California Militia and National Guard Unit Histories
Washington Rifles
(Sacramento, Sacramento County)

Official Name: Washington Rifles, First Brigade, Fourth Division

Location: Sacramento, Sacramento County

Mustered in: May 27, 1861
Mustered out: 1861

Papers on file at the California State Archives:

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

 Name Date of Rank  Date of Commission
Thomas L. Roberts, Captain May 27, 1861  June 27, 1861
W. A. Thompson, First Lieutenant May 27, 1861  June 27, 1861


Responding quickly to the wave of patriotism and military zeal which spread over California at the beginning of the Civil War, and realizing the need for men with military training in the Union Forces, the Washington Rifles, a volunteer company of eighty-one men, was organized in Sacramento, May 27, 1861, under the Military Laws of the State and immediately tendered their services to the Governor:(1) They were accepted forthwith and the company mustered into the services of the United States as Company E, First Regiment of Infantry, California Volunteers.(2) The Captain and First and Second Lieutenants holding the same positions in the new Regiment and the Brevet Lieutenant being the Second Lieutenant of-Company A, Third Regiment of Infantry, California Volunteers.


1. Adjutant General Report 1861, pages 52, 105.
2. For further activities of the Washington Rifles refer to History of Company E, First Infantry Regiment, California Volunteers in the Civil War.

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