Historic California Militia and National Guard Units
Franklin Guard
Military Unit Designation: Franklin Guard, Company F, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, California Militia
Date of Organization:
March 22, 1862
Date of Disbanding:
December 24, 1866
Inclusive dates of units papers:
Geographical Location or Locations:
Knight's Ferry, Stanislaus County
Papers on file with the California State Archives:

a. Organization Papers 5 documents (1862)
b. Bonds 1 document (1864)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 51 documents (1862-1866)
d. Election Returns 4 documents (1862-1865)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 6 documents (1862-1866)
g. Oaths Qualifications 10 documents (1862-1865)
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 9 documents (1862-1867)
j. Requisitions 1 document (1862)
k. Resignations 4 documents (1862-1864)
l. Target Practice Reports
Commanding Officers

 Name  Date of Rank  Date of Commission Remarks
 Abraham Shell, Captain  22 March 1862 30 March 1862 Resigned 18 August 1862
 G. W. Arnold, First Lieutenant  22 March 1862 30 March 1862 Resigned 18 August 1862
 Robert M. Bryant, Captain  2 October 1862 7 October 1862 Reelected 16 March 1864, resigned 26 September 1864
 Merrill Britt, First Lieutenant  2 October 1862 7 October 1862  
 Alvin T. Bartlett, First Lieutenant  16 March 1864 7 June 1864  
 Alvin T. Bartlett, Captain  17 December 1864 31 December 1864 Reelected 21 March 1865
 L. Van Dusen, First Lieutenant  17 December 1864 31 December 1864  
 E. J. Stone, First Lieutenant  21 March 1865 21 March 1865  
 Miner Walden, Captain  29 September 1866 29 September 1866  
 Alvin T. Bartlett, First Lieutenant  29 September 1866 29 September 1866  

Official History
On the 19th day of December 1861, a petition bearing the signatures of fifty-seven citizens was presented to P. B. Nagel, County Judge, requesting the appointment of an enrolling officer
for the enrolling of persons desiring to organize a volunteer militia company. Mr. P. C. Patten was appointed and on March 18, 1862, the first meeting was held in Fisher's Hall, Knight's Ferry.
The members decided to call their company the Franklin Guard. On March twenty-second, another meeting was held and the organization of the company was completed by the election of Abraham Shell as Captain and G. W. Arnold as First Lieutenant.

On July second of that year the Franklin Guard received 45 stand of muskets from the Sheriff of Tuolumne County through an order from Adjutant General Kibbe. Captain Shell complained to
General Kibbe about the condition and age of the muskets, intimating they probably saw service in the Mexican War in 1848. Correspondence between the Captain and the Adjutant General's Office revealed that the muskets were intended for temporary use only, and that as soon as the State received a new allotment of "Minnie" rifles, an exchange would be made.

Letters on file indicate that rather serious strife developed between Captain Shell and Lieutenant Arnold on one side and the remainder of the company on the other. The principal friction was caused by the apparent arrogance of the commanding officers, according to a letter to Adjutant General Kibbe written by Second Lieutenant Alvin T. Bartlett on behalf of the company. The difficulty was solved when Captain Shell and Lieutenant Arnold tendered their resignations which were accepted on August 18, 1862.

The Franklin Guard was a well drilled company, and attended the annual drills of the brigade. There are no special activities recorded concerning this company . The morale of the unit evidently weakened in the early part of 1866, since William A. Davies, Brigadier-General of the Third Brigade ordered a reorganization and election of officers on September 29th. Miner Walden was elected Captain of the unit and Alvin T. Bartlett, First Lieutenant.

In a Special Order No. 23, dated December 24, 1866, by Brigadier General Davies it was charged that the Franklin Guard had failed to comply with several orders previously issued to it pertaining to the reorganization of the unit; and in pursuance of this order the company was mustered out of the State service December 24th of that year.[1]
1. Special Order dated December 24, 1866, on file Adjutant General's Office.
This history was completed in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the California National Guard and the California State Library.
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Updated 8 February 2016