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Interesting information about our military history: 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 invasion. Minutemen were a small hand-picked elite force which were required to be highly mobile and able to assemble quickly. Thus the name meaning they were ready in minutes.
Minutemen were selected from militia muster rolls by their commanding officers. Typically the men were 25 years of age or younger, and were chosen for their enthusiasm, reliability, and physical strength. Usually about one quarter of the militia served as Minutemen. The Minutemen were the first armed militia to arrive or await a battle.