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As an outpost of the advancing frontier, Kentucky played a crucial military role. Kentucky’s state militia, which, under federal law, enrolled every able-bodied male citizen aged eighteen to forty-five, helped to secure the West for white settlers during the bloody Indian wars. Its members suffered defeat, capture, and death in the War of 1812, but also contributed to victories in the battles of the Thames and New Orleans. Though some Kentucky volunteers campaigned in the Mexican-American War, the general militia was moribund by the middle of the nineteenth century. Its infrequent musters had degenerated into sometimes mirthful and sometimes tragic frolics.
A Brittle Sword provides a lively interpretation of Kentucky’s citizen-soldiers and their role in the military history of both the state and the nation.
Richard G. Stone, Jr. is an associate professor of history at Western Kentucky University.
The University Press of Kentucky
Place of Publication
Kentucky, Kentucky militia, Kentucky history, United States frontier
Military and Veterans Studies
Stone, Richard G. Jr., "A Brittle Sword: The Kentucky Militia, 1776-1912" (1977). Military Studies. 5.
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