Tuesday, 14 August 2012

A Blast at Fort Erie

The pun is disgustingly obvious, but the event was a good one. A few glitches here and there, but it wouldn't be a human event if something didn't happen. I'm glad that the "somethings" were not irreparable.

We didn't take too many photos at the event, so I've been gleaning photos from various sources, whom I hope are not offended by my inclusion.

We arrived and set up on Friday afternoon and watched as the Fort Meigs, OH/2nd Artillery crowd unloaded their new 6-pounder. On Saturday morning, the first exercise was the "surrender" of the fort to the US Forces. I sat that out due to a sleepless night. Drill followed later and then came the afternoon battle which was supposed to be Chippewa and Lundy's Lane. Nobody told the Crown forces that the US won at Chippewa and Lundy's Lane was a bloody draw with the US withdrawing to the Fort. Such is life.

One of the "wings" of the US forces in the afternoon. I happen to be at the extreme right in white and a forage cap,
although Andy and I and the rest of the colour party were in the centre of the line.
The US line advancing. Lots of friends here. Paul (Morocco leather sword baldric), Dan (extreme left), Robby
(barely seen just behind Dan), Jeff ( to the right of Paul, glasses, front rank), Ben (in forage cap, behind Jeff)
Steven (green pantaloons, "16" on forage cap), Jonesy (second rank to the right of Steven, white trimmed shako),
Mark (next to the right, in the sergeant's sash, Ed from Erie, PA (far right and to the rear in sergeant's sash.
There are more people I know here as well.     I like this photo.

That same unit gives fire! Mark has moved to the right guide position and Robby is second from the right.

Through the haze of battle and the fog of war, you can see Andy and I serving as colour guards,
on either side of the national colour.

Meanwhile, back at the camp... Carrie and Katie  prepared a wonderful meal for the troops
and our camp - Pork chops, steak, potatoes, sauteed onions, apple crisp, peach pie,
and "smoked" apple pie (too much heat) ... all over a campfire!
As the Pennsylvania Dutch say, "We ate ourselves full."
(Carrie is Mark's wife and Katie is our daughter.)
In the evening's battle which is a reenactment of Drummond's assault in August of 1814, the big event is the explosion of the fort's powder magazine. Professional pyrotechnicians take care of that as well as the small explosions, simulating hits by round shot and even the skipping of the ball. The charges are covered by peat moss, which looks convincing but covers the neighbourhood -and neighbours- in flying crud. Robby went out with the 16th/21st as a skirmisher starting outside the fort. Andy and I provided the infantry guard for the 6-pounder. Since the US was still in possession of the gun by the end of the battle, we succeeded in our mission! The dance opened with the fort's 18-pounder firing a shot, followed by the 6 and the smaller fry (1,2, and 3-pounders). Once the artillery stopped, Andy and I took to the parapet and fired at the British entering the fort. Of course, it poured rain at one point. The wind blew it into our faces, but we kept our powder dry and got off a dozen or so shots. I misfired a few times, but we still enjoyed ourselves.

The 22nd Infantry, the Canadian Volunteers, and the 19th Infantry (with a guest star from the 1st Rifles)
prepare to repel the assault. 

The "lighter" artillery on the curtain wall. There's a huge ditch in front of them which the Crown forces secret
 ladders in order to scale the wall.

Photo: Robby  in the skirmish line at the Fort Erie reenactment 2012... With Dan and Mark.
A favourite photo! Perfect timing!
Robby takes a shot while his file buddy, Dan -looking very earnest and businesslike- waits. Mark,
 as sergeant, waits behind them. Dan and Mark are part of Treat's Company of the 21st Infantry
and wear the marks of that elite unit - the red-over-white hackle and the double chevrons on the arm.
Mark's rank is shown by two white epaulettes and a crimson/red sash.

Seige of Fort Erie Reenactment 2012
 The Magazine goes up!
This photo is a few years old, but this year's blast was impressive as well.
As I said, we didn't take many photos ourselves this time; We were having too much fun!

On Sunday, there was a morning battle before the American withdrawal from the fort. There was some excitement when a soldier's musket cracked when he fired it. He was taken to hospital, but I don't have any more information. In the evening battle, a few of Caldwell's Rangers stepped into a wasp's nest and the entire unit suffered at least one sting. I was stung by a yellow jacket myself in an epic struggle over the garbage bag in our camp. My knee acted up so I stayed in camp on Sunday, meeting and greeting visitors and answering questions from visitors from Chicago, Texas, and Germany among other places.

Next, the encampment at Port Stanley this weekend, Backus Mills in September, and Queenston Heights in October. Also upcoming while I'm on holiday, at least one game!