Minute Men

Who were the Minute Men?

Minute Men were American colonists who formed militias to fight off their enemies. Before the American Revolutionary War, the Minute Men fought against the rival Indian tribes. Minute Men played a very important role during the American Revolutionary War. In fact, they can rightly be called the earliest soldiers of the revolutionary cause.

Why were they called Minute Men?

Minute Men were named so because they were always ready at a minute’s notice to fight with the enemy. At the start of the American Revolutionary War, when the colonists still didn’t have a proper army, the preparedness and readiness of the minute men played an instrumental role in maintaining the pressure on British forces.

Role before the American Revolutionary War

In the 1770s, relations between the colonists and the British colonial administration worsened. The British administration sought to implement new taxes and the colonists vehemently opposed it. When the British administration tried to forcefully implement these measures, colonists formed into militias and prevented their implementation. Even before the American Revolutionary War had begun, the colonists organized into militia groups and started roaming the countryside in various states.

All the militias in the Thirteen Colonies appointed 1/3rd of their force as the Minutemen. They were the equivalent of the emergency response teams of modern day. The Minutemen were the first responders when they heard news of a British advance or offensive.

Minute Men and the Outbreak of the War

The first conflict of the American Revolutionary War was the Battle of Lexington. In this battle, a detachment of British troops from Boston was sent to seize munitions and weapons from Lexington. The Minutemen responded to this act by the British colonial administration.

They confronted the British forces and although unable to defeat them, slowed them down. When the British troops advanced to undertake a similar operation at Concord, they faced a much larger force of Minutemen, joined by other militia members as well.

At this point, the British were heavy outnumbered. They had to retreat and during the retreat, the militiamen continued to inflict losses on them. In this way, the Minute Men played a central role in the first spark of the War which would eventually lead to American independence.

Equipment and Organization of the Minute Men

The Minute Men were usually poorly equipped and few had rifles of their own. Most didn’t have a formal uniform and instead wore their working clothes. They also had very little formal training. This is why they were not suitable for fighting in formal battles. Instead, the Minute Men were best suited to guerrilla warfare tactics where they could use the terrain and the cover of the trees to harass enemy forces and get involved in skirmish with them.

For this reason, the Minute Men were often used on the flank of the main Continental forces or as skirmishing forces. The key strength of the Minute Men lay in their ability to maneuver quickly and move from one position to another rapidly.

Learn more about the Minutemen at wikipedia

The Minute Men: The First Fight – Myths and Realities of the American Revolution (History of War) Mass Market Paperback – 30 Nov 2006