While the militia was called out and successfully used under George Washington (to put down a rebellion!), the sad fact is that the militia was rarely anything like they wanted it to be. Essentially, it was a poor excuse for a military force. So they quickly re-established the regular army. What they were armed with was of little consequence in those days but rather, it was other reasons they performed poorly, but they were better than nothing. The main failings were poor discipline and training. It matters little what the arms are if those two elements are faulty. Even the Indians were better.
That not withstanding, I don't think there was much disagreement about what the militia was for. Obviously, a militia was a military force and it states in the constituion what it was to be called out for, at least for national purposes, although I couldn't tell you what the discussion might have been over the wording of that part. However, the concept of the militia was old, even then, although I doubt it would be proper to call Medieval armies militias, though the distinction is inexact, even if that's where it all started as far as we're concerned.
Equipping the militia was certainly a problem, at least when real demands were made on them for active duty, such as during the revolution. They were supplied by the state governments then, mostly, and frankly, some states were much better able to outfit their own troops than others were. The actual arms they required was only one part of all that was necessary to keep the troops in the field.
Shoot low, sheriff. They're riding Shetlands!
Underneath the starry flag, civilize 'em with a Krag,
and return us to our own beloved homes!
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