California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
San Luis Obispo Guard
Official or other titles: San Luis Obispo Guard, Second Brigade, Third Division, California Militia
Location: San Luis Obispo, San Luis Obispo County
Mustered in: 24 May 1858
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1858-1859
Commanding Officers:
P. A. Forrester, Captain; Commissioned June 1, 1858
Thomas Graves, First Lieutenant; Commissioned June 1, 1858
Unit papers on file at the California State Archives:

a. Organization Papers 3 docs (1858)
b. Bonds 1 document (1858)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 2 documents (1859)
d. Election Returns none
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

Official History

The Honorable J. M. Munas, County Judge of San Luis Obispo County issued a Public Notice in accordance with a call of the citizens of the county for the purpose of forming a volunteer company. This notice was properly published on May fourteenth for the ten day period required by law. The Judge designated the Court House as the meeting place which was to be held on Monday, May 24, 1858, at nine o'clock A. M. P. A. Forrester had been appointed to superintend the organization of the meeting. Forty-eight persons enrolled in the new volunteer company and thirteen officers were elected. Almost one-half of the names so enrolled were of Mexican or Spanish extraction and one of the men signed himself as a "Medical Doctor".

A Bond for $5,000 was signed by the Captain as principal and four others as sureties at the time of the organizing of the San Luis Obispo Guard and approved by Judge Munas. Captain Forrester made out a requisition to the Quartermaster General for the necessary arms and accoutrements that the company required. The arms were not forthcoming as was evidenced by the two letters Captain Forrester sent to General Kibbe. In the first under date of inlay 24, 1859, a year after the company had been organized, the Captain explained, "that he had written twice to the General for information relative to the furnishing of his Guard with necessary arms and equipments without receiving the required information. He desired to know if there was the smallest chance of his corps being so furnished by the State."

When Captain Forrester again communicated with the Adjutant General on October twenty-fifth of the same year, he quite plainly showed his irritation over the failure of the State in recognizing his company. Quote: "He(the Captain) had repeatedly written to the General regarding the arms and equipments and as yet had not received an answer to any of the inquiries." The Captain stated that, "he thought that it would be but little condescension on the part of the Adjutant General who held such an executive position to notice their San Luis Obispo Guard and at least answer them, if not furnish the necessary arms.?' Captain Forrester continued, "that he was quite tired of these farcical proceedings and assured the General his private addresses ceased immediately if the satisfactory information was not forthcoming." In conclusion the Captain requested, "common rifles if nothing better could be had as he thought companies were organized for other purposes than the purchasing of empty commissions as it appeared with the receipt of the fee of the Military Board all anxiety on the part of the State officers ceased".

Due to the absence of the Adjutant General Report of 1858 or 1859 it is not known if the San Luis Obispo Guard was formally mustered into the State service or given equipment, but it would seem that it had been intended that this company become a unit of the State Militia as the Adjutant General had commissioned the officers on June 1, 1858.


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