Continuing with extracts and my commentary from those presentations as seen at the Civil War Museum, Kenosha, Wisconsin, USA.
"Enthusiasm for civilian military training swept Great Britain after the Crimean War of 1854-56 and quickly spread to America, even to the frontier . By 1859 an estimated 1.5 million young men [out of a total American population of about 31 million at the time] were members of active militia units. Military maneuver for pleasure was elevated almost to a national sport, supported by the first generation of Americans to possess the leisure and resources to indulge itself in recreation.Many units, especially in cities, reflected the ethnic origin of their members, and were more social clubs than military companies. But those companies of 40 men each were subject to the call of state governors for duty in time of war or insurrection."
Militiamen in the uniform most popular at the time. Emulating the French Zouaves. Pantaloon rouge!
I knew such militia units existed but that their numbers were so great was a surprise to me. By my quick and dirty calculation that 1.5 million is about one-third of the male adult population of military age [20-45 years] at that exact moment!!