Historic California Militia and National Guard Units
Meagher Guard
(Irish Invincibles)
San Francisco's Irish-American Hall. Located at 818 Howard Street, this building served as the armory for the Meagher Guard and other ethnic Irish units of the California National Guard.
(Lone Mountain College Collection of Stereographs by Eadweard Muybridge, 1867-1880 )
Military Unit Designation:
Date of Organization: May 17, 1862
Date of Disbanding:
July 21, 1866
Reconstituted: 22 February 1868
Inclusive dates of units papers:
1862-1866, 1868-1881
Geographical Location or Locations: San Francisco City & County
Armory: Irish American Hall, 818 Howard Street (1871)

Papers on file at the California State Archives:
a. Organization Papers: 2 documents (1862)
b. Bonds: 1 document (1868)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters): 8 documents (1862-1865), 13 documents (1869-1881)
d. Election Returns: 7 documents (1862-1866), 19 documents (1868-1880)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for: none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns: 8 documents (1862-1866), 44 documents (1868-1880)
g. Oaths Qualifications: 14 documents (1862-1865), 101 documents (1868-1880)
h. Orders: none
i. Receipts, invoices: 2 documents (1865), 6 documents (1868-1880)
j. Requisitions: 3 documents (1862-1865), 5 documents (1868-1880)
k. Resignations: 1 document (1865), 3 documents (1868-1879)
l. Target Practice Reports: 11 documents (1868-1880)
m. Certificate of Commission: 1 document (1862)
n. Public Property: 2 documents (1868-1871)
o. Report of Inspection: 1 document (1880)

Commanding Officers

 Name  Date of Rank  Date of Commission Remarks
 W. W. Dowling, Captain  17 May 1862 21 May 1862 Resigned 1 May 1862
 Michael Cody, Captain  15 February 1862 15 December 1862 Reelected May 1863 and 28 May 1864. Resigned 19 January 1865
 Patrick Creighton, First Lieutenant  17 May 1862 21 May 1862 Reelected May 1863 and 28 May 1864.
 John W. Winters, Captain  16 February 1865 18 March 1865 Reelected 17 May 1866
 Timothy Collins, First Lieutenant 25 May 1865 25 May 1865
 H. C. Bateman, First Lieutenant 17 May 1866  
 Patrick McGuire, Captain 22 February 1868 26 February 1868 7 May 1868
 H. C. Bateman, First Lieutenant Reelected 22 February 1868
 John Egan, Captain 7 May 1868 14 July 1868 Reelected 4 May 1870, 2 April 1873, and 20 May 1874
 H. C. Bateman, First Lieutenant
 Daniel J. Sullivan, First Lieutenant 10 March 1869 8 April 1869 Reelected March 1871, 2 April 1873 and 20 May 1874.
 Daniel J. Sullivan, Captain 3 May 1876 13 May 1876 Reelected 8 May 1878
 Timothy Sullivan, First Lieutenant  3 May 1876 13 May 1876  
 Timothy Lownry, First Lieutenant  8 May 1878 12 August 1878  

Official History

This company of Infantry organized in San Francisco on the 17th of May 1862, in response to a petition signed by 60 citizens who were residents of said city and county, was mustered into the service of the State as a unit of the State Militia on the date of its organization.

The Irish Invincibles as the company was named when organized, decided at a meeting held in October 1862 to change the name to Meagher Guard in honor of the gallant soldier, Brigadier General Thomas F. Meagher, who at the outbreak of the Civil War in 1861, organized a company of Zouaves which became part of the 69th United States Volunteers and took part in the First Battle of Bull Run. Early in 1864, he was appointed as United States Brigadier General and in November of that year took over command of the District of Etowah. In January 1865, General Meagher joined Sherman's Army at Savannah where his command was mustered out of the service with the advent of peace.

Shortly after they were mustered into the State service, the Irish Invincibles equipped themselves with new uniforms of the pattern adopted by all the companies of the Irish Battalion which consisted of regulation United States Army coats faced with green, red trousers and United States regulation hats ornamented with a green feather. On September 9, 1862, the company with other units of the Second Brigade participated in a parade and. review, honoring California's admission to the Union. They were highly praised for their creditable appearance, being well equipped, well officered, and all maneuvers were performed with precision and promptness. The inspection was highly satisfactory in every respect.

The Meagher Guard, as the company was now named, were highly congratulated for the splendid appearance and mastery of military maneuvers displayed by the company during the ten day Encampment at Alameda in October 1863. When the military force of the State was reorganized under the new Law of 1866, the Meagher Guard was mustered out of service on the 21st of July of that year. However, the company reorganized and was again mustered into the State service on the 22nd of February 1868, as Company D, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, National Guard of California.[1]

The organization resumed its activities which during 1869 and 1870 consisted of drill, target practice, participation in public parades and escort duties. In 1871, the company was transferred to the 3rd (Irish) Infantry Regiment still remaining in the 2nd Brigade, and continuously made appearances in public on numerous occasions, and when parading in reviews was always highly complimented for the soldierly bearing of officers and men, as well as the spirit and zeal manifested in the ceremonies and maneuvers. On the occasion of a parade in San Francisco, July 3 and 4, 1876, the Governor of the State expressed great appreciation of the display made by the Second Brigade troops and for its advanced state of perfection.
Anti-Chinese riots of July 1877.

On October 20, 1876, the company was under arms in anticipation of riots by reason of meetings called to denounce the Chinese and threats of attack on the Oriental quarter in San Francisco. The situation was not deemed sufficiently menacing to necessitate calling out the troops, however, and the company was dismissed the following day. In November 1877, a recurrence of anti-Chinese demonstrations began and threats were again freely made in San Francisco by the turbulently inclined, that the armories would be seized and the arms taken from the soldiers. The Governor ordered the troops under arms upon request of the city authorities for the suppression of unlawful and riotous assemblages, but the disturbance soon subsided and the troops were dismissed. On January 16, 1878, the same conditions prevailed as in the preceding November and the troops of the second Brigade were again called into action and were dismissed after one day's service.

On January 7, 1888, the Meagher Guard with other companies of the 2nd Brigade was called on parade for inspection by a joint committee of the State Legislature on Military Affairs and on February 22, 1879, the entire Second Brigade was reviewed by the Governor.

On June 1, 1881, Company D was consolidated with Companies A and C and redesignated as Company A, 3rd (Irish) Infantry Regiment. With the consummation of the merger Company D (formerly the Meagher Guard) ceased to exist .

1. Adjutant General Report 1867-1869, Pages 81 and 135.
This history was completed in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the California National Guard and the California State Library.
Dress Uniform of the Meagher Guard, circa 1870

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Updated 8 February 2016