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A drill of the colonial militia
The General Muster was a time of cheerful celebration in the Virginia colony. It was held for the whole county and the social assembly occurred at church. Many came from remote areas, travelling in carts and crude carriages, while others rode on horseback. Women perched up behind on pillions accompanied by their fathers, brothers or husbands. The general muster was of great interest to the colonists as it afforded the lively entertainment and spectacle in the dress and uniform of the main event. Every freeman was subject to military duty, so this occasion brought together all of the classes. A 1678 recording of a general muster in Northampton County discussed the practice of several persons on the occasion of the court's meeting in order to get intoxicated, quarrel and fight and thus they had the impudence to enter the court-room whilst the judges were sitting and be abusive to their face. Local contests awarded prizes for those who excelled in riding, running, shooting, wrestling and cudgeling.