and National Guard Unit Histories
One of Vallejo's
early National Guard units, Frisbie Guards in 1876. Pictured
here are, left to right, front row, Alex Hichborn, lieutenant;
Frank O'Grady, captain, and Louis Hardy, sergeant; back row,
William Fraser, color sergeant, and William Hall, corporal. (Vallejo
Official or Other Titles:
Frisbie Guard, 2nd Brigade, National Guard
of California (NGC)
After 27 August 1870, Company G, 2nd Infantry
Regiment, 2nd Brigade, NGC
Mustered in: September
Mustered out: June
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1869-1872
Papers on file at the California State
a. Organization Papers 1 document (1869)
b. Bonds 2 documents (1869-1870)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 44 documents (1869-1872)
d. Election Returns 7 documents (1869-1872)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 6 documents (1869-1872)
g. Oaths Qualifications 138 documents (1869-1872)
h. Orders 1 document (1872)
i. Receipts, invoices 7 documents (1869-1872)
j. Requisitions 2 documents (1869-1870)
k. Resignations 3 documents (1869-1870)
l. Target Practice Reports 1 document (1871)
m. Other none
Vallejo Rifles and Frisbie Guards
By Mark J. Denger
Two highly competitive military organizations
the Vallejo Rifles and the Frisbie Guards added color
to the early days of Vallejo during the eighteen sixties and
seventies, while their social events, their Summer outings and
annual balls, were important on the city's social calendar.
The Vallejo Rifles, organized in 1862
as a company of the California National Guard, met with competition
a few years later when the Frisbie Guards were formed, under
the personal sponsorship of General John B. Frisbie.
General Frisbie had served as a Captain
in Company H, New York Volunteers during the Mexican War of 1847.
Born in 1823, he was a lawyer, politician, and militia officer
in N.Y. After leaving the military service, Frisbie moved to
California where he was a candidate for lieutenant governor of
California in 1849; married the daughter of General Vallejo;
and became a prominent business man in the town of Vallejo, interested
in the building of railroads, president of a bank, and a man
of considerable wealth. He was also a member of the state legislature
The Vallejo Rifles originally were uniformed in the regular Army
uniform of the day, but later adopted a costume of blue swallow-tail
coat, matching military pants with white stripes, and high, black
bearskin shakos. Captain John T. Barbour, a former corporal in
Company B, California Battalion, stationed on the Mare Island
Navy Yard, was elected as the first captain of the Vallejo Rifles.
Captain John T. Barbour migrated from New York to California
with his wife Nancy in 1846. In 1847 settled at Benicia, where
he built several houses, being in the lumber business with his
father-in-law Landy Alford.
Not to be outdone sartorially, the Frisbie Guard, with the financial
backing of General Frisbie, sported blue frock coats, red trousers
and hats heavily bedecked with white plumes. Captain C. O. Ferris
headed the Frisbie Guards, with First Lieutenant James Cluney,
Second Lieutenant William McGill, and a membership of about seventy-five.
The rivalry between these two militia units were keen in
military perfection, in uniforms, and rivalry as to which unit
staged the most successful social events.
The first meeting place for the Vallejo Rifles was old Farragut
Hall, with their armory later established on Sacramento street
in downtown Vallejo. The armory was later occupied by the Elks
Club and the Salvation Army. The unit's headquarters were later
moved to the Bernard House, where extensive rooms were equipped
for their meetings and social activities.
Social events were supplemented by drills and target practice.
The Vallejo Rifles reorganized into Company B and later into
Company D, California National Guard. Company B was first headed
by Frank O'Grady as captain, Richard Coleman as first lieutenant,
and C. D. McConley as second lieutenant.
One of the momentous events in the Vallejo Rifles' history was
the visit of General U. S. Grant to Vallejo in 1880, when the
uniformed company received him in their Bernard House headquarters.
Every member of the Vallejo Rifles received a handshake from
the distinguished visitor.