by Melissa Chatfield
On March 24, Santa Barbara Trust for Historic Preservation lecture series fans were treated to a rare lecture and book signing on the American Civil War period as it relates to Santa Barbara. Tom Prezelski, a former Arizona State Representative and independent historian, gave a presentation in support of his recently published book Californio Lancers The 1st Battalion of Native Cavalry in the Far West, 1863-1866.
Descendants and history enthusiasts gathered to hear how members of the de la Guerra family and other Central Coast families enlisted to serve the Union Army, lending their legendary horsemanship to the effort. Prezelski shared his research on the problems and accomplishments of these Californios with an audience of their descendants, eager with questions to explore at the end of the lecture. The author was pleased to sign books at the reception, before returning to Arizona.