California Milita and National Guard Unit Histories
San Joaquin Guard
Assigned to: San Joaquin Guard, 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, California Militia
Location: Stockton, San Joaquin County
Mustered in: August 5,1851
Mustered out: July 28, 1852 (1)
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1851-1852
Commanding Officers
Richard Hammond, Captain.(Elected Aug. 5, 1851)
James Lynch, First Lieutenant (Elected Aug. 5, 1851)
Official records on file at the California State Archives:

a. Organization Papers 1 document (1851)
b. Bonds 1 document (1851)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 3 documents (1851-1852)
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


Stockton, San Joaquin County was officially designated as a city on July 23, 1850, and civic activities were well on the way to completion for a fully developed town. Elections became an order of the city's business, a fire company was fostered and for a short time flourished. The ranchers in the vicinity were suffering financially from the effects of cattle stealing and the "Cow Vigilantes" hung five Mexicans April 28, 1851, for such depredations.(2) Such acts must have spurred the residents on to organize a volunteer militia company for the protection of the district.

A newspaper account gave the information that a new militia company had just been organized June 13, 1851 under the name of the San Joaquin Guard and giving the names of the three commanding officers. It also stated that the first field day would be held on the Fourth of July following.(3)

Evidently the organization of the company did not meet with, the State Militia requirements and a new organization set up was instituted on July 25, 1851, when County Judge Benjamin Williams appointed A. C. Bradford as " a suitable person to open a book for the enrolling of persons able to do military duty, and desiring to make application to become members of the Volunteer Company about to be organized in San Joaquin County." Mr. Bradford gave formal notice upon receipt of the book that it was opened at his office in the Court House, and the San Joaquin Republican together with the Stockton Journal published a notice on the same date wherein Mr. Bradford stated, "the meeting for organization was to be held Tuesday evening at eight o'clock p.m., on August 5, 1851, at the Weber Engine House". On the eighth of August Mr. Bradford communicated in a report to the Militia Headquarters certifying the foregoing information on the organization to be correct, that the San Joaquin Guard had been formally organized on Tuesday the fifth. He also included the numerical strength of the rank and file as seventy-seven with the names of commissioned and non-commissioned officers. The report gave a list of the sixteen elected officers with Richard P. Hammond as having been elected Captain and James Lynch elected as First Lieutenant. Captain Hammond was a West Point graduate and a Captain in the United States Army during the Mexican War. In conclusion Mr. Bradford stated, "The above officers were all furnished with certificates of election by me on the sixth instant. For my authority to act, and for the evidence to show that the company has been organized according to law, I beg leave to refer to the papers marked, A, B, C, (meaning the three articles giving the information he had been appointed by the County Judge, the-notice of the enrolling book and the notices published in the newspapers.)"

It is apparent that the first organization of the new volunteer company did not meet with the requirement of the State Act passed on April 40 1850. These three requirements of A, B, C were outlined in the first three Articles of the Act. Quote:

Section 1: Whenever a sufficient number, by the provisions of this Act, of the citizens of any one county of this State, subject to military duty, shall wish to form themselves into a volunteer or independent company, it shall be the duty of the Judge of the County Court of such county to cause some suitable person, residing in such county, to open a book, in which he shall enter the names of all persons able to perform military duty, who may make application -e members of such company; and it shall be to become the duty of the person so appointed, to give notice, by publication in some newspaper or by posting up such notice in at least three of the most public places in such county, of the time and place such book shall be opened to receive the names of volunteers.

2: As soon as such book shall be opened for volunteers, and the number in this Act required, subject to military duty, shall have volunteered, the person so appointed shall fix a time and place for the meeting of the same, by giving at least ten Days' notice thereof, by publication in some newspaper, or by posting up written notices in at least three of the. most public places in such county; and it shall be his duty to attend at such meeting; and present the book aforesaid, containing the names of the volunteers.

3: It shall be the duty of the person so appointed, to attend and act as chairman of such meeting, and to organize the same. He shall call the name of each volunteer written in said book, and when all the members of said company are present, he shall give notice, by proclamation, that said company will forthwith proceed to an election of officers.

Articles 4, 6 and 7 respectively, provide the procedure for the election of commissioned and non-commissioned officers. Quote:

Section:4: The members of the company so volunteering, shall then proceed to the choice of their commissioned and non-commissioned officers, and it shall be the duty of the person so appointed to take in writing the names of all persons nominated for election, and in connection with any other two or more persons determined on by a-majority of said company, to receive, and after all the members of the company present have voted to carefully count and add up the votes cast, and make proclamation of the names and rank of the persons elected. In the choice of officers, the election shall be by ballot.

6: It shall be the duty of the person so appointed, after such election shall have been determined, to make out in writing and sign a certificate of election of each of the officers so elected, which certificate he shall deliver to the respective officers of the company. He shall also, within the next ten days, make out a return stating the time of the formation and organization of such company, its. name and numerical strength of rank and file, and the names of its commissioned and non-commissioned officers, and forthwith forward the same to the Adjutant General of this State.

7: The volunteer or independent companies shall be armed and equipped in the same manner that similar corps are in the army of the United States and shall consist of the following officers, non-commissioned officers, musicians, and privates, to wit: To each company of cavalry there shall be one Captain, one first and two second Ueutenants, four sergeants, corporals, one saddler, one farrier, one trumpeter and not less than forty nor more than eighty privates. To all other volunteer or independent companies there shall be one captain, one first and two second lieutenants, four sergeants, four corporals, one drummer, one fifer, and not less than fifty nor more than one hundred privates.

As was stated in the seventh article that "the volunteer companies were to be armed and equipped in the same manner that similar corps were in the Army of the United States", provision was made in the Act for the financing of these arms. *Articles 14 and 15 covered the petition for the arms which was accompanied by a Bond and the issuance of the ordnance stores. Quote:

Section: 14: That from and after the passage of this Act, when any volunteer or independent company of artillery cavalry, infantry, or riflemen, shall become organized and uniformed, according to law, the Captain, or commanding officer, may petition the commander-in-chief to furnish him for the use of his company, with such a number of muskets, rifles, sabers, pistols, or other arms, with their accouterments, or in an artillery company, cannon or field pieces and swords, with their necessary accouterments and equipments, as his company may require, and set forth in said petition the brigade and county to which his company belongs,' the number it contains, and specific number and description of the arms and accouterments requisite for it, which shall not be greater than the rank and file his company shall contain: which petition shall be accompanied by a bond, payable to ihe Governor and his successors in office, for the use of the People of the State of California, in a penal sum of double the amount of the value of all the arms and accouterments so petitioned for, according to the prices at which they are rated by the United States, when furnishing them, and signed by himself as principal, with good and sufficient sureties, conditioned to safely keep, and have in readiness for use, the arms and accouterments by him received and to return them in good order, if at any time required so to do,which bond must be approved, as to. the sufficiency of the security, by the Judge of the County Court of the County where such company is formed; and his certificate thereof, together with the bond, shall be filed in the office of the Secretary of State.

15: The commander-in-chief, upon application being made to him as aforesaid, shall, if there be any arms and accouterments belonging to the State, furnish such officer so making application with an order upon the quartermaster general for the same: and it shall be the duty of the quartermaster general to have them directed and forwarded to the officer so petitioning, at the place specified by him, and the officer so applying, shall, upon their being delivered at such place, consider them in his care, and from that time become responsible for the same upon the conditions of his bond, and shall provide a place for the safe keeping thereof, and said company shall be permitted to use the same, upon all occasions, whenever they may be called together for duty of any kind.

A Bond for $2,500 was furnished-to assure Governor John McDougall or his successor in office, that the company would be financially responsible for the equipment required for the company. This Bond was guaranteed by Captain Hammond, George Kerr and Charles M. Weber and was approved on June 10, 18511 by Judge Williams. Captain C. M. Weber, a signer of this Bond, was in the party under command of Captain J. B. Bartelson who came to California in 1841.(4) He was very active in the founding and subsequent development of the city of Stockton and at the time was one of the city's Aldermen. Captain Hammond forwarded the Bond with the request for seventy muskets, equipment and ammunition, to Quartermaster General W. H. Richardson. The report of the Quartermaster General's Office of San Jose dated December 15, 1851, showed that the seventy-five muskets and appendages were issued to the San Joaquin Guard, but a notation was made to the effect that no receipts had been received for the arms issued to the San Joaquin Guard.

Provision was also made for the adoption of a Constitution and By-Laws to govern the volunteer company, and the preservation of the record of the same by the acting orderly sergeant. It was also provided that in base of reduction of the membership quota the commanding officer should make a return to the Adjutant General setting forth this fact, and publish a notice in one or more newspapers or post in at least three public places of the county such notices or proclamations for the filling of the vacancies. It was also the duty of the commanding officer to make out the Muster Rolls of the company. This was provided for by Article Nos. 17 and 18 of the Act. quote:

Section 17: It shall be the duty of the commanding officer of any volunteer or independent company to make out, within ten days after the complete organization of such company, triplicate muster rolls, setting forth the number and names of the members of his company, the officers in the order of their rank, the privates in alphabetical order, and the rank, place of residence, and date of joining the company, of each member. It shall be his duty also, thereafter, to make out like muster rolls, semi-annually, on the first days of April and October, with the addition, if any, of all alterations which shall have occurred in his company; to the correctness of all such muster rolls the commanding officer of the company shall certify, and as soon as made out, transmit one to the Adjutant General of the State, and one shall be by him filled in the office of the County Auditor, and the third shall be preserved with the records of the company.

18: Such commanding officer shall receive a compensation of twenty dollars for each muster roll so made out and disposed of as prescribed in the last preceding section.' He shall certify, on honor, to the correctness of his account, and it shall be paid by the Paymaster General, out of the military fund.

In all, there were twenty-five articles dealing with the organizing of the volunteer or independent companies who were required to "conform their system of discipline and exercise to that of the Army of the United States, as it was or would thereafter be, prescribed by the Congress of the United States." These articles were quoted from the original Act of 1850,(5) the nucleus of California's laws which has built up her military program, illustrating the efforts of the pioneers to make the Golden State a safe haven for their families and the future generations.

There are no records to give activities for the Guard other than the newspaper account of the Fourth of July celebration. The Daily Alta California quotes the Stockton Republican in relating the ceremonies. "The Fourth of July was celebrated at Stockton with due rejoicings. The proceedings of the day commenced with the firing of thirty guns at sunrise by the San Joaquin Guard."

The San Joaquin Guard's service to the State came to an abrupt end only a few months after organization, due to Captain R. P. Hammond's resignation., Captain Hammond was extremely proud of his company and was keenly disappointed at their lack of response to the Governor's call for volunteers to quell the Indians who were murdering settlers in Arizona. As soon as this unfavorable information reached Captain Hammond,he sent out a call for the members of the unit to assemble at the Corinthian Building to volunteer for service. However, only six men answered the summons which proved the San Joaquin Guard was not as interested in military affairs as in their quest for gold.. After the resignation of the Captain, the organization went to pieces. Apparently the San Joaquin Guard was not in the service of the State very long, as a letter was sent to Captain Hammond on July 28, 1852, requesting him to deliver the arms and equipment belonging to the State, which were in the possession of the Guard, to a Mr. C. A. Clark and to transmit a complete-inventory of the same to the writer, quartermaster General William C. Kibbe. The early printed reports of the Adjutant General do not give full information as to the mustering out or disbanding of the militia. Therefore, it is assumed that the San Joaquin Guard was disbanded the year following its organization, since the company had been ordered to return its arms.
(1) Date taken from letter, Adjutant General Kibbe to Captain Hammond
(2) History of San Joaquin County, California, Thompson & West, Oakland, 1879, pages 26, 130.
(3) Daily Alta California, June 13, 1851, page 2, column 4.
(4) History of San Joaquin County, California, Thompson & West, Oakland, 1879, page 15.
(5) An Act concerning Volunteer or Independent Companies, April 4, 1850 Photostatic copy of original Act on file in Adjutant General's Office


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Updated 8 February 2016