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.