California Militia and National
Guard Unit Histories
Military Unit Designation: Alavarado Guard, 5th Infantry
Regiment, 2nd Brigade, California Militia. After 18 October 1866:
Alvarado Guard, Company F, 5th Infantry Battalion, National Guard
Date of Organization: 19 August 1863 Date of Disbanding: 12 June 1868
Inclusive dates of
units papers at State Archives: 1863-1868 Geographical Location or Locations: Alvarado (now Union
City), Alameda County
on file at the California State Archives, Sacramento:
a. Organization Papers 8 documents (1863)
b. Bonds 1 document (1866)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 20 documents (1863-1867)
d. Election Returns 3 documents (1863-1867)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 19 documents (1863-1868)
g. Oaths Qualifications 16 documents (1863-1867)
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 5 documents (1866-1868)
j. Requisitions 3 documents (1863-1867)
k. Resignations 2 documents (1863)
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other Public Property, 1 document (1867)
F. B. Granger,
Captain: Elected August 19, 1863; commissioned September 1863;
resigned November 14 1863
Charles P. Johnson , First Lieutenant: Elected August 19, 1863;
commissioned September 1863
E. L. Dyer, Captain: Elected November 27, 1863, commissioned
December 3, 1863
E. L. Dyer, Captain: Relected
September 15, 1865; April 6, 1867
Charles P. Johnson, First Lieutenant: Reelected September 15,
Joseph McKeown, First Lieutenant: Elected April 6, 1867, commissioned
June 28, 1867.
extract of the Alvarado Guard's muster roll
The Alvarado Guard was
organized at Alvarado, Alameda County on the ninteenth of August
1863, pursuant to a petition bearing the signatures of fifty-three
citizens, residents of said county, who were subject to military
duty. The petition was presented to the Honorable Noble Hamilton,
County Judge, and the company was mustered into the service of
the State on the date of its organization and became a unit of
the State Militia, Second Brigade, First Regiment of Infantry.
On October 18, 1866, the company was reorganized under the same
command and mustered in as Company F, Fifth Infantry Battalion,
Second Brigade, California National Guard, in conformity with
the new military r egulations of that year.
The Alvarado Guard was an active unit from the day of its organization,
taking part in parades and patriotic demonstrations and its members
were justly proud of their appearance and proficiency in military
tactics . The membership of the company increased gradually until
in June 1867 there were sixty-eight names on the muster roll
. About this time considerable dissatisfaction was expressed
by the officers and members of the company because of their inability
to secure uniforms and other essential equipment. On June 12
, 1868, incompliance with Special Order No. 30 the arms and equipment
of the Alvarado Guard were turned over to the State and the company
was mustered out of the State Service.
General Report 1867-1869, page 147.
Histories and News Clippings
From a November 1863
edition of tthe Oakland Tribune:
Ephraim Dyer has been
appointed Captain and Commander of the Alvarado Guards.
Their purpose will be the first line protection of our people
and our property. His staff includes: 1st Lieutenant, C. P. Johnson;
2nd Lieutenant, Joseph McKeown; 3rd Lieutenant, H. C. Smith,
and Orderly, Sgt. Frank Gilman. The Alvarado Guards were formed
From The Daily Alta
California, San Francisco, October 24, 1863:
The loyal legislature
of California, impressed with the necessity of placing the State
in a better condition for defence in these days of treason and
rebellion, considered, and wisely so, that the first step taken
in that direction should be to foster the military spirit of
the people, by encouraging the organized militia.
With this view, a law
was passed last winter, authorizing the Governor to order a Camp
of Instruction for the officers and non-commissioned officers
throughout the State, to take place in the spring, and an Encampment
for each Brigade within its own limits in the fall; each to last
for ten days. The cost of these Encampments to be defrayed by
levying a poll tax of two dollars on every male inhabitant of
General Orders No.
I. The assignment to
regiments of unattached companies during this Encampment will
be as follows: The Vallejo Rifles, Capt. Barbour, to the First
Regiment; The McClellan Guards, of Vallejo, to the Second Irish
Regiment; the Watsonville Guards, Capt. Porter, and Butler Guards,
Capt. Haslam, to the First Regiment of artillery; the Napa Guard,
Capt. Allen, the San Jose Union Guard, Capt. Owen, the Alviso
Rifles, Capt. Rowley and the Alvarado Guard, Lieutenant
Johnson commanding, to the First Infantry Battalion, which will
be designated during the Encampment as the Fourth Regiment.
From Looking Back:A
Glimpse of Early Union City, City of Union City, 1978:
One of the most valuable
clues to the families living in the Union City-Decoto-New Haven
area during the Civil War period is preserved in the original
Roll Book Military Company, Light Infantry, organized at Alvarado,
Alameda County, August 1863.
This State of California Militia Guard organization was commissioned
by Governor Downey to protect the State from potential invasion
by forces of the Confederate States of America, or from subversive
forces, or to repel attacks from Confederate privateering armed
vessels which might be operated and attacking ports along the
The first roll call in August of 1863 had 55 names. Some of the
names are from families who remained in the Washington Township
area for generations.
Some unusual aspects of the Guard's By-Laws:
"Any person over 15 years of age who sustains a good moral
character and believes in a Supreme Being who rules our destiniesand
will support the Constitution of the United States and of the
State of California is eligible to become a member."
For absence from parade:
For absence from Drill:
Neglect of Duty: $
Absence from Meetings
And from the Minutes of Meetings -
"Met at Templar
Hall, September 25th with Captain F. B. Granger in the chair.
Mr. A. L. Fuller elected Secretary and Senior 2nd Lieutenant.
On motion a committee of three was appointed to confer with the
Odd Fellows to see what can be done about securing a room for
an armory and drill room - The company will agree to pay $35
per month for an Armory at Odd Fellow Hall."
reported that 0. P. Feasel would put the room over the blacksmith
shop in order to receive the guns (armory) and take care of them
for $50 per month and that the exclusive use of Stokes Hall could
be had for $15 per month. November 24, 1863 met at Stokes Hall."
"A formal ballot
was taken to elect a permanent Captain of the Corps. Ephraim
Dyer was elected with 25 votes to 7 for T. 0. Hopkins. A. L.
Fuller was elected Senior First Lieutenant, with 21 votes to
12 for John Brizzee. Junior First Lieutenant was declared to
be John Brizzee by a vote of 19 to 15 for T. 0. Hopkins. The
Secretary reported that he had purchased 150 pounds of ammunition
in cartridges in San Francisco for the use of the Company. William
Scarf was engaged as Armorer at a salary of $15 per month."
December 29, 1865,
"On motion the Chairman of the Armory Committee, Wm. M.
Liston was fined 25 cents for scratching matches on walls."
May 25, 1866 - "On motion, W. H. Cockefair, that the Company
have a large picture taken at a cost not to exceed $25."
The last entry in the Old Roll Book is dated Armory Hall, Alvarado,
January 4, 1869. The Civil War was over and the Company was soon
The Alvarado Homeguard never fired a shot in anger and confined
itself to drills, parades, target matches and social balls. Union
City had an impressive Civil War record, however.
A local hero was C. S. Eigenbrodt, the son of an early day farmer.
Young Eigenbrodt was born in New York and came to California
with his parents, who were immigrants from Germany. He graduated
from West Point and was on the Alameda County Board of Supervisors
from Washington Township. As soon as the Civil War erupted, Eigenbrodt
organized a small group of volunteers from Southern Alameda County,
took them to San Francisco and enlisted them for immediate action
on the Virginia front. The Company of 100 dragoons of which Supervisor
Eigenbrodt was part, was soon known as the California Hundred
and was adopted with enthusiasm by all of South County as their
very own fighting men. It was mustered into the Army on December
10, 1862. The next day the men marched down Market Street in
San Francisco to the docks to the Pacific Mail Steamship Company
and boarded the 2,600-ton-side wheeler, "The Golden Gate,"
for the East Coast.
"A real hero, patriot and friend to church and community
was Captain C. S. Eigenbrodt, who lived on a farm near Alvarado.
(He) was killed in action during the Civil War, in Shenandoah
Valley, September 2, 1864. To the town he left a sum of money
to be used for the founding of a library. This was the nucleus
of the present Odd Fellows' Library," wrote the Washington
Township History authors.
The California Hundred was attached to the Second Massachusetts
Cavalry Regiment, largely from Boston. The troopers fought through
many cavalry engagements including Gettysburg. In 1864 they were
attached to Sheridan's cavalry command and fought through battles
at Winchester, Halitown, and Cedar Creek.
From the 24 March 2011 edition of the
the Tri-City Voice: History: The Civil War Affected Washington
Alameda County was only eight years
old when the Civil War broke out in 1861. The Board of Supervisors
adjourned a meeting to raise "the glorious old flag of the
Union and salute it with three cheers and a tiger." A rally
in support for the Union cause was held in the ballroom of the
Brooklyn House in Alvarado.
The scene of actual warfare was far
away, but there was great concern and preparation for conflict.
Several military groups were organized to maintain the peace
and protect against violence.
Union County Conventions were held
in 1862 and 1863. Feelings for the Union were so strong that
many patriotic celebrations and bazaars were held to aid the
Sanitary Commission, a national organization formed to help Union
soldiers. A May Day picnic at Alameda in 1865 drew 6,000 people
from all parts of the county. Festivities included crowning the
May Queen "attended by a long retinue of young ladies attired
in white and acting as maids of honor. A dance around the May
pole by 16 couples was followed by an oration and dancing in
the open air." In 1863, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors
levied a war tax of 15 cents on each 100 dollars worth of property
and a poll tax on each man between the ages of 21 and 60.
A company of dragoons formed at Centerville
in 1861 under C. S. Eigenbrodt of Alvarado, a supervisor of Washington
Township. Hiram Clark and John Campbell from Alvarado were privates
and John R. Sim was first lieutenant. Clark was later chosen
to be a cavalry leader. The company became part of the famous
"California One Hundred" attached to a Massachusetts
cavalry regiment and fought in many battles including Gettysburg.
Captain Eigenbrodt was killed leading a charge in the Shenandoah
Valley in 1864. The news of his death was received with great
sorrow by local citizens who honored him with awards and memorials.
A California State Militia [Alvarado]
Guard was organized at Alvarado in 1863. The 55 names on
the first roll call include many famous local families: Captain
Ephriam Dyer was a pioneer sugar developer; Edwin Richmond was
postmaster at Alvarado and Dr. J. M. Selfridge, the first regular
physician in Centerville. Farley Granger and Wm. Morris Liston
were pioneer Alvarado business men.
Their rules provided that any person
over 15 years of age, who sustained good moral character, believed
in a Supreme Being and agreed to support the constitution could
join. Members were prohibited the use of intoxicating liquors
and vulgar language when in drill, on parade or around the armory.
Fines were $1.00 for missing parade, 50 cents for missing drill,
talking in rank or neglect of duty and 25 cents for absence from
a meeting. One member was disciplined for being intoxicated on
parade and another was fined 25 cents for striking matches on
the walls. Members could be expelled by a two-thirds vote of
Guns and ammunition were purchased
and used for drill, parade and target practice. Uniforms were
obtained for parades and medals for shooting contests. Meetings
were held in Stokes Hall, Templar Hall, Fountain Hall, Dyer's
building and in the Armory. The guns were stored in Captain Benson's
Warehouse or the Armory. The new Armory was dedicated with a
grand ball in September 1864 which was declared the greatest
social event of the year.
Not all citizens were unionist supporters.
James Lewis, proprietor of the United States Hotel in Centerville,
was said to be a southern sympathizer. When he hoisted a Confederate
flag on his flagpole, a group of Union men showed up with axes
and told him to lower the flag or they would lower the pole.
He pulled down the flag ending the crisis.
William Jordan kept a hotel and saloon
in the village of Vallejo Mills (now part of Niles.) He was a
bitter partisan of the South and early in the war, he hoisted
the American flag upside down on the pole in front of his hotel.
The story is that "Old Mr. Harlan" saw the flag and
was deeply insulted. He grabbed an axe, confronted Jordan in
his saloon and ordered him to "right the flag" or he
would cut down the pole. Jordan quickly obeyed and righted the
The Guard accepted invitations to parades,
drills and shooting contests in Hayward and San Jose. They even
granted the free use of the Armory to the Ladies of Alvarado
for a Christmas party. The guards never fired a shot in anger
and disbanded in 1869.
Feelings for the union were so strong
that many patriotic events were held. The Fourth of July celebration
in 1863 drew complaints from nearby towns because the people
of Alvarado fired their cannon too often. The next year the gun
blew up and sliced the skirts off Captain Benson's coat. Bazaars
were held to raise funds to assist sick and wounded soldiers.
By 1868 it was considered safe and
not necessary to have military units so they were mustered out
of service. The war was finally over.
Union City History Blog: The Alvarado
Guard: Local residents formed a home guard during the Civil War.
By Timothy Swenson
Updated October 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm
During the Civil War, local Home Guard
units were established because of the necessity of placing
the State in a better condition for defence in these days of
treason and rebellion.
In 1863, the Alvarado Guard was formed,
with Captain Ephraim Dyer as Commander. The other officers were
1st Lt. C. P. Johnson, 2nd Lt. Joseph McKeown, and 3rd Lt. H.
C. Smith. Once the Odd Fellow Hall was built in 1864, the Alvarado
Guard used it as its armory and headquarters.
The Alvarado Guards did not have much
to do other than to practice drills for parades. In 1863, they
did attend a California military encampment for training purposes
and the Alvarado Guard was assigned to the First Infantry Batallion.
A poll tax of two dollars was levied against all male inhabitants
of California to pay for the encampment.
In 1864, the Alvarado Guard participated
in a military parade in San Jose. In 1866, the Guard participated
in a shooting match with a Guard unit from Hayward (then known
as Haywards). The match was described as thus:
On January 1, 1866 a shooting match
took place between the Haywards Guards and the Alvarado Guards
at Haywards. Thirty men from each unit fired three shots each
at the target. The Alvaradans made 985 points and the Haywardians
made 1,030 points. Haywards prevailed by 45 points. In the evening
the contestants were entertained by a ball at Haywards
Hotel, at which many lovely ladies were present to smile upon
the gallant defenders of the state.
After the Civil War was over, there
was little need for guard units, so in January 1868, all of the
local guard units were disbanded.
Union City History Blog: Odd Fellows
Hall:: The Odd Fellows Hall existed in Alvarado for over 100
By Timothy Swenson
Updated January 2, 2013 at 6:07 pm
At the corner of Smith and Vallejo
Streets is an empty lot. One corner of this lot housed the Odd
Fellows Hall, a two story wooden building built in 1864.
The Odd Fellows organized a lodge in
Alvarado on November 26, 1859. Some of the charter members were
Charles Eigenbrodt, E. H. Dyer, James Hawley, and William Liston.
These men organized Crusade Lodge No. 93 (the 93rd lodge in California).
A number of the charter members had previously been in lodges
in California or back in their home state. They realized that
in a small town, the Odd Fellows organization can have an positive
impact on the town.
On January 12, 1864, the lodge created
the Alvarado Odd Fellows Hall Association with the stated purpose
of raising money to build a lodge. The Association created 400
shares of $10 each, for a total capital of $4,000. A shares receipt
shows that the lodge itself purchased 50 shares. By the end of
1864, the Association had raised enough funds and the hall was
The lodge was a two-story building,
40 feet wide and 65 feet long, with a large hall on the first
floor. The second floor had a smaller hall and a few rooms. The
large hall on the first floor was used for community meetings,
and later as a theater.
The building was used by other fraternal
organizations as well. By the 1900's, the Ancient Order of United
Workmen and the Native Sons of the Golden West were using the
hall and had their names on the front of the building. When the
Odd Fellows lodge grew too small, it merged with the lodge in
Hayward. The Fraternal Order of Eagles took over the Hall and
used it for many years
The building eventually suffered from
the ravages of time and was demolished in 1967.
From the Alvarado Walking Tour,
Museum of Local History
Odd Fellows Hall, NW corner of Smith
and Vallejo Streets.
Kitty corner from Bronco Billy's Pizza was the Odd Fellows Hall,
now an empty lot. It was builtin 1864 for the Odd Fellows and
was used as the Armory for the Alvarado Guard, a local
militiaduring the Civil War. On September 23, 1864 the Guards
held a grand opening ball which was known as the "greatest
social event of the year."
The building wasthe home of not only
the Odd Fellows, but the Native Sons of the Golden West and the
Ancient Order of UnitedWorkmen, all fraternal organizations.
In the early 1900's, the building became the home of the Alvarado
Eagles. The downstairs room of the building has been used as
a dance hall and as a theater, and the upstairs room was used
meeting of the different organizations. From 1923 to 1933, Charles
Browning operated a theater in the downstairs of the building.
On 1935, the Odd Fellows celebrated the lodges 75 Anniversary.
At the time, it was the oldest Odd Fellows lodge in Alameda County.
In 1935, V. Naharro took over the theater operations, which sat
about 327 people. In 1947, the Odd Fellows lodge consolidated
with the lodge in Hayward. After many years of being abandoned,
the building was torn down by the City on January 4, 1967.
From The Oakland Tribune, November
23, 1924 Alvarado Armory (IOOF Hall):
To halt the demolishing touch of time,
the Old Armory at Alvarado, one of Californias
most treasured relics of the Civil War, has been overhauled.
This is the building where, in the time of Abraham Lincoln, the
flower of Alameda Countys young manhood answered the call
for volunteers. As result of that call, the Alvarado Hundred
was organized and the hundred sturdy youths enlisted before the
first battle of Bull Run. That group of men drilled, perfected
their organization in that hall and went to war, carrying with
them a large silk flag, which their sweethearts, wives and mothers
had made for them.
That flag is still furled in their
armory, their drill hall has changed little or none since, and
though a new floor is going in, and the hall is being thoroughly
renovated, its distinctive style will not be changed. Alvaradans
have spoken and orders have been given the workmen that they
must not change one iota of the former hall.
The unit fought through 54 battles
in the Civil War and their lead Capt. Charles S. Eigenbrodt,
whose picture still smiles form its frame on the wall, fell in
a battle of the Shenandoah Valley and one by one his soldiers