February 17, 1735: Morgan Morgan Commissioned As Captain of Berkeley Co. Militia
On February 17, 1735, pioneer Morgan Morgan was commissioned a captain of militia in present Berkeley County. Nearly three centuries later, a successor to Morgan’s militia regiment is still going strong.
The militia’s original purpose was to protect settlers against Indian raids. Then, in the early decades of the nation, the militia took part in every American conflict: from the Revolutionary War through the Civil War. One of the first state militia units reorganized after the Civil War was the Berkeley Light Infantry.
In 1889, this unit became part of the new West Virginia National Guard’s First Infantry, which represented the northern part of the state. This regiment served in the Spanish-American War and World War I. As the 201st Artillery, the unit was again mobilized during World War II and the Korean War. More recently, it was deployed during the Persian Gulf and Iraq wars.
Today, the 201st can trace its roots to the original militia company founded by Morgan Morgan in 1735. As such, the 201st Field Artillery of the West Virginia Army National Guard is perhaps the oldest military unit in the nation.