Archive for May, 2010
Reportedly, it all began in 1862 during the Civil War, when Union Army Captain Robert Elli was with his men near Harrison’s Landing in Virginia . The Confederate Army was on the other side of the narrow strip of land.
During the night, Captain Elli heard the moans of a soldier who lay severely wounded on the field. Not knowing if it was a Union or Confederate soldier, the Captain decided to risk his life and bring the stricken man back for medical attention. Crawling on his stomach through the gunfire, the Captain reached the stricken soldier and began pulling him toward his encampment..
When the Captain finally reached his own lines, he discovered it was actually a Confederate soldier, but the soldier was dead. The Captain lit a lantern and suddenly caught his breath and went numb with shock. In the dim light, he saw the face of the soldier. It was his own son. The boy had been studying music in the South when the war broke out.. Without telling his father, the boy enlisted in the Confederate Army.
The following morning, heartbroken, the father asked permission of his superiors to give his son a full military burial, despite his enemy status. His request was only partially granted. The Captain had asked if he could have a group of Army band members play a funeral dirge for his son at the funeral.
The request was turned down since the soldier was a Confederate. But, out of respect for the father, they did say they could give him only one musician. The Captain chose a bugler. He asked the bugler to play a series of musical notes he had found on a piece of paper in the pocket of the dead youth’s uniform.
This wish was granted. The haunting melody, we now know as ‘Taps’ used at military funerals was born.
The words are:
Day is done.
Gone the sun.
From the lakes
From the hills.
From the sky.
All is well.
God is nigh.
Dims the sight.
And a star.
Gems the sky.
Falls the night.
Thanks and praise.
For our days.
Neath the sun
Neath the stars.
Neath the sky
As we go.
This we know.
God is nigh
This day brings sadness and joy as we reflect on the Men and Women that have fallen in order for us to enjoy the freedoms we have in America, believe it or not… for me the joy comes from the memories and enlightenment built while doing research on the people responsible for our liberty. From General George Washington and his troops, to the Farmers, Blacksmith, Doctors and other Townsmen and Women that made up the Militia that we will never hear anything about.
As we have struggled through history from the Revolutionary days to now, we have had many… many brave men and women in our history to thank God for! Not all Military, some are civilian… Police , Fire, Medical and as in the past… “but much less common” are the every day people in our society that go day to day fighting Tyranny without recognition while still attempting to put food on the table, They are the American Patriot!
The people that make up the current American Patriot Movement are as the Militia of 1700′s, an important part of the Constitutional Republic our fore fathers left to “ALL” of us to protect. The true sadness is roving around our towns and neighborhoods seeing the apathy still on display among most Americans! Take a look around your area today and see how many homes do not fly the flag especially during these troubling times, I believe this is indicative to the percentage of people in your area that one could count on in a crisis. Not very reassuring is it?
Today is the Day for us to reflect on the people in history ( Past and Recent) who have given “ALL” while we enjoy the fruit of their Patriotism and Blood, allowing us to enjoy the time away from the daily grind!
“NEVER FORGET, Always Protect” – R. Copley Jr.
Although the terms militia and minutemen are sometimes used interchangeably today, in the 18th century there was a decided difference between the two. Militia were men in arms formed to protect their towns from foreign invasion and ravages of war. Minutemen were a small hand-picked elite force which were required to be highly mobile and able to assemble quickly. Minutemen were selected from militia muster rolls by their commanding officers. Typically 25 years of age or younger, they were chosen for their enthusiasm, reliability, and physical strength. Usually about one quarter of the militia served as Minutemen, performing additional duties as such. The Minutemen were the first armed militia to arrive or await a battle.
Although today Minutemen are thought of as connected to the Revolutionary War in America, their existence was conceived in Massachusetts during the mid-seventeenth century. As early as 1645, men were selected from the militia ranks to be dressed with matchlocks or pikes and accoutrements within half an hour of being warned. In 1689 another type of Minuteman company came into existence. Called Snowshoemen, each was to “provide himself with a good pair of snowshoes, one pair of moggisons, and one hatchet” and to be ready to march on a moment’s warning. Minutemen also played a role in the French and Indian War in the 1750′s. A journal entry from Samuel Thompson, a Massachusetts militia officer, states, “…but when our men were gone, they sent eleven more at one minute’s warning, with 3 days provision…” By the time of the Revolution, Minutemen had been a well-trained force for six generations in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. Every town had maintained its ‘training band’. The adversity that this region faced — Native-American uprisings, war with France, and potential for local insurrections, social unrest, and rioting — provided ample reason to adhere to a sound militia organization. In his recent book, perhaps David Hackett Fischer puts it best, “The muster of the Minutemen in 1775 was the product of many years of institutional development…it was also the result of careful planning and collective effort.” (p. 151). By the time of the Revolution, Massachusetts had been training, drilling, and improving their militia for well over a hundred years.
Unfortunately, one thing the Minutemen lacked was central leadership. This disadvantage would lead to their dissolution. In February of 1775 Concord was one of the first towns to comply with the order to create Minutemen companies out of the militia. Of approximately 400 militia from Concord’s muster rolls, one hundred would also serve as Minutemen. When a battle took place Minutemen companies from several towns combined their units. An officer from the 43rd Regiment of Foot was sent to the North Bridge in Concord with a number of light infantry. Minutemen from Concord, Acton, Littleton, and other towns combined forces. After a few volleys were fired, the British light infantry retreated back to the Concord Common area. Lacking central command, with each company of Minutemen loyal to their own town, they did not pursue the redcoats. In the running battle that ensued fifteen miles back to Boston the Massachusetts militia would see their last action as Minutemen in history. The militia would go on to form an army, surrounding Boston and inflicting heavy casualties on the British army at Bunker and Breed’s Hill.
Thus, although lacking central command, the Minutemen were still better organized and battle-tested than any other part-time military. They were a vital and necessary force, playing a crucial role in not only the Revolutionary War, but in earlier conflicts. Without these “ready in a minute” men, our history may have been written in a very different way.
– Andrew Ronemus