Jul 31, 2007



Friday, July 27th, cadets Richard Levy (21st Century Afters Shool Program), Thomas Peterson (1st Rhode Island Regiment), and Darian Kelton (1st Rhode Island Regiment) graduated from the Old Barracks Fifes and Drums Summer Day Camp.. Historically, boys as young as 8 could enlist in the army and serve as musicians. Musical "calls" played in camp and on the battle field directed the actions and movements of the soldiers. Being a on the battlefield ,was a dangerous occupation. Despite his age, a drummer was a prime target for enemy sharp shooters trying to disrupt enemy communications. The camp program includes:
Publish Post
  • 18th century drill and field ceremony
  • duty calls of the 18th century army
  • music theory, with an emphasis on aids to memorization
  • tucking calf skin drum heads and rope tension maintainence
  • learning sing soldiers' songs of the 18th century
  • receiving group and individual instruction on fife and drum provided by professionals in the field.
  • participating in a lunch time concert in the Capital Complex
  • participating in a recording session of the Fifes and Drums on the last day of camp
Following an action packed summer the regiment is moving quickly into an even busier fall. Keep
abreast of activities and upcoming events. Make living history a part of your class, group events, or ceremonies. It's a fun way to learn about and celebrate your heritage. Contact us to get more information.


A contingent from the regiment participated in this living history event. Our encampment included an "A" tent, display table, and fly tent for shade.We had a lot of visitors stop by to ask questions, learn about the USCT's, and look over items on the display table. The event was sponsored by Robert E. Lee Civil War Round Table of Central New Jersey and held on the grounds of the historic Parker Press Park in Woodbridge NJ. It included army encampments, naval exhibit, and a display of a Confederate army surgeon's equipment. Various civilian interpreters demonstrated crafts, cooking, dressmaking, photography, and quilting. The troops enacted a scenario for the visitors' entertainment, in which they fought a small skirmish. The cadets had fun with other young reenactors, engaging in a skirmish of their own.

Battle of Cooch’s Bridge Revolutionary War battle reenactment.

The Stage:
The 230th anniversary of the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge, the first battle of the Philadelphia Campaign, was held at Brandywine Creek State Park, Wilmington DE.
1st Rhode Island Regiment and cadets mustered early at HQ at 7 AM , so we could travel, eat breakfast, and set up camp, to be in time for morning formation at 9 AM. The day's actions were based on the running battle between Howe’s advanced guard and Maxwell’s Light Corps.

The Action:
It started out foggy, but by 11 AM, the time of the first battle, the sun was shining and the temperature had quickly risen. At the sound of drums and orders company commanders formed up the brigade and quickly went into battle formation and deployed for battle. As light infantry we moved rapidly, deploying in 2 ranks (lines) as usual, but instead of standing shoulder to shoulder the brigade deployed in extended formation, a full arms length between between soldiers. The purpose of this was to allow the rear rank fo pass between and move ahead of the first rank after it had fired its' volley. While the first rank reloaded in the rear, the second rank fired its' volley. Then when the first rank was finished loading they shouted ready, ran between and moved 3 paces ahead the second rank again, prepared to fire. When pressed by the enemy, the ranks withdrew in reverse, with one rank moving to the rear, twice the distance as it had advanced, to reload as the front rank fired.This maneuver, called advancing by ranks, allowed light infantry to engage a numerically superior opponent with continuous fire, and helped to conserve ammunition. You can see this tactic used in "Last of the Mohicans" (1992), in the scene where Major Duncan Heyward led a squad fighting the French at Fort Monroe. I hoped to have time to discreetly take picture of the action, but I couldn't at the pace we were moving. As expected, the temperature had gotten hot.

By the end of the first battle we were drenched with perspiration.

Tidbit - As safety precaution, the standing order was for everyone to report to battle with a full canteen, and was repeated often. We know from historical accounts that casualties from heat could be significant. At the Battle of Monmouth the Continental Army 69 were killed, and 37 died from heat-stroke.

For the afternoon battle, our company commander decided to deploy through the woods. We were in the shade during most of the action. However, we apparently took a wrong turn and ended up behind enemy lines. Normally, out flanking the enemy is good, but in this historic scenario we were supposed to lose. We had to make a hasty dash, firing on the run, to make it back to our lines before being cut off. We made it back in time for the prearranged rout. the British and German forces were pressing their attack so fast we barely had time to fire by ranks as we withdrew. In a reenactment, though you are not firing live ammunition, you are still using real muskets, firing black power, and its' dangerous to fire them at too close a distance. Fortunately, we were able to maintain an orderly withdrawal and lose with dignity.

Upcoming Events
  • Revolutionary War - Living history program - Wilmington, DE 10/13
  • Reenactment of the Battle of Fort Mercer - Red Bank, NJ 10/14
  • Civil War - Battle at Allentown - Allentown, NJ 10/14
  • Civil War - Cemetery Dedication - Union County 10/20
Check our events calendar for details, updates, and additions.

Jun 7, 2007

Memorial Weekend

The regiment had a full weekend, participating in 4 venues:
the Lawrenceville parade, the Willingboro parade, the Pennington parade, and the Pennington African Cemetery commemoration.

In 1999 The Department of Community affairs awarded Pennington Burrough a $24,000 grant to restore the cemetery where people of African descent have been buried, including Civil War soldiers. The burrough worked with the association, headed by Al Witcher, on plans for the restoration. In 2005 it held a dedication ceremony for the cemetery.

This Memorial Day, d
ignitaries and guest once again assembled to pay respect to those interned in the Pennington African Cemetery. Program participants included the Mayor Anthony Persichilli, Rev. Thomas Hill - pastor Bethel AME church, 1st Sgt Fred Minus - President 6th Regiment Infantry U.S. Colored Troops, Reenactors, Rev Wayne Griffith - pastor First Baptist Church Pennington. Sgt Minus spoke about the military contributions of American Africans and the importance of knowing history .
The ceremony concluded with the reenactor contingent firing a volley salute

Battle of Bordentown

The 1st Rhode Island Regiment mustered a contingent of 12, including 6 cadets, for this event.
This action packed reenactment fielded over 1500 reenactors comprising American British, French and German infantry forces and artillery batteries. The event did not recreate an actual historic battle but was part of Bordentown's 325TH Anniversary celebration.

The 1st RI formed up under the 3rd company on Saturday. Pvt. Ward was selected for detached duty with the light infantry. Scenarios ranged from skirmishes in the woods, and defending a redoubt between companies of the opposing forces, artillery exchanges, and full battalion engagement. During the battle our cadets fielded as a musician, and runners who delivered messages for the officers. As scripted the Americans were victorious. On Sunday we formed up with 2ND company and re-fought the battle, but this time the script called for the Continental Army to lose. Our troops fixed bayonets valiantly charged the Crown forces who met us with a devastating volley.

This was a good opportunity for new cadets who had participated in ceremonies and parades, to see the elephant (battle). A special thanks goes out to the field officers for taking them under their wings and letting them participate. They also got to experience camp life - gathering firewood, cooking, cleaning, and other camp chores.During the event, members of the regiment came to the attention of various members of the media, who came across us in the camp who eagerly photographed and interviewed us. We were also approached by a Mike Kirkpatrick one of the reenactors who retraced Rochambeau's march form Rhode Island to Virginia, filmed us for the documentary. Mike showed us the translated diaries of French soldiers which he is used to retrace the march. He pointed out the comments made by these soldiers who praised the deportment and valor of black soldiers of the historic 1ST Rhode Island.

For more details about the event see Sgt Ward's After Action Report.

Jun 5, 2007

Come have an action packed weekend. Join the 1ST Rhode Island Regiment A Foot and other regiments at the Battle of Bordentown, a re-enactment performance titled being held at the Divine Word Seminary Park,.

Press release:

"...The schedule for the Battle of Bordentown will feature an open camp, where the public can mill around and see how soldiers lived while they were out near the front lines of battle.
There also will be a "History on the Hoof" feature, which will allow spectators to hear music from the 1700s. That will take place in the Sutler area.
At 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, all spectators will be reminded that they must be on the enclosed battle site. Due to the nature of the re-enactment, no one will be permitted on Park Street at that time for safety reasons...."

You can also access this and other HUZZAH!! postings at 6thusct.blogspot.com

CPL Brooks 6thUSCT/1stRhode Island Regiment

May 23, 2007

ONLINE NEWSLETTER Spring 3 5/25/07


  • The Battle of Bound Brook was canceled on acount of the severe flooding that the area sustained. On May Day the regiment split its forces to do living history at the Historic Festival at Washington Crossing State Park and May Day celebration at Cadwalader Park in Trenton. 1ST Sgt Minus and Sgt Algernon Ward presented at Washington Crossing as Revolutionary War soldiers, while Cpl Norman Marcelles led a contigent of cadets in Trenton.
  • Private Leon Brooks represented the regiment at Trenton High Schools annual Taste of Trenton.
  • Fort Pocahontas

The weekend of the 18th regiment mustered 5 troopers and 11 cadets for the 10th Annual Civil War Living History and Reenactment at Fort The historic significance of the battle of Pocahontas Fort Pocahontas is this was the first battle fought by U.S. Colored Troops . See Sgt Wards After Action Report for a detailed description of the event.

Upcoming Events
  • May 26- Lawrenceville Memorial Day Parade
  • May 27 - Third Commemorative To The Black Patriots at the Battle Monument
  • May 28 - Pennington Parade and Commemoration of USCT's buried in the African cemetery
  • June 9, 10 - American Revolution reenactment Reenactment - Battle of Bordentown
See our calendar for more information

Attention to Orders

Above Pvt Leon Brooks received his promotion in the General's formation to the rank of corporal at Fort Pocahontas following the battle reenactment. Sgt Minus cited his accomplishment in recruiting cadets into the regiment.

May 1, 2007

Supplement - Matawan Rededicates Cleaned-up Cemetery

Sunday April 30th, Joe Becton and Earl Weeks, of the 3rd USCT, honored those buried at St. James A.M.E. Zion Church Historic Cemetery in Matawan. They were among Borough historians, members of the community and church goers celebrating the rededication of the site, honoring the 61 people — including at least four Civil War soldiers. Civil War soldiers identified are: William Shemo, Charles Hendrickson, James Riley, and William Jameson
In 1997, the borough entered into an agreement with the church to acquire the cemetery property. Since then, the borough has spent about $20,000 refurbishing the property. It has been cleared of debris, new fencing was installed, trees were trimmed and the Historic Sites Commission purchased a monument for the site.

Pvt. Leon Brooks
Supplement- 2007 Trenton Capital Ball

2nd/Sgt. Byron Childress, 3rd USCT has set up a photo show of pictures from the event. Several members of the 1ST Rhode Island Regiment served at the event as the colors guard, and greeted guests at the Old Barracks Museum as historic interpretors.

Apr 27, 2007

ONLINE NEWSLETTER Spring 2 4/27/07

Bound Brook Canceled
Unfortunately due to the flooding, the annual Battle of Bound Brook reenactment has been canceled due to the flooding. Our thoughts and prayers go to our comrades-in-arms there.

Neshaminy Reenactment

The regiment decided not to attend as a unit. This is the 2nd year that the event has done a 1962 battle. While we like to support the event, the regiment only participates in events in which historic USCT regiments fought (1863-1865). This is disappointing. It is the largest event in the area and a great opportunity for cadets to participate. There is currently discussion among local USCT reenactors about organizing events ourselves to insure that we are not entirely dependent on the decision of others. It is our primary mission to tell the story of USCT. This would be inline with the USCT Symposium's thinking. The plan is for the symposium to sponsor two events a year.

Apr 11, 2007

ONLINE NEWSLETTER Spring 1 4/11/07

  • USCT Symposium
1ST Sgt Fred Minus attended the USCT Symposium in Raleigh-Durham, NC. He said it was a mind blowing experience. Over a hundred of Black re-enactors attended. Sgt Minus participated in the By Laws committee and brought back some interesting material. See Readings On Black Soldiers. The USCT Symposium plans to sponsor two main events a year.

  • Documentary Filming
Members of the 1ST Rhode Island Regiment (1stRI) participated in the filming of a documentary on the role black soldiers at Valley Forge. The documentary will be distributed by the National Park Service through a variety of media formats. The 1RI has done several living history presentations at Valley Forge and will be scheduled to do more through the summer.

Upcoming Events Check 1stRI and 6thUSCT calendars for events

Monument To Blacks Has Backing In Congress

A bill has been submitted to Congress in support of erecting a monument to black solders who fought in the American Revolution. This has been a decades old struggle to get national recognition of the role of the military role of blacks in the fight for independence.

This year the 1St Rhode Island Regiment will hold its' 3RD Commemorative at the Trenton Battle Monument where the first memorial plaque dedicated to black Revolutionary War soldiers was placed three years ago. This plaque was erected by the Sons of the American Revolution of New Jersey, through the efforts of Fred Minus.

Dodd, along with U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced the bill in the Senate. An identical one was introduced in the House of Representatives by U.S. Rep. Donald Payne, D-New Jersey. When lawmakers return from recess, it will be taken up by committees in the Senate. For more information see the Hartford Courant story.

Feb 7, 2007

ONLINE NEWSLETTER Winter Issue 2 2/08/07

Tory Jack Day

Historian Joe Becton will speak on the topic "African Soldiers in the American Revolution" at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 10, at the historic Abraham Staats House, 17 Von Steuben Lane, South Bound Brook.

The event, part of the "Tory Jack Day" program celebrating Black History Month, is sponsored by South Bound Brook Historic Preservation Advisory Commission in conjunction with The Friends of the Abraham Staats House, Inc. and the Women's Guild of South Bound Brook.

Becton, a National Park Service Interpretive Park Ranger, has been recognized with the Community Service award for setting a standard of excellence in interpretation and for his role in connecting Americans to national parks through wonderful stories and varied media.

Members of the First Rhode Island Regiment will act as Honor Guard, providing a musket firing demonstration and will be on hand to answer questions and interact with the public.

This living history reenactment unit portrays members of the First Rhode Island, an American Revolutionary War military unit comprised largely of African American slaves and free blacks, which served from 1778 to 1783.

The unit was commended for its valor during the war.

Following Becton's presentation, the public is invited to tour the historic Abraham Staats House and view an exhibit on slavery and the contributions of blacks to the national heritage, presented by local historian and Women's Guild member, Joyce Smith.

Tours will end at 4 p.m.

Suggested donation for Becton's presentation is $3 per adult (over age 12).

For information and directions, visit: http://www.staatshouse.com or call (732) 356-4789
(original text by Gina Vergel, Home News Tribune Online 01/18/07)

post - Pvt. Leon Brooks

Presentation: Camp William Penn's Warriors for Freedom, United States Colored Troops, at the African American Museum
Saturday, February 17 ~ 1 to 2 p.m.

Members of the 3rd U.S. Colored Infantry perform an interactive living history presentation of the United States Colored Troops. Learn about Infantry and other black soldiers who volunteered to serve in the Civil War, and see a display of Civil War equipment, weapons, uniforms and personal items used by soldiers.
Free with Museum Admission

Jan 8, 2007

ONLINE NEWSLETTER Winter Issue 1 01/07

Attention to Orders
Gyasi Mann is promoted to the rank of Drum Sergeant Major, with all the accompanying duties and priviledges. The promtion was given on the parade grounds of the Old Barracks, during the Battle of Trenton event. Sgt. Mann grew up in the hobby as part of the Old Barracks Fife and Drum Corps. He took on the task of teaching cadets fife and drum. Cadets can learn to be musicians in one or both the American Revolution and Civil War. Currently he is a graduate student at the University of Wisconson.

Regiments Go Into Winter Quarters
Another successful reenactment season closed with the Battles of Trenton. Once again the troops aquitted themselves well. We had a strong showing, with fourteen soldiers and cadets mustering for the event. It's easy to take this for granted, but the reponses we receive show how much of we still are considered a novelty - even within the hobby. We have made a lot of progress. Where we were first met with skepticism and rejection, thanks to support of the Old Barracks, Camp Olden, and many others in the reenactment community, we are now welcomed wherever we go. As living historians there's still a lot of work for us to do tell the story about the military contributions of Africans in America. Our most important task is to provide youths with an opportunity to be a part of this proud local and national heritage. Our cadets travel with us, participating at reenactments, encampments, ceremonies, and parades. Thank you for your continued support.