Because the Maritimes were distinct colonies during this period, the militia for each was governed by its own laws and regulations. But these laws were generally similar. They required men between the ages of 18 to 60 to enlist in the militia regiment of their county and to take part in the reviews. They also enabled the existing authorities to mobilize the men for active duty and interested citizens to establish uniformed volunteer companies.
In the first half of the nineteenth century the development of militias in the Maritime colonies generally followed the pattern seen in central Canada. However, the Sedentary Militia regimental reviews appear to have been performed more seriously than in central Canada, and onlookers were generally full of praise for the efforts of these militiamen. County militia regiments, particularly in the cities, usually had one or more elite companies who supplied uniforms at their own expense. As in central Canada, the volunteers became more important in the 1840s and 1850s. The Volunteer Movement, 
which was growing in Great Britain in 1858, had a marked impact in the Maritimes, where the people were very much Anglophiles, so much so that by the following year laws were passed to encourage the establishment of volunteer corps. These measures were very successful and in the early 1860s some 4,000 to 5,000 well-armed volunteers wearing a wide variety of uniforms were given military training in this region.