California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Sierra Rangers
Official or other titles: Sierra Rangers, 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, California Militia
Location: Alleghany Town, Sierra County
Mustered in: 1857
Papers on file at the California State Archives:
a. Organization Papers 1 document (1858)
b. Bonds none
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) none
d. Election Returns none
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

Clinton H. Patchin, Captain
John S. Hening, First Lieutenant


Official History

During the year of 1857, the residents of the State o "Deseret", or the Territory of Utah, were experiencing considerable difficulties with the Federal Government. . Therefore, on September 15, 1857, Governor. Bingham Young of Utah Territory issued a proclamation forbidding all armed forces from entering the territory, and declared martial law. On October fifth and sixth the mounted Mormons under Major Lot Smith captured and burnt supply trains of the Federal troops. After many hardships, the main body of troops under Colonel Johnston established winter quarters near Fort Bridger. Then in the spring of 1858, the Mormons were induced to make merely formal submission to Federal authority. A Peace Commission sent to Utah in the summer of 1858, carried to the Mormons a presidential proclamaion by which they achieved pardon for their treason.(1) Many Mormon colonies had been sent out into various districts in California for settlement. One at San Bernardino had grown to quite some size and was maintained until the latter part of the year 1857 when owing to prospective trouble between the Territory of Utah and the Federal Government most of the families returned to their former homes.(2)

It is obvious that the Mormon trouble was considered serious by the adjacent territories as the Adjutant-General in his Report of 1857, stated, "That at the time there was every indication that the people of the adjoining territory would have to be forcibly stopped and it would be necessary to make California the basis of military operations and to depend mainly upon this State for the required troops.(3) Throughout California public spirited men began to organize militia companies which would be ready for active service if needed. Many letters were sent to Governor Weller and Adjutant-General Kibbe, some informing the officials that military companies had been organized, while others sought information as to the proper steps for organizing militia units. A few of the volunteers sent in the muster rolls and papers for their companies.

One group.of 102 men signed the muster roll designated as the Sierra Rangers, under the heading, "We whose names are hereunto attached agree to hold ourselves in readiness at the first call to enlist as a volunteer company in the event of volunteers being called from this State to prosecute the Mormon War." This paper was filed with the notation, "Organized for Utah Expedition, January 9, 1858" As there is no printed report of the Adjutant-General for the year 1858, there is no record to show how long the company may have existed, and according to historical records only the Federal troops are listed as having participated in the combat. Therefore, it is assumed that the Sierra Rangers disbanded very shortly after organizing since their services were not needed.


(1) Extract from Encyclopedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, page 845.
(2) History of California; Zoeth, Skinner and Eldredge, Vol. 5, page 193. For additional information on Mormon Colony refer to San Bernardino Rough and Ready Cavalry - Adjutant General's Office.
(3) Adjutant General Report, 1857
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
Additional history:
Muster roll information:
Updated 27 January 2015