California State Military Department
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California State Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Mobile Guard

Official or other titles: Mobile Guard, Company E, Sierra Battalion, Fourth Division, Second Brigade

Location: Shady Flat, Sierra County

Mustered in: March 19, 1858

Commanding Officers

Andrew L. Stertens, Captain
David L. Whitney, First Lieutenant


Official History

When the emigrants poured into California after Marshall's discovery of gold, many little settlements were established by the pioneers around the diggings where the precious metal was being mined. Names were given to these "mushroom villages" for sentimental reasons, or through some quirk of fate in the activities of the residents. Mobile Flat, Shady Flat, O'Donnell Flat, and Snake Bar were located in Sierra County. In 1858 residents from these four new settlements gathered together, for the organization of.a volunteer military company to be prepared and ready for any emergency should the State need their services. There were many tribes of hostile Indians through out the State particularly in the northern districts; there fore, public spirited men were always aware of the possible need of protection for their homes and work. After the nec essary steps were taken, the meeting was called and presided over by Major Hungerford at which time sixteen officers were elected from a roll of forty-eight members, and the company stationed at Shady Flat took the name of Mobile Guard becoming Company E, of the Sierra Battalion under Major Hungerford.

A Bond of $2,000 was signed by D. S. Forman and William P. Tenmant as sureties, and was subscribed and sworn to before John C. Stanley, Notary Public, on March 22, 1858. The Bond was filed with the Adjutant General by Alanson Smith, Judge of Sierra County, on March thirty-first, in order that the company would receive their necessary arms. The Muster Roll signed by Captain Stertens, which was certified to by Major Hungerford, was approved by O. C. Hall, Brigadier-General of the Second Division, Fourth Brigade, on June first. This roll indicates that members began enrolling in the volunteer company from March fourteenth to May second.

As there is no Adjutant General's Report for the year 1858, nor any other available information of the Mobile Guard, it is not known whether the company was ever issued arms or participated in military activities. Population in the mining districts was more or less transient during that era, as many times word came of new strikes found in other localities where diggings were reported to be richer, thus drawing people away from the townships already settled. After the exodus from the deserted camps, interest in military activities waned causing a disbandment of the volunteer companies. It is assumed that some such occurrence may have been the cause for the disbandment of the Mobile Guard, although there is no official record of the mustering out of the 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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