Monday, 1 August 2016

Backus Page Timeline 2016

The Backus Page House Museum in Wallacetown, ON, is a grand little museum, dedicated to the story of agriculture in Ontario at the time of Confederation. (ca. 1867 for those not in the know.) The board has decided in the past few years to branch out. For the past two years, the museum has offered weekends dedicated to the Jacobite wars, with an emphasis on Culloden and on a "time-line" event for Canadian military history 1757-1957. (The French-and-Indian Wars through World War II) We recently finished the second year of timeline in what had to be one of the hottest weekends I've experienced since moving from Texas almost 30 years ago. This happened on the weekend of July 23-24.

This blog will be heavy on the photos since they are quite interesting. I thank all those who supplied so many of the photos and if I inadvertently leave any one out, I apologize. The photos are courtesy of Steve Zronick, Linda Lee, John Stephens, and the Museum staff.

Our 1812 encampment with wedge tents, a wall tent for the sergeant, and a fly to keep the sun off of us.

A view of some of the uniformed participants at the morning parade on Saturday.
1812 Provincial Marine, First Nations warrior, ACW, Fenian Raids, Canadian Contingent - Boer War, WWI, and WWII.

Morning parade marches off after a moment of silence and "Orders of the day.)
Our F&I grendier and 1812 US forces are visible.

A "stand of arms" in the ACW/Fenian camp.
Saturday turned out to be terribly hot - About 34ºC (93ºF) and the humidity made it feel like 43ºC (109ºF) with very little breeze. I was down with rather mild heat exhaustion for a while and many of my friends put cold compresses on my neck and filled me with Gator-ade. On Sunday, one reenactor was taken to hospital with serious heat exhaustion. He's fine now and has become a great voice for staying hydrated and safe.

We remembered the fallen of all wars at the morning parade.

Two of the museum staff with our local member of Parliament, the honorably Karen Vecchio at the Museum. 

Steve takes it easy in the garden. He was one of the photographers and was a vendor at the event.

Seamus, the story-teller, in mid-story.
He's got a million of 'em.

"Wee Tom" and his mother, Penny.
She's a potter and was a vendor. Tom represented the Glengarry Light Infantry Fencibles,
a fine Canadian unit in the War of 1812.

Tyler of our 17th US Infantry.
We have some documentation that the 17th wore white hunting frocks rather than the proper blue uniform
because of supply difficulties between Philadelphia and Detroit.

Nick, the military padre of the Canadian WWI contingent at the Casualty Clearing Station.
Nick is an Anglican priest who recently retired from the active ministry.
However... he's busier than ever!
A Union infantry chaplain. Although not an ordained minister, he held a period service Sunday morning on the site.

Our good friend, Raiffe, in his Union infantry impression. Raiffe amazes me with how many impressions he does in various periods - 1812 Crown infantry and artillery, Canadian Volunteer, ACW Union and Confederate, Fenian, and now Boer!

My wife, Beth, in her Lenni-Lenape (Delaware) female warrior impression.
She has her own rifle and knows how to use it!
She wanted to come out as a First Nations reenactor to celebrate her heritage
and to show more of that part of Canadian history.

Linda, who makes hats, in her Regency era gown.
In the afternoon, we all gathered for a firing demonstration. Reenactors of the various periods showed the procedure for loading and firing their weapons. Flintlocks, percussion cap, and brass cartridge weapons were all demonstrated... with a few surprises.

Seamus, Tyler, and John begin the demonstration.

Tom shows a paper cartridge while Kevin and Tyler wait their turn.

Tyler and Tom at "Present!"/"Take Aim! (The actual order varies by army. Crown forces "present"; US forces "aim" which they were actually taught to do.

Black powder is messy... and fun.

Kevin from our group, dressed as a Canadian militiaman, explains his German Jager rifle... a mere .62 caliber!

Jamie cuts loos with his blunderbuss. That make quite a noise.

Although the Provincial Marine's 3-pound cannon is louder.

Another view of the firing.
ACW/Fenian raid reenactors line up for firing - Raiffe, Tyler, and Mitchell.

Raiffe fires his Springfield rifled musket. It's quite heavy because of the thicker, rifled barrel,
Mitchell's Enfield is a lot lighter.
The WWI reenactors took to their shirt-sleeves because the order of the day was  "NO WOOL!"
Here they're checking the action on their Lee-Enfield rifles.

Although this was taken as part of a "field exercise" for the WWI fellows, you can see the SMLE being fired.
The small box respirator gas mask must be demonstrated.

The WWII German reenactors show off the 98K carbine and the Russian SVT-40. (I think)
Matthew and Steve were quite authentic as Panzergrenadiers

A better view of the SVT AND the MG-34.
The MG-34 replica was a single shot weapon. At about $1 a round, full auto could get expensive, not to say illegal.
Steve and his Luftwaffe field division comrade show proper firing position.

I don't wish to see the business end of this one!
Amanda handled the SKS in her Soviet Army female sniper impression.
The bolt of the gun was hard to handle but she did it well. 

In another "field exercise", she sniped down a few of the German reenactors... including her father, as seen here.
Now for the big surprise! One of the reenactors had hand built a replica of an ACW-era volley gun, using about 21 musket barrels. It was wild to see it fire.

I've never seen one of these before and it was such fun to see it go off.

20 shots one after the other in quickest time with more smoke that you'd ever expect.
I'm betting a number of my readers would enjoy seeing this as well.
 A few more photos. By the way, if you're wondering what the "Fenians" were, I won't take up space to explain here. I suggest you "Google it" and see how the American Civil War effected the budding Dominion of Canada.

Eww! Eww! Eww! Facist cooties!
Eww! Eww! Eww! Yankee cooties!Raiffe and Matthew ham it up.

I don't do heat well or gladly.

Seamus said I was doing a wonderful impression of a "Gentleman at leisure." I told him it was my favourite reenactment.

John and Linda -- John is carrying a first pattern Brown Bess.
When your musket is taller than the person you're with, explanations are necessary.

WWI Canadian contingent. Their wool coats did not stay on long!

Tracy, one of the "Blue Bird" nursing sisters of the Canadian Army Medical Corps, in front of the casualty clearing station.
This group received permission from the Canadian Army and their surgeon general to wear the CAMC's insignia.

Nick's WWI impression is that of Canon Scott, a famous Canadian military padre.
Although this photo was taken a week later at a WWI public education day, History Matters, a WWI education/reenacting group took deliver of this non-firing replica of a French Chauchat light machine gun. A machinist friend of the group fabricated it. It looks real and weights 22 pounds/11 kilos. Quite a piece of work!

One more time? Why not?

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