California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
San Diego Guard

Official or Other Titles:
San Diego Guard, 1st Brigade, California Militia
Location: San Diego San Diego County
Mustered in: August 2, 1856
Mustered out: 1863

Commanding Officers
George Pendleton, Captain, Date of Rank: August 2, 1856; Commissioned: August 22, 1856
William H., Mozer, First Lieutenant, Date of Rank: August 2, 1856; Commissioned: August 22, 1856
California State Archives Records:

a. Organization Papers 5 documents (1856)
b. Bonds none
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 7 documents (1853-1858)
d. Election Returns none
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 1 document (1857)
g. Oaths Qualifications none
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices none
j. Requisitions 2 documents (1857)
k. Resignations none
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none
8. Miscellaneous:

Official History

On August 2, 1856, a volunteer military company was organized at San Diego, San Diego County, under the command of Captain George Pendleton, and designated the San Diego Guard. The remote distance of San Diego from Sacramento hampered the full recording of the activities of this company, a unit organized to protect life and property in San Diego County. The company's efficiency in maintaining law and order was illustrated in the following incident. When news as received at San Diego that a band of thirty men (fugitives from justice) had banded together in an attempt to sack the city and sacrifice the life of every citizen who offered resistance, .a public meeting was held by the citizens and the San Diego Guard under command of Captain Pendleton was called into service.. After several suggestions as to the best mode of defense it was resolved to place a guard of twelve persons around the town each night. A roll was opened for additional volunteers and every person present offered his services as a guard whenever required. After the meeting, twelve guards were stationed on the outskirts of town and each night designated citizens were detailed for guard duty.(1)
The company received their arms and accoutrements within one month after their organization, according to the records. The only remaining correspondence in the files is a requisition by Captain Pendleton for twelve copies of "Tactics". This request indicated a desire on the part of the company to increase their efficiency. There is on file all the required papers of the organization and mustering in of the San Diego Guard showing that the unit had the advantage of a good start. In the Adjutant General's Report of 1861 there is the following remark regarding the company:
"This is said to be one of the finest companies on the Southern Coast; no returns or reports have however, been received at this office for the last two years. The officers have failed to comply with the provisions of Section twenty-eight.of the law.(2) Section twenty-eight was an act of the State Legislature which read: Within ninety days from the passage of this act, each and every officer of volunteer companies now organized, having in his possession any arms, equipment, or military stores belonging to the State' shall give to the county in which he resides good and, sufficient .Bonds, to be approved by the County Judge, to secure the county from loss on account of the use or misapplication of the same and the officer so giving, the Bonds to the-county shall together with his sureties be released from his another liabilities for the same property on any other Bond heretofore given by him and them to the State (3)"
The San Diego Guard was still in existence in 1862, yet no returns or reports were received-by the Adjutant General's Office While no date of disbanding can be found, the Adjutant General's Report of 1863, does not list this unit as a company nor was mention made of them in later reports from the office, and it is assumed that the company was disbanded during the year of 1863.
(1) San Francisco Daily Herald, August 27, 1858, page 3, column 2
(2) Adjutant General Report, 1861, page 79.
(3) California Statutes, 1861., Section 28.
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