California State Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Esmeralda Rifles
(Esmeralda Rangers)
Military Unit Designation:
Date of Organization: April 2, 1862
Date of Disbanding:
Inclusive dates of units papers:
Geographical Location or Locations:
Aurora, Mono County California, after 13 September 1863 California-Nevada state line adjustment, Aurora, Esmeralda County, Nevada

Papers of file at the California State Archives:
a. Organization Papers 1 document (1862)
b. Bonds none
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 21 documents (1862-1864)
d. Election Returns none
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 3 documents (1862-1863)
g. Oaths Qualifications none
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 2 documents (1863)
j. Requisitions none
k. Resignations none
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none
Commanding Officers
W. E. Judd, Captain; Elected August 27,1861
L. A. Lane, First Lieutenant; Elected August 27,1861

H. J. Teel, Captain; Elected April 2, 1862; Commissioned May 22, 1862
A. D. Allen, First Lieutenant; Elected April 2, 1862; Commissioned May 22, 1862
Official History

On August 27, 1861, there was organized a volunteer military company in Aurora, Mono County, known as the Esmeralda Rifles, under the command of William E. Judd.

For some reason the minutes of the meeting to organize the Esmeralda Rifles were never filed with the Adjutant General's Office, perhaps due to poor mail service in that part of the State. The earliest record of the company was recorded when the unit was officially mustered into the service of the State, April 2, 1862, and H. J. Teel was elected to the Captaincy.

The Esmeralda Rifles established headquarters in Aurora, the location of one of California's richest gold fields. The company's activities consisted of the usual drills, rendering aid to the civil. authorities in maintaining law and order. Also in checking any display made by the Secessionists during the Civil War.

In a meeting held August 22, 1863, it was unanimously agreed upon to reorganize the company as a cavalry unit and the corps was to be designated as the Esmeralda Rangers.

On September 13, 1863, when a readjustment of the boundary line between California and the territory of Nevada was made, it was discovered that Aurora, the County seat of Mono County, was three miles on the Nevada side, as a result of this boundary change. (1)

William C. Kibbe, the Adjutant General of California, in 1864 sent the following report to the Governor of Nevada. "That the Esmeralda Rangers and Hooker Light Infantry, two companies located in Aurora, Nevada, organized under California law and included in the Third Brigade of the State Militia, had been dropped from the roster. As the guns, still in their possession, were furnished by California suggested when Nevada received their arms from the Government that that State turn over a like number to Headquarters so that California would suffer no loss of property." (2)

There are no further records, but it is assumed that in the first part of 1864, the Esmeralda Rangers were officially mustered out of California service.
1. Mono County Mines, published 1878, Page 49.
2. Adjutant General Report 1864-1867, Page 15.
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
Muster Roll Information:
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Updated 8 February 2016