California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Sarsfield Guard
(San Francisco)
Official or other titles: Sarsfield Guard, Company G, Second (Irish) Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade, California Militia (1)
Location: San Francisco City and County
Mustered in: September 15, 1855
Mustered out: April 1861
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1855-1864

Papers on file at the California State Archives:
a. Organization Papers 2 documents (1855)
b. Bonds 1 document (1855)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 12 documents (1855-1864)
d. Election Returns 1 document (1855)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 4 documents (1855-1856)
g. Oaths Qualifications 7 documents (1855-1864)
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 4 documents (1855-1856)
j. Requisitions 1 document (1855)
k. Resignations none
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other Proceedings of Court Martial, 1 document (1856)
Commanding Officers:
David Scannell, Captain, Date of Rank: September 14, 1855; Commissioned: September 21, 1855 (Resigned November 1855)
Richard F. Ryan, First Lieutenant September 14, 1855; Commissioned: September 21, 1855 (Promoted November 1855)
Richard F. Ryan, Captain: Date of Rank: November 29, 1855; Commissioned: December 1, 1855
Daniel O. Regan, First Lieutenant Date of Rank: November 29, 1855; Commissioned: December 1, 1855
Official History:

The Sarsfield Guard was organized in San Francisco on September 15, 1855, and David Scannell was elected Captain and Richard F. Ryan, First Lieutenant. The usual procedure of filing Bonds and making the necessary requisition for arms and accoutrements was consummated. The arms were received and the company began drilling, but before many months had passed dissension and ill feeling between Second Lieutenant Daniel O. Regan and Captain Ryan had developed. The ill feeling between the two officers finally resulted in preferring charges by the Captain against Lieutenant Regan and several privates, when they refused to fall in for drill.

According to testimony, Lieutenant Regan attempted to get the company to follow him and start a new company. The Lieutenant filed counter charges that the Captain had loaned out rifles, and the testimony showed that the Captain had allowed members of the company to take home a rifle after each drill and use the same for drill practice at home. The court martial found the Captain not guilty of un lawful removal of arms from the armory as charged.

The Lieutenant was found guilty and suspended for ninety days and was to be publicly reprimanded at the first public drill and parade held in San Francisco. However, on May 23, 1856, Lieutenant Colonel J. R. West, commanding the First Infantry Battalion wrote the following letter to Governor J. Neely Johnson, quote

"The conduct of First Lieutenant Daniel 0. Regan of the Sarsfield Guard of the Second Division, Second Brigade, on the occasion of the call made upon the Volunteer companies by the Mayor of San Francisco on the fourteenth inst. was commendable in the highest degree. We would, respectfully, lay his case before you, believing that, should it suit the views of your Excellency, he is worthy of being relieved from further punishment under the sentence of the Court Martial by which he was suspended."

It is assumed that Lieutenant Regan was pardoned, since he was Captain of the Jackson Guard; which served through the period of Insurrection in San Francisco in 1856. The charge of un lawful use of the State arms against the Captain led to an order being issued to Captain Fenn of the Continental Guard to take possession of, and hold till further orders, the arms and equipment of the Sarsfield Guard.

Correspondence between Adjutant General Kibbe and Captain Ryan show that the arms were not returned to the Sarsfield Guard. General Kibbe suggested that the dissension in the company be eliminated and harmony restored. The Adjutant General's suggestion evidently was impossible, since no further records of the activities of the company are to be found. The Adjutant General reported that the company disbanded in April 1861.


(1) The company derived the name of Sarsfield from the famed soldier, Patrick Sarsfield, Earl of Luncan, Ireland, who was a commanding officer in the English Army during the reign of Charles II and James II of England.


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
Updated 30 December 2014