More Californians in the Civil War

300px-2dMass3I was recently discussing the “California” Regiment at Gettysburg (aka the 71st Pa.) and my friends at Andersonville National Historic Site alerted me to a number of California calvarymen buried in the soldiers’ cemetery there. The California troopers in question were part of several companies of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry.

Naturally this has got me to thinking: how did several companies of Californians wind up fighting with the Massachusetts cavalry? Did those who survived return home to the Golden State? Where did they wind up and what did they do? What were their reflections on the war and nationalism? I guess I have some digging to do. If anyone has any leads…well, I am all ears.

Thanks much to Chris Barr and Eric Leonard – they clued me in here. And if you want to learn more about Civil War era prisons, be sure to follow Andersonville NHS on Twitter.

With compliments,


15 thoughts on “More Californians in the Civil War”

  1. This may help you out or not: Colwell, Wayne. “The California Hundred.” Pacific Historian 1969 13(3): 63-75. I haven’t read it. It is one of the references for the 2nd Mass Cavalry Wikipedia page.

  2. See, Richard H. Orton, “Records of California Men in the War of the Rebellion, 1861” (Sacramento: State Office, 1890). The government authorized California to supply up to five hundred men who were credited to the quota for the state of Massachusetts. For secondary source material, see the several articles written by Leo P. Kibby about California and the Civil War. I have not re-read his articles recently, but I believe he provides a specific number of the Massachusetts/Californians who mustered out of the service in San Francisco after the war.

  3. Hello Keith,
    There are several books on the California 100 you can check out. The book my father and I wrote is called “Their Horses Climbed Trees” from Schiffer Books. My great-great-grandfather was in the 2nd Mass Cav Co. A (CAL 100), captured and sent to Andersonville. He survived and lived into the 1920s.

    1. Thanks for the note, Keith. I have heard of your book and plan on reading it soon. Did you ancestor move back to California after the war? I would love to know his story.


  4. Keith: Keith’s Dad here….yes Abraham Loane did return to San Francisco. After suffering Andersonville from July of 1864 til wars end, he returned to Philadelohia to recruperate. There he renewed his “friendship” with Mathilda Scott and returned with her to SF in 1865 or 66. They had two children, one my grandmother (Mabel Loane) married Peter Donahue (a Spanish American War Vet). They in turn had a daughter (Maebelle Donahue) who married William Rogers, and they had two children of which I am there son. I’m married to Clare Wilson, I’m 85, and have two sons, Keith and David> Keith and I would be delighted to hear more from you.

    1. This is great, Larry – thank you. It is always wonderful to connect with readers who have a personal connection to those in my posts. I’ll be looking more into veterans of the 2nd Mass as time goes on. Let’s keep in touch.

  5. Keith: I almost forgot. I don’t know where your source got the word that the 2nd Mass Cav was at Gettysburg. Altho they were involved in some delaying action, they never got to ettysburg. There campaigns were mostly all in the Shenandoah Valley and for the most part were engaged with Col. Mosby, til they became a part of Sheridans Army of the Shenadoah.

    1. I don’t think he mentioned that the 2nd Mass Cav was at Gettysburg, I had just been talking about the California Regiment there and my friends at Andersonville noted that other Californians were buried there. As a side note – if the unit was with Sheridan then they moved through my old stomping ground in Virginia. When I was there for grad school I lived in the Shenandoah Valley near Staunton and Waynesboro. Very close to where Early made his last stand in ’65.

  6. Hello, Keith,

    I am well acquainted with both Keith and Larry Rogers, both gentlemen of the best sort.

    I am a serious collector of artifacts related to the Cal Hundred and Cal Battalion, the two groups of Californians who made up about half of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry. In addition to the excellent work authored by Keith and Larry, you might enjoy a visit to two websites:

    The first is and is centered on the Californians. The second is and has a section in the Reference tabs called Californians in the War. There is a bit more information there, mostly related to some of their artifacts.

    A tremendous story of patriotism and self sacrifice will unfold as you study the efforts of these men.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *