Skip to main content

Naval Militia

Naval Militia. A late nineteenth‐century offspring of the National Guard and “New Navy” movements, the naval militia championed a place for the citizen‐sailor in national defense. The resurgence of the National Guard ensured a positive reception in coastal and Great Lake state legislatures to the idea of training a citizen‐based naval reserve. Massachusetts formed the first state Naval Battalion in 1890. By the Spanish‐American War, fifteen states had naval militia to quell waterfront strikes and defend coastal areas. Interest in developing a world‐class New Navy also contributed to the popularity of the naval militia concept. Accordingly, the navy, beginning in 1891, provided funds and equipment for training and did not hesitate to call upon these forces when war came with Spain in 1898. Four thousand militiamen served on auxiliary cruisers performing scouting and blockade missions—which included providing cover for the Marine landing at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba—or manned stateside coastal signal stations.

In 1914, the naval militia received federal recognition as an official reserve force comparable in status to the National Guard. During World War I, however, naval militia units lost their state designation when members were assigned indiscriminately to U.S. Navy ships. The Naval Reserve Act of 1938 permanently federalized the naval militia as a training unit for the U.S. Naval Reserves. Unlike National Guardsmen, naval militiamen now volunteered to serve first in the reserves, then the militia. Reflecting the trend toward federal supervision and the emphasis on billet over unit training, only three states continued their naval militia units by 1960.
[See also Militia and National Guard; Navy, U.S.: 1866–1898; Navy, U.S.: 1899–1945.]

Bibliography

Jim Dan Hill , The Minute Man in Peace and War, 1964.
Kevin R. Hart , Towards a Citizen Sailor: The History of the Naval Militia Movement, 1888–1898, American Neptune, 33 (October 1973), pp. 258–79.

Jennifer D. Keene

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Naval Militia." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. 21 Oct. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"Naval Militia." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Encyclopedia.com. (October 21, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/naval-militia

"Naval Militia." The Oxford Companion to American Military History. . Retrieved October 21, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/history/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/naval-militia

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles

Encyclopedia.com gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, Encyclopedia.com cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use Encyclopedia.com citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

http://www.mla.org/style

The Chicago Manual of Style

http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/tools_citationguide.html

American Psychological Association

http://apastyle.apa.org/

Notes:
  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most Encyclopedia.com content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.