Gunpowder, Politics, and Garrison Houses: Alternative Proto-Militia Models in New Hampshire, 1609-1640.
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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This essay examines the pressures perceived threats which provided a need for armed forces on the early New Hamsphire frontier. The earliest explorers and resident fishermen provided their own protection. The plans of early absentee, proprietary land developers the Council for New England, the Laconia Company, and the proprietor, John Mason provide an alternative force to that which actually developed. They would have provided professional military land and naval forces supplemented by a local militia. They were unable to develop an integrated defense system which could be brought into being. But they did provide a system of fortifications through their resident agents. One large fort was built to protect the choke point at the rivers mouth and to provide sanctuary from Indian attack. The fort could have served a dual purpose and been a refuge during periods of internal disorder. A retreat to which Anglican, proprietary forces could withdraw to defend themselves from the Puritans on the upriver plantations or from Massachusetts. The development of proto-militia forces followed religio-political and geographic lines. The forces and their power were assymetrically array with the Anglicans controlling the artillery and the bulk of the available small arms. Events in England which made possible the intervention of the Massachusetts government as well as internal divisions in early Dover which Massachusetts could exploit, made it possible for the Bay Colony to intervene and absorb the Piscataqua settlements in 1641.
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