The “California Hundred”, which would become a part of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry, was organized December 10th 1862 in San Francisco, California.
During the summer of 1862 a number of men living in California, all but one of whom had been raised back East decided to enlist in the Union army, but they wanted to serve the cause in the Eastern Theater of the war. The men reached out to Massachusetts Governor John Andrew, with offer of 100 men to serve in that state’s cavalry. Andrew agreed to accept the men as long as they paid their own way to Boston, Massachusetts and equipped themselves.
The “California Hundred”; as they were called, were organized in San Francisco, California on December 10th 1862. The shipped out the next day and arrived at Camp Meigs in Readville, Massachusetts January 4th 1863. The Hundred became Company “A” of the 2nd Massachusetts Cavalry. The men were moved in February to Fort Monroe in Baltimore, Maryland, and then sent out on duty around Virginia. Under the command of Union Captain James Sewall Reed, the men from California were engaged a number of time against Confederate General John S Mosby’s cavalry in the Loudoun Valley. They were serving with the Army of the Shenandoah under Union General Philip H Sheridan during the Valley Campaign of 1864. In the spring of 1865 the Hundred were part of the pursuit of Confederate General Robert E Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia, ending at Appomattox.
The California men took part in the Grand Review on May 23rd 1865 in Washington, DC, before returning to their homes. The company lost 90 men, killed, and another 141 who from disease.