During colonial days, because of the threats from local Indians known for their violence against the colonists since the first arrivals to Jamestown , every freeman was subject to military duty. In other words, everyone above the grade of a slave or servant was required to serve. A general muster usually presented a military spectacle and lasted several hours. Most persons attending journeyed from a long distance, sometimes taking more than two days. There was a general exercise of speeches and parades, and co-mingling of neighbors. This occasion was enjoyed by prominent and influential gentlemen of the county and colonists felt a sense of pride in their duty.
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