The term “fencibles” is derived from the word defencible. The fencibles were essentially militia units formed by British to defend the colonies from attacks from outside forces between the French and Indian Wars and the American Revolution.
The independent United States kept the practice of forming local militias. The National Fencibles was a Washington-based drill team and militia. As was his practice of writing and dedicating marches to real groups, schools, and historical figures, John Philip Sousa wrote and dedicated this march to the National Fencibles.
The various fencible groups stayed active throughout the Civil War, and eventually were absorbed into the United States Army and National Guard.
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