Posted by & filed under Object of the Week.

Commission appointing Abijah Holmes to the rank of ensign in the New York State Militia, signed by John Jay as governor on April 18, 1797. President George Washington directed Henry Knox, Secretary of War to devise a plan to use the state militias in war and national crisis. Knox’s efforts resulted in the 1792 Militia Act act to “more effectively provide for the national defense by establishing uniform militia throughout the states.” All eligible males eighteen to forty-five were enlisted into the local company in his place of residence. Training was conducted twice a year in the Spring and Fall. A militiaman was required to arm and equip himself at his own expense. The basic outfit was a good, serviceable musket, bayonet and belt, two spare flints, cartridge box with twenty-four cartridges and a knapsack.