Historic California Militia and National Guard Units
Napa Guard
Military Unit Designation: Napa Guard, 2nd Brigade, California Militia (after 1866, National Guard of California)
Date of Organization: 20 November 1861
Date of Disbanding: 6 January 1868
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1861-1868
Geographical Location or Locations: Napa, Napa County

Papers on file at the California State Archives:

a. Organization Papers 3 documents (1861)
b. Bonds 1 document (1866)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 35 documents (1861-1868)
d. Election Returns 6 documents (1863-1866)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 19 documents (1861-1868)
g. Oaths Qualifications 10 documents (1863-1866)
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 6 documents (1863-1868)
j. Requisitions 4 documents (1862-1866)
k. Resignations 3 documents (1862-1866)
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other
Commanding Officers

Chancellor Hartson, Captain: Elected 20 November 1861, commissioned 10 December 1861.
W. W. Stillwagon, First Lieutenant: Elected 20 November 1861, commissioned 10 December 1861, term expired 10 September 1863

Frank I. Vaslit, Captain: Elected 5 January 1863, commissioned 20 January 1863.

C. H. Allen, Captain: Elected 22 September 1863, commissioned 12 October 1863

E. S. Chesbro, Captain: Elected 4 January 1864, commissioned 12 January 1864, reelected 20 January 1865
Jacob Blumer, First Lieutenant: Elected 4 January 1864, commissioned 12 January 1864, reelected 20 January 1865

J. C. Pierson, Captain: Elected elected 17 August 1866, commissioned 20 September 1866
Thomas J. Disroody·, First Lieutenant: 1 January 1866, commissioned 6 January 1866.
Official History:

Among the letter and records of this company only the subjects of elections of officers and those relating to the requisition of arms and ordinance supplies were found.

In its early years the Napa Guard was active, loyal and filled with a spirit of patriotism. However, later this company lost a great deal of its enthusiasm and finally requested the Adjutant General that their corps be disbanded . The following letter under the date of December 15, 1867, written by Captain Pierson to the Adjutant General: discloses the then existing condition of the Napa Guard:

"Will you please inform me what course to pursue with regard to the Napa Guard. I have made no returns to Headquarters lately because I have no returns to make. The existence of the company is merely nominal; a majority of the members are men who have been in the company a number of years, and have become weary of it. The Muster Roll is not half full, and it is impossible to get the men to drill or comply with the requirements of the Military Law in almost any respect. It is the desire of a number of the officers and privates that the company disband , thereby relieving the officers of the responsibility resting upon them, both in a military and financial sense."

The Adjutant General granted the request and the company was mustered out of service on January 6, 1868. Thus closes another chapter of the activities of some of the loyal citizens of Napa and vicinity, who believed in keeping peace and order by being prepared to maintain the law by force if necessary.
This history was completed in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the California National Guard and the California State Library.
Extracts, History of Napa County (1901):
This book indicates that the Napa Guard may have been formed as early as 1857. This is possible since volunteer military companies were often formed locally outside the official state militia. The following appears on page 144:
"The first election of this military company occurred November 23, 1857, and resulted in the election of the following officers: Captain, F. S. Vaslit; first lieutenant J. Bell; second lieutenant A. J. Cox; third lieutenant, T. Moyer; surgeon, W. W. Stillwagon; quartermaster, J. Darnies; orderly sergeant, G. Dennison; second sergeant, C. H. Clark; third sergeant, G. Crawford; fourth sergeant, A. Raymond."
From page 146:
"1864 — Napa Guard. — The annual election of officers for this organization in January, 1864, resulted as follows: Captain, E. S. Cheseboro; first lieutenant, Jacob Blumer; second lieutenant, E, Kimball; second brevet lieutenant, L. B. Kester; orderly sergeant, J. G. Norton; second sergeant, August Miller; third sergeant, Joseph Elliot; fourth sergeant, Imrie; fifth sergeant, D. Fairfield; first corporal, C. B. Walker; second corporal, T. J. Dewoody; third corporal, W. R. Cooper; fourth corporal, Oscar Steinback; treasurer, E. S. Cheseboro; investigating committee, E. S. Cheseboro, J.Dukes, R. J. VanDoren,E. Kimball and E. S. Smith; auditing committee, W. R. Cooper, T. J. Dewoody and W. C. S. Smith; music committee, E. Kimball, J. Haskins, and M. Dorr. "


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Updated 8 February 2016