California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Santa Clara Light Infantry
(Santa Clara Guard)
Military Unit Designation:
Date of Organization: August 1, 1861
Date of Disbanding: October 15, 1866
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1861-1866
Geographical Location or Locations: San Jose, Santa Clara County
Records Series Descriptions:
a. Organization Papers 2 docs (1861)
b. Bonds none
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 29 docs (1861-1864)
d. Election Returns 8 docs (1862-1866)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 9 docs (1861-1866)
g. Oaths Qualifications 9 docs (1861-1866)
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 3 docs (1861-1863)
j. Requisitions 1 doc (1861)
k. Resignations 9 docs (1861-1865)
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none
Commanding Officers
 Name  Date of Rank  Date of Commission  Remarks
A. Jones Jackson, Captain
 September 28, 1861
G. H. Parsons,, First Lieutenant
 September 28, 1861
George H. Parsons,, Captain April 29, 1863  May 16, 1863  
Volney Willett,, First Lieutenant April 29, 1863  May 16, 1863  
Hugh D. Menton Captain April 6, 1864 May 6, 1864  
J. R. Billings, First Lieutenant April 6, 1864 May 6, 1864  
F. A. Brimblecom Captain April 6, 1865 May 19, 1865  Resigned October 20 1865
Hugh D. Menton, Captain December 21, 1865 August 22, 1866  
William H. Swope, First Lieutenant April 6, 1865 May 19, 1865  
Official History:
The need of a company or several companies of militia in Santa Clara County was manifested when on April 15, 1861, the Sheriff of the county attempted to serve a writ of restitution on one of its citizens and was resisted by a band of armed men numbering nearly a thousand. The Sheriff wrote to Governor John G. Downey asking for sufficient guards to to"serve the papers if new ones were issued.*
Undoubtedly this aroused the citizens of Santa Clara, and they proceeded to organize a militia company. J. S. J. Wright was appointed by the Court to enroll names for a volunteer unit. The organization was completed on August 1, 1861, when officers were elected and the company designated the Santa Clara Light Infantry. This company also was known as the Santa Clara Guard as recorded on the Muster Roll of December 1864.
The Muster Roll of August 1863, two years after their organizatlon, shows the names of eighty-three members which indicated that this company was a strong unit. A letter to the Adjutant General by Captain Jackson, February 1862, requested twenty more rifles as he had over sixty members and only forty rifles. The Adjutant General sent sixty new rifles and accoutrements to the Santa Clara Light Infantry and ordered the company to turn their old rifles over to Father Accolti of the Santa Clara College, which order was obeyed.
The only record of activities of the company were those of the usual muster and inspection, drills and parades. The last Muster Roll of this company was October 15, 1866, which revealed only thirty-five members and it is likely the company was mustered out soon after, as it was listed in the Adjutant General's Report of 1866 as having disbanded.

'Letter April 18, 1861, Sacramento, to Sheriff of Santa Clara County from Governor John G. Downey, on file Adjutant General's Office.

This history was completed by the Works Progress Administration in 1940 in cooperation with the California National Guard and th California State Archives.


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Updated 8 February 2016