Civil War: Commander, Company C, 1st Native California Cavalry
Antonio María de alta Gracia Francisco Remigio de la Guerra y Carrillo was born at Santa Bárbara, Alta California, México, where he was baptized in the Presidio Chapel October 2, 1825 (BP Baptism 00703). He was the son of Capitán José de la Guerra y Noriega, comandante of the Santa Bárbara Presidio, and María Antonia Carrillo y Lugo (SG Baptism 01341). Godparents were María Josefa Carrillo y ... and Carlos Antonio Carrillo y .... Officiant and Recorder was Antonio Ripoll. Antonio joined the Californio resistance to the U.S. invasion and occupation of Alta California in 1846. He became a U.S. citizen with the transfer of California's sovereignty in 1848 and was a lifelong resident of Santa Barbara County. During the Civil War he accepted a commission as captain at Santa Barbara on June 2, 1864, and helped raise Company C, 1st Native California Cavalry. He was commissioned as commander of Company C on July 27, 1864. Captain de la Guerra was posted to Fort Mason, Arizona Territory, where he became ill and was treated with mercury. He was still not well when he returned to Santa Barbara in January 1866, but resolved to be present when his company was mustered out at the Presidio of San Francisco April 2, 1866. Antonio returned to Santa Barbara and never regained his health. Antonio de la Guerra, County Supervisor, was living in Township 2, Santa Barbara, in 1870 (US Census). Antonio Maria de la Guerra was buried July [Nov.?] 29, 1881, age 56 years (Santa Barbara Mission Archive-Library, Burial Book 2, Pg. 053, B-461). He was never married.
Don Antonio, the youngest de la Guerra son, was born in 1825 and was educated by mission padres with his formal education in a Chilean College where he spent several years. He became secretary to the Santa Barbara Ayuntamiento (City Council) in 1849 at the age of 24. In 1853 he served in the California Senate, and in 1857 was appointed Adjutant General for the Santa Barbara District of the militia. He served as Mayor of Santa Barbara and several terms on the County Board of Supervisors, during one of which he was elected Chairman. His photograph as County Supervisor hangs in the hall on the fourth floor at 105 East Anapuma Street. On July 27, 1864, he entered the United States [Volunteers] as captain of Company C, 1st Battalion, Native California Cavalry with 99 Cavalry Volunteers he had organized among the [Californio and Hispanic population] of Santa Barbara, to 'serve three years or the duration of the war.' After the company's cavalry training at Drum Barracks at Wilmington in southern California and under orders from his superiors, he led his company against hostile Indians in Arizona. While in the service he fell sick with fever and was disabled for active duty. He returned to Santa Barbara ahead of his company in February 1866 after nearly two years of service, and was mustered out April 2nd of that year with his men, who by this time had been returned to Drum Barracks [sic, San Francisco Presidio]. His health deteriorated so much that he became paralyzed for about a year, losing the use of his limbs, and suffered greatly during the last years of his life. He died on November 28, 1881, at the age of 56 years and was buried at the La Patera Cemetery located in the Goleta District on the Goleta Road [Hollister Avenue]. The cause of his death has been variously reported as having died of cancer of the jaw or paralysis of the heart, but more than likely he died of mercury poisoning [given as treatment for his ailment at Fort Mason, Arizona Territory]. Captain Antonio Maria de la Guerra left no family, never having married. The final tragedy to the ending of the life of this famous member of the Santa Barbara de la Guerra family who contributed so much to the history of California, and especially to Santa Barbara, resulted after his death. There has been no official record found to date as to the location of Captain de la Guerra's grave and as a result his place of honor in Santa Barbara's history has been nearly forgotten. The burial records of the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows Parish of Santa Barbara (1873-1912) record Antonio Maria de la Guerra as 'burial 461' at the time the Cieneguitas/La Patera cemetery on Hollister Avenue was the most active Catholic burial grounds in the Parish. No mention of his having been buried with his family at the Old Mission or at any other location was made leaving researchers to draw their conclusion that he was in fact buried at this long abandoned cemetery. Over the last 100 years the Cienequitas/La Patera has become a neglected, vandalized, and forgotten hillside cemetery, now abandoned, on Hollister Avenue in the Goleta District of Santa Barbara not far from Modoc Road. There remains today only two headstones from the more than 800 graves remaining in this long forgotten cemetery, the remainder have been destroyed by fire, plowed over, stolen or broken up. The cemetery's location is no longer identified and is unknown except to a few and is a weed-covered abandoned 4.72 acre hillside located on a major thoroughfare of the City. Eighteen members of the military company that Captain de la Guerra raised to support the National Government during the Civil War are still buried there. None of these California Civil War veterans' military graves are any longer marked or identified and the locations are unknown to this day. Until recently Captain de la Guerra was thought to have been buried among them.
(Strobridge, Edson T. Californians and the Military: "Captain Antonio Maria de la Guerra")
NOTE: Since this was written it was confirmed that Captain Antonio de la Guerra was buried at Cieneguitas Cemetery, but his exact plot in the old cemetery remains unknown. Members of Santa Barbara's "E Clampus Vitus" (a.k.a. "The Clampers") cleaned up the old Cieneguitas Cemetery and obtained government headstones for the veterans of the 1st Battalion, Native California Cavalry, who remain buried there. Some of the veterans were re-interred to Calvary Cemetery about 1901. Thanks to the late Edson T. Strobridge for his significant contributions to this effort.
RECRUITMENT OF VAQUEROS IN CALIFORNIA
Recruitment of vaqueros from the vast ranches in the southern part of the state-the so-called "cow counties"-did not begin until early 1864. A drought had devastated many of the old ranches in Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo counties and even the prominent de la Guerra family was forced to sell much of its vast holdings. Newly unemployed ranch hands from the area formed the core of Company C, recruited by Captain Antonio Maria de la Guerra. State Senator Ramon J. Hill, elected from San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, lamented the choice of de la Guerra, pointing out that he "does not even write fluently in his own language, knows not one word of English, knows not what figures are-but is an experienced horseman." Still, even Hill admitted that "the men will not be kept together for any other captain." Company C was very much a de la Guerra family operation, which explains its high morale and low desertion rate. Other de la Guerras in the company included 1st Lieutenant Santiago de la Guerra and 1st Sergeant Juan de la Guerra. Also present was 2nd Lieutenant Porfirio Jimeno, the captain's nephew and stepson of Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Army, Dr. James L. Ord, brother of a Union general, and a prominent surgeon and rancher. Educated at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., the twenty-four year old Porfirio Jimeno was the most intellectually well equipped of the battalion's officers and would prove to be one of the best. Mustering of the company was delayed until July because of rumors that raised suspicions about the officers' loyalty. In the intervening two months, the already financially strapped Antonio Maria de la Guerra quartered the full-strength company of recruits at his own expense. According to the de la Guerra family and their political allies, the rumors arose from a clique of political rivals, who sought to diminish the de la Guerras' influence by preventing them from receiving officers' commissions. The issue was apparently resolved by late June and, by late August, Company C was on the march toward Drum Barracks.
(source not cited by contributor)
However, the strongest civic leaders of the quiet little town [Santa Barbara], although staunch Democrats like the majority of the Spanish Californians, believed in the cause of the Union. When Don Antonio Maria De la Guerra, accepted leader, former Mayor, State Senator, came forward ardently for the Union, Santa Barbara's response resulted in the formation of a company of eighty-four volunteers for the Union. Eighty-three of them were Spanish Californians, and the single American of the company, young Horace Robinson, spoke Spanish. Headquarters of the volunteers were taken up in an old adobe house on Anacapa Street, not far from the famous De la Guerra mansion, out of which had come the strength of leadership and fountainhead of enthusiasm for this patriotic effort." (appears in Santa Barbara - Tierra Adorada)