Members of the Fairfax Resolves Chapter held a ceremony commemorating the 248th anniversary of the founding of the Fairfax Independent Company of Volunteers September 24 on the grounds of the Historic Fairfax Courthouse.
The Fairfax Independent Company of Volunteers was founded by George Mason on September 21, 1774, and was commanded by George Washington. Mason created the Company at a time when Virginia’s royal governor had suspended the House of Burgesses and the assembly was unable to renew it existing militia law.
The Fairfax Independent Company was the first independent company in Virginia and played an important role in the early revolutionary history.
In September of 1774, with events in New England unraveling, and the colonies already on the road to Revolution, Virginians found themselves without a legal framework to establish a colonial militia. There was great concern about the adequacy of the colony’s defense.
The Company was a critical stopgap and provided continuity in military organization and defense until the Revolutionary colonial government officially organized militia regiments almost a year later. It served as a training ground for future military and civic leaders of a young America, and inspired other counties throughout Virginia to form independent companies of their own.
For Washington, it was his first opportunity to command troops in the sixteen years since he hung up his Virginia Regiment uniform in 1758 following the conclusion of the French and Indian War.
The Fairfax Independent Company wore a distinctive uniform of “blue, turned up with buff; with plain yellow metal buttons, buff waist coat & breeches, and white stockings.” George Washington wore this uniform during the sessions of the Second Continental Congress, and he wore it on June 19, 1775, when he was commissioned by the Continental Congress as Commander in Chief of the Continental Army. Washington continued to wear the blue and buff throughout the war. It became an iconic part of his identity as General Washington, and as many of us know the blue and buff were adopted as the official colors of the Sons of the American Revolution.
The event included wreath presentations from the Virginia Society as well as the Fairfax Resolves, George Mason, Colonel James Woods II, Culpeper Minutemen, and Sergeant Major John Champe chapters. Four DAR wreaths were presented as well as that of the Order of the Founders and Patriots of America. Past President Dave Cook read a proclamation from the City of Fairfax.