Hearts of Oak (New York militia)
|Hearts of Oak|
"Alexander Hamilton (1757-1804) in the Uniform of the New York Artillery" by Alonzo Chappel (1828-1887)
|Allegiance||Province of New York (later – State of New York)|
|Role||coastal artillery, field artillery|
|Part of||New York Militia|
|Motto(s)||"God and Our Right"|
|Colors||Green and red|
The Hearts of Oak (originally "The Corsicans") were a volunteer militia based in the British colonial Province of New York and formed circa 1775 in New York City. The original name was evidently adopted in emulation of the enlightened Corsican Republic, headed by Pasquale Paoli, which had been suppressed six years before, and which got considerable sympathy in Britain and its colonies.
Militia members included students at King's College (now Columbia University) such as Nicholas Fish, Robert Troup and, perhaps most famously, Alexander Hamilton. The company drilled in the graveyard of nearby St. Paul's Chapel before classes in uniforms they designed themselves, consisting of short green tight-fitting jackets, a round leather hat with a cockade and the phrase "Liberty or Death" on the band, and a badge of red tin hearts on their jackets with the words "God and Our Right" (the motto Dieu et mon droit, translated into English and adapted to make its possessive pronoun plural).
In 1776 Hamilton was given a commission as a Captain by the revolutionary New York Provincial Congress with instructions to raise the New York Provincial Company of Artillery (today the Regular Army's 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery) and the mission to protect Manhattan Island. The Hearts of Oak formed its core.
- Bibliography of the Continental Army in New York compiled by the United States Army Center of Military History
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