"This body of soldiery—which still sustains a corporate existence"
Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, 1896
Creative Commons AttributionAncient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, 1896 - Credit: Patricia Drury

The Military Company of the Massachusetts was formed in 1638, making it the oldest military organization in America and the third oldest in the world. Chartered by John Winthrop, it began as a citizen militia with officers chosen by election. By Hawthorne’s time, it had assumed the longer and grander title of The Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts.