Historic California Militia and National Guard Units
Mounted Volunteers
Military Unit Designation: Mounted Volunteers, 2nd Brigade, California Militia
Date of Organization:
9 September 1861
Date of Disbanding:
Inclusive dates of units papers:
Geographical Location or Locations:
Humboldt County
Unit papers on file at the California State Archives:

a. Organization Papers none
b. Bonds none
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) none
d. Election Returns 1 document (1861)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns none
g. Oaths Qualifications none
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices none
j. Requisitions none
k. Resignations none
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none
Commanding Officers:
George Werk, Captain: Elected 20 August 1861, commissioned 28 August 1861
Green Wilkerson, First Lieutenant: Elected 20 August 1861, commissioned 28 August 1861
Official History

In 1861 Governor Downey sent a letter to General E. V. Sumner, commanding the Pacific Division of the United States Army, stating that information had been received by him from sources entitled to credit, of repeated outrages having been committed by hostile Indians upon the settlers in the vicinity of Eel River. The Governor requested General Sumner to furnish aid for these people. The General replied that it was impossible at that time to send United States Troops into Humboldt County.

In order to protect the lives and property of the citizens, the Governor ordered Brigadier-General J. T. Ryan, commander of the Sixth Division of California Militia, to proceed at once to enroll and muster into service for the space of three months, forty mounted volunteers to be used in subduing the Indians committing the depredations. In organizing this company General Ryan was to follow as strictly as possible t he Military Law of the State. He was to see that the lives and property of the citizens were protected and t hat no inhumanity be practiced against the tribes. Only the Indians in actual hostility were to be molested and in no case were the lives of women and children to be taken. A departure from these instructions would subject the parties offending to severe penalties and reprimands by the Governor. General Ryan was to report to the Governor's Office as soon as the company was organized, and to send a copy of the Muster Roll and a list of officers in order that the latter might be commissioned.[1] With these instructions well in mind the company known as the Mounted Volunteers was organized in compliance with the Governor's orders August 20, 1861, with Captain George Werk in command. The Mounted Volunteers from August twentieth to September ninth, served with the Federal Troops in Humboldt County, and on September ninth of that year they were officially mustered into the service of the State of California, for the period of three months.

In a short space of time this company had surrounded the hostile bands of roving Indians and placed them on the Federal Reservations. Their task fully and conscientiously completed, the Mounted Volunteers, at the end of their three month period of service was mustered out of the service of the State of California.
[1] Letter from Governor Downey to General Ryan on file State Archives, State Capitol.
Search our Site!
Search the Web Search California Military History Online
Questions and comments concerning this site should be directed to the Webmaster
Updated 8 February 2016