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The Hearts of Oak (originally "The Corsicans") were a volunteer militia based in the British colonial Province of New York and formed circa 1775 in New York City. The original name was evidently adopted in emulation of the enlightened Corsican Republic, headed by Pasquale Paoli, which had been suppressed six years before, and which got considerable sympathy in Britain and its colonies.

Hearts of Oak
Alexander Hamilton 1757 1804 hi.jpg
"Alexander Hamilton (1757–1804) in the Uniform of the New York Artillery" by Alonzo Chappel (1828–1887)
AllegianceProvince of New York (later – State of New York)
Rolecoastal artillery, field artillery
Part ofNew York Militia
Nickname(s)The Corsicans
Motto(s)"God and Our Right"
ColorsGreen and red
EngagementsAmerican Revolution
Alexander Hamilton

Nicholas Fish

Robert Troup

Militia members included students at King's College (now Columbia University) such as Nicholas Fish, Robert Troup and, perhaps most famously, Alexander Hamilton.[1] The company drilled in the graveyard of nearby St. Paul's Chapel before classes in uniforms they designed themselves, consisting of short green tight-fitting jackets, a round leather hat with a cockade and the phrase "Liberty or Death" on the band, and a badge of red tin hearts on their jackets with the words "God and Our Right" (the motto Dieu et mon droit, translated into English and adapted to make its possessive pronoun plural).[1]

In August 1775 the Hearts of Oak participated in a successful raid, while under fire from HMS Asia, to seize cannon from the Battery, thereby becoming an artillery unit thereafter.[1]

In 1776 Hamilton was given a commission as a Captain by the revolutionary New York Provincial Congress with instructions to raise the New York Provincial Company of Artillery (today the Regular Army's 1st Battalion, 5th Field Artillery) and the mission to protect Manhattan Island. The Hearts of Oak formed its core.[1]

In 2015, a supporters group for a Major League Soccer team, New York City FC, took up the name Hearts of Oak in tribute to Alexander Hamilton and his defenders of New York City.[2]


  1. ^ a b c d Chernow, Ron. Alexander Hamilton. Penguin Press, (2004) (ISBN 1-59420-009-2).
  2. ^ West, Phil (May 6, 2017). "Light Rail to Hearts of Oak: Inside NYCFC's burgeoning supporters' scene". Major League Soccer.

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