digplanet beta 1: Athena
Share digplanet:


Applied sciences






















The Virginia militia is an armed force composed of all citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia capable of bearing arms. The Virginia militia was established in 1607 as part of the English militia system. Militia service in Virginia was compulsory for all free males. The main purpose of the Crown's militia was to repel invasions and insurrections and to enforce the laws of the colony.

17th century[edit]

In 1623, the year following the outbreak of the first major Anglo-Powhatan War in Virginia, the Virginia General Assembly commanded, "that men go not to work in the ground without their arms; That no man go or send abroad without a sufficient partie well armed." In 1661 Governor William Berkeley stated, "All our freemen are bound to be trained every month in their particular counties." The British county lieutenant system was employed as the population grew; each county had a lieutenant, appointed as the county's chief militia officer.

The militia system was originally used to defend against Native American tribes in the tidewater area. As the slave population grew in the Virginia Colony, the militia played a role in keeping slaves from running away or from revolting – through the use of militia patrollers.[1] This Virginia militia system was put to the test in 1676 during Bacon's Rebellion. The Crown's militia was victorious over Nathaniel Bacon who tried to seize power.

The English Bill of Rights of 1689 guaranteed colonial Virginians, as loyal British subjects, the following:

  • That the raising or keeping a standing army within the kingdom in time of peace, unless it be with consent of Parliament, is against law;
  • That the subjects which are Protestants may have arms for their defence suitable to their conditions and as allowed by law;

The French and Indian War[edit]

During the French and Indian War (1754–1763), a formal act came into effect.

"WHEREAS it is necessary, in this time of danger, that the militia of this colony should be well regulated and disciplined...And be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That every person so as aforesaid inlisted (except free mulattoes, negroes, and Indians) shall be armed in the manner following, that is to say: Every soldier shall he furnished with a firelock well fixed, a bayonet fitted to the same, a double cartouch-box, and three charges of powder, and constantly appear with the same at the time and place appointed for muster and exercise, and shall also keep at his place of abode one pound of powder and four pounds of ball, and bring the same with him into the field when he shall be required...And for the better training and exercising the militia, and rendering them more serviceable, Be it further enacted, by the authority aforesaid, That every captain shall, once in three months, and oftner if thereto required by the lieutenant or chief commanding officer in the county, muster, train, and exercise his company, and the lieutenant or other chief commanding officer in the county shall cause a general muster and exercise of all the companies within his county, to be made in the months of March or April, and September or October, yearly; and if any soldier shall, at any general or private muster, refuse to perform the command of his officer, or behave himself refractorily or mutinously, or misbehave himself at the courts martial to be held in pursuance of this act, as is herein after directed, it shall and may be lawful to and for the chief commanding officer, then present, to cause such offender to be tied neck and heels, for any time not exceeding five minutes, or inflict such corporal punishment as he shall think fit, not exceeding twenty lashes..." —An Act for the better regulating and disciplining the Militia, April 1757[2]
This 1772 portrait shows George Washington in uniform as colonel of the Virginia Militia.

American Revolutionary War[edit]

In 1774 revolution was at Virginia's doorstep when Royal Governor Lord Dunmore dissolved the Virginia House of Burgesses because of their support of the city of Boston against the closing of the Port of Boston by Lord North. On May 15, 1776 the Virginia General Assembly voted unanimously for independence and to have a declaration of rights drawn up. Colonel George Mason became the principal author of the Virginia Declaration of Rights which was published on June 12, 1776.[3] Mason drew from his own previous writings upon his founding of the Fairfax County Independent Company of Volunteers on September 21, 1774.[4] This company was a paramilitary organization independent of the Crown's militia. Article 13 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights which established the militia clause as a fundamental right was based upon three solid English rights: the right to revolution, the right to group self-preservation and the right to self-defense. Under Article 13 of the Virginia Declaration of Rights he wrote:

"That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power."

At the beginning of the war, Kentucky County, Virginia was organized with George Rogers Clark as head of its local militia. Clark asked Governor Patrick Henry for permission to lead a secret expedition to capture the nearest British posts, which were located in the Illinois country. Governor Henry commissioned Clark as a lieutenant colonel and authorized him to raise troops for the expedition.[5] The Illinois campaign began in July 1778, when Clark and about 175 men crossed the Ohio River at Fort Massac and marched to Kaskaskia, taking it on the night of July 4.[6] Cahokia, Vincennes, and several other villages and forts in British territory were subsequently captured without firing a shot, because most of the French-speaking and American Indian inhabitants were unwilling to take up arms on behalf of the British. To counter Clark's advance, Henry Hamilton reoccupied Vincennes with a small force.[7] In February 1779, Clark returned to Vincennes in a surprise winter expedition and retook the town, capturing Hamilton in the process. The winter expedition was Clark's most significant military achievement.[8]

Present-day system[edit]

The Virginia militia system, as a compulsory service composed of the body of the people trained to arms as envisioned by George Mason, remained intact until the end of the American Civil War. Reconstruction governments forced upon Virginia an all-volunteer militia system in opposition to Virginia's Bill of Rights. The militia became statutorily composed of the volunteer and the unorganized militia.

In 1771, the Virginia Bill of Rights under Article I, Section 13, was changed to the following by popular vote:

"That a well regulated militia, composed of the body of the people, trained to arms, is the proper, natural, and safe defense of a free state, therefore, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed; that standing armies, in time of peace, should be avoided as dangerous to liberty; and that in all cases the military should be under strict subordination to, and governed by, the civil power."

The current Virginia Militia under Virginia Code § 44-1 states "The militia of the Commonwealth of Virginia shall consist of all able-bodied citizens of this Commonwealth and all other able-bodied persons resident in this Commonwealth who have declared their intention to become citizens of the United States, who are at least sixteen years of age and, except as hereinafter provided, not more than fifty-five years of age. The militia shall be divided into four classes, the National Guard, which includes the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard, the Virginia State Defense Force, the naval militia, and the unorganized militia."

Permanent faculty members of the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) are normally offered commissions in the naval or unorganized militia of Virginia. The Superintendent of VMI is normally a Lieutenant General of the unorganized Virginia militia unless he or she is a regular US military officer of higher rank. The corps of cadets also serves as cadet members of the unorganized militia. Staff members of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadets also may hold officer appointments in the Virginia Militia, unless they hold higher rank as active or retired US military officers.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ An Act for making more effectual provision against Invasions and Insurrections, February 1727 at virginia1774.org
  2. ^ Militia Act of 1757 at virginia1774.org
  3. ^ George Mason Commission at virginia1774.org
  4. ^ Fairfax Volunteers Company at virginia1774.org
  5. ^ English, 1:92
  6. ^ English 1:168
  7. ^ English, 1:234
  8. ^ Palmer, IV

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_militia — Please support Wikipedia.
This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia. A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia.
41058 videos foundNext > 


Virginia Militia's Message To The People

individuals from the Constitutional Virginia Militia on WCLM 1450 AM address the body of the people, citizens and government agents. chris dorsey makes lawful claims that the current government...

Virginia Militia Takes Streets Gives Banks, Government, and Media Notice

a man called chris dorsey of the Virginia Militia discusses the well documented crimes and treasonous nature of the institutions that control government. WWBT NBC 12 Reporter Jessica Jaglois...

In Virginia the Militia is Highest Authority According to Law

a man called chris dorsey informs the body of the people they are the militia. The Virginia Militia will be meeting around the state leading up to the Virginia General Assembly in January...

Important Message: American Militia to Civilians

Thanks So Much for Subscribing To: http://www.youtube.com/MrSkullizi888 http://www.888eternal.com/ http://www.truthislight.com/ ______ Important Message to Civilians from Founder: "West...

Sandy Hook Hoaxer Exposed By Virginia Militia

After this dipshit attempted to call the cops on me for filming him holding a sign on the busiest corner in the Carytown Shopping District of Richmond. i film him again about 20 minutes later.

Virginia Video Militia Interrogates Deputy Police Chief

chris dorsey of the Virginia Militia interrogates Deputy Chief of the Richmond Police John Buturla on the unconstitutional gang he belongs to. Cameo made by Richmond Chief Administrative Officer...

Virginia Militia Call To Muster

The current government must be abolished at every level. Government leadership is controlled by treasonous prostitutes for the International Banking Cartel, they must be arrested convicted,...

New York Citizens Organizing Militia To Resist NY Safe Act

If these guys need help it is our Duty to help them. No cost is to high to fight off tyranny.

AK47 West Virginia Militia Edition part 1

41058 videos foundNext > 

170 news items

West Virginia Public Broadcasting

West Virginia Public Broadcasting
Thu, 30 Apr 2015 05:22:30 -0700

Dunmore's War came to a head at the Battle of Point Pleasant, where, that October, Virginia militia defeated Shawnee warriors. Logan skipped the subsequent peace negotiations but delivered to John Gibson a famous speech that was later quoted by Thomas ...


Tue, 07 Apr 2015 21:12:16 -0700

McLean, a retired member of the Virginia militia who was too old to fight, had offered up his strategically positioned home in rural Prince William County, just south of Washington, D.C., as a headquarters for Beauregard and his officers for what was ...

Fort Worth Star Telegram

Fort Worth Star Telegram
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 12:28:31 -0700

Benjamin Sharp was still a teenager when he served with the Virginia militia during the American Revolutionary War. He fought in the Battle of Kings Mountain in South Carolina, a key Southern campaign victory for the Americans. He went on to have a ...

Slate Magazine

Slate Magazine
Thu, 09 Apr 2015 08:38:51 -0700

A hundred and fifty years ago today, the Civil War ended. It ended quietly, in a farmhouse in Virginia, when Gen. Grant and Gen. Lee negotiated the terms of surrender. The agreement they forged set the stage for a new battle, a battle that has not yet ...
Broadway World
Thu, 16 Apr 2015 00:07:30 -0700

Charles Willson Peale painted the first of his seven portraits of Washington in 1772 while Washington was still a Colonel in the Virginia Militia. He notes that Captain Peale was with General Washington at Princeton and fired at least one shot at the ...


Mon, 23 Mar 2015 08:23:15 -0700

Henry was appointed the head of a new committee charged with readying the Virginia militia for combat. Henry's call to arms came at a pivotal moment. Less than a month later, skirmishes between British troops and colonial minutemen at Lexington and ...

Constitution Daily (blog)

Constitution Daily (blog)
Mon, 16 Mar 2015 02:00:00 -0700

Madison didn't fight in the Revolutionary War. Small in stature and sometimes sickly, Madison served briefly in the Virginia militia and then entered politics at a young age. He was also the youngest delegate at the 1780 Continental Congress in ...
Fri, 03 Apr 2015 21:02:38 -0700

On May 28, 1754, Washington and a company of Virginia militia, together with a group of Mingo Indian allies, ambushed a party of Canadians under Joseph Coulon de Villiers de Jumonville in a valley on the mountain above Uniontown. Jumonville was ...

Oops, we seem to be having trouble contacting Twitter

Support Wikipedia

A portion of the proceeds from advertising on Digplanet goes to supporting Wikipedia. Please add your support for Wikipedia!

Searchlight Group

Digplanet also receives support from Searchlight Group. Visit Searchlight