Tuesday, 12 May 2015

The Season Begins... at Longwoods

The War of 1812 reenacting season has begun in Southwestern Ontario. The first event is the Battle of Longwoods and this year was no different. This took place two weekends ago, but things got busy between then and now and I didn't get things blogged.
We (Beth, Katie, and I) went out and set up camp on Friday evening. We saw some old friends and went on a beer run for one of our officers. We came back Saturday and participated fully, even making chili for dinner in a Dutch oven over an open fire. (Not really 1812-vintage food but it was good.) Kevin, Tina, Kevin's children, Lyle, and Andrew were all present.  I had Sunday off and we came back early on Sunday morning. Sad to say, I wasn't feeling very well so I didn't participate in the afternoon battle and stayed in camp.
The Crown forces were well represented but the US forces were meagre and had to be reinforced both days with the British Indian Department/US Rangers and a contingent of the 41st Foot in white barracks jackets on Saturday and scrounged blue coats on Sunday.

Credit where credit is due - The photos used in this blog are courtesy of Deb Lewis Brown, Laughing Devil Photography (You'll see the watermark), and my wife, Beth.

Inspection and drill under the watchful eye of  Major Fitzgerald.

Preparing to march on Saturday... with the help of the 41st Foot in their barracks jackets.
Major Land is on the watch to the right of the photo.

Kevin's children take care of the fire. Hot water for tea and musket cleaning.

Tina and Katie in camp under the awning.
We attempt to make our camp as authentic as possible with the understanding that soldiers in the field didn't have
the luxuries we have - like sugar, bagged tea, and a flat place to set up camp.

Kevin and his son engage the public, demonstrating the musket. (Kevin's son has a "Quaker musket", an non-working replica.)

I'm in the back. This was Sunday, and I'm a bit under the weather.
The command is "Prime and load!" as the American troops engage in the firefight. I'm on the far left of the photo, dressed in my sergeant's gear. I defered to Sergeant Dan from Fort Meigs and Corporal Big Jim from Ohio, both of whom are far more experience than I. They're the two guys right in front of me in the firing line.

Here we shaken out into a single line, to cover more space. As I said, the turnout of troops in US kit was small.


Major Land and Major Edwards keep up commands and a hot fire.
Major Edwards helps keep us supplied in equipment and we bring him beer. He's also the best tailored officer on the field.

The First Nations warband - who served on the American side in this battle.
They took the left flank and wiped out the Glengarry Light Infantry!

American artillery manned by sailors.

Crown artillery manned by other sailors.

The British line returns fire. Looks like a nice volley.

An officer and sergeant of the Royal Scots Grenadier company appear to be wounded and leave the field.
Although the Crown sergeant reenactors of the line companies usually carry the spontoon, there is evidence that muskets were carried instead in North America. The long spontoon is cumbersome in rough ground and woods.

Another view of the Crown musketry... with the spectators in the background.

Skirmishers from the Kentucky Rifles.

Our good friend, Captain Roy, who is in charge of the British Indian Department (wearing a red coat)
or the US Rangers (as you see him here.)

The US line relaxes. There's a mix of 1812 felt and 1813 leather "tombstone" shakos as well as fatigue caps. The officer on the far right, being British is in the felt shako of the British troops.

The Sunday afternoon muster. Colonel Trumbel prepares to lead the toops out. Major Fitzgerald in the long brown coat looks the Rangers over. Major Land, on the far left, shows Matthew, the US runner who's who. That's me there in the white vest and trousers and the fatigue cap.

The Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles. This is a famous Canadian unit of Fencible infantry (regular troops recruited in Canada for Canadian service) reenacted in a top-notch way by these guys. That's their bugler on the far right.

Many Strings, the First Nations' "chief" and a good friend, talks to member of the BID (left) and Caldwell's Rangers (right).

Major Edwards reforms the line on Sunday.
Behind him are members of the reenacted 41st Foot who got US kit together over night

The Royal Scots Light Company's musician.

The Crown sergeant major gives a command to the outgoing parade.

Merchants' Row - Selling the very best of 19th Century goods... and superior lemonade and cookies!

Matthew gets further information from Major Land while the Colonel waits for everything to be in line.

These two little guys "ambushed" me on my way back from Saturday's battle.
I took a lot of fire from them, but I escaped unharmed.

The Crown surrenders the field (this time) and offers a truce at the end of the battle. 

The US regulars parade out. Kevin and Lyle are the closest guys to the camera.
So the season begins. This weekend is an odd event - "The Road to Culloden" held a the Backus Page House in Wallacetown, ON. It is a reenactment of the 1745 Jacobite rebellion. A few of us are going out as government troops. The other fellows have French & Indian War kit, perfect for the period. I make due with some scruffy militia gear. I'm looking forward to telling you about it.

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