Most of the 1st California was recruited from August to October 1861, with the exception of Company K, which was organized the following February. Many of its companies were - Formed from companies of the California Militia taken intact into federal service others from individuals drawn from the militia. James H. Carleton served as colonel, Joseph R. West as lieutenant colonel and Edwin A. Rigg as major. It came under the command of the Department of the Pacific (later it would come under the Department of New Mexico). After some training at Camp Downy[1] near Oakland and Camp Latham near Los Angeles. Companies D, F and G were sent to establish and garrison Camp Wright, in November 1861. Detachments from the camp captured Daniel Showalter's party near Warner's Ranch, November 20-29, 1861. In December, 1861, five companies of the regiment were sent to Fort Yuma on the Colorado River and the others to various posts around Southern California.[2]

    The regiment was assigned to a force called the California Column, which was commanded by Carleton and composed of one infantry regiment (the 5th) and parts of two cavalry regiments (the 1st and 2nd) of California volunteers and a company of Regular artillery. The Column was - Formed to drive the Confederate Army of New Mexico out of the eastern part of the New Mexico Territory. Due to supply problems, the force did not move out until February 1862. The 1st Infantry saw fighting at the Battle of Picacho Pass (only Company I) and the Battle of Apache Pass (this battle was against Apache warriors, not Confederates). The regiment continued marching across the New Mexico Territory to Fort Craig. Picacho Pass was the only engagement against Confederate forces, since they had retreated back into Texas before the California Column reached eastern New Mexico and they made no attempt to recover the territory they lost.

    For the remainder of the war, the 1st California Infantry was engaged in garrison duty dispersed in posts across New Mexico Territory and Texas and fighting Apache and Navajo Indians in these places and in the Utah Territory. The unit was mustered out on October 21, 1866.


    Colonel James H. Carleton August 19, 1861 - June 1, 1862
    Colonel Joseph R. West June 1, 1862 - April 1864
    Colonel Edwin A. Rigg April 1864 - December 1864


    In camp at Oakland until October, 1861, and near Los Angeles, California., until December, 1861. Pursuit and capture of Showalter's party at Warner's Ranch, San Jose Valley, November 20-29, 1861 (Companies. "F" and "G"). Moved to Fort Yuma, December, 1861, and duty there until April, 1862 (Companies. "B," "D," "F," "H" and "I"). Company "D" at San Diego. Companies "A" and "C" at Camp Latham. Carleton's Expedition from Southern California through Arizona to Northwest Texas and New Mexico April-10-September 20, 1862. March from Fort Yuma to Pinos Villages, thence to Tucson, April 10-May 20. Expedition up the Gila River and engagement at Pechecho Pass April 15 (Co. "I"). March from Tucson, Arizona, across Desert to the Rio Grande River July 20-August 15. At La Mesilla until December 25. Moved to Fort Craig December 25-30. Duty by detachments at posts in New Mexico and Arizona, Las Cruces, Los Pinos, Franklin, Texas; Forts West, Craig, Selden, Union, Cummings, McRae, Whipple and Sumner, and operating against Indians in the Districts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, until October, 1866. Skirmish at Pinos Altas Mines January 29, 1863 (1 Co.). Company "G" at Camp Wright, California., January 1 to March 9, 1862. Moved to Fort Yuma and duty there until July 19. Moved to Tucson, Arizona, and duty there until December 2. At Messilla until April 20, 1863. At Franklin, Texas, until June 26. March to Fort McRae June 26-July 3. Rio de Los Animos July 19. Expedition to Alamcito Mountains against Indians August 9-20, 1863. Expedition to Jornado Del Muerta August 9-20, 1863. Expedition to Jornado Del Muerta August 26-29. Operations against Navajo Indians August 20-December 16, 1863. Scout from Fort Wingate to Ojo Redondo September 15-October 5 (2 Companies.). Expedition against Indians in New Mexico November 5-15 and December 5-7, 1863. Scout in Southeastern Arizona July 6-24, 1864 (Co. "D"). Expedition from Fort Union August 4-September 15 (Detachment). Affair, San Andreas Mountains, August 12 (Detachment). Scout in Cimarron River, Northeast New Mexico, September 18-October 5. Engagement with Indians at Adobe Fort, on Canadian River, New Mexico, November 25 (Companies. "A" and "K"). Scout from Fort Cummings April 28-May 13, 1865 (Co. "G"). Duty in Districts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah until October, 1866. Mustered out October 21, 1866.


    The roster of this unit contains the names of 1765 men.

    Field Staff and Band
    Company A - Formed largely from men of the California Volunteers, California Militia of Oroville.
    Company B - Formed largely from men from the Marion Rifles and other militia companies in San Francisco and others recruited at Camp Latham, near Los Angeles.
    Company C - Formed from the Amador Mountaineers, California Militia, Jackson.
    Company D - Formed from the San Jose Volunteers, California Militia, San Jose.
    Company E - Formed from the Washington Rifles, California Militia, Sacramento City & County.
    Company F - Formed from the Sierra Greys, California Militia, La Porte.
    Company G - Formed from Company "H", California Militia from Nevada City, California.
    Company H - Formed largely from men from San Francisco.
    Company I - Formed largely from men from the Marysville Rifles of Marysville.
    Company K - Formed largely from men from San Francisco.



    Dyer, Frederick H. Compendium of the War of the Rebellion

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