California Militia and National
Guard Unit Histories
The Sacramento Hussars
Military Unit Designation: Sacramento Hussars, after 1863, Sacramento Hussars,
4th Brigade, California Militia; after 1866, Sacramento Hussar,
4th Brigade, National Guard of California Raised: August 1859 as an independent military company
Mustered into state service: June 11, 1863
Mustered out of state service: August 21, 1874
as an independent military company and benevolent society
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1863-1874
Geographical Location or Locations: Sacramento, Sacramento County Papers on file at the California State Archives:
a. Organization Papers none
b. Bonds 3 documents (1864-1872)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 13 documents (1863-1874)
d. Election Returns 9 documents (1863-1873)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for 2 documents (1870)
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 40 documents (1864-1874)
g. Oaths Qualifications 70 documents (1863-1872)
h. Orders 2 documents (1874)
i. Receipts, invoices 11 documents (1863-1874)
j. Requisitions 4 documents (1863-1871)
k. Resignations 3 documents (1863-1868)
l. Target Practice Reports 7 documents (1868-1874)
m. Other 4 documents (1866-1871)
Joseph A. Marzen, Captain: Elected 11 June 1863, commissioned
9 July 1863, resigned 14 November 1863
Louis Steudeman, First Lieutenant: Elected 11 June 1863, commissioned
9 July 1863
F. H. Ebner, Second Lieutenant: Elected 11 June 1863, commissioned
9 July 1863
Louis Steudeman, Captain: elected 4 December 1863, commissioned,
12 January 1864
F. H. Ebner, Captain: Elected 4 August 1864, commissioned 8 August
1865, reelected 10 August 1866.
George Boehme, First Lieutenant: Elected 4 August 1864, commissioned
8 August 1865, reelected 10 August 1866.
George Boehme, Captain: Elected 8 August
1867, commissioned 12 August 1867, resigned 9 June 1868
Frank Ebner, Captain: Elected 9 June 1968, commissioned 25 August
1868, reelected 14 August 1869, 4 August 1871, 1 August 1873
A. Heilbron, First Lieutenant: Elected 8 August 1867, commissioned
12 August 1867, reelected 14 August 1869, 4 August 1871, 1 August
The Sacramento Hussars were organized 1859 as an independent
cavalry company, composed entirely of German residents from the
city of Sacramento. The company uniforms were procured in New
York, at the cost of $50.00 each, and were designed after the
Hussar Regiments of Prussian soldiers. Their uniforms included
fur cap's adorned with a feather, a doublet, breeches to which
the stockings were fastened, and red and yellow boots. Their
arms consisted of a saber, a carbine and pistol.
The Hussars were especially noted for their efficiency in military
tactics and maneuvers, as well as their splendid appearance in
drill and parade. On January 9, 1860, the Hussars, with the Sutter
Rifles and City Guard of Sacramento were in attendance at the
gubernational inauguration of Milton S. Latham. The Hussars were
especially noticeable for their fine horses, and showy trappings.
On March 3, 1860, the Hussars because of their extremely colorful
appearance were called upon by civic leaders of Sacramento to
form a mounted escort for the first Pony Express rider to reach
Sacramento from Placerville.
On June 11, 1863, the Hussars were mustered into the service
of the State, as an unattached company of the Fourth Brigade.
The company then received an allowance of $100 .00 a month from
the State. In September of that year the company attended a ten
day encampment at Camp Kibbe where they were under the command
of Lieutenant Steudeman. The eighteen members of the company
present made a brilliant spectacle in their dashing gray uniforms.
Again in 1870 the full rank of Hussars appeared in parade at
Oak Knoll on the west bank of the Sacramento River, about a mile
north of Washington, Yolo County, for muster and inspection.
The unit was again given distinction because of their exceptional
qualifications in drill and discipline, and were considered an
honor to the National Guard
In 1874 the State Legislature appropriated the sum of $60,000
for the military fund for the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth fiscal
years. The Board of Military Auditors in order to stay within
the appropriated amount reduced the allowance of each company
to $35 .00 a month. The Sacramento Hussars refused to stay
in the State service under the new law. In consequence on July
10, 1874, the members voted unanimously to withdraw from the
State Militia and tendered their resignation as company of the
National Guard . The company was mustered out of service August
21, 1874. 
After being mustered out of the service of the State, the Hussars
remained for many years an independent military organization.
Their armory was located on the first floor of the City Library
Building and was commodious and well lighted . Running through
the center of the hall was a double saddle and bridle rack constructed
after the most approved style . Each saddle tree was marked with
a number corresponding with the number on the saddle. The saddles
, bridles and all the trappings that went to make up a cavalry
company were systematically arranged on pegs and hooks, and presented
a sight that won the admiration of all who visited the armory
. Aside from being an independent military company, the Hussars
were also a benevolent organization, paying weekly benefits,
caring for the sick and burying the dead . The initiation fee
to become a member of the Hussars was $5 00 and the monthly dues
$1.00 per month. The rules of the company were very stringent
and fines were imposed and collected with military strictness
. This company when they went on parade, as they did on all national
holidays , was something that every Sacramentan felt proud of
. They were a fine looking body of men, well disciplined, paid
their own way and were under no obligation for State Aid. 
1. Sacramento Union, January 10,
1860, page 1, column 4 .
2. Sacramento Union, April 14,1860, page 3, column 1.
3. Adjutant General Report 1870-1871, page 84.
4. Adjutant General Report 1873-1874-1875, page 96.
5. Adjutant General Report 1873-1874-1875,
page 5 .
6. Sacramento Record-Union, September 28, 1883, page 3,
of the Sacramento Hussars
By Captain Michael Fellows
California Center for Military
Even before California became a state,
her citizens had formed several informal, volunteer military
units. With admission to the Union this process was formalized
in the State's 1849 Constitution. Even after legalization these
units still maintained their informal flavor. By 1880, when almost
all of the units had been incorporated into the state's National
Guard, more than 400 had been organized. Some of the groups lasted
a matter of weeks or months, Some the whole period. Some were
organized around a common occupation, some a common ethnic background,
and many were an extended group of friends. Almost all performed
functions beyond purely military ones. A local unit, the Sacramento
Hussars, was one of the longer lasting and more colorful of these.
The following story is of a unique and successful adaptation
by an ethnic group, to a potentially hostile environment
The Sacramento Hussars was the only cavalry
unit in the county and was composed almost exclusively of native-born
and ethnic Germans. Modeled after the light-horsed units in most
European armies of the time, the Sacramento Hussars uniforms
and equipment followed the same patterns. Their dark gray dolmans
(short Hussar-style coats) and tight riding breeches were accented
with white embroidery and clay-piped leather accouterments. The
shortened dyed black fur busbies or colpacks (Hussar-style hats
were topped with red and white ,brushes'. Originally, although
not in the picture above, their high-topped riding pools were
a gaudy yellow and red. These uniforms were expensive and in
the four-year period between the unit formation (1859) and its
incorporation into state service (1863) were paid by the individual
members. The uniforms costed between $50 and $100, about the
same price for the weapons and other equipage and a good horse,
the group was known for the excellence of its horses, somewhat
These expenses alone would have limited membership in the unit
to those relatively prosperous and a study of the muster roles
confirmed this The incorporation into the state's militia forces
on June 11, 1863 saw the first extent 'Bye' Laws and Constitution
written and signed by the membership. This fascinating document,
which is actually a book and contains a second set of By Laws
and Constitution (1868) is in the possession of the California
Center for Military History's archival collection. This book
contains the minutes of many of the organization's meetings.
They met the first Wednesday evening of
each month usually at their armory on the first floor of the
City Library. A contemporary description of this"commodious
arc well lighted" building arranged to indicate a well organized
and efficient operation:
of the Sacramento Hussars
by William Pond and Dan Taylor
Section One of the Seventh Article of California's
first Constitution, enacted in 1850, stated, "The Legislature
shall provide by law for organizing and disciplining the militia."
In the next thirty years, this one sentence allowed Californians
to form well over three hundred state sponsored local militia
units. These units were as diverse as the new states' population.
Usually formed either from men with a common ethnic or professional
background, they were patterned after units of the United States
Army, or on European models such as Zouaves, Jaegers, Lancers
The Sacramento Hussars were organized in
1859 as an independent cavalry company, composed entirely of residents
of German.descent from the city of Sacramento . Modeled after
the light-horse armies in Europe their uniforms followed the same
patterns and the Hussars were especially noticeable for their
fine horses and showy trappings . On March 3, 1860, because
of their extremely colorful appearance, the Hussars were called
upon to form a mounted escort for the first Pony Express rider
to reach Sacramento . Officered by a Captain, First Lieutenant,
Second Lieutenant, and a Third Lieutenant the original strength
was 26 men but that was soon raised to a maximum of 62 . On
June 11, 1863 the Hussars were mustered into the service of the
State, as an unattached company of the 4th Brigade, California
National Guard; remaining so until 1874 when they voted to again
become an independent military company, as the state reduced the
company's allowance from $100.00 to $35.00 per month . The
company was mustered out of the Guard August 21, 1874 .
The Plate shows the Hussars in the dress
uniforms worn in the 1870's as they appear in one of the few photographs
extant . The officer on horseback is Captain August Heilbron,
then Captain of the Hussars. The building is the Knickerbocker
Engine Company #5 where the Hussars had their armory in 1877 .
Running down the sides of the hall was a double saddle and bridal
rack constructed in the most approved style. The saddles, bridles
and all the trappings that went to make up a cavalry company presented
a sight that won the admiration of all who visited the armory
. The uniforms were procured in Germany from a dealer in New
York at a cost of $150.00 each for enlisted and $400.00 for officers
. As officers uniforms were not allowed to be duplicated in
Germany (unless the recipient was a German officer) all dolmans
(tunics) were enlisted types. Officer uniform coats were red with
gold braid and the trousers were dark gray worn tucked into the
boots . Each man provided his own horse and equipment which
represented a considerable sum for those days . The Pelisse
(short outer jacket) was not worn. The Busby (hat) was of black
dyed fur with red bag and the brushes red and white. When the
company was formed, boots were red with yellow trim but were later
replaced, as they wore out, with regulation yellow-piped black
cavalry boots . Rank insignia was as indicated by U.S. Army
regulations prescribed for cavalry, the officers wearing the regulation
shoulder knots of the 1870's as shown in the original photograph.
The Sergeants rank is indicated by the disc on his collar and
the narrow shoulder straps. Enlisted cartridge box, belts and
straps were white leather . Horse equipments were privately
purchased from U.S. manufacturers as were sabertaches, sabers,
officer dress belts and buckles.
After being mustered out of the service
the Hussars remained for many years an independent military organization.
Aside from being a military company the Hussars were also a benevolent
organization, caring for the sick and burying the dead .
This company was always given the place of honor when they went
on parade, as they did on all national holidays and state and
1. National Guard files, California State
Military Museum, #189, Sacramento,CA.
2. Sacramento Union, January 10, 1860, page 1, Column 4.
3. Sacramento Union. April 14, 1860, page 3, column 1.
4. Sacramento Union, March 23, 1941.
5. National Guard files, California Military Museum, Sacramento,
6. Adjutant General Report, California National Guard, 1873-74-75.
7. Archives, Turn Verein Society, Sacramento, CA.
8. A. Heilbron & Bros., A Sacramento Story by H.J. Cassady.
9. National Guard Files, California Military Museum, Sacramento,
10. A Heilbron & Bros., A Sacramento Story by H.J. Cassady.
11. A Heilbron & Bros., A Sacramento Story by H.J. Cassady.
12. Sacramento Union, May 10, 1860.
13. National Guard Files, California Military Museum, Sacramento,
14. Archives, California Military Museum, Sacramento, CA.
15. The author extends thanks to Sarah Louise Heilbron-Faustman
and Frank Ruhstahler, descendants of original members of the Sacramento
Hussars, and Rick Stevenson and Richard Graf for their expertise
on German Hussar uniforms.
Sacramento Hussars Presentation Sword
Cavalry Officers Saber, attributed to Schuyler, Hartley
& Graham, New York, 40 1/2in. long, circa 1872.
The elaborate gilt bronze hilt with seated Liberty holding a
laurel and sword, representing the California state shield. Fluted
pommel with eagle finial, clasping the world, indicating our
nations might. Sliver plate grip with raised scroll design and
American shield. Silver plate scabbard with gilt bronze bands,
tip, and drag; The uppermost comprising draped flags with oval
escutcheon, engraved, "Presented to / Capt. F. X. Ebner
/ by the Sacramento Hussars / April 26th 1872", atop a spread
winged eagle and federal shield;
The middle band (not visible), a laurel wreath atop olive branches,
indicating victory and honor through piece; The tip a single
olive branch and drag with scrolled designed. The gilt etched,
Damascus steel blade, with ornate silver overlay.
As reported on page 5 column 3 of the April 27, 1872 edition
of the Sacramento Union:
PRESENTATION - The Sacramento Hussars, at their armory last
evening at the conclusion of drill, presented to Captain Ebner
a splendid saber and belt, recently purchased in New York at
a cost of about $150, and as handsome as any in the State. The
blade is very finely tempered and ornamented, the grips of Silver,
the scabbard of steel, highly burnished, and the ornamental work
of the scabbard and hilt gold-plated and of chaste design. A
neat inscription shows that it was presented to Capt. Frank Ebner,
by the Sacramento Hussars, April 26th. The presentation speech
was made by Lieutenant Heilbron, who did justice to the occasion
in expressing the high regard in which the Captain was held by
his company. Captain Ebner made a feeling response, returning
thanks in a manner, which his comrades plainly saw was heartfelt.
The company subsequently visited Chas. Sellingers saloon,
on Fifth Street, between J and K, where a collation had been
spread, and there passed a pleasant hour of more in proposing,
drinking and responding to toasts, etc.
As reported on page 3 column 3 of the April 27, 1872 edition
of The Sacramento Daily Bee:
SWORD PRESENTATION. - Captain Ebner, the popular Chief of
the Sacramento Hussars, was last night presented by the members
of his company with an elegant sword and belt, just from New
York, and which cost in the neighborhood of $150. Lieutenant
Heilbron made the presentation speech, which the Captain happily
responded to. A collation was afterward discussed at Charles
Frank Ebner was a pioneering merchant in Sacramento engaged in
numerous enterprises including the Sierra Nevada Hotel, the Ebner
House (which still stands in old town Sacramento) and Ebner Brothers
a wholesale liquor business which he established with his brother
Charles, circa 1852. He reached the rank of Captain with the
Sacramento Hussars, the only cavalry militia in the country,
which established itself locally as a result of the Civil War
in 1859. The Hussars were a flamboyant and disciplined group,
visible on nearly every day of distinction, including escorting
the first Pony Express rider to reach Sacramento in 1861, the
gubernatorial inauguration of Milton S. Latham, and escorted
the funeral procession of Oliver C. Jackson . They were outfitted
at their own expense, which included a $150.00 uniform, procured
in New York, along with arms, which comprised a saber, carbine,
Mr. Ebner passed away, May 7, 1901 and as a testament to the
reverence he was held throughout California the San Francisco
Call carried the following obituary:
Captain F. X. Ebner. SACRAMENTO, May 7. - Captain F. X. Ebner,
one of Northern Californias oldest wholesale liquor merchants,
died suddenly this morning at his residence in this city. Death
was due to apoplexy. He was a native of Germany, age 72 years.
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