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Minutemen

MINUTEMEN

MINUTEMEN were citizen soldiers in the American colonies who volunteered to fight the British at a "minute's" notice during the years before the American Revolution. The most famous minutemen were those who figured in the battles at Lexington and Concord, though minutemen militias were organized in other New England colonies as well.

While the term "minuteman" goes back at least to 1756, the famous body that developed under that name first appearing in the reorganization of the Massachusetts militia by the Worcester convention and the Provincial Congress in 1774. To rid the older militia of Tories, resignations of officers were called for in September. The Massachusetts Provincial Congress called for a reorganization of regiments and enrolled the minutemen as an organized militia. The Provincial Congress, meeting in October, found the same process voluntarily going on in the militia of other counties, and directed its completion. Thus a system of regiments was established in the province, with the minutemen to be ready for any emergency. The formation of the minuteman regiments proceeded slowly. On 14 February 1775, the Provincial Congress set 10 May for a complete return. None was ever made, and only scattered records show that while Marblehead organized its company on 7 November 1774, Woburn, though close to Boston, did not vote to establish


its minutemen until 17 April 1775, two days before the outbreak of war. No complete list of minuteman companies and regiments was possible, and only from town records, a few lists, and the "Lexington alarm lists" of minutemen and militia can a fragmentary roster be patched together of an organization that never was completed.

On 19 April, militia and minutemen turned out together to resist the British in Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, in the first battles of the American Revolution. After news traveled through the countryside that the minutemen engaged in a skirmish with the British at Lexington, the colonial forces met with little opposition as they moved to the Concord bridge to meet the British expedition later that day. Both militia forces and minutemen participated in these conflicts. The minuteman organization was abandoned by the Provincial Congress when they organized Washington's Eight Months Army. As this was formed, it drew men from both minutemen and militia. Those who could not join went back into the militia, and the minutemen thenceforth disappeared in Massachusetts.

Other colonies organized their minutemen on the recommendation of the Continental Congress in July 1775. Maryland, New Hampshire, and Connecticut used minutemen for rounds of service on special brief enlistments. Most notably, the Connecticut minutemen resisted William Tryon's expedition against Danbury.

The battle site in Concord, Massachusetts, is the present-day site of the Minute Man National Historic Park.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Gross, Robert A. The Minutemen and their World. New York: Hill and Wang, 1976, 2001.

Hoffman, Ronald, and Peter J. Albert, eds. Arms and Independence: The Military Character of the American Revolution. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1984.

Shy, John W. A People Numerous and Armed: Reflection on the Military Struggle for American Independence. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976; Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1990.

AllenFrench/h. s.

See alsoMilitias ; Provincial Congresses ; Revolution, American: Military History .

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"Minutemen." Dictionary of American History. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Mar. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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minutemen

minutemen, in the American Revolution, colonial militiamen or armed citizens who agreed to turn out for service at a minute's notice. The term minutemen is used especially for the men who were enrolled (1774) for such service by the Massachusetts provincial congress. These were "the embattled farmers" who fought against the British at Lexington and Concord.

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"minutemen." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Mar. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"minutemen." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/minutemen

"minutemen." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Retrieved March 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/reference/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/minutemen

minuteman

min·ute·man / ˈminətˌman/ • n. (pl. -men) hist. (in the period preceding and during the American Revolution) a member of a class of American militiamen who volunteered to be ready for service at a minute's notice. ∎  (Minuteman) a type of three-stage intercontinental ballistic missile.

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"minuteman." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Mar. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"minuteman." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (March 25, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/minuteman

"minuteman." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved March 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/minuteman

minutemen

minutemen Local militia units in the American Revolution. The first such units formed in Massachusetts in 1774, and minutemen took part in the opening battles of Lexington and Concord in 1775.

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"minutemen." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 25 Mar. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"minutemen." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved March 25, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/minutemen