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The Revolutionary War pension files for all 80,000 pension and bounty-land warrant applications are now available online at Fold3.com ($). Fold3 is available free at some libraries.

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In 1775, when the American Revolution began, there was no regular army. Instead each colony defended itself with a militia made up of local men. With few exceptions, any male 16 or older was expected to participate in the milita. By 1776 Washington had an army of 20,000 men. About one-third came from colonial militia groups, and two-thirds were regular army.