California State Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Coloma Greys
Official or other titles: Coloma Greys, 1st Brigade, California Militia
Location: Coloma, Eldorado County
Mustered in: June 17, 1857
Mustered out: 1862
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1857-1862
Commanding Officers
A. A. VanGuelder, Captain Elected June 10, 1857
J. G. Vanderheyden, First Lieutenant, Elected June 10, 1857(1)
S. B .Weller, Second Lieutenant (2)
J. G. Vanderheyden, Captain, Elected March 16, 1861
S. B. Weller, First Lieutenant, Elected March 16, 1861

Unit papers on file at the California State Archives
a. Organization Papers 4 documents (1857)
b. Bonds none
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 19 documents (1858-1862)
d. Election Returns none
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 2 documents (1860-1861)
g. Oaths Qualifications none
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 3 documents (1859-1862)
j. Requisitions 3 documents (1857-1861)
k. Resignations none
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none
8. Miscellaneous:
Official History

The Coloma Greys, and independent military company of Coloma, Eldorado County, was organized June tenth, and mustered into the State Service June 17, 1857. An election of officers was held on June tenth with the following officers elected to command the unit: A. A. VanGuelder was chosen Captain, J. G. Vanderheyden as First Lieutenant, James A. Hale, Second Lieutenant, and J. Spencer, Third Lieutenant.
The brevity of the organization papers make them interesting, as they are an exception to the usually lengthy procedure. The first Muster Roll, June 1857, makes note of four Sergeants, four Corporals and thirty-nine Privates in the company. They received their first arms on June 10, 1857. The Muster Roll lists one man wounded in the Battle of Bull Run, which is assumed was an encounter that this company had with the Indians. Thirty men were in active duty on the above date.
The Coloma Greys under the command of Captain A. A. VanGuelder in 1859 attended the first Military Encampment ever held in California. Six other companies participated in the event which was located at Washington, Yolo County, on the banks of the Sacramento River. The affair was a success despite the inadequacy of the shelters and the high winds that marred the pleasure of the visitors.(4)
The Muster Roll gave no definite mustering out date, but in a letter from Captain J. G. Vanderheyden, September 13, 1862, to General W. C. Kibbe, the Captain makes known his plans for disbandment. Although the Coloma Greys was an efficient company, well officered and ready for service, the unit was forced to disband as a number of its members joined the Second and Fourth Regiments of California Volunteers, and fifteen went to the Nevada Territory. Ten members were left and as the community was too small to furnish the necessary recruits to fill the existing vacancies, the company disbanded by mutual consent.

(1) June 24, 1857, the Quartermaster received from Vanderheyden a five dollar fee for his commission as First Lieutenant.
(2) Reference to the election of this officer made in-a letter to General Kibbe, August 25, 1859, by A. A. Van Guelder, Captain of the company.
(3) Adjutant General Report of March 16, 1861, the Quartermaster received a five dollar fee from Captain Vanderheyden for his commission as Captain.
(4) Sacramento Union, September 22, 1859, page 2, column 3. Sacramento Union, September 24, 1859, page 2, column 2.
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
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