Monday, 21 May 2012

How I Spent My Two-Four Weekend

On Saturday, May 19, my family and I were invited to participate in the events at Westfield Heritage Village, which is just south of Cambridge, ON. The village was hosting an event for the Victoria Day weekend (called "the Two-Four" in this part of Canada) and we were invited to join the US 21st Infantry as part of the War of 1812 reenactment there. The day was hot and dry and we went for the afternoon. (Sunday mornings, I work.)

The reenactment was a small one; three units on the US side - 21st and 22nd Infantry, and a unit of the Canadian Volunteers - Canadians who fought for the US in the Niagara area. The Crown forces were more numerous, of course, but the US "won" on Sunday and the Crown forces were to win on Monday. (It's all "scripted" anyway.) Rob and I took the field while Beth and Katie, in full Regency finery, took pictures and took in the sights.

I ended up playing a supporting role by seeing to it the gates to the fighting area were closed behind the troops. Since the 21st serves as light infantry and I don't move so fast, it was for the best. I also assisted a "wounded man" off the field. There were a lot of misfires for whatever reason and I attempted to help that by napping the flit on one man's musket. By the end, I had joined the 21st, fired a few shots, and watched the surrender of the day to the Republic's forces. We joined in the post-battle fellowship, ate a picnic dinner, and went home, quite satisfied. We also got to know some of the native/First Nations reenactors better. (I never knew that a beaver pelt was that soft!)

Here are a few photos:

The Crown officers confer.

The approach of the defending forces.

The native allies brief one of the Militia officers.

The opposing forces gingerly approach one another. The grey jackets are the US 21st Infantry.

The forces of the Crown open fire on the 21st as they take cover behind a rail fence.
The mid-blue fatigue cap next to the rail is on top of my son's head.

A good tele-photo view of the skirmishers.

Here I am, in summer uniform, assisting the 'wounded' and napping the man's musket flint.

Robby stands in the firing line, while I await a place to join in. Lt. Watson, our gracious host, stands to my left.
The Crown forces begin their withdrawal.

The 21st advances in skirmish order to the fence line.

Our captain orders us to remain vigilant... should there be any tricks. Robby seems to be hanging on his every word.

Our officers go to meet with the Crown officers to offer them terms.
Paul Watson is in a black coatee (not blue!) with the red-over-white hackel of the 21st.
They liked the black uniforms and the hackel denoted an elite unit.
Salutes are exchanged and terms given and accepted. "No more work today, boys!"

The Canadian Volunteer were then allowed to "loot the fallen." I suppose it made them look more sinister to the crowd.
Lt. Edwards, in his new top hat and his mighty sword, does some looting of his own.

the 22nd leaves the field victorious.

The 21st forms up to march off. The man in green on the far left of the line from this perspective was a "guide", a reenator of the British Indian Department who was all alone and was added to the US side to make it a bit more even. I was off opening the back gate... which wasn't used anyway. Meanwhile, Rob grins like a loon.
Kate found the sheep facinating. They were put in the barn with delicious greens to eat to keep them from getting spooked by the musket fire. My white jacket is delightful in the hotter weather.

My lovely wife in her Regency dress - sewn by her hand. The bonnet was an
interesting story in itself... best told at another time.
 It was a good way to spend part of the two-four weekend. A nice little event with good people.


  1. Hmmm. I posted more photos than showed up. It might be a conspiracy!

  2. That looks like it was great fun. Nice to see some First Nations troops represented. Is that the same Westfield Village that is near African Lion Safari? I did some ACW reenactment there in the late 1990s. Lovely place.

    1. Same place, Padre. There were some folks there in ACW civilian garb... especially the steam train crew!

    2. It's a lovely place. Have they made any progress getting that locomotive working? Two favourite memories: lying awake at night in my bedroll along a fence and seeing the northern lights, quite unusual for SE Ontario, and getting lost during a skirmish in the woods and hearing the lions roaring from the Safari place - rather unnerving!

    3. Well, I heard the train whistle and saw the engineer, fireman, and conductor, but I didn't see any movement. Kids were all over the cab of the locomotive.
      Northern Lights! I'd love to see them again. We all saw them one Halloween night in Pennsylvania. Now THAT was a rare night.
      The big cats would be un-nerving, for sure!

  3. Well they're nice pics anyway!!!

    1. Thanks, Ray! My wife and daughter do great work with a camara.