California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Jackson Guard

Official or Other Titles:
Jackson Guard, Company C, First Infantry Battalion, Second Brigade
Location: San Francisco, San Francisco County
Mustered in: June 11, 1856

Commanding Officers

Daniel O'Regan, Captain, Date of Rank: June 11, 1856
Charles B. Grant, First Lieutenant, Date of Rank: June 11, 1856

Official History

The Jackson Guard was one of the militia companies organized in June1856, in response to the Proclamation of Governor J. Neely Johnson, declaring San Francisco in a "state of Insurrection" and mustering into the service of the State the Organized Militia, in addition to organizing new companies. The duly elected officers of the Jackson Guard were Daniel O'Regan, Captain and Charles B. Grant, First Lieutenant.

Several officers and many privates in the older military companies refused to take up arms against their fellow citizens in those days of strife, caused by the activities of the Vigilante Committee. The situation resulting in the reluctance by the militia as a unit to take up arms led to the disbanding of some companies while other units that retained their organization were compelled to enlist many new members to fill up the ranks to the required membership standard.

The Jackson Guard was mustered into the service of the State on June 11, 1856, and was on active duty during the three months that the Governor's Proclamation was in effect. Their activities during this period consisted of guard duty at their respective armories, guarding State property, and preventing the seizure of their arms by the Vigilantes.

The refusal of the militia on June third to take up arms against the Vigilance Committee undoubtedly prevented unnecessary bloodshed, as the Vigilantes were well armed and had a strong numerical force and were determined to rid San Francisco of the lawless element that had gradually become a powerful influence in the life of the City.

No unbiased person could blame Governor Johnson for issuing the Proclamation declaring San Francisco in a "state of Insurrection", as it was his duty to enforce the laws since the Committee was guilty of taking the law In their own hands. Furthermore, the Governor used excellent judgment in not forcing the issue, because the public sentiment was on the side of the Vigilantes, although not perhaps in favor of their methods.

Therefore, the militia's duty consisted mainly of guarding the State property, and in so doing it undoubtedly had a restraining effect on any Vigilante activities that would have led to radical or unreasonable actions.

The records do not reveal whether the Jackson Guard was disbanded when the troops were dismissed on September 11, 1856, or continued in the service of the state as a militia company.

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
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Updated 8 February 2016