Here appears the great democratic principle of popular election of military leaders, wherein the majority of voters decide the whole case.
It was customary for the newly elected officer, not only to “treat the company,” but to treat everybody else who repaired to his house at the appointed time.
These were deemed the occasions in which freedom was liberally interpreted.
Meat and bread were provided for food; but punch and flip were furnished in such overflowing abundance, that some visitors took many more steps in going home than in coming.
It was expected, moreover, that the captain would treat his soldiers on parade-days.
This item, added to other necessary expenses, made quite a draft on the chief officer
's purse, as well as time.
There are some conventional usages whose antiquity can be very safely assumed; and this of “treating the soldiers” is emphatically one.
So late as our day it has continued; and the temperance reformation has hardly yet arrested it.
Although we have recorded the organization of a military corps in 1781, whose officers were chosen by the town, according to the laws then existing, there were soldiers in Medford
from 1630 to that time.
What the exact rules and regulations respecting enlistment were in the middle of the seventeenth century, we cannot discover.
There were composition companies; and the associations were often accidental, according to contiguity of place.
They in Medford
, who were “watchers,” were soldiers; and the annual provision of town powder shows that the ammunition was used.
There was a company of militia in Medford
before the Revolution; and, when troublesome times came, they were ready for duty.
It was the eighth company in the first regiment of the first brigade of the third division.
; William Burbeck
, 1st Lieutenant
; and Ezekiel Plympton
, 2d Lieutenant
It belonged to Colonel Thomas Gardner
In 1775, it was commanded by Captain Isaac Hall
. “This company came out,” says the Adjutant-General
, “on the 19th of April, 1775, and were in service five days, and were undoubtedly in the battles of Lexington
The names of the men composing the company on that memorable occasion are all recorded on the muster-roll; and they were all Medford
men, as follows:--