Front cover image for A rabble in arms : Massachusetts towns and militiamen during King Philip's War

A rabble in arms : Massachusetts towns and militiamen during King Philip's War

"While it lasted only sixteen months, King Philip's War (1675-1676) was arguable one of the most significant of the colonial wars that wracked early America. As the first major military crisis to directly strike one of the British Empire's most important possessions, the Massachusetts Bay Colony, King Philip's War marked the first time that Massachusetts had to mobilize mass numbers of ordinary men to fight. In this ... social history and community study of Essex County, Massachusetts's militia, Kyle F. Zelner boldly challenges traditional interpretations of who was called to serve during this period. Drawing on muster rolls and pay lists as well as numerous historical records, Zelner demonstrates that Essex County's more upstanding citizens, such as yeomen farmers, church members, and family heads were often spared from impressments, while "the rabble"--Criminals, drunkards, the poor -- were forced to join active fighting units, with town militia committees selecting soldiers who would be least missed should they die in action ... [this monograph] shows that, despite heroic illusions of a universal military obligation, town fathers, to damaging effects, often placed local and personal interests above colonial military concerns"--Fly leaf
Print Book, English, ©2009
New York University Press, New York, ©2009