Historic California Militia and National Guard Units
Pacific Guard
Military Unit Designation:
Date of Organization: October 15, 1861
Date of Disbanding:
June 13, 1868
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1861-1868
Geographical Location or Locations:
Dutch Flat, Placer County

Papers on file at the California State Archives:
a. Organization Papers 1 document (1861)
b. Bonds 3 documents (1864-1866)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 50 documents (1861-1867)
d. Election Returns 8 documents (1862-1867)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 21 documents (1861-1867)
g. Oaths Qualifications 90 documents (1861-1866)
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 13 documents (1861-1868)
j. Requisitions 4 documents (1861-1866)
k. Resignations 1 document (1867)
l. Target Practice Reports 1 document (1866)
m. Other Letters of Introduction, 5 documents (1862)

Commanding Officers:

B. F. Moore, Captain: Elected October 9, 1861 commissioned October. 15, 1861
C. M. Copp, First Lieutenant: Elected October 9, 1861 commissioned October. 15, 1861

C. M. Copp, Captain: Elected April 7, 1862; commissioned October 16, 1862; reelected May 4 1863
M. H. Calderwood, First Lieutenant: Elected April 7, 1862; commissioned October 16, 1862; reelected May 4 1863

M. H. Calderwood, Captain: Elected April 19 , 1864; commissioned June 7, 1864
John W. Thomas, First Lieutenant: April 19, 1864; commissioned June 7, 1864

C. M. Copp, Captain Elected April 17, 1865; commissioned April 22, 1865, reelected July 27, 1866.
John W. Thomas, First Lieutenant: Reelected April 17, 1865
S. Wardner, First Lieutenant: Elected July 27; 1866; commissioned August 22, 1866;

S. Wardner, Captain: Elected October 20, 1866; commissioned November 1, 1866
James Staples, First Lieutenant: Elected October 20, 1866; commissioned November 1, 1866

M. H. Calderwood, Captain: Elected August 24, 1867; October 1, 1867
James Mathewson, First Lieutenant: . Elected August 24, 1867; October 1, 1867

Official History:

Dutch Flat being located in the high mountainous section of Placer County proved to be a very rich mining district. These gold mines brought many prospectors from surrounding states and there were some that came from the East seeking wealth in this new and carefree territory. These rugged people who faced the hardships of pioneering to establish homes and build cities are to be greatly admired, as they were the ones who so readily answered the President's call for troops in the Rebellion of 1861. The men with families dependent upon them or those who could not leave their business to join the Regular Army, formed independent companies of militia as a protection to the citizens from possible invasions by the Rebels.

It was a group of these staunch defenders of the Union who organized a company of volunteers at Dutch Flat on August 15, 1861, and adopted the name of Pacific Guard. Two of the outstanding citizens of t his town were unanimously elected in command of the company. B. F. Moore was elected as Captain and Charles M. Copp as First Lieutenant. Upon the expiration of Captain Moore's term which was in June of 1862, he was chosen to be sent to the War Zone in the East. His outstanding ability in commanding the Pacific Guard and his interest in Military Science gave cause for him being ordered as a visitor to the scenes of the Civil War. He was given letters of introduction to such Generals as Fremont, Nagle, and Shields who were personal friends of Adjutant-General Kibbe. They were asked to show Captain Moore every courtesy possible, and that they could place the most implicit confidence in his loyalty and attachment to the country's flag.[1]

C. M. Copp was elected as Captain of the company to replace Captain Moore in order to hold the interest of the members in the company. This was difficult as by September 1862 the unit had received no arms or accoutrements, with the exception of twelve muskets which were in a bad condition. This was due to the fact that they were damaged at the station when Sacramento became flooded by the rising of the river in December 1861, after the equipment was crated and ready for shipment.
In a letter written during the early part of August to the Adjutant-General, Captain Copp stated he feared the company would disband unless the men received some encouragement. On the twenty-seventh of the same month the company received forty stand of arms and accoutrements from the State Arsenal. The members were t hen able to hold weekly drills , and when their uniforms arrived the unit would be in a position to participate in parades and attend social affairs . The members were patient but hoped they would receive their uniforms before leaving for Camp. However, they were disappointed when informed they would have to wait until after the Encampment which was to be held at Camp Kibbe, one mile north of Washington in Yolo County on September 19, 1863.

In April 1864 Captain Copp, relinquished t he command of the company to accept the rank of Major in t he Fourth Brigade of the California Militia. During his absence Captain Calderwood was in command of the Pacific Guard. When Major Copp's term expired the following year he returned to the Pacific Guard, and assumed his former position as commander of t he unit, holding that rank until the reorganization of the company on July 28, 1866, at which time it was mustered into the National
Guard and designated as Company F, Fifth Regiment, Fourth Brigade.

At an election held on October twentieth of the same year S. Wardner was elected Captain of the company, but owing to business conditions he was forced t o resign the following year. Another election of officers on August 24, 1867, placed Captain Calderwood again in command of the company. The company was not in existence long after that as on June 13, 1868, pursuant to Special Order No . 32, the organization discontinued and was mustered out of the service by Major W. A. Anderson.

1. Taken from official company letters, California State Archives.
This history completed in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the California National Guard and the California State Library.


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Updated 8 February 2016