California State Military Department
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Preserving California's Military Heritage
California State Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Petaluma Guard
 

Official or Other Titles:
Petaluma Guard, Company D, First Infantry Battalion, Fifth Division,Second Brigade
 
Location: Petaluma, Sonoma County
 
Mustered in: February 11, 1856
 
Mustered out: January 1, 1867

Commanding Officers

P. B. Hewlett, Captain, Date of Rank: February 11, 1856, Commissioned: February 27, 1856
I. H. Siddons, First Lieutenant, Date of Rank: February 11, 1856, Commissioned: February 27, 1856

J. E. Congleton, Captain, 1859
Joseph Van Doren, First Lieutenant, 1859

J. E. Congleton, Captain: Date of Rank: May 13, 1861, Commissioned: June 27, 1861
Joseph Van Doren, First Lieutenant:Date of Rank: May 13, 1861, Commissioned: June 27, 1861

P. B. Hewlett, Captain, Date of Rank: April 5, 1862, Commissioned May 20, 1862
William H. Hartman, First Lieutenant, Date of Rank: April 5, 1862, Commissioned May 20, 1862

James Armstrong, Captain, Date of Rank: August 3, 1863, Commissioned August 15, 1863
J. W. Harris, First Lieutenant, Date of Rank: August 3, 1863, Commissioned August 15, 1863

George Lloyd, Captain, Date of Rank: October 1, 1864, Commissioned October 11, 1864
J. W. Harris, First Lieutenant, Date of Rank: October 1, 1864, Commissioned October 11, 1864

Henry Pimm, Captain, Date of Rank: September 6, 1867, Commissioned: September 20, 1867
John W. Harris, First Lieutenant, Reelected September 6, 1867

Official History

On January 25, 1856, an application by a sufficient number of citizens of Sonoma County, was made to William Churchman, County Judge, for the forming of a volunteer military company, headquarters to be located at Petaluma; also for the appointment of an Inspector to legally organize such a company. Accordingly, on the same date, Judge Churchman formally chose I. G. Wickersham to act as Inspector.

After a public notice, dated January 30, 1856, was given of the time, place, and purpose of meeting, forty-six members out of sixty on the roll met February 11, 1856, and formed an independent military company of infantry. They adopted the name of Petaluma Guard, and elected P. B. Hewlett as Captain, and I. H. Siddons, First Lieutenant. After the organization was completed there was a delay in supplying in arms to the Petaluma Guard. In a letter dated June 1856, Adjutant General William C. Kibbe informed Captain Hewlett his command would be supplied as soon as possible. At that writing all the arms of the State were in requisition at San Francisco. This delay continued as evidenced when General Kibbe wrote again on September 21, 1856, stating the surplus arms of the State were taken by the Vigilance Committee, and until they were restored it would be impossible to equip the command. He hoped in the meantime., the organization would not be broken up as he thought the arms would soon be returned to his custody. After more correspondence, General Kibbe, on instructions from Governor Johnson of December 27, 1856, ordered for the company forty stand of muskets to be supplied by John Schade, gunsmith, on Fifth Street near I, Sacramento. Percussion muskets (1) with accoutrements were furnished. Captain Hewlett's receipt for these dated March 7, 1857, shows the Guard waited over a year for their arms.

The first Muster Roll made on regular form, signed by Captain, Hewlett bore no date. It probably was made in April 1856, as on the roll there are the names of the commanding officers elected when the company was organized and this roll no doubt is the one mentioned as being enclosed with Requisition and Bond in a letter to Adjutant General Kibbe at Sacramento, dated April 12, 1856, and signed by I. G. Wickersham.

The four Muster Rolls that were found in the file up to the year, September 1, 1862, were reported on ordinary ruled paper. One of these dated January 1, 1859., is a very interesting one. It lists the occupations and trades of the company's members and is concluded with very candid remarks by Captain Hewlett. The Muster Roll is copied in full as follows: (2)

"Muster Roll of the Petaluma Guard a volunteer company of the Second Brigade, Fifth Division, California Militia, mustered January 1, 1859.

 RANK

NAME

REMARKS
 Capt. P.B. Hewlett  
 First Lieut. Frank Bray Commissioned as Second Lieut.
 Second Lieut. I.G. Wickersham Not commissioned
 Third Lieut. O.T. Baldwin Not commissioned
 First Sergeant J.C. Coggleton From U.S. Army
 Second Sergeant G.P. Kellogg Artist
 Third Sergeant Jas. McKeene Merchant
 Forth Sergeant Fred Johnson Billiard Saloon
First Corporal  J.W. Hartman Ex-Brig. Gen. 2nd Brig. 5th Div. Calif Militia
 2nd Corporal A. Arthur Gunsmith
 3rd Corporal L.W. Worth Metropolitan Baths
 4th Corporal Wm. Ordway Wagon Maker
 Musicians Thos. C. Schloper Drummer-A.M. Halett
  E.A. Resford Fifer
   J.R. Robinson Drummer
   Jas. Bacon  
 Privates Thos. Bayles Shipping Merchant
   Michael Burns Constable
   Robt. F. Brooks  Barber
   Wm. Browning Volunteer in Mexico
   B.F. Cooper Grocer
   W.W. Churchill Painter
   Frank Durgin Plasterer and Mason
   Jas. Denman School Teacher
   Robt. Duncan Constable
   C.H. Egan Painter
   Alexander Elder Dairy Man
   J. Fengers Lager Beer Saloon
   Henry D. Gilbert Dairy Man
  E. Hart Magnolia Saloon
  Geo. Harris Hardware Merchant
  Wm. Hill Merchant
  Frank Hills Carpenter
  S.C. Haydon Druggist
  H.H. Harmon Surveyor
  J.B. Jacobs Wagon Maker
  G.V. Keller Clerk in Store
  S.S. Kingry Carpenter
D.J. Lindley  
  R. Lischeuskey Blacksmith
  H.S. Laird Broom Maker
  E.R. Moffat Cattle Dealer
  A. McPhael Carpenter
  J. Pensam Brick Layer
  C.L. Perkins Gentleman
  Wm. J. Pinkham Harness Dealer
  F. Rick Merchant Tailor
  J. Robbins Druggist
  A. Skilman Blacksmith
  Wm. D. Trinque Dentist
  R.A. Temple School Teacher
  John S. Van Doren Petaluma House
  Thos. H Ward Blacksmith
  L.W. Walker Farmer
  Geo. Walker Shoe Maker

I certify on Honor that this Muster Roll exhibits the true condition of the Petaluma Guard under my command on the First day of January 1859.

The above company is tolerably well drilled for a militia company, but complains for want of attention from the State. We have never been visited by any General officer, never have been sworn into the service of the State, which I deem necessary in order to make a company efficient. We have never received from the Military Fund the compensation which we supposed we were entitled to. Our muskets of which we have forty are of a very inferior class. Our Requisition for accoutrements has never been fully complied with. We have no cap boxes only twenty-eight cartridge boxes, and forty muskets. "Boxes not supplied because the State had none"

We have been called a Vigilance Committee crowd by the newspapers, all of which is false and scandalous.

"Respectfully
Captain Co."

Captain Kellogg was in command of the Petaluma Guard only a short time prior to Captain P. B. Hewlett. There is little known of his record as Captain except for two letters exchanged between himself and General Kibbe, in which he informed the General of his election as Captain of the Guard, and criticized his predecessor, J. E.Congleton, for neglect of duty intimating that the former Captain's indifference was evidently for the purpose of having the company disband. Another source of convention was that the corps accepted the suggestion of Captain Congleton to raise funds to cover the expense of a trip to be made by the Captain to Sacramento for the express purpose of procuring an exchange of new arms. However, the Captain failed to make a report of this trip and it was doubtful if he went to see about the arms, for in General Kibbe's reply he informs Captain Kellogg that he had never seen the Captain and did not have any arms to exchange with the unit. Although Captain Kellogg had every intention of becoming an enthusiastic leader, having prepared a Muster Roll to send to Headquarters immediately, there is no record that he ever received a commission.

There was a large number of Secessionists in the vicinity of Healdsburg, who had become a source of concern, Some of them resisted J. M. Bowles, the Sheriff of Sonoma County, in the performance of a civil action. As further trouble in serving civil processes, the Sheriff requested the military service of the Petaluma Guard. In a letter dated June 13, 1862, addressed to Captain Hewlett, he asked for such aid from the corps. Captain Hewlett referred the request to Adjutant General Kibbe, as he did not feel he could comply with the Sheriff's demand since it had not come from the proper authority. In his letter, the Captain anticipated that the Sheriff would apply to the Commander-in-Chief for the assistance of the corps, and in that case more arms would be necessary for success. Although he was greatly concerned about securing the necessary equipment, the Captain assured.Adjutant General Kibbe the Guard would be ready to march at a day's notice. The Captain explained the situation at Healdsburg by saying most of the inhabitants were openly avowed Secessionists, and harbored hatred toward the administration of the government, manifesting a strong disposition to resist laws whenever the opportunity offered.

There was a lapse of three months before action was taken, then Special Order No. 27 was drawn up and signed, instructing Captain Hewlett and also Captain T. F. Baylis of the Emmet Rifles to report their commands for duty to the Sheriff of Sonoma County, at Santa Rosa, on September 22, 1862. The companies were to be ordered from there to such points as the Sheriff desired.

The situation in and around the vicinity of Healdsburg was extremely acute at this time and the following letter by Captain Hewlett to Adjutant General Kibbe, dated September 17, 1862, illustrates the then existing conditions: (3)

San Francisco
Sept. 17, 1862

Sir:

Special Order No. 27 is hereby acknowledged and as in duty bound so far as we are capable the order will be carried out. Yet the two companies from Petaluma are acknowledged by all that I have heard speak of them, as being entirely insufficient for the. duty assigned them..

These two companies owing to the sullen feeling among them will not be able to muster more than thirty men, and these are to take the field against a force of from eight hundred to one thousand men who have taken an oath to sustain each other. These men believe they are in the right and no matter whether their grievances are real or imaginary I am fully persuaded that no force of. thirty men will be able to enforce the law or to intimidate them. The nature of the country is such that firing should commence we would be at the mercy of the unseen with no means of protecting ourselves. It requires a force of not less than 200 men to save bloodshed, enforce the law and perhaps save the State from
civil war.

I would respectfully ask that you send a sufficient force, and that my command be supplied with good muskets or rifles. If supplied with muskets, that we have buckshot and ball cartridges, also forty cap boxes. I am on my way to Napa to see the Commander-in-Chief feeling fully assured that matters in Sonoma County are not correctly understood by him I remain yours to command,

(signed)
P.B. Hewlett Captain

To General Kibbe

The expedition against the Secessionists by the two units was successful. The Captain's report of the activities of the two corps in meeting is as follows: (4)

Petaluma
Sept. 30, 1862

To His Excellency
Governor Stanford
Commander-in-Chief of the
California Militia

Sir:

Pursuant to Special Order No 27, I reported my command consisting of one Captain, one First and one Second Lieutenant., one Sergeant and twenty-four rank and file to the Sheriff of Sonoma County, at Santa Rosa on the 22nd Inst., where we were joined by the Emmet Rifles., consisting of one Captain, one First and one Second Lieutenant and nineteen rank and file.

After reporting to the Sheriff we proceeded on the Healdsburg Road to Mark West Creek where we pitched tents and encamped for the night, subject to the order of the Sheriff.

On the day following we proceeded to Healdsburg and encamped about three-fourths of a mile north from the town, and near the disputed territory.

The balance of the day was spent in an unsuccessful attempt to compromise matters, between the grant owners and settlers.

On the 24th Inst. having been joined by the Sheriff's posse consisting of about fifty men, twenty of whom were armed with muskets we marched to the ranch of M. Miller, for the purpose of executing the writs mentioned in Special Order No. 27. On approaching said ranch, we were threatened by bands of horsemen, when I ordered Captain Baylis to deploy one platoon of his company to clear the woods on our left, and also to take possession of an eminence covered with timber and which commanded a cornfield in the rear of M. Miller's house all of which was faithfully executed.

On arriving at the house we found a collection of men, women and children assembled there, who were in a high state of excitement, we also noticed a band of armed men, with blackened faces, in the cornfield, in the rear of the house.

I then ordered the armed portion of the Sheriff's posse to pass around the cornfield to the left, under cover of a fence, and if possible intercept the "black faces", to prevent their escape by the rear of the cornfield, seeing, our movements and anticipating perhaps that if they remained there, then retreat would be cut off, they "skedaddled". The women, children, and effects of M. Miller were then removed from the premises, and we returned to camp.

On the following day we proceeded to another portion of the ranch and removed two families. A great deal of excitement prevailed here, and violence was resorted to by a few. men and women, but no firearms were used, nor did we discover any men with "painted faces".

We proceeded from day to day to execute the writs, until Sunday the 28th Inst. when having executed all the writs mentioned in said order, we returned to Santa Rosa and encamped for or the night.

On Monday the 29th having been dismissed by the Sheriff we returned to Petaluma and resumed our usual avocation.

A True Copy

Respectfully yours to command
(signed)
P.B. Hewlett
Commanding

To William C. Kibbe
Adjutant General

From the date of the Secessionist encounter, only ordinary routine is given in the files up to January 1, 1868, when the Guard, was mustered out of service.

This company of brave men did not hesitate in the performance of their military and civic duties. Their courage and loyalty stand out as unusual even in those days when character was common.


Footnotes
 

(1) Percussion Muskets refers to system of ignition via percussion caps which explode as the strike.

(2) Original Muster Roll on file in Adjutant General's Office.

(3) Letter file Adjutant General's Office Office.

(4) Letter on file in Adjutant Generals Office


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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