California State Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Eureka Light Horse Guard
Official or Other Designations: Eureka Light Horse Guard, Second Brigade, California Militia
Location: San Francisco, San Francisco County
Mustered in: June 1852
Mustered out: August 28, 1853
Unit papers on file at California State Archives:
a. Organization Papers 1 document (1852)
b. Bonds none
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 19 documents (1852-1854)
d. Election Returns 3 documents (1853-1854)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 2 documents (1853)
g. Oaths Qualifications 3 documents (1853)
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 1 document (1853)
j. Requisitions none
k. Resignations 1 document (1853)
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none

Commanding Officers

Alonzo Coy, Captain, Date of Rank: June 26, 1852; Commissioned: June 29, 1852
D. L. Fernald, First Lieutenant, Date of Rank: June 26, 1852; Commissioned: June 29, 1852

Isaac Rowell, Captain, Date of Rank: September 1, 1853
F. D. Kohler, First Lieutenant, Date of Rank: June 24, 1853


Offical History

The Eureka Light Horse Guard was organized June 26, 1852, in San Francisco. At the first election, Aonzo Coy was elected Captain and D. L. Fernald as First Lieutenant. Their first public appearance was at the celebration of Independence Day 1852. Although a newly organized unit, the corps made a striking appearance dressed in their new uniforms and mounted on splendid horses. Their horsemanship was unusually good in spite of having had only a few drills. (1)

The Eureka Light Horse Guard, participated in a memorial in honor of the noted statesman, Henry Clay, when word of his death reached California. All the militia companies and Civic Organizations in San Francisco combined to pay their respects to the great orator. The ceremonies began with a parade through the principle streets of the City, finally assembling at the City Plaza, where literary exercises were held, with the principle address delivered by Judge Hoffman.(2)

Again on July 4, 1853, the militia units in San Francisco joined in celebrating Independence Day. The affair was strictly a military one. The companies met at the City Plaza and formed for the parade. The different style and various colors of the uniforms presented a brilliant spectacle as the procession proceeded through the streets. The troops passed in review before General John A. Sutter and his Staff, and then proceeded out Kearny Street to the Camp Ground. When they reached the Grounds the units were drawn up in Battalion formation and the colors were presented by Mrs. Catherine Sinclair, who was the granddaughter of a soldier who gave his life on the battlefield during the Revolutionary War. (3)

Apparently there was some dissention in the rank and file of the Eureka Light Horse Guard, for on September 5, 1853, Captain Coy sent a letter to. Governor Bigler, resigning his commission as Captain, and giving as his reason for doing so "circumstances of an unpleasant nature having occurred within the unit, and although not serious, nevertheless were very disagreeable."

It is assumed that the dissention, continued after the election of the new Captain,. Isaac Rowell, as the company disbanded sometime during 1854.


(1) Daily Alta California, July 7, 1852, page 2, columns 1, 2
(2) Daily Alta California, August 11, 1852, page 2, column 2.
(3) Daily Alta California, July 6, 1853, page 2, column 1.
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
Search our Site!
Search the Web Search California Military History Online
Questions and comments concerning this site should be directed to the Webmaster
Updated 8 February 2016