Sunday, February 15, 2015

A Soldier in the Fourth California Infantry

Recently, I purchased a small lot of Civil War discharge papers that I plan to use as the basis for small research projects in a couple of my classes. Among the lot was one for a California soldier whose company (D) served mainly in the Pacific Northwest. Marco B. Goodrich, a miner, enlisted on September 24, 1861 for a three-year term and was discharged on October 15, 1864 at Fort Vancouver in the Washington Territory. Other tidbits: Goodrich was originally from Rockingham, New Hampshire, and was 36 years old when discharged meaning that he possibly participated in the California Gold Rush.


  1. Greetings-

    Your speculation that March may have participated in the California Gold Rush is correct. The 1860 Federal Census for Sutter Creek, a mining town in Amador County, to the east of Sacramento, lists M.B. Goodrich, aged 34, birthplace New Hampshire, was in residence there as a miner. Another Goodrich, John, aged 34, ( brother, cousin?) is listed as living with him as a miner. Keep up the good work.

    Cheers, Dave Smoot
    AKA David Tooms, Greyback Diary

  2. Thanks for the census information! Interesting that a relative was with him. Makes me wonder if John enlisted too; perhaps he stayed on the mining claim though.

  3. Greetings-

    I looked for John in the military records but did not find him. I did find some material on Marco. He was a bad boy. His middle name was Bozzarris. He enlisted in Placerville, a mining community in El Dorado County. His company mustered in on October 15, 1861 at Auburn, a mining community in Placer County. He was promoted to corporal on October 31 of the same year. So far, so good.

    The January/February 1862 muster roll shows him reduced to the ranks (private) but doesn't state the reason. Goodrich was later court-martialed in December of 1862, the charge not stated. He was fined $10 per month for 6 months.

    By orders dated August 14, 1863, he was on detached service to Fort Yamhill, Oregon, the nature of his service not stated. Through the balance of his enlistment, he remains on this detached service at the Fort until his discharge at Fort Vancouver, Washington Territory, "by reason of expiration of term of service." All of this comes from the National Archives at College Park, Maryland.

    -Dave Smoot

  4. I noticed on his discharge papers that he had been reduced to the rank of private and suspected that something bad had occurred. That's a pretty hefty fine that he received considering the amount of pay that he drew. Very interesting material--thanks so much for sharing it!