While visiting Glendale National Cemetery at Malvern Hill, I was surprised to see several markers with “CAL.” as the state of the soldiers. “These poor guys died a long way from home,” I said to my companion. True, but not as I thought. The men were not from California, but from Philadelphia.
“Early in May, 1861, a number of citizens of the Pacific coast…decided that California ought to be represented in the Army of the Union upon the Atlantic slope, and to that end urged Edward D. Baker, then United States Senator from Oregon, to form a regiment in the East to the credit of that distant State….”
Baker, a Mexico War veteran, left politics and the West to go fight back East. He recruited the “California Brigade” from his childhood city of Philadelphia. After Colonel Baker died at Ball’s Bluff, four of the “California Regiments”–the 2d, 3d, 4th, 5th–were counted into Pennsylvania’s quota, and thus became known as the Philadelphia Brigade. “The Philadelphia Brigade was unique in the history of the Civil War as the only organization of its kind coming from a single city of the North.”
Source: Gary Lash, Calfornia State Military Museum