American Militia Effect

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The effect of the American Militia on the Revolutionary War What effect did the American Militia have on the outcome of the Revolutionary War? The first shots fired in the American Revolution were fired by militiamen. Militiamen fought well at Bunker hill, Bennington and Kings Mountain. Yet, historians feel that they were poorly trained and undisciplined , and were unreliable through much of the war. Many Continental Army commanders did not respect or trust the militia. The militia did prove itself as an asset in critical times of need. Farmers and villagers fighting to protect their homes and families provide necessary support to the regulars. The most recognized militia unit formed during the Revolution were the Minutemen “They were a highly…show more content…
The nature of the militias focused on a particular style of warfare that favored the woodlands, not the style of European soldier”(Lanning). When fighting in small skirmishes the militia could fire and fall back to find cover, before the British had time to fire back. This style of fighting frustrated the British troops and their commanders. In late 1776 George Washington questioned the dependability of the milia, The militia had been criticized for their inability to stand and fight against highly trained british regulars. It was at the Battles of Long Island and New York that Washington lost his faith in the militias. “ Washington informed the Congress: “ If I were called upon to declare...whether the militia had been most serviceable or hurtful upon the whole, I should subscribe to the latter” (Military History). At this time, Washington asked the Continental Congress to from a standing army to avoid having to depend on the militia’s. The battles in New York were fought in open fields and the British out maneuvered the militiamen and forced them to surrender. Another example of the militia being overpowered was at the battle of Guilford Court, in North Carolina. When the British advanced the militiamen fired and the retreated. Many leaving equipment as they ran from the…show more content…
The militiamen were used as the first line of defence; after they shot their volley they could retreat. The militia would retreat until they had lead the British into the line of fire of the regulars. “ In the Southern theater the militias performed better when participating as guerrilla warfare and as riflemen. The most successful riflemen were the over-mountain men of Tennessee” (Battles). At the Battles of King’s Mountain and Cowpen the militias proved themselves to be a true threat to the British. After the Continental Army was defeated at Charleston the militias, under the leadership of Thomas Sumter carried the brunt of the resistance in the south. The conclusion to the effect of the militia on the outcome of the Revolution can be viewed in several ways. The militiamen were at times a undisciplined and poorly trained liability to the Continental Army. However, the militias provided the patriots with a force that used a different fighting style and knowledge of the terrain that the regulars could not provide. When used properly by commanders who understood their strengths and weaknesses the militias did prove themselves on the battlefield. John Shy summoned up the militias value in the Revolutionary War like this, “ The militia could not have won the war alone but the war probably could not have been

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