California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Crescent Rifles
Military Unit Designation: Crescent Rifles, 2nd Brigade, 6th Division, California Militia
Location: Crescent City, Klamath County (now Del Norte County)
Mustered In: April 15, 1856
Mustered Out: 1861
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1856
Commanding Officers
H. H. Garber, Captain
John R. Hale, First Lieutenant

Unit papers on file at the California State Archives:

a. Organization Papers 1 document (1856)
b. Bonds 1 document (1856)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) none
d. Election Returns none
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 1 document (1856)
g. Oaths Qualifications 4 documents (1856)
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices none
j. Requisitions 1 document (1856)
k. Resignations none
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none

The United States troops were moving the Indians North of the Klamath River and South of the Oregon line into a reservation, to protect the hostiles from being driven to desperation during the early part of the year of 1856. There was fear that the Indians would fall back on Illinois Valley, from which point they might commit depredations in the vicinity.(1) Outrages were committed by the Indians in southern Oregon during the last week of March, and much apprehension was felt for the safety of travelers over the trail from Crescent City to Jacksonville and over localities in Oregon. The residents became quite alarmed, over the situation and organized themselves into an independent or volunteer Cavalry company on April 15, 1856. The new company adopted the name of the city in which it was stationed as its designation indicates--"Crescent Rifles". Crescent City was so named because of the semi circular shaped Bay on the coast where the town was located.

H. H. Garber was elected Captain of the new corps and John R. Hale, the enrolling and presiding officer for the volunteers, was elected as First Lieutenant. A copy of the Muster Roll shows that fifty-three members were enrolled in the organization of the company. Although a requisition for sixty-eight rifles and accoutrements signed by Captain Garber is on file and the necessary Bond (April 16, 1856) was furnished by the company's officers, the Adjutant General's Report indicates that no arms were ever issued to the Crescent Rifles.

No commission or rank dates of the elected officers can be found nor are there any other records for this company other than a notation in 1861 that the Crescent Rifles was disbanded.(3) Another company of volunteers, the Citizens of Crescent City, had been organized in the vicinity by a special Act of the Legislature to take care of the. immediate situation, and in all probability the Headquarters deemed it unnecessary to have two military companies in the same locality. (3)


(1) Letter from David W. Gilmore to Governor J. Neeley Johnson March 18, 1856, on file State Archives, State Capitol.
(2) Adjutant General Report, 1861, page 56.
(3) Refer to Citizens of Crescent City for activities of volunteers against the Indians.


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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