California in the Civil War

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United States   Gotoarrow.png   U.S. Military   Gotoarrow.png   California   Gotoarrow.png   California Military   Gotoarrow.png   California in the Civil War

During the Civil War, California raised almost 16,000 men for the Union. Their records can be found in state records shown on this page, unit records which may be found on the military unit pages (see below for links), or federal records. For ideas on how to begin searching for your Civil War ancestor, see Beginning United States Civil War Research.
Fort Point, San Francisco, California


California supplied at least four cavalry units and nine infantry units to the Union Army (see below). Though these units stayed in the west, many California men went east and joined the Union Army there. California also sent gold east, replaced regular army forces stationed in the western territories, plus kept Southern California and the New Mexico Territory from the Confederacy.[1] The United States War Department credited California with supplying 15,725 white men in the Union Army.[2]

The Wikipedia article, California in the American Civil War, has more information about California's activities during the war.

Records and Resources

  • Index to Compiled Service Records of Volunteer Union Soldiers who Served in Organizations from the State of California (films 881609-15). The compiled service records of soldiers who served in organizations from the state of California have not been microfilmed and are only available from the National Archives. For more information see Union Service Records.
  • Civil War Pension Index Cards - An Index to Pension Applications of veterans who served in the US Army between 1861-1917 is available on FamilySearch. Each card gives the soldier’s name, application and certificate numbers, state of enlistment, and might include rank and death information. The majority of the records are of Civil War veterans, but the collection also includes records for veterans of the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection, the Indian Wars, and World War I. For more information see Union Pension Records.
  • Rosters. Annual Report of the Adjutant-General for the years 1863-1867 includes rosters of the various regiments and companies that served in the Civil War. FHL fiche 6118429-6118431, and 6118433
  • State Militia Index. Root Cellar (Sacramento Genealogical Society: Sacramento, California), California State Militia Index to Muster Rolls, 1851-1866. (Citrus Heights, California : Root Cellar-Sacramento Genealogical Society, 1999) 4 volumes FHL film 6362237 with Unit Summary, 1851-1866 FHL film 6362238
  • List of Volunteers. An exhaustive list of the Civil War volunteers is found in Richard H. Orton, Records of California Men in the War of Rebellion, 1861-1867 (Sacramento, California: State Office, 1890; Family History Library FHL book 979.4 M2a with digital book link, book 979.4 M2a; film 1000133 item 4; fiche 6051180). An index to this list is J. Carlyle Parker, A Personal Name Index to Orton's "Records of California Men in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1867" (Detroit, Michigan: Gale Research Company, 1978; FHL 979.4 M2a Index).

California Military Units

  • 1st Regiment, California Infantry (Union)
    Organized at large August to October, 1861. Company "K" organized February 12, 1862.
    Attached to Depts. of the Pacific and New Mexico. Duty in Districts of New Mexico, Arizona and Utah until October, 1866.  Mustered out October 21, 1866.
  • 2nd Regiment, California Cavalry (Union)
    Organized at San Francisco September 5 to October 18, 1861.
    On Powder River Expedition July to September and garrison duty in Utah until mustered out July 12, 1866.
  • 3rd Regiment, California Infantry (Union)
    Organized at Stockton and Benicia Barracks September 15 to December 3, 1861.
    Duty at Camp Douglass, Camp Connor and in the District of Utah until July, 1866. Mustered out July 27, 1866.
  • 7th Regiment, California Infantry (Union)
    Organized at large October to December, 1864.
    Regiment moved to District of Arizona June, 1865, and duty there, stationed at various posts, until June, 1866. Mustered out June 28, 1866.


  1. Wikipedia contributors. California in the American Civil War, (accessed 27 May 2011).
  2. United States. War Department, The War of the Rebellion: a Compilation of the Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies, (Washington, District of Columbia: Govt. Print. Office, 1880-1901), Series 3, Volume 4, page 1269. FHL book 973 M29u ser.3 v. 3, FHL film 845422.