The Richardson Light Guard of Wakefield, Massachusetts

A Town Militia in War and Peace, 1851–1975


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About the Book

This book traces the history of the Richardson Light Guard of Wakefield, Massachusetts, from its origins in 1851 until its end in 1975. What had been an institution of community members and local elites passed to town, then state, and finally federal government. During the same period, Wakefield evolved from an agrarian town to a manufacturing town and finally to a bedroom suburb, ending the practice of a handful of local elites ruling the town unchallenged. Though the rise of the National Guard was generally positive, for some militia companies, inclusion in the National Guard weakened vital bonds with their communities. In the 19th century, the Richardson Light Guard thrived under generous patrons, a supportive town, and a relatively wealthy state government. After becoming part of the National Guard in 1916, the links with its home community steadily weakened, finally breaking during World War II. After the war, the National Guard company had few links to Wakefield and was reorganized out of existence in 1975.

About the Author(s)

Barry M. Stentiford served in the Air Force, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve. He is an associate professor of military history at the U.S. Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

Bibliographic Details

Barry M. Stentiford
Format: softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 224
Bibliographic Info: 44 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2013
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7348-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0285-1
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  vi

Lineage  ix

Introduction: A Town Goes to War  1

I. Frontier Town  13

II. New Militia Company  30

III. Volunteers  43

IV. Gilded Age Militia  62

V. A Militia for Empire  81

VI. National Institution  101

VII. In the Army Now  117

VIII. The Oldest Regiment 134

IX. In the Americal Division  149

X. Bedroom Suburb  168

Chapter Notes  183

Bibliography  203

Index  211