Sunday, 21 July 2013

Reenacting in the hot summer of 2013

This past week was beastly hot here in Southwestern Ontario. With the heat and the humidity, the temperatures felt like the mid-40's. (For the Fahrenheit world, "normal" human body temperature is 37°C.) It poured rain on Friday evening and the temperature was more tolerable on Saturday when the entire family went to the Cambridge (Ontario) Highland Games for a small display and reenactment. The British Indian Department called us in to have "someone to shoot at." Rob and I were glad to supply the bluecoats for this purpose, although I wore my white summer roundabout.
In the afternoon skirmish, Some of the BID joined Rob and I as "Americans",
including Colin (far right) who had worked out a "hand-to-hand" scenario
with his brother, who portrays a Mohawk warrior. You'll see more later.
At noon, we marched on the parade field to lead in the Clans. Two pipers of the Canadian Royal Highland Fusiliers piped us in. The national anthems of Canada, the US, and Scotland were sung as we presented arms and we marched off to make way for the massed bands - always an amazing sound. In 'camp', we answered questions and were "on display" as it were.
In the afternoon, the skirmish took  place. A few of the BID switched sides to make it a bit more even. I served as "sergeant" of sorts and we "Yanks" took the field as a combat patrol. We were anbushed by the BID and one member of the 104th Foot (New Brunswick Regiment) - our friend Raiffe in his red coatee. We exchanged 8-10 shots. Two of us dropped, wounded or dead - including myself. Colin and Aaron attacked each other with foam tomahawks and knives. (They're both experienced stunt men with lots of staged combat under their belts... or loinclothes as you prefer.) Aaron won and came over to slit my throat... again. I told him he at least should buy me dinner first! After the command was given "The dead shall rise!", we all formed up fired a volley, presented arms to the crowd and answered questions. 
I always enjoy hearing the sound of the pipe bands and there were some good ones there. I counted at least 8 bands from around the area and at least one from the US. There were dancers galore and some vendors although little caught our collective eye, except for lemonade! Beth got a t-shirt that fit her heritage very well. All in all, a small event for us, but fun and a good time helping out some other reenactors.
Now more photos!
Captain Roy and his BID men with White Turtle (Aaron in warpaint) behind. The British Indian Department were British officers and translators who served as liason to the First Nations war parties. In our reenactments, they serve as skirmishers alongside some First Nations warriors. Their counterpart on the other side could be the U.S.Rangers, who served in the western territories which would now be Indiana, Illinois, and other states of the Louisana Purchase.

The American force returns fire. Yes. I draw fire by standing in my white jacket, but you can wear wool in 33°C weather and kneel in your arthrutis. Be my guest!

Rob loads on the run.

Your humble author takes aim. I am forever grateful to my wife for  making that white jacket for me. It was supposed to be summer wear for the US Army when south of the Potomac River, but it was issued to many regiments as a recruit uniform. We reenact the 17th Infantry who wore this jacket during the winter of 1813 at Fort Meigs, Ohio until the uniforms were reduced to rags. The local ladies then ran up white linen hunting shirts for the outfit.

The Crown forces firing line, including Raiffe in his red. Aaron stalks his brother in the brush.

Y'know, White Turtle/Aaron... I don't have that much hair to lose anymore. Except maybe the beard.

Captain Roy says "Make ready!... Present!... Fire!"
My son and daughter want to steal his cocked had and add green tissue paper
... so it'll look more like a taco!

Company volley!

Ready to march off... with the Regulars of the US and Crown forces bringing up the rear.
Note the blunderbuss the first BID man is armed with. Wow!

Meanwhile, back in camp... Captain Spaulding ("the African explorer?... No! The BID's apothacary-surgeon) shows the tools of this trade.

The combined reenactors lead the Clans onto the parade ground. Rob is visible 'way in the back, dead centre.
Over the next few weeks, there will be more reenactments, leading up to the Big Show at Fort Erie. We're registered... Are you?


  1. Except for the last photo, All photography courtesy of my wife, Beth.

  2. Excuse my ignorance, but would this be in Erie, PA. If so could you give me a date for the reenactment. I have been to a Civil War reenactment, a Mexican war living history program, Vietnam living history program and WWII living history program. I forgot, a living history program of the Whiskey Rebellion in Western PA. For a chemistry major and teacher, I have always had a soft spot for history.

  3. Herman, Sorry to confuse you. "Erie" refers to Fort Erie, Ontario, just across the river from Buffalo, NY. It's a huge reenactment of the bloodiest seige of the War of 1812. Last year, there were over 500 uniformed reenactors present. There will probably be more this year. Next year (2014)will the 200th anniversary and it will be bigger yet. The event is August 9, 10,& 11 this year. Should you make it there, look us up in the US camp. (17th Infantry and the cook tent.)

    1. Thanks, unfortunately our community band has a gig that weekend at a historical society in PA. Maybe next year. I might keep my eyes open for the one they have in Ligonier, PA. This is French and Indian war reenactment.