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Re: SN 188663

Posted by John on Sunday, 12 January 2014, at 8:31 p.m., in response to Re: SN 188663, posted by W. R. Smith on Sunday, 12 January 2014, at 8:14 p.m.

The militia at the time was the counterpart of today's National Guard. Theoretically all 18-45year old males were nominally members of the militia (according to the Militia Act of 1792). Since 1808 there had been an annual appropriation to provide arms for the militia. Although theoretically militia men were supposed to arm themselves, by the latter part of the 19th century the default method was for the state to provide arms, either purchased by them, or using arms distributed to the states under the Act of 1808. Thus we see some states buying Remington Rolling Blocks, Peabodys, Sharps-Brochardts, Whitneys, or even some Winchesters.

States were pretty much free to decide what mix of infantry, cavalry and artillery they wanted, and while there was not really any imminent national security looming, there was always the potential for labor strife, disasters requiring martial law, and the remote possibility of a federal call for volunteers. It was not until after the Dick Act of 1903 that the incentive of more federal funding for militia resulted in states to agreeing to the militia having a dual state and federal role. In return for more funding and arms, the states agreed to apply federal standards for training, selection of officers, drill, etc, even though the states retained the right to call out the militia/national guard for state emergencies.


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