company. The judges were all officers of the United States Army. First prize went to the Independent National Guard., San Francisco company commanded by Captain J. B. Moore, as the best drilled infantry company in camp. The Independent City Guard won second award for their conduct and accurate drilling under their commander, Captain Howell. (4) At the conclusion of the Encampment, the Independent City Guard had other companies as their guests at a social the next evening and the following day the various companies left for their homes. (5)
On May 6, 1860, the company voted to strike out the word "Independent" from their title, thereafter they would be referred to as the City Guard.
On May 14, 1860, the City Guard received word that the Pah-ute Indians had slain five white men in Carson Valley and had destroyed their homes, and the possibility loomed that thirteen more white men had been killed nearby. Governor Downey, being absent from the State Capitol, the appeal for arms and men was acted upon by Johnson Price, Secretary of State. He ordered the Sutter Rifles,City Guard, and the Coloma Greys, to stand by ready to leave on short notice. Members of the City Guard and the Sutter Rifles, unable to wait until officially given the word to march, joined up with the turbulent mob which was proceeding to the Washoe Valley in a company against the Indians. On the afternoon of May fifteenth the ranks of both companies which had been depleted when members entered active Indian service, were filled to capacity by volunteers. Martial law in Carson was discontinued when it was learned that the United States Troops had been sent to the Washoe Valley. (6)
During the War of the Rebellion the City Guard took no active part, although many of its members left the unit to join the United States Army. However, the company frequently received letters from the Adjutant General to quell riots or tumultuous displays staged by the Secessionists in the Sacramento region.
In 1866, the military system of the State was changed and the number of companies was reduced to eighty in all and the uniformed troops of the State were to be designated and known as the National Guard of California. A Board of Location and Organization was created by the State Legislature to have the power to disband or reorganize companies with reference to the military needs. (7) The City Guard was one of the many companies reorganized and mustered back into the State service. (8) The Independent City Guard did not participate in any unusual activities other than their company drills until 1878, when they attended a Brigade Encampment held in connection with the State Fair. The State Agricultural Society, together with various citizens of Sacramento offered prizes for drill and marksmanship to the attending companies. Governor William Irwin, accompanied by a number of National Guard officers, visited Camp Irwin, named in honor of his Excellency, and reviewed the troops there. The following day D.M. Key, Postmaster General of the United States, was present and that. day the military exercises were witnessed by an unusually large assemblage of people. Although the City Guard did not take part in the competitive drill they won favorable mention by their splendid conduct. (9)
The activities of this guard were terminated when upon the recommendation of Brigadier: General John F. Sheehan on March 19, 1880, Adjutant General Samuel W. Bachus ordered the First Infantry Battalion of the Fourth Brigade together with the Sacramento Light Artillery to combine to compose a regiment known as the First Artillery Regiment; Fourth Brigade. The City Guard was to be known hereafter as Battery A of the First Artillery Regiment. (10)
(1) Record Book of the Minutes of the Sacramento and the Independent City Guard 1855-1860; as of this writing in possession of Sergeant Alfred Strand Headquarters Company, 184th Infantry, National Guard of California
(2) Record Book of the Minutes of the Sacramento and the Independent City Guard 1855-1860
(3) Sacramento Union, September 22, 1859, Page 2, Column 3
(4) Sacramento Union, September 23., 1859, Page 2, Column 3.
(5) Sacramento Union, September 24, 1859, Page 2, Columns 2,
(6) Sacramento Union, May 14, 1860, Page 2, Columns 2,3,5, and 6
(7) California Statutes 1865-1866, Chapter DXLI, Page 722.
(8) Historical Record Book 4th Brigade, Page 13, on file Adjutant General's Office.
(9) Adjutant General Report 1877-1879, Page 11.
(1) Adjutant General Report 1880, Page 70,
Special Order No. 19.
This history was written in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the office of the Adjutant General and the California State Library