California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Mountain Blues
Official or other titles: Mountain Blues, 2nd Brigade, 4th Division, California Militia.
Location: Iowa Hill, Placer County
Mustered in: July 5, 1855
Mustered out: June 11, 1856
Unit papers on file at the California State Archives:
a. Organization Papers 3 documents (1855)
b. Bonds 1 document (1855)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 12 documents (1855-1861)
d. Election Returns none
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 1 document (1855)
g. Oaths Qualifications none
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 4 documents (1856)
j. Requisitions 2 documents (1855-1856)
k. Resignations none
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none
8. Miscellaneous:
Commanding Officers
David G. Lake, Captain , Commisioned December 24, 1855
Thomas P. Slade, Captain: Elected May 8, 1856
P. H. Saper, First Lieutenant. Commissioned: December 24, 1855
Official History
Iowa Hill, Placer County, is situated in mountainous territory in which there has been a great deal of gold.mining activity. Like all of the early day settlements, the citizens were desirous of military protection. Therefore, preliminary preparations were made to perfect such an organization on July 5, 1855. These activities resulted.In the formation of the Mountain Blues and the election of officers. On August seventh a Bond was drawn up to insure arms for the volunteer independent company. On September twenty-fourth, Wesley B. Howe communicated with Adjutant-General Kibbe again giving the list of members and officers with changes in three of the offices.
In the first letter of "Mr." Lake's (dated February 19, 1856) to General Kibbe, he inquires about the rifles and equipment that had been ordered sometime before. The men had become quite impatient at not having a full complement of arms and accoutrements for each member. If they could not be so supplied they wished to know ''If they should be disbanded for want of arms and equipment?" The Adjutant-General replied to "Mr." Lake and informed him the Bond of $2,500 was filed in the office on the twelfth of January, and part of the company's request of arms had been complied with, but the State did not have a sufficient number of arms to supply the men individually, as there were new companies being organized in the Indian country and to these companies it was necessary to supply arms at once. In this letter General Kibbe also informed "Mr." Lake he was commissioned Captain Commander of the unit, on December 24, 1855, and to please sign himself as such in future official correspondence. This explanation was accepted by the men, and Captain Lake and the members carried on the routine work of guards in preparing themselves for useful service.
Evidently some of the men desired to take active part in aiding the districts who were troubled by the Indians, as in a later communication (dated March 6, 1856) Captain Lake requested information from the Adjutant-General regarding an act passed by the Legislature to raise a company of volunteers, for the purpose of suppressing the Indians in the vicinity of Klamath County.(1)
Captain Lake had found it necessary to resign from the office and called a meeting on May 14, 1856, for the purpose of electing a new commanding officer. Drill Sergeant, Thomas P. Slade, was elected to the Captaincy and S. Chadwick was elected as the Drill Sergeant. Appanently there was a lack of interest among the men following the resignation of Captain Lake which the newly elected.officers were not able to curb.
On June eleventh.of the same year, Captain Lake informed General Kibbe "The Mountain Blues had disbanded and was no longer.a company". He further stated he realized that he should have sent the arms and equipment to the State Armory, but that there as another volunteer company organizing and it was the wish of these men that the arms be retained for their unit.
On February 2, 1857, the town of Iowa. Hill was entirely wiped out by fire, and the arms which still remained in the armory were destroyed. A Board of Examiners, November 14, 1861, reported the findings of the committee which investigated "The causes and circumstances of the destruction of the arms of the Mountain Blues". This Board was appointed by Captain Kavanaugh of the Placer Guard a newly organized company. In their report the committee exonerated the officers and men of the disbanded Mountain Blues from any blame of carelessness in the care of the arms of the Guard, as the flames had spread so rapidly that little personal property had been saved. Captain Slade of the Mountain Blues who was also Justice of the Peace, was unable to save the Docket and. papers in his office.
It is assumed the Mountain Blues were formally mustered out on the date of Captain Lake's last letter to the Adjutant General, June 11, 1856, informing the General that the company had disbanded and was no longer affiliated with the National Guard.

(1) This Act resulted in the organizing of the Citizens of Crescent City and a copy of the same is included in the History of that company.
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
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Updated 8 February 2016