Only together shall we succeed. Only together shall we rise. Only together shall we triumph. That is why we fight. - John Putnam on his election as the new General in 2310
The Commonwealth Minutemen is a faction in the Commonwealth in 2287. After their re-establishment as a dominant power in the region at 2288, the all-volunteer civilian militia gradually transformed into a private military and order-state akin to caste-based societies, after 'major policy changes' under their newly-elected General to establish a central organization for the fledgling militia. They have a constant rivalry with the Gunners.
Following the Quincy Massacre that destroyed the Minutemen's existence as a cohesive group, the last active remnants of the faction were later rescued by the sole survivor of Vault 111 and an unidentified wastelander in Concord, with the latter ultimately leading the remnants towards Sanctuary Hills to settle and rebuild.
Months later, as the Minutemen slowly rebuilt from the ground up, the Brotherhood of Steel arrived and announced it's presence in the Commonwealth. The new General deemed it necessary to grow the Minutemen's numbers and fortify their holdings, but also attempt to establish friendly or neutral relations with the newly-arrived Brotherhood forces.
As part of their plan, the new General prepared to liberate Fort Independence under Preston Garvey's suggestion. They succeed, and gradually begin rallying various settlements willing to accept their aid.
Dawn of a new era
As time passed, the War of the Commonwealth continued to rage on. For the most part, the Minutemen stayed out of the three-way conflict between the Brotherhood forces, the Railroad, and the Institute. The militia would later enter a war against the Gunners after the mercenary group's failed attempt to capture Fort Independence.
With the conflicts having no end in sight, the General sought to end the war with the Gunners by assaulting their stronghold at the Galaxy News Network and Telcoms Communications Inc., also known as Gunners' Plaza. The attack proved disastrous for the Minutemen, as the Gunners used their knowledge of the surrounding area to harry and strike at the attacking forces with Missile Launchers and some Fat Man launchers. The Minutemen were forced to retreat after severe losses.
The rout of the strike force came to a head when the General was killed by a Gunner sharpshooter. The late General's second-in-command, a man named Putnam, rallied the routing forces after initiating a counter-offensive against the pursuing Gunners, through the use of guerrilla tactics to wear out and eliminate the attackers. Although triumphant, the Minutemen's victory was pyrrhic.
With Putnam as second-in-command after mourning their losses, he was elected as the new leader of the Minutemen after the previous General’s death. His early years in power were known for changes, from a total overhaul and reorganization of the Minutemen armed forces to major policy changes. Among other changes made was the relocation of the Minutemen Radio Tower from Fort Independence to USAF Satellite Station Olivia, northwest of the Commonwealth.
As the Minutemen grew further in power due to funding and proper allocation of resources, they overtime stopped lending aid to settlements unable to pay their tributes to the faction after newer policies took effect.
Some argued that the new Minutemen began resembling the heavy-handed tactics of Raiders and the Gunners, but the majority followed Putnam's example while others left in disgust.
Before its reorganization as a private military, the Minutemen were led by an overarching general and individual groups of colonels. All members wore their unique faction outfits and were generally armed with pipe weapons, double-barrel shotguns, and their signature laser muskets.
Under General Putnam, the Minutemen went from a basic-armed group to an effective fighting force within 5 years, rivaling the Gunners in terms of military training and power after its reorganization and overhaul.
The Minutemen's arsenal underwent a complete overhaul; Soldiers now wear distinctive military fatigues under load-bearing vests and are armed with a better variety of weapons, ranging from basic 10mm to M1911 pistols to more advanced combat rifles and shotguns of varying types. They also use service rifles copied from the NCR.
Specialized units are known to use customized weapons from silenced pistols and fully-automatic weapons to missile launchers and hand-made Anti-Materiel Rifles.
The overhauled Minutemen possess their own mechanized (power-armored) infantry, called Vanguards. Basic Vanguards use restored and repainted T-45d Power Armors, while veterans use similarly restored and repainted T-51c Power Armors. Elite Vanguards sport T-60d Power Armors, with around half of the armor pieces salvaged from Minutemen skirmishes against the Brotherhood in the Commonwealth.