Dec 29, 2008

Featured Patriots' Week Event - Ned Hector Dramatization

Professional historical interpreter Noah Lewis renders a lively and informative dramatization of a black New Jersey colonial soldier and hero, Ned Hector. Audience participation made it a fun time for all. In this photo he is instructing his newly recruited audience volunteers in the fine points of manning an artillery battery which was one of the positions the historic Ned Hector held in the Continental Army. See more of the action on our website or check the schedule of events and join the celebration.

Dec 28, 2008

Patriots' Week In Trenton

Reenactors at the Old Barracks for the

Battle of Trenton

see more

uploaded by leonbrooks

Rehersal for the 2007 Crossing

Rehersal for the 2007 Crossing

see more

uploaded by leonbrooks

At 1 PM, the reenactment of Washington's Crossing of the Delaware kicked off the events for Patriots' Week held in Trenton New, Jersey, beginning Dec. 26th to Dec. 31st. Like many Revolutionary War reenactors I've been running ever since between holiday family obligations and the events. Yesterday's Patriots' Week events were an unqualified success. Participant and audience attendance were great. This year there was a larger than usual turn out among the Crown forces that showed up for the Battles of Trenton, which is good because it makes the event more dramatic for the audience. The crowd attending the battle was enthusiastic and cooperative. The audience's cooperation is very important. Sometimes, not realizing the danger, a spectator steps into the line of fire to try to get a picture, or cross the street. Though the reenactors fire blanks, the percussive power of the guns' discharge is dangerous. Last year there were a number of complaints from reenactors about this problem.

The presentation by the Marbleheaders was packed. The presenters are members of the 14th Continental, Glover's Regiment. They portray the historic regiment from Marblehead Massachusetts, composed of watermen, sailors turned soldiers, who ferried Washington's forces across water ways between New York, Pennsylvannia, and Delaware, as he fought the British. This regiment holds particular significance to those interested in the contributions of Africans and peoples of color, which are still underepresented in education and the media. It was the most integrated regiment of the continental Army, with men of African descent comprising twenty-five percent of the ranks. After the American revolution the U.S. Army would be segregated until President Truman's executive order to integrate it.

Tags: | | |

Dec 22, 2008

Patriots Week Edition

Picture of Al Ward as MarbleheaderRevolutionary Flava
The Patriots' Week celebration starts this week in Trenton New Jersey. Throughout the week activities commemorate the Revolutionary birth of our nation. Members of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, and other minority historical interpreters, and researchers participate, and bring enriching diversity to the celebration.

Events of Note
Friday, the 26th, 11:30 to 12:30, Old Barracks Court Yard. The Public Reading of "The American Crisis". Our members and other re-enactors circulate among the attendees, portraying civilians and soldiers, and interpret the reaction of blacks of that period to Thomas Paines essay.

Christmas Day. 1PM. Washington Crossing Historic Park.Re-enactment of Washington crossing of the Delaware. A contingent of our members participate in this event to represent the black sailor/soldiers who crossed with Washington. Among his most experienced troops, they fought in the vanguard on the attack on Trenton.

Saturday, the 27th, 11 to12, beginning at the Battle Monument. The First Battle of Trenton. The regiment's men-at-arms and cadets will combine with other re-enactment groups, to form up as Glover's Regiment, the Marbleheaders, which was composed of seafarers. Many were men of color, freemen and slaves.

Saturday the 27th, 3 to 4, Mill Hill Park. The Second Battle of Trenton. We'll be part of the New England forces as the Rhode Island Regiment.

Sunday, the 28th, 2:30 to 3:30, at the New Jersey State Museum. Olivia Carpenter, of the Department of the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, will present the a facinating look at the circumstances of black soldiers pursuing in freedom battle and in the War's aftermath. She will draw on artifacts and depictions included in the "Oh Freedom!" exhibit on display at the museum.

Monday, the 29th, 4 to 5, at the 1719 William Trent House. Historical interpreter Noah Lewis gives a dramatic portrayal of Ned Hector, a black colonial patriot who fought in the Battle of Brandywine and Germantown.

Wednesday, the 31st, at the Masonic Temple. Fred Minus, the regiments president and part of the Old Barracks Museum eduational staff, will discuss the role of blacks in the American Revolution.

Over the years the 1st Rhode Island and Trenton Old Barracks have sent interested African-American kids to Musicians Camp, held at the Barracks. Some have gone on to join the Fife & Drums of the Old Barracks. The Fife & Drums can be seen in concert Sunday the 28th, 12 to 1 and Wednesday from 1 to 2, at the Masonic Temple.

I'll be posting to this blog and streaming vidio clips to the 6th USCT websites event page from activities that I'm able to attend.

Leon Brooks

Inaugural Parade Update
The 6th regiment USCT's application to march in the parade was rejected by the Presidential Inaugeral Committee. No reason was specified for the rejction of the 6th's application, but the PIC indicated that they were inundated by applications. We were hoping to brigade with the Sons of Union Veterans (SVU). They have the resources, and logistical know how to mobilize such a large group, about 700. Unfortunately, their application was also rejected.

Leon Brooks

Dec 4, 2008


Press Release

Great Bridge Park will be the scene of an important recreation of history this weekend. For the first time in 233 years, African Americans will recreate their participation in the second land battle of the Revolutionary War. In 1775, Lord Dunmore, the Governor of Virginia offered freedom to slaves that would and join him. Within a month, over 800 had done so, including 30 of George Washington’s slaves. Dunmore called his black troops the Ethiopian Regiment During the Battle of Great Bridge, December 9, 1775, the white troops were repulsed, and the African American troops covered their retreat. Members of the First Rhode Island Regiment ( will portray Dunmore’s Ethiopians. “Dunmore’s Ethiopians were an important part of African American history. Because of them, George Washington was forced to change his mind about African American combat troops.” said Algernon Ward, of Trenton, New Jersey, who drove all the way to Virginia just for the event.

The Reenactment will be held on Saturday December 7th and Sunday December 8, 2008, Great Bridge Lock Park in Chesapeake. Great Bridge Lock Park is just off of Battlefield Blvd. near the bridge. Camps are open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4. p.m., with a recreated battle each day at 1.00. The event features Revolutionary War encampments, firing demonstrations, character portrayals, camp life, historical displays and lectures, skilled artisans demonstrating early American trades, and children’s crafts and activities. Admission is FREE, and both battles are narrated.

The reenactment commemorates two of the early battles of the Revolutionary War. In November of 1775, the British raided the patriot supply depot at Kemp’s Landing (modern Kempsville), dispersing three companies of patriots. The British used this victory to rally the local population to the British cause, and to establish a Fort Murray at Great Bridge to stop patriot reinforcements from North Carolina. On December 6, 1775, the North Carolina patriots arrived to help the Virginians, who had built their own fort at the other end of the bridge. The British decided to attack the patriots across the bridge, only to be defeated. The defeat led to the British leaving the colony, allowing Virginia to sell her tobacco crops to finance the Revolution.

Throughout each day, His Majesty’s Marines and Dunmore’s Ethiopians will be available for questions, and will be giving seminars about camp cooking, Revolutionary War clothing, and musket demonstrations. Before each battle, Lord Dunmore, Royal Governor of Virginia, will attempt to persuade the public of the justness of His Majesty’s cause, to rally support for it, and will try to get the public to take a loyalty oath to the King.


Tags: | | |

Nov 23, 2008

The Huzzah!! Fall'08

Inauguration Parade
The Sons of Union Veterans and the U.S. Volunteers have contacted U.S.Colored Troops units about participation in the Presidential Inaugural Parade. November 5th was the deadline for units to submit applications to participate to the Armed Forces Inaugural Committee. A lot of planning still needs to be done around staging and transportation logistics. As a whole, a Civil War impression a consisting of a full brigade of period Infantry, horse drawn Artillery and Cavalry is being requested, planned for, and sought.

Event Attendance
It's was a very busy fall.The demand for our participation has been encouraging. The Regiment has had to resort to sending contingents to attend different events scheduled on the same day, or supplementing our numbers with the 3rd and 22nd USCT to have a good showing. Sometimes a Civil War and Revolutionary War events are scheduled for the same day, so we split the group according to who participates in the respective periods. Most of our re-enactors in Rev War come from the USCT regiments to form up as the 1st Rhode Island Regiment. A list of our fall activities can is at our website with links to video clips or pictures.

Featured Re-enactor
The unvailing of the Oh Freedom! , an exhibit about African-Americans during the American Revolution and its aftermath was a moving and inspiratioal event. A highlight of the event was the perfomance of Fred Minus, who portrayed Negro Prime whose manumission by the New Jersey legislature (Act 70, "
An Act for setting free Negro Prime") on November 21, 1786, was celebrated by the event.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Nov 19, 2008

Oh Freedom! Blacks on the Battlefront and in the Aftermath of the American Revolutionary War in New Jersey

Oh Freedom!  Blacks on the Battlefront and in the Aftermath of the American Revolutionary War in New Jersey

On Friday November 21st,the traveling exhibit, Oh Freedom! Blacks on the Battlefront and in the Aftermath of the American Revolutionary War in New Jersey will be unveiled!

This unique exhibit is the culmination of nearly five years of research into the role that African Americans played in the many battles that happened in New Jersey. The unveiling will be at 11:30 AM At the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton, NJ

The date commemorates the signing of An Act for Setting Free Negro Prime by the New Jersey Legislature on November 21, 1786. He was a runaway slave who escaped from his loyalist owner and joined the American army. He petitioned for his freedom after the War.

State Archives will display the actual petition for Negro Prime's

Tags: | | | |

Nov 15, 2008

250 Year Anniversary Celebration The Occupation of the British Occupation in Trenton.

This weekend the Old Barracks Museum is celebrating the building and occupation of the Old Barracks in Trenton New Jersey, during the French and Indian War. Members of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment reenactors will participate to represent the African-American presence during this period. Periodically live video clips of the event will be shown at the 1stRI's sister regiment's site

Oct 14, 2008

The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site Grand Opening

Normally we only follow events and news related early Black military history, but this is a very significant development.  Having met some of the surviving Tuskegee Airmen in New Jersey, I know this is a proud moment all can appreciate.

Copyright 2008 WSFA

Submitted by: Cpl. Leon Brooks 6th USCT/1st Rhode Island Regiments.

Oct 8, 2008

Resource for Educators

Use Living History In Your Content.

Bring the living history experience to your classroom. Experienced reenactors of the 6th USCT and 1st Rhode Island Regiments can provide living history presentations relevant to all subjects told from historical context. Examples: Science - reenactors can demonstrate the principle of rapid combustion through a presentation on black powder; Domestic science - recipies and food preservation in colonial times; Health - the treatment of disease and wounds during the Civil War.

Take advantage of local events. Give students opportunities to earn extra credit by attending and reporting on living history events and reenactments. Upcoming Events:

Allentown Civil War Encampment. Oct. 11th and 12th

Check our calendar to for information on ths and other events.

Educators looking for resources on African Americans Soldiers in the American Revolution may find EBSCOHOST, an electronic resource to which most school systems and libraries subscribe, helpful. A search on its Student Research Center module yielded the following articles. An advantage to having students use using a bibliographic resource like EBSCOHOST over generic internet search engines like Google is that you have control the quality of the sources and content. To view the full text, logon to EBSCOHOST. If you need help accessing or using EBSCOHOST check with your library media specialist or public librarian.

Citations and Abstracts (generated by search)

  1. REVOLUTIONARY WAR. BLACFAX, Summer2001, Vol. 9 Issue 39, p6, 2p, 1 bw; Reading Level (Lexile): 1010AN 5129558
  • Focuses on the involvement of Afro-Americans in the Revolutionary War in the United States. Roles that Afro-Americans were assigned during the war; Significance of the way names appear in lists of Blacks who served during the Revolution; Examples of some famous people who were on such lists; Evidence that most of the Blacks listed came from New England or the Northeast.
    1. They fought for freedom. By: Fleming, T.. Boys' Life, Feb1992, Vol. 82 Issue 2, p6, 1p, 1 illustration; Reading Level (Lexile): 800AN 9202174155
    • Examines the role of Americans of African descent in the American
      Revolution. Some slaves were given their freedom if they agreed to
      fight; Description of some of the battles they fought in; Their example
      in the Revolution helped persuade President Lincoln to enlist blacks in
      the Civil War.
    1. Unknown heroes of the Revolution. By: Kageleiry, James; Schultz, Christine. Yankee, Apr93, Vol. 57 Issue 4, p67, 1/3p, 1 colorAN 9304070344
    • Reports on America's first all-black military unit, the Bucks of
      America, which served in the American Revolution. Organized by Colonel
      George Middleton of Boston; Unit's silk flag presented to the
      Massachusetts Historical Society by John Hancock; More.

    Student Research Center - powered by EBSCOhost: Articles Folder

  • --
    6th Regiment Infantry U.S.Colored Troops

    Sep 30, 2008

    The Battle of Germantown Reenactment

    See the Battle of Germantown Reeenactment Saturday, Oct 4th in Philadelphia

    Come meet us, the members of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment

    Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

    Sep 21, 2008

    Double Duty Weekend

    1st Sgt Fred Minus and Cpl Leon Brooks participated in two weekend events. The first was Connecticut 29th Civil War Regiment Monument Dedication Ceremony.

    Two members of the 3rd USCT out of Philadelphia came up with us to celebrate and remember the heroism of the 29th Connecticut Colored Regiment C.V. Infantry. Contingents of reenactment groups attended from as far away as Atlanta. The USCT's combined regiments to form up as the 54th Massachusetts. Also, contingents of the Irish 9th Regiment, the 9th Mass., and the 9th & 10th Calvary Association/10th Calvary Buffalo Soldiers were represented. Individual reenactors also portrayed historical figures at the festivities. The event was held in Criscoulo Park, New Haven Connecticut, the historic regiment's original encampment site. It is the culmination of a ten year herculean effort by The Descendants of the 29th Colored Voluntary Infantry Regiment, Inc.

    It was well publicized and well attended. Various state and local notables spoke, and the assembly was treated to a musical selection by Varrick Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church. of Comedian and activist Dick Gregory gave the key notes speech. The Monument is by renowned sculptor Ed Hamilton. To find out more about the 29th and the event, visit the website .

    More Photos

    Last weekend was also Raising Day — 250th Anniversary of the Trenton Barracks Rafters Raising in 1758. Colonial craftsman used authentic hand tools to build exact full-size replicas of the original rafters as you watched. There was a debate in the 18th century among Trentonians for and against building a barracks in Trenton. Visitors at the event could participate in the reenactment by signing with a quill pen on the petition to the Colonial Legislature if you are a supporter.

    Colonial merchants sold authentic replica products, and colonial musicians played music.

    Fresh bread was baked in the colonial clay oven, and period dishes and beverages were served.

    Archeologists Richard Hunter and Ian Burrow of Hunter Research gave lectures on and tours of the ongoing archeological dig behind the barracks where artifacts have been excavated from the 1735 Trenton steel plating mill. There is also a paper mill and other structures being unearthed.

    Because of our trip to New Haven, we didn't arrive until the second day. Fred Minus, who is on the Old Barracks staff prepared the oven for baking. As a regiment we usually only do Rev War and Civil War interpretations, but the Old Barracks 250th Year Celebration gives us the opportunity to portray African-Americans in the French and Indian War.

    More Photos

    Cpl Leon Brooks - 6th USCT

    Aug 27, 2008


    The Battle of Monmouth was huge. There were about two thousand reenactors in attendance. We had several members participating but no cadets this time.

    Sgt Minus and Corporal Brooks did living history for the Cub Scouts at Pine Hill Scout Reservation.

    The regiment sponsored two youths this year for the Old Barracks Summer Day Camp. The plan was also to send cadets to musician's camp to learn fife and drum. We sent three last year, however not enough youth signed up to hold the camp this year. A sign of the times.

    The campers demonstrated the drills, displayed items they crafted, and sang songs that they learned before parents and friends at the end of camp ceremonies, and received various awards.

    It was very gratifying to see Darrien, one of our cadets, serving as voluntary camp staff. We sponsored him a couple of summers ago for the musician's camp and now he is a corporal in the Fifes & Drums of the Old Barracks.

    The First Rhode Island went to Valley Forge National Historic Park to film a documentary, "We Were Here", a documentary about black patriots who were at Valley Forge. Each member did an interpreted a soldier documented to have been there historically. The filmers also documented their reasons for doing living history, and their views about being a black soldier during the American Revolution.

    Pictures were taken at to the monuments to African-American Soldiers and the Rhode Island Regiments, and visited the encampments and fortification built by the historic regiments.

    Valley Forge Photos by

    1st Rhode Island Regiment participated troops and cadets participated in the Battle of Brandywine Reenactment.

    Aug 6, 2008

    Pine Hill Living History Event

    Pine Hill Cub Scout Day

    August 1st, Sgt Minus and Cpl Leon Brooks visited the Pine Hill Scout Reservation to do living history for Cub Scouts. 1st Sgt Minus did a Civil War presentation and Cpl Brooks did Revolutionary War.

    Two exhibits were set up, one for Rev War and one for Civil War, which included poster boards and artifacts. There were other stations as well as ours. The event staff scheduled the order in which the dens visited them. Each presentation was to go for 25 minutes.

    Unfailingly, I received the usual questions from the kids, who wanted to know if I fought in the war and if I shot anyone. A twenty-five minute presentation is a long time for this age, so my presentation was mostly show and tell, explaining the uniform and the uses of different artifacts in the exhibit. This time I had a volunteer in each den serve as a model who put on the the parts of a 1st Rhode Island uniform as I explained them, the finally being them holding a musket, and exclaiming: "He is now dressed to kill!" This held their attention and gave me a chance to tell them about the 1st RI and blacks in the Rev War. I demonstrated how a flintlock musket works, and I let everyone have a chance to hold the musket. I played a recording of fife and drum music and explained how in those days boys their age served as fifers or drummers in the army. Then I had them form up in ranks and briefly drill. At the end of the presentation they were sworn into the 1st Rhode Island of Foot of the Continental Army.

    Cpl Leon Brooks

    Jul 16, 2008

    reproduction Napoleon cannon
    Battle of the Crater

    We are for the most part, in barracks the rest of the summer, but that doesn't mean there aren't any events. The National Park Service will commemorate the Battle of the Crater at Petersburg National Battlefield. If you're in Virginia during your summer travels you may want to check out this event. The historic 6th Infantry Regiment served with distinction in the Petersburg Campaign, winning 2 Medal of Honors.

    Jun 21, 2008

    Sgt Fred Minus inspects Brown Bess muskets before the battle - making adjustments, replacing flint as needed.

    picture - Sgt. Minus checking weapon

    The 1st Rhode Island, interspersed with other regiments, forms up in battle lines to make up the battalion consisting of regulars, light infantry, and militia. Battle formation consists of two lines, a front rank and a rear rank .A pair of soldiers, the one in front, the other in the rear, make up a file. Several files, today from 6 to 8 make up a section or squad. Today 4 squads made up a company. Today our battalion consisted of 2 companies. Firing and marching orders can be directed to any of these components. The artillery units are already in place on the field. Reenactors drill to be able to maneuver in formation to accurately portray 18th century battle tactics.

    Historic accounts from observers of the time commented how the black troops of the 1st Rhode Island were the best drilled most skillful fighters. They won the admiration of their French allies who who provided them with their cast off uniforms.

    picture - Battle formation

    Marching in 2 columns by files, the battalion heads through the woods to the battle field. The shade is welcome.

    picture -battalion on the march

    Jun 11, 2008


    Do these guys look familiar. No, this is not a commercial. They're the Scottish Highlanders - part of the British hoard that show up for the reenactment of the Battle of Monmouth fought in 1778. As the date indicates, this is a big year - the 230Th Anniversary. So we're excited. Historically, soldiers in the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, were assigned to Captain Arnold's detachment and fought in this battle on June 28Th, 1778.

    The Continentals
    The good guys on the march - The Continental Army

    Highlanders in actionDate: JUNE 21St and 22Nd, 2008

    Saturday: 10am - 5pm
    10am - 3pm

    Fee: None, - $8.00 donation per car requested

    1st Rhode Island Photos at the Visitors Center

    The 1st RI did a photo shoot this spring at the positions in the battlefield from which the historic regiment fought. See them at the visitors center.


    Send us your request to attend this event

    Jun 8, 2008

    Fighting For My Freedom.
    The Old Barracks Museum sponsors living history outreach programs for the public. Among the programs featured is 'Fighting for My Freedom', the story of African American Soldiers and their quest for personal and national freedom during the American Revolution. The presenter, Mr. Fred Minus of the Old Barracks and 1ST Rhode Island Regiment, is an expert on the role of African American Soldier. He gives a rousing and often poignant account of their their experiences. Rarely told, the story of Black Soldiers in the American Revolution reveals how these freedom fighters played a crucial role in the American victory. To book this stirring presentation to your venue contact the the Old Barracks Museum.

    • Phone: 609-396-1776
    • Email:
    • Fax: 609-777-4000
    Zemanta Pixie