Connecticut, "The Land of Steady Habits", is not known for being particularly radical when it comes to governance. It is decentralized into 169 towns without regional government. Traditionally they have been united in their devotion to home rule and the conviction that they are unique communities, distinctly different from their neighbors. Even within towns there are semi-autonomous boroughs, postal districts and villages with which residents more closely identify than the parent community.
I, for example, live in Canaan within the Town of North Canaan (locally known as Canaan) and distinct from East Canaan, also in North Canaan. The Town of Canaan is locally known as Falls Village and contains South Canaan which only appears on maps and does not rate a post office address. There is no West Canaan in either Canaan, but there is a Sodom. I hope that is clear.
Connecticut is, for New England, a more conservative State than most of the others: at any rate a lighter shade of blue. It also has legislation within its regulations that I would think would be the envy of any number of deep red states elsewhere in this great country of ours. Connecticut allows groups of five people or more to establish private military units.
CGS § 27-101 allows for the creation of private militias “for the purpose of drilling or maneuvering with firearms or other dangerous weapons…or for the purpose of giving or acquiring military training or experience." Given that this is Connecticut and not Idaho, those organizations taking advantage of this opportunity have tended to be black powder artillery units. The 1st Litchfield Artillery Regiment has been active since the 1960s and while it does not have a web site it has been a fixture at artillery shoots and town parades. According to the State's records;
This company first filed with the secretary of the state on July 23, 1964. It is based in Litchfield. Its membership is limited to veterans (mostly wartime veterans but they can vote to admit nonwartime veterans). Members must also be U. S. citizens, have a good knowledge of Connecticut history and appreciate its ancient traditions, and be deemed worthy of admission by members.
The stated objectives of the company are to:
1. preserve the tradition of horse drawn artillery by instructing young men in its history and in the operation of field guns and to become proficient in the maneuvering and firing of horse-drawn artillery by drills and training;
2. participate in state functions, such as those on Memorial, Veterans, and Independence Days;
3. act as an escort to the governor at inaugural parades or other times he requests;
4. help the governor uphold the laws; and
5. participate in ceremonies at the request of the Connecticut Historical Commission.
The company is headed by a commanding officer (colonel). Other officers include lieutenants and majors. In its 1996-97 statement, the company reported 13 members.
It is worth noting that this regiment is more than a reenactment unit. It can be called into service to defend the State, presumeably against a foe that would be intimidated by smoothbore muzzleloading artillery (and who wouldn't be?). They also provide a wicked starting gun salvo for the local road race.
At Litchfield's recent 4th of July celebration, the regiment appeared in summer campaign dress from the Indian Wars of the 1870s-1880s. I remember watching them fire cement-filled beer cans at targets in an old gravel pit in South Amenia, NY when I was a lad, and ever since, have wanted my own brass 12 pounder. Now all I need is four friends with the same dream (and considerable start up capital) and the Cannon Company of the Canaan Home Guard will proudly preserve our town and traditions from any of our neighbors with irridentist tendencies.