The Commonwealth Minutemen is an all-volunteer civilian militia formed as a result of the efforts by various small communities to protect themselves against the numerous threats present within the Commonwealth. Inspired by the historical minutemen of the American Revolution, settlers armed and trained themselves and pledged to help defend each other. As the organization expanded, acquiring dividends in both soldiers and resources, they first gained recognition after successfully defending Diamond City from a super mutant attack in 2180.
Upon gaining enough resources, the organization eventually assumed control of Fort Independence, transforming it into their main base of operations. Renamed as "The Castle," the group repurposed a large portion of the fort into an armory; in addition, they erected a large radio tower in the courtyard to broadcast the signal for 'Radio Freedom,' a radio station with the purpose of notifying all members of the Minutemen about communities in distress.
After operating for a significant amount of time, the Minutemen attempted to establish the 'Commonwealth Provisional Government' by uniting the various settlements of the Commonwealth. These talks ended in the 2230s when an Institute synth infiltrated a meeting and killed all of the settlements' representatives. This event would later be dubbed the CPG Massacre.
Later, in 2240, the Minutemen were forced to abandon the fort, due to mirelurk infestation. Thinking it was a super mutant attack, General McGann locked himself deep into the armory behind a myriad of defenses. With this last-ditch effort to protect the armory from being entered, he effectively doomed himself to die by dehydration, a demise hastened by his consuming a fair portion of the bottles in a case of wine. Despite this, his act of defiance prevented the mirelurks from nesting within the armory bastion, preserving it well until the quest Old Guns.
The last leader of the Minutemen, General Becker, was killed at some point after his elected appointment as leader. Upon his death, the Minutemen began to experience internal strife, as the various groups couldn't agree upon a successor. The loss of the Castle only exacerbated the problem, and this disagreement on a new leader caused the political landscape to become incredibly fragile. The entire situation came to a head following the Quincy Massacre, many of the militias making up the group disbanding in disgust or turning to banditry, following the almost inevitable loss of popular (and its attendant material) support.
Following the whole ordeal, only remnants of the Minutemen and their supporters remained. With the exception of Preston Garvey, one of the few, if not in his words "the last minuteman standing", survivors to escape the massacre thus still loyal to the cause of the organization, the Minutemen had effectively ceased to exist as a cohesive group.
The Commonwealth Minutemen have little formal organization, being more of a volunteer organization of settlers involved in a mutual defense pact of allied communities. The head of the organization was always known as a general, and was in charge of allocating assets and forces to those in need. The heads of the respective militia groups usually held the rank of Colonel. Previously, allied communities would call for help on a ham radio and an alert would be broadcast on the Minutemen radio frequency. However, with the loss of The Castle, and its radio transmitter, there is no central organization.
The Minutemen are a loosely organized group of settler militias. Members wear simple uniforms inspired by colonial-era clothing and are often armed with whatever arms are available, such as pipe weapons and double-barrel shotguns. The signature weapon of the Minutemen is the laser musket.
The Minutemen also utilize artillery, giving them the means to project their power over great distances. At one point the group also possessed a functional sentry bot, which can still be found guarding the Castle's armory. The Minutemen possess an advanced communication network, allowing contact between any allied settlements.
Interactions with the player character
Soon after escaping Vault 111, the Sole Survivor comes across the Museum of Freedom under attack by raiders. They must fight their way upstairs, where they are introduced to Preston Garvey, who is protecting a group from the raiders. The Sole Survivor later meets with Preston who then invites them to join the Minutemen and the Minutemen questline starts. Throughout this questline, the Sole Survivor will be asked to lead the Minutemen and complete tasks to align more settlements with the Minutemen. In the case that the Sole Survivor does accept, they are promoted to the rank of general with Preston supposedly acting as second in command. Eventually, this will lead to Taking Independence, in which the Minutemen take back their former headquarters, the Castle. With all the Minutemen quests completed, new quests assigned by Preston Garvey will begin to cycle back through previously completed quests. This entails completing the same quests again.
The Minutemen are benign as factions go, and will stay friendly to the player character should they ally with the Institute, Brotherhood of Steel or the Railroad. However, the Sole Survivor can opt out of any of those factions and work specifically with the Minutemen for the main quest.
Upon completion of The Nuclear Option, soldiers from the army will patrol the Commonwealth's military checkpoints. The Sole Survivor will occasionally obtain the quest "Defend the checkpoint." This quest consists of mainly helping a Minutemen patrol defend a checkpoint against synth attackers, raiders, ghouls (eventually replaced by yao guai and deathclaws if the player character's level is high enough) or the Brotherhood of Steel, if hostile to them.
Depending on the actions of the Sole Survivor, they may initiate the War of the Commonwealth against other factions:
- If the Sole Survivor enters into hostile relations with the Institute, a faction war between the Minutemen and the Institute starts and they can now enter the Minutemen route of the main quest. This route will lead to Defend the Castle against the synths and later on to the completion of the main quest with The Nuclear Option.
- If the main quest was finished with the Minutemen or the Brotherhood of Steel and the Sole Survivor has or gains hostile status to the Brotherhood, the two factions will go to war. The War of the Commonwealth will end with the optional Minutemen quest With Our Powers Combined, where the Minutemen use their artillery to bombard the Prydwen. After the Prydwen is destroyed, the Brotherhood will launch their final assault to the Castle. Once the assault is over, the War of the Commonwealth will finally be over.
- When Freedom Calls: A group of raiders is laying siege to a building in Concord. The Sole Survivor can help eliminate the threat to the settlers within.
- Sanctuary: The Sole Survivor can agree to help the people in Sanctuary Hills establish a permanent settlement.
- The First Step: Preston Garvey asks for one to travel to a nearby settlement that's requested help from the Minutemen. The player character can head there to see what they can do to help them.
- The Sight: Mama Murphy insists that she can see the future while under the influence of chems and asks the Sole Survivor to procure some for her. After each dose of chems, Mama Murphy will have a vision about the Sole Survivor's future.
- Taking Point: Preston informs the Sole Survivor of a promising site for a new settlement. He asks them to clear the settlement of enemies before building a recruitment radio beacon to attract new settlers.
- Taking Independence: Preston brings up the idea of retaking the Castle, suggesting that the radio transmitter there would help with communicating with the growing number of allied settlements. Preston will then ask the Sole Survivor how they would prefer to approach the attack.
- Old Guns: Ronnie Shaw informs the Sole Survivor of an armory hidden in the western bastion of the Castle that only she knows how to access. She will lead them to the area to do so.
- Inside Job: Once the signal interceptor has been built, Sturges will ask the Sole Survivor to insert a network scanner holotape inside the Institute's computer network to infiltrate it and download any available information.
- Form Ranks: Preston Garvey will state that the Minutemen are not strong enough to take on the Institute. They will need to recruit more settlements in order to have the manpower necessary to stand a chance.
- The Nuclear Option: Sturges analyzed the data from the Institute network and found a way to access it via an old tunnel providing cooling water to their reactor. He gives the Sole Survivor a holotape that will reprogram the relay to bring in the Minutemen and end the Institute.
- With Our Powers Combined: The Minutemen can remove the Brotherhood of Steel as a threat to the Commonwealth. With enough artillery batteries, they can attempt to take out the Prydwen with a surprise attack.
Side and radiant quests
- Defend the Castle: The Sole Survivor receives word that enemies are preparing to attack the Castle, and they can help defend it.
- Returning the Favor: Blake Abernathy asks the Sole Survivor to retrieve a locket from the raider hideout in USAF Satellite Station Olivia. If they are successful, his farm will join the Minutemen's cause.
- Clearing the Way: A settler tells the Sole Survivor that a nearby area has been infested with hostiles that are threatening their settlement. The settler will ask that they clear the infestation before mentioning that the infested area would be a good spot for another settlement.
- Ghoul Problem: An allied settlement is having trouble with feral ghouls, and needs help in dealing with them.
- Greenskins: A large group of super mutants has been raiding a settlement and causing trouble. A settler will point the Sole Survivor to the mutants' hideout and ask that they are eliminated for the safety of the settlement.
- Kidnapping: A settler has been kidnapped and their friends are in desperate need of help. The Sole Survivor can either give the settlement leader enough caps to pay the ransom, or they can offer to rescue the settler.
- Raider Troubles: Raiders have been harassing a settlement and causing trouble. The Sole Survivor must travel to the raider hideout and eliminate them.
- Resettle Refugees: The Sole Survivor is informed of a group of Institute refugees at a military checkpoint who are looking to resettle, and is asked to assist them.
- Rogue Courser: Preston Garvey has learned of a courser who has embedded himself within a raider gang. The Sole Survivor can take them out before they gain control and start causing significant problems.
- Stop the Raiding: A large group of raiders came by recently asking for tribute, which the settlement was forced to pay for their own protection. The settler will point the Sole Survivor to the raiders' hideout and ask that they are dealt with.
- Defend: A settlement is under imminent threat of an attack. The Sole Survivor can travel to the settlement and deal with the attackers.
- Defend the Artillery: A Brotherhood vertibird has been spotted near the settlement, scoping out the artillery. The settlers there will ask the Sole Survivor to help build up the settlement's defenses to protect against the upcoming attack.
The Commonwealth Minutemen appear only in Fallout 4.
Behind the scenes
The faction is based on the real world Minutemen, who were civilian colonists, independently organized and self-trained in weaponry, tactics, and military strategies from the American colonial partisan militia during the American Revolutionary War. They were known for being ready "at a minute's notice."
- Fallout 4 loading screen
- Fallout 4 loading screen
- Fallout 4 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide: "Historians have noted the original name for this settlement was Fort Independence, but the people of the Commonwealth now refer to it simply as the Castle. This place has a long and storied history; it is one of the first forts in America and predates the Revolutionary War. In recent times, it served as the base of operations for the Minutemen as they attempted (and failed) to establish a Provisional government. In 2240, the Castle was partly destroyed by gigantic Mirelurk, and most of the Minutemen leadership died."
- Fallout 4 Vault Dweller's Survival Guide p. 517