Militia Act of 1855

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The Militia Act of 1855, an act of Canadian legislation, permitted the formation of an Active Militia. The 5,000 volunteers were armed, equipped and paid 5 shillings a day for 10 days of training a year (20 days for those in the artillery). Captains were paid 10 shillings 6 pence a day.

Initially set at 5,000 men, the Act's popularity forced the government to double its size to 10,000 men by 1856. Trained at the expense of taxpayers, the men had to provide their own uniforms.

The Act divided Canada into 18 military districts. Assisted by volunteer staff officers, each district was commanded by a colonel, while the entire operation was led by Colonel E.P. Taché.

Enthusiasm for the Act waned by 1858 when economic depression occupied the minds of Canadians. In 1860, military spirit was revived by the royal visit of the Prince of Wales. Canadians, Nova Scotians, and New Bruswickers launched their own volunteer units. These companies began to form into battalions that gradually eclipsed the Sedentary Militia. In 1864, the Sedentary Militia was re-styled "Non-Service Militia", and in 1869, its battalions were reduced to the "Reserve Militia" of each county. The Reserve Militia was last enrolled in 1873 (but never called out), deferred thereafter, and the theory that every able-bodied man was liable for service was finally abolished in 1950.

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