Dec 29, 2008
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
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.
Dec 22, 2008
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.
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.
Dec 4, 2008
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 (http://www.firstrhodeisland.org/) 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.