California Militia and National Guard Units
Crescent City Guard
Military Unit Designation: Crescent City Guard, 2nd Brigade, 6th Division, California Militia
Date of Organization: 19 August 1861
Date of Disbanding: 8 August 1864
Commanding Officers:
John P. Haynes, Captain, Date of Rank: 19 August 1861, Commissioned: 10 September 1861
Richard Dugan, First Lieutenant, Date of Rank: 19 August 1861, Commissioned: 10 September 1861

Inclusive dates of units papers: 1861-1864
Geographical Location or Locations: Crescent City, Del Norte County

Records on file with the California State Archives:

a. Organization Papers 1 document (1861)
b. Bonds none
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 15 documents (1861-1864)
d. Election Returns none
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 1 document (1862)
g. Oaths Qualifications none
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 1 document (1864)
j. Requisitions 1 document (1861)
k. Resignations none
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none
Official History

The Superintendent of Indian Affairs had been engaged for some time in removing the bands of Indians to reservations and the citizens of Del Norte County were apprehensive of future trouble with the hostiles who had created disturbances during the past few years in both Humboldt and Del Norte Counties. The following legal notice was undoubtedly prompted by the intuition and wisdom that holds good today--"In time of peace prepare for war":


    State of California
    County of Del Norte

    To James K. Johnson:

    You are hereby appointed to open a book for the purpose of entering the names of persons volunteering to form an Independent Company, also to give notice for the organization and election of officers of said company, according to law.

    Given under my hand the 3rd day of August A. D. 1861.

    (Signed) E. Mason,
    County Judge

When the book of registration was opened ninety-four men of Crescent City and vicinity enrolled in the company. The organization meeting was held in the Court House at Crescent City on Monday the nineteenth of August at three o'clock in the afternoon. At this election John P. Haynes was elected Captain. Mr. Haynes, an attorney, was a veteran of the Mexican War and at the time was a Senator in the California Legislature. No company name was incorporated in the minutes or on the muster roll. A letter under the date of September eighteenth reveals that Adjutant General Kibbe had informed the Captain of the omission, and the General was immediately notified that the company wished to be known as the Crescent City Guard, and would he designate them as such.

Evidently it was a tedious process to get arms and equipment in the early days. .Weeks would elapse before the Adjutant General would approve an order for arms . The Crescent City Guard was mustered in August 17, 1861, but it was not until October fourth of that year that the order was approved by the General who had empowered Captain Haynes to collect and retain arms belonging to the State which had been issued to various citizens of the two counties. A letter from the General on October 4, 1861, stated that he had diverted an order of fifty rifles to be sent
from Eureka on the next trip of the Steamer "Columbia." These arms evidently had been in the possession of a former militia company or group of citizens. On December eighteenth the Captain communicated with Headquarters and informed General Kibbe that a case of guns (yagers [1]) had been received from Major W. C. Martin of Humboldt County. Twenty guns were supposed to have been packed in the box, but it contained only sixteen and the balance of fifty were to be shipped later. The officers concluded not to accept the arms as they were not in good condition. The members felt if they had arms at all, they must be of the best quality or at least in serviceable condition, as the company would not become responsible for damages which might occur through accidents.

No supplies were received until May of the following year. On May eighteenth Captain Haynes again communicated with the Adjutant General regarding the arms, as the community was greatly alarmed over the advent of the large numbers of Indians being taken into the Smith River Valley Reservation, some fifteen miles from Crescent City. These six or eight hundred Indians had been engaged in plundering and murdering citizens of Humboldt for the past two or three years and from their known animosity t he members of the company deemed it prudent to have some means at hand to keep the hostiles in subjection. In case of danger, four or five days would elapse before aid could come from the nearest military post which was a distance of forty-five miles . The residents of the vicinity had few arms, as the emigrants had taken most of the supply when they left for the northern mines . Also many of the families of these men were scattered ,about , in the two contiguous valley unprotected. The Indian Agent , Mr. Hansen, had promised to have one or two companies of soldiers stationed on the Reservation, but so far none had been sent there. The following day, May nineteenth, the Captain again communicated with Adjutant General Kibbe notifying the General that two cases had arrived on the Steamer "Panama" which were supposed to contain guns. He had paid the freight for the packages, and would examine and report his receipt of the same after delivery to him.

Apparently the district did not suffer from Indian depredations as there are no records to show of any activities of the company. In fact, the Captain later, February 4, 1863, reported that the company was disbanding as their population was so small and fluctuating that it was impossible to maintain a military organization in compliance with the Laws of the State. In addition to this difficulty the Board of Supervisors had failed to furnish a suitable building for an armory and drill room. It is regrettable that no Indians were on hand to prod along said Board of Supervisors, until the Board should place a proper valuation on the influence of this guard company to their community in regard to protecting the citizens from Indian hostilities. Captain Haynes requested in this letter that the arms, which were in his possession, be permitted to remain in the care of the citizens until a permanent military post was established in the vicinity, or at least until the large number of Indians were removed. A penciled notation on this letter states, "He can retain the arms until called for."[2] The arms were not called for until the twenty ninth of July 1864, when upon order of the Adjutant General, Deputy United States Marshal John A. Baxter received them from Captain Haynes.
Although there was no mention made of the "Copperheads" [3] in the papers pertaining to this company prior to the letter from Deputy Marshal Baxter, it is evident from the tone of the Captain's and the Deputy Marshal's letters that the Copperhead menace was still prevalent as well as the Indian disturbances. Captain Haynes informed General Kibbe in a letter of August 8, 1864, that it was impossible to comply with the order requiring a distribution of the arms among the active members, as the company was disorganized and all the arms had been boxed and placed in charge of Dugan & Wall, Commission Merchants and Agents of Wells Fargo & Company, as being the safest place for storing the equipment. These old style Rifles, which had been used in several Indian campaigns, were in such a bad condition that Captain Haynes deemed them unserviceable. In fact, the Captain was of the opinion that it would perhaps be better to order a return of the arms to the State Arsenal in case such a contingency, as Adjutant General Evans apprehended, should arrive. He (Captain Haynes) was leaving in a few days and would be gone all Fall and Winter, and would not be able to exercise the care and watchfulness necessary for the care of the supplies. Deputy Marshall Baxter's letter of August eighteenth, acquainted the Adjutant General that he had received the arms from Captain Haynes and would ship them to San Francisco if desired, the cost would not be more than ten or twelve dollars. The Marshal did suggest that the arms be retained in Crescent City for the time being, not that he anticipated any trouble with the Copperheads in the vicinity, but in case of an emergency. There is no further record of the disposal of these arms which the Crescent City Guard turned over when officially mustered out on August 8, 1864.

1. Yager--a type of arm used by riflemen or sharpshooters.
2. This notation was evidently made by the Adjutant General with the intention of answering the letter and so give the Captain permission to retain the arms.
3. "Copperheads" were residents of the North who during t he Civil War were opposed to t he war policy of the President and Congress of the United States. The term "Copperheads" originated in the Autumn of 1862, and its use spread throughout the north quietly but persistently because of the fancied resemblance of the peace party to the venomous copperhead snake which strikes without warning. Encyclopedia Britannica, Volume 6, page 409.
Prepared in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the California National Guard and the California State Library.

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