Private Militia
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Connecticut laws/regulations;

OLR Research Report OLR Research Report

October 7, 2003 98-R-0374

FROM: Veronica Rose, Principal Analyst

RE: Private Militias

You asked for background information on private militia groups formed pursuant to CGS § 27-101.


The law allows groups of five or more people to form an organization “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. ” The groups must file a copy of their constitution, rules or regulations, bylaws, and membership roster with the secretary of the state's office. They must also file annual sworn statements showing any changes. Failure to file carries a penalty of up to $ 500, imprisonment for up to six months, or both (CGS §§ 27-101, 102). The original law appears to have been passed in 1941. No floor debate is available and the bill's intent is not clear from the limited hearing testimony (attached).

Since 1942, 10 groups have filed pursuant to the law. Three are currently filing: Company 1, 2nd Connecticut Volunteer Heavy Artillery; First Litchfield Artillery Regiment; and the Cannon Competition Corps of the First Litchfield Artillery Regiment. (We contacted the State Police and will send you any additional information the division provides. )


Company I, 2nd Connecticut Volunteer Heavy Artillery

The company adopted its constitution and bylaws on March 16, 1997. It is based in Woodbury. Its stated purposes are to:

1. carry on and perpetuate the lineage, honors, and history of the 19th Connecticut Volunteer Infantry and the 2nd Connecticut Volunteer Heavy Artillery;

2. participate in civil war reenactments and other ceremonies related to the civil war;

3. drill and maneuver with firearms and train its members in firearm usage;

4. train its members in military history, traditions and courtesies, and other aspects of military life;

5. educate the public about the civil war; and

6. participate in military ceremonies and parades.

The company has three classes of members: regular, people age 16 or older; junior, people under age 16; and associate, people wanting to portray civilians in any civil war reenactment or civil war program. On July 15, 1997, the company reported 18 members, including five junior members. The company consists of general members and officers. Officers are elected by general members at annual meetings.

First Litchfield Artillery Regiment

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.

Cannon Competition Corps of the First Litchfield Artillery

This company is based in Litchfield and is sponsored by the First Litchfield Artillery Regiment. It first filed with the secretary of the state on May 25, 1967. In its 1996-97 annual statement, it reported 31 members. Its stated objectives are to:

1. represent the First Litchfield Artillery in cannon shooting competitions;

2. instruct young men in the operation of cannon, mortars, howitzers, and other similar weapons with smooth-bore and muzzle-loading barrels; and

3. participate in ceremonial affairs such as parades, the firing of salutes, or such other activities of a beneficial, civic, and patriotic nature as the commanding officer may direct.

The rules and regulations of the core are similar to those of the First Litchfield Artillery, which is its sponsor.

VR: mw