Historic California Militia and
National Guard Units
Military Unit Designation: Mounted Volunteers, 2nd Brigade, California Militia
Date of Organization: 9 September 1861
Date of Disbanding: 1861
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1861
Geographical Location or Locations: Humboldt County
Unit papers on file at the California
a. Organization Papers none
b. Bonds none
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) none
d. Election Returns 1 document (1861)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns none
g. Oaths Qualifications none
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices none
j. Requisitions none
k. Resignations none
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none
Commanding Officers: George Werk, Captain: Elected 20
August 1861, commissioned 28 August 1861
Green Wilkerson, First Lieutenant: Elected 20 August 1861, commissioned
28 August 1861
In 1861 Governor Downey sent a letter to General E. V. Sumner,
commanding the Pacific Division of the United States Army, stating
that information had been received by him from sources entitled
to credit, of repeated outrages having been committed by hostile
Indians upon the settlers in the vicinity of Eel River. The Governor
requested General Sumner to furnish aid for these people. The
General replied that it was impossible at that time to send United
States Troops into Humboldt County.
In order to protect the lives and property of the citizens, the
Governor ordered Brigadier-General J. T. Ryan, commander of the
Sixth Division of California Militia, to proceed at once to enroll
and muster into service for the space of three months, forty
mounted volunteers to be used in subduing the Indians committing
the depredations. In organizing this company General Ryan was
to follow as strictly as possible t he Military Law of the State.
He was to see that the lives and property of the citizens were
protected and t hat no inhumanity be practiced against the tribes.
Only the Indians in actual hostility were to be molested and
in no case were the lives of women and children to be taken.
A departure from these instructions would subject the parties
offending to severe penalties and reprimands by the Governor.
General Ryan was to report to the Governor's Office as soon as
the company was organized, and to send a copy of the Muster Roll
and a list of officers in order that the latter might be commissioned.
With these instructions well in mind the company known as the
Mounted Volunteers was organized in compliance with the Governor's
orders August 20, 1861, with Captain George Werk in command.
The Mounted Volunteers from August twentieth to September ninth,
served with the Federal Troops in Humboldt County, and on September
ninth of that year they were officially mustered into the service
of the State of California, for the period of three months.
In a short space of time this company had surrounded the hostile
bands of roving Indians and placed them on the Federal Reservations.
Their task fully and conscientiously completed, the Mounted Volunteers,
at the end of their three month period of service was mustered
out of the service of the State of California.
 Letter from Governor Downey to General
Ryan on file State Archives, State Capitol.
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