Saturday, March 12, 2016

Militia/National Guard



I tried to imagine my brother or Dickon Weeks “fighting like demons” and “searching for danger.” After all, they were very close to the age Lafayette had been when he did those things. Although both Dickon and Joss were, of course, obliged by law to train as members of our town militia, I could not picture them in a real war. Indeed, I did not even want to think about such a thing. - A Buss from Lafayette, Copyright 2016 by Dorothea Jensen

Clara's brother and his best friend are in the militia, civilians training periodically as soldiers. Actually, the law passed in 1792 read: "That each and every able-bodied white male citizen of the respective States, resident therein who is or shall be of age of eighteen years, and under the age of forty-five years (except as is herein after excepted) shall severally and respectively be enrolled in the militia,...every citizen, so enrolled and notified, shall, within six months thereafter, provide himself with a good musket or firelock."

I learned from Alan Hoffman, President of the American Friends of Lafayette, that because the united French militias Lafayette commanded during the French Revolution were known as the "National Guard", some American militias were re-named "National Guard" in honor of Lafayette when he came to America in 1824-5.

Here's some Wikipedia info about this: "Local militias were formed from the earliest English colonization of the Americas in 1607. The various colonial militias became state militias when the United States became independent. The title "National Guard" was used from 1824 by some New York State militia units, named after the French National Guard in honor of the Marquis de Lafayette. "National Guard" became a standard nationwide militia title in 1903." -Wikipedia