Organized as the 1st California
Regiment at Staten Island, N.Y., and mustered in May 31, 1861.
Left State for Washington, D.C., June 29, 1861. Attached to Davies'
Brigade, Miles' Division, McDowell's Army of Northeast Virginia,
to August, 1861. Franklin's Brigade, Division of the Potomac,
to October, 1861. Newton's Brigade, Franklin's Division, Army
of the Potomac, to March, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 1st
Army Corps, Army of the Potomac, and Dept. of the Rappahannock,
to May, 1862. 3rd Brigade, 1st Division, 6th Army Corps, Army
of the Potomac, to June, 1863.
Reconnaissance from Alexandria
on Fairfax Road July 14, 1861. Advance on Manassas, Va., July
16-21. Near Fairfax Court House July 17. Battle of Bull Run July
21. Duty in the Defenses of Washington until March, 1862. Skirmish
at Springfield Station October 3, 1861. Advance on Manassas,
Va., March 10-15. McDowell's advance on Falmouth, Va., April
4-12. Ordered to the Peninsula, Va., April 22. Siege of Yorktown,
Va., April 24-May 4, on transports. West Point May 7-8. Seven
days before Richmond June 25-July 1. Gaines' Mill June 27. White
Oak Swamp, Charles City Cross Roads and Glendale June 30. Malvern
Hill July 1. At Harrison's Landing until August 16. Movement
to Fortress Monroe, thence to Centreville August 16-28. In works
at Centreville August 28-31, and cover Pope's retreat to Fairfax
Court House September 1. Maryland Campaign September 6-22. Crampton's
Gap, South Mountain, September 14. Battle of Antietam September
16-17. Duty in Maryland until October 29. Movement to Falmouth,
Va., October 29-November 19. Battle of Fredericksburg, Va., December
12-15. "Mud March" January 20-24, 1863. At Falmouth
until April 27. Chancellorsville Campaign April 27-May 6. Operations
about Franklin's Crossing April 29-May 2. Maryes Heights, Fredericksburg,
May 3. Salem Heights May 3-4. Banks' Ford May 4. Mustered out
June 9, 1863, expiration of term. Three year men transferred
to 121st Regiment New York Infantry.
Regiment lost during service 8 Officers and 37 Enlisted men killed
and mortally wounded and 1 Officer and 53 Enlisted men by disease.
Matheson, a native of New York,
lived in California. He recruited a regiment, while in the East,
composed of men from the West Coast. When this original First
California was formed, it was not credited to any state, but
was treated as a Regular Army organization. Mustered into Federal
service at Fort Schuyler, New York, it was thereafter sent to
pull picket and scouting duty at Fort Monroe, New York. Matheson's
First California took part in nine major battles and campaigns.
Although he called his unit The First California Regiment, its
heroic struggles were noted in battle records as the accomplishments
of the 32nd Regiment of New York Volunteers.
Colonel Matheson 's war ended with his
death during the fighting at Campton Pass, Maryland. He was later
buried at his California residence with full military honors.
When the terms of enlistment expired for the men of the regiment,
they were honorably mustered out on June 9, 1863.