American Revolution

There were two main kinds of soldiers that fought in the Revolutionary War in America, and that was the Militia and the Continental Army.

The Militia was made up of people that were regular citizens that were prepared to fight if there was an emergency and if they were needed.

Who Were the Militia?

The Militia were people that were regular citizens, and they had regular jobs.  Most of the people in the Militia army were between the ages of 16 and 65 years old.  These were men that were trained a few times of the year, but most of the time, they had jobs as farmers, trade skills, and other responsibilities.

The Militia fighters were people that would prepare in case they were needed to fight in the army at any time.  The Militiamen lived in the cities, and they would not only fight in a war, but they also would be there to take care of any crime, Indians or bandits that came into their area.

Continental Army

The other soldiers were called the Continental Army.  These were people that were part of the United States Army under George Washington.

This army, unlike the Militia, was made up of people that would go and sign up to be in the military, and they would stay in the military for a certain amount of time.  Some of the time was shorter while other times were for years.

The soldiers would be trained to fight, and they knew how to fight in the War if they needed to.


Another name for the Militia was “minutemen,” because it was said that they would be there to fight within a minute.  These people that were part of the Militia did not always win the battles, and many of these citizens would be there mainly to defend the community.

Some of the people of the Militia were old, and they were not very prepared for War.


In the year 1774, the Militia that lived in Massachusetts changed their Militia around, and they took some of their best fighters and prepared them to be ready to fight when they were called on.  This was a very important time in the community, and the Militia was prepared to fight when the time came.

Paul Revere

Paul Revere came through Massachusetts at midnight on April 18, 1775, and let the Militia know that the British troops were coming to fight.  Then, the very next morning, the British attacked, but the Militia was ready, and they were able to make the British soldiers flee the area.

This made the Militia very popular, and as the War continued, other units of Militia or minutemen began to form. They were made in different colonies such as Connecticut, Maryland, and New Hampshire.

More Facts About Colonial Militia:

  • Anyone that was between 16 and 60 was required to keep a firearm and agree to be part of the Militia if they were needed.
  • The main job of the Militia was to fight against the Indians and the French.
  • Sometimes the Militia fought beside other soldiers, such as during the French and Indian War.
  • Minutemen were part of the Militia, but they were different because they were volunteers, and the Militiamen were required to fight by law.
  • The minutemen trained more than the Militia.

What Did You Learn?

Who were the men of the Colonial Militia?
The men of the Colonia Militia were men between the ages of 16 and 60 that were regular citizens.

Did the men have to join the Militia?
The men that were citizens were required by law to be part of the Militia.

What was the difference between the Militia and the Minutemen?
The difference between the Militia and the Minutemen was that the Militiamen were required to be in the army, but the Minutemen were volunteers.

Why were the minutemen called minutemen?
They were called minutemen because they were ready to fight “in a minute’s time.”

What was the main job of the Militia?
The primary role of the Militia was to keep the community safe and to fight against the French and the Indians.