Historic California Militia and National Guard Units
Sigel Rifles
(Sigel Guard)
Military Unit Designation: Sigel Rifles, 1st Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, California Militia; after 12 February 1864, Sigel Rifles, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, California Militia; after August 1864, Sigel Guard, Company B, 6th (German) Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, California Militia

Date of Organization:
25 September 1861
Date of Disbanding:
23 July 1866

Inclusive dates of units papers:

Geographical Location or Locations:
San Francisco City and County.

Records Series Descriptions:
a. Organization Papers 1 document (1861)
b. Bonds 2 document (1861-1862)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 8 documents (1861-1865)
d. Election Returns 6 documents (1861-1865)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 8 documents (1861-1866)
g. Oaths Qualifications 4 documents (1864-1865)
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 2 document (1861)
j. Requisitions 1 documents (1862)
k. Resignations none
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none
Commanding Officers:

Peter Lesser, Captain: Elected September 25, 1861, Commissioned September 28, 1861, Reelected September 17, 1862, Promoted to Major, November. 25, 1862
Max Wesendorff, First Lieutenant: Elected September 25, 1861, Commissioned September 28, 1861
Anton Ewald, Elected First Lieutenant September 17,1862 Commissioned September 27, 1862

Anton Ewald, Captain: Elected September 16, 1863; Commissioned September 29, 1863; Reelected September 15, 1864; September 21, 1865
William Wagner, First Lieutenant Elected September 16, 1863; Commissioned September 29, 1863
Charles Gozer, First Lieutenant: Elected September 15, 1864; Commissioned September 26, 1864; September 21, 1865}
Official History:

The Sigel Rifles,a German company, was organized in San Francisco and mustered in as a unit of the California State Militia on the twenty-fifth of September 1861. At the time of its organization
the company numbered seventy-six rank and file and was attached to the First Regiment of Infantry, Second Brigade. The company was supplied with forty stand of arms on October 7, 1861, and before the end of that year the members had provided their own uniforms and hats. The new company was well officered, devoted much time and energy to drill practice and gave promise for the

The Sigel Rifles attended the ten day Encampment of the Second Brigade held at Camp Allen, Alameda County in October 1863, where they soon won high applause, and were rated one of the
best disciplined companies in attendance on that occasion. On the twelfth of February, 1864 the company was transferred from the First to the Second Infantry Regiment under Special Order No. 48 of that year, [1] and in August was again transferred to the Sixth (German) Infantry Regiment, Second Brigade and designated as Company B. During the year 1864 the name of the company was also changed from the Sigel Rifles to the Sigel Guard. Little of military importance transpired in 1865 and the activities of the troops were limited to drill, parade and target practice. ·

The State Legislature at its 1865-1866 session enacted a law necessitating a reorganization of the State Militia, and reducing the number of companies in the National Guard of California to eighty in all,and authorized the State Board of Location and Organization to disband and reorganize companies and make such other changes in the military organization of the State as seemed just and proper.[2] This reorganization caused Special Order No. 3 of 1866 to be issued and pursuant to that order the Sigel Rifles (now the Sigel Guard) was mustered out of the service on the twenty-third of July, 1866.[3]
1. Historical Record of the Second Brigade 1860-1864, page 19, on file Adjutant General's Office.
2. California Statutes 1865-1866, Chapter DXLI, page 722.
3. Adjutant General Report 1865-1867, page 91.
Colonel Franz Sigel
Franz Sigel (November 18, 1824 – August 21, 1902) was a German military officer, revolutionist and immigrant to the United States who was a teacher, newspaperman, politician, and served as a Union major general in the American Civil War.


Search our Site!
Search the Web Search California Military History Online
Questions and comments concerning this site should be directed to the Webmaster
Updated 8 February 2016