Historic California Militia and National Guard Units
Wolfe Tone Guard
Military Unit Designation:
Date of Organization: 15 February 1862
Inclusive dates of units papers: 1862-1880
Geographical Location or Locations: San Francisco City & County
Armory: 567 Market Street, San Francisco

Papers on file at the California State Archives:
a. Organization Papers 1 document (1862)
b. Bonds none
c. Correspondence (Unclassified letters) 24 documents (1862-1879)
d. Election Returns 20 documents (1862-1879)
e. Exempt Certificates, Applications for none
f. Muster Rolls, Monthly returns 35 documents (1862-1880)
g. Oaths Qualifications 67 documents (1862-1879)
h. Orders none
i. Receipts, invoices 6 documents (1865-1875)
j. Requisitions 3 documents (1862-1868)
k. Resignations 3 documents (1862-1874)
l. Target Practice Reports 10 documents (1868-1880)
m. Other Public Property, 2 documents (1868-1871)
Certificate of Commission, 1 document (1868)

Commanding Officers

 Name  Date of Rank  Date of Commission Remarks
 John Thomas, Captain  15 February 1862 27 February 1862 Resigned 1 May 1862
 Patrick Creighton, First Lieutenant  15 February 1862 27 February 1862 Resigned July 1862
 Archibald Mason, Captain  12 May 1862  21 May 1862 Reelected 19 February 1863, 3 March 1864, 1 February 1865, 6 February 1866, 1856, and 1870; promoted to Lieutenant Colonel 27 August 1870.
 Martin Keogh, First Lieutenant  12 December 1862  16 December 1862 Reelected 19 February 1863
 Dennis Denehy, First Lieutenant 3 March 1864  9 April 1864 Reelected 1 February 1865
 Timothy Nunan, First Lieutenant 8 February 1866 9 March 1866  
 Dennis McGonigal, First Lieutenant  25 February 1868 7 March 1868  
 John Leddy, Captain 6 October 1870 11 October 1870 Reelected 17 October 1872 and 6 October 1874; resigned 17 November 1874
 Eugene W. Carey, Captain  27 November 1874 10 December 1874 Died 4 August 1875
 Timothy Fitzpatrick, Captain 21 September 1875 11 October 1875  
 Matthew C.Nunan, First Lieutenant 6 October 1870 25 October 1870  
 Matthew O'Brien, First Lieutenant 17 October 1872  12 November 1872 Reelected 6 October 1874
 Timothy Fitzpatrick, Captain   Reelected 9 October 1874
 P. H. Desmond, First Lieutenant  19 December 1876  17 January 1877  
 M. W. Stackpool, First Lieutenant  3 February 1879 6 March 1879  

In response to a petition signed by fifty-four citizens of San Francisco and in accordance with the laws of the State of California, the Wolfe Tone Guard was organized and mustered in as a unit of the State Militia in San Francisco on the 15 of February, 1862. The company was attached to the 2nd (Irish) Regiment of Infantry, 2nd Brigade. Within a month from the date of organization, the members of the company had equipped themselves with new uniforms consisting of regulation United States Army coats faced with green, red trousers, and regulation hats with green feathers .

On September ninth of that year, they participated in a parade in San Francisco and caused much favorable comment from civilians and military authorities for their spirited, imposing, and soldierly appearance. The company attended the 2nd Brigade Encampment held at Camp Allen, Alameda County in October 1863. This was the largest encampment ever held up to that time, and again the company caused much favorable comment from officials and spectators by their unusual and brilliant appearance, and their skill in executing difficult maneuvers of a military character.

The organization continued to take part in parades and receptions, in fact all public functions where opportunity offered, as well as acting as military escort at inaugural ceremonies. A steady growth was manifested also, the membership having increased to seventy-three in September 1865.
Under the new military regulations of 1866, the company was mustered out of service on the 12th day of July of that year [1], immediately reorganized and was mustered in as Company C of the 1st Infantry Battalion, 2nd Brigade, California Militia. The year 1867 was uneventful in the history of this company except that it continued to participate in parades and other public demonstrations .On the 21st of February, 1868 the company was again mustered out of the service under the reorganization program of that year. Again it was reorganized and on February 25, 1868, was accepted and mustered in as part of the National Guard of California, designated as Company C, First Infantry Battalion, Second Brigade. On February 17, 1871, the unit was transferred as directed in Special Order No. 8, and became Company C, 3rd (Irish) Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade, National Guard of California.[2]

Parades, encampments, and other public appearances occupied the attention of the National Guard in San Francisco from 1871 to 1875. On February 28, 1876, on the occasion of the fire at San Quentin State Prison , the Wolfe Tone Guard and other companies of the Second Brigade were called upon for active service in response to a request from the civil authorities of the State. The conduct of the troops on this occasion was prompt and satisfactory in every respect.
Anti-Chinese riots of July 1877.

On October 20, 1876, the company was under arms in San Francisco when rioting was feared due to the prevailing feeling against the Chinese in that city. At that time, however, the disturbances did not reach the stage where military aid was required. About the 20th of July, 1877 rioting again broke out in San Francisco. The riots were incited by sympathizers with labor strikers in eastern cities and were directed against the Chinese as before. Fearing that the local authorities would be unable to Quell the disturbance, assistance was asked from the State and the entire Second Brigade was placed under arms ready for action at a moments notice. The troops were placed under arms July twenty-third, but were not called upon until July twenty-ninth and then only for a few hours, as the riots subsided almost immediately after the appearance of the soldiers.

On the Fourth of July, 1877 what was described at the time as the most brilliant parade in which the company had ever participated took place in San Francisco. The entire 2nd Brigade marched in uniform and the Wolfe Tone Guard was as usual one of the most attractive and colorful companies in the line.

During 1878 and 1879, the activities of the company were limited to drill practice and other routine military duties. The company continued to add to its enrollment and in September 1879, the unit numbered eighty-three men. In conformity with the amendments to the military laws of the State enacted at the Legislative session of 1879-1880, the company was reorganized and continued as a unit of the military force of the State.

On June 1, 1881, Company C was consolidated with Company A and the consolidation was redesignated as Company A, 3rd Infantry Battalion. Less than a year later on March 22, 1882, the Third Infantry was mustered out of the service of the State. The Battalion was reorganized and continued as an independent regiment until April 2, 1883, when the regiment was again mustered into the National Guard as the 3rd (Irish) Infantry Regiment. Company C, organized as the Wolfe Tone Guard, reentered the 3rd (Irish) Infantry Regiment as Company E. For further activities of this unit refer to Company E, 3rd (Irish) Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade.

1. Adjutant General Report 1865-1867, page 91.
2. For further details refer to Historical Records Second Brigade 1869-1880, page 121. Adjutant General's Office.
This history was completed in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the California National Guard and the California State Library.
Wolfe Tone:
Theobald Wolfe Tone, posthumously known as Wolfe Tone (Bhulf Tón in Irish) (20 June 1763 – 19 November 1798), was a leading Irish revolutionary figure and one of the founding members of the United Irishmen and is regarded as the father of Irish republicanism. He was captured by British forces at Lough Swilly in Donegal and taken prisoner. Before he was to be executed, it is believed that Wolfe Tone attempted suicide. He subsequently died from mortal wounds eight days afterwards, thus avoiding being hanged as a convicted traitor to the British Crown for his involvement in the 1798 Irish Rebellion.
Dress Uniform of the Wolfe Tone Guard

This history was completed in 1940 by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) in conjunction with the California National Guard and the California State Library.
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