Historic California Militia and National Guard Units
Tuolumne Home Guard
Military Unit Designation: Tuolumne Home Guard, Company A, 1st Infantry Battalion, 3rd Brigade, California Militia; after 1863. Tuolumne Home Guard, Company A, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, California Militia

Date of Organization:
10 September 1861
Date of Disbanding:
Reorganized and mustered in as a unit of the National Guard of California under the title Tuolumne Guard, 4 July 1866.

Inclusive dates of units papers:

Geographical Location or Locations:
Columbia, Tuolumne County

Unit papers on file at the California State Archives:
a. Organization Papers 6 documents (1861)
b. Bonds 1 document (1864)
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 43 documents (1861-1864)
d. Election Returns 11 documents (1862-1865)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 7 documents (1861-1865)
g. Oaths Qualifications 17 documents (1861-1866)
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 2 documents (1861-1862)
j. Requisitions none
k. Resignations 6 documents (1861-1864)
l. Target Practice Reports none
m. Other none
Commanding Officers:
Ambrose E. Hooker, Captain:
Elected 10 September 1861, commissioned 16 September 1861, reelected 5 September 1862
Joseph S. Knower, First Lieutenant:
Elected 10 September 1861, commissioned 16 September 1861, reelected 5 September 1862

Stephen Wing, Captain:
Elected 3 April 1863, commissioned 14 April 1863, reelected 2 September 1864
M. C. Andross, First Lieutenant:
Elected 3 April 1863, commissioned 14 April 1863, reelected 2 September 1864
Official History

During 1861 in Tuolumne County, definite lines were drawn between the Northern and Southern sympathizers during the War of the Rebellion. It was to protect the community from the effects of local quarrels that it was deemed necessary by the citizens of Columbia to organize a volunteer militia company. Judge G. T. Martin of Tuolumne County was petitioned by a sufficient number of citizens to appoint a suitable person to supervise and preside over a meeting to be called for the purpose of organizing such a company. The Judge acted immediately, and appointed Mr. E. E. White of Columbia as Inspector to call a meeting of the volunteers for the purpose of perfecting the organization and electing officers. This having been done, the company adopted the title Tuolumne Home Guard and was officially mustered in as Company A, First Infantry Battalion, Third Brigade, on September 10, 1861. A. E. Hooker, a resident of Columbia, who was elected as Captain at the first meeting of the Home Guard, was largely responsible for the organization and equipment of the company and to his efforts was due much of their later success . In 1863 Captain Hooker answered a call for volunteers in the Federal Army and afterwards became distinguished as Colonel Hooker.

The company was composed of business men and miners and it was considered a high honor to be elected to membership. The volunteers purchased their own uniforms and equipment except rifles, the latter being furnished by the State . Each member was assessed fifty cents dues per month, and with this fund a well equipped drill hall and club room was maintained and drill practice held every Saturday evening. The intense interest shown by the members of the company was further evidenced by the organization of a band of thirteen pieces, the members of which felt amply repaid for their efforts by the gift of full uniforms and sabers. With this added attraction, Company A was much in demand at military functions. On September 9, 1862,the company was ordered to San Francisco to participate in a military parade and was received by Governor Leland Stanford, Commander-in-Chief of the State Militia . The company was popular socially also, and the Adjutant General was a guest of many of the functions given by them.
Company A attended. the State Encampment of the Third Brigade at Camp Gilmore near Stockton · September 14 to September 24, 1863. The distance (sixty miles; was covered by a two day march, camp being made the first evening at Knight 's Ferry, where the officers slept in tents and the enlisted men "out under the stars". The Encampment was reported by Brigadier General Dobbie as a complete success in every respect and of the utmost benefit to the troops participating .

During the presidential campaign just prior to the Civil War, times were trying, and the intense feeling which existed between those whose sympathies were with the North and those who leaned toward the South drove the two factions in Columbia to the verge of mortal combat on more than one occasion. The sympathies of the residents of Columbia were overwhelmingly with the North, while the town of Sonora a few miles away, was strongly Secessionist in its sympathies. Torch parades were held, feeling ran high and the Guards were indeed busy keeping the situation in hand. On one occasion before the presidential election of 1864, the Southern sympathizers had made the boast that no one of the opposite political party would be allowed to vote at the coming election . Immediately the Guard went into action, stored three thousand rounds of ammunition in the armory, detailed half the company on police duty on the streets, while the other half was held in reserve details being changed every two hours. A few shots were exchanged between the Guards and the Southern sympathizers, but the determined attitude of the militia caused the Secessionists to abandon the attempt to intimidate the soldiers. The election was held according to schedule and without fatalities. It. is asserted on good authority that during the time when feeling was running highest, the Southerners stated that a certain minister would not be permitted to deliver his Sunday Sermon . Upon learning of this the Guard was out in force. The minister entered the church with a rifle on his arm, at the usual hour, calmly walked to the pulpit and delivered his sermon without interruption. On another occasion the Southerners threatened to burn an American Flag; upon learning this the Guards lined up across the street with orders to fire if an attempt was made to make good the threat. A man was raising his torch to set fire to the flag when one of his comrades pulled his arm down, thus averting what might have been a very serious affair.

The deepest grief was felt in Columbia when news of the assassination of President Lincoln was received. The news was received about 9 A.M. and the Tuolumne Guard was at once detailed to spread the news throughout the surrounding communities. People traveled many miles to attend the memorial services at Columbia.

After the close of the Civil War there was apparently no further need of a company of soldiers in Tuolumne County and Company A, disbanded. Quite a sum of money remained in the company 's treasury at the time of disbandment, amounting to about twenty-five dollars per man, which was distributed to the members.
Note: The Adjutant General's Office in Sacramento is in receipt of a letter dated March 16, 1936,written by H. M. Mclntruff of Company B, 185th Infantry Regiment,of Hanford California, advising that one John L. Sullivan, a resident of his community, was a member of the Tuolumne Home Guard from 1861 to the day of the company's disbandment in 1865. Mr . Sullivan is believed to be one of the oldest ex-guardsmen in the State, having joined the Tuolumne Home Guard as drummer boy at the age of thirteen. Much of the information concerning the organization and activities of the Tuolumne Home Guard, Company A, was secured from Mr. Sullivan.
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Updated 8 February 2016