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.

Friday, 18 May 2012

... and now for something... a bit... different.

I haven't "blogged" in a while since things have been hectic in my real life. Easter is a very busy time in my line of work and meetings, seminars, and various gatherings have kept me from gaming, painting, and blogging.


Reenacting season in Southwestern Ontario (that's Upper Canada for you history types.) opened a short while ago with the Battle of Longwoods on May 5-6. My whole family went out on Saturday and Sunday, although I came late on Sunday due to church commitments. As always, it was enjoyable. I started the day at drill as a "brevet" corporal, then back to private. On Sunday, I was made sergeant for our combined unit and spent the battle shouting commands (echoing the colonel) and helping to fix mis-firing muskets. After a brief experience of being drunk with power as sergeant ("Do you know what these epilettes mean, Captain? Absolutely nothing!"), I was returned to my proper civilian state. It was still a blast. Robby was "captured" by the native warrior contingent on Saturday and Sunday, was traded for a bag of hatchets one day, and kept by the warriors the next. (He refused to serve the King when given the choice.) He, Beth, and Katie all made contacts and friends with the First Nations contingent which is fine since they all share Lenni-Lenape a/k/a/ Delaware heritage. (I'm of Irish and Cornish descent and don't look good in buckskins.) Robby also was part of a film project that is underway to tell of the struggle in this part of Ontario, especially MacArthur's Raid in 1814. Now to the photos.

Many Strings and Grandfather Lame Wolf await the war council.

The captive is brought forward at the council. Will he take the shilling?
Will he be burned at the stake? Will the tribe adopt him to replace a lost son?
The US private talks to the British captain.
The private was worth a bag of hatchets,

Robby and I suit up for the afternoon battle on Sunday. The US loses on Saturday and wins on Sunday. The Crown forces advance in COLUMN, no less! (I'm in my regulation summer jacket of linen - so much cooler!)
My white sergeant's epilettes are invisible.
Jared and Brandy of our unit. This was Brandy's first outing
as a reenactor. Jared is in his newly finished jacket and new shako.

Safety check. "Pinging the muskets" to make sure there are no foreign bodies  in the barrel. That could be deadly... literally. We fire blanks and don't even ram for fear of leaving the rammer in the barrel when we fire.

The combined 17th/21st Infantry advances to the afternoon muster.

The US 22nd Infantry in their grey roundabouts. they were part of Scott's Brigade at Chippewa and Lundy's Lane.
A brand new outfit - 6th New York Militia - with their Kentucky Rifle Volunteer advisor. This crowd was formed for the bicentennial from a French & Indian War reenactment unit.

At the filming, Robby awaits the attack of the British. This portion of the film deals with the actual Battle of Longwoods
and was filmed on the site of the battle. Rob is wearing my shako and is armed with a Harper's Ferry Musket in .69 calibre.

The US troops fire down hill at the attacking Crown forces.

Lyle from our unit awaits the attack.

Corporal-pioneer for the Crown forces

The Crown forces advance up the hill. I say "Crown" rather than "British" because a number of the units are Canadian
Fencibles or Militia.
Evacuating the wounded sergeant in the "Fog of War."

This was the first reenactment of the Bicentennial celebration. There's plenty more to come. This weekend - Westfield Heritage Village. In June, Stoney Creek in Hamilton, ON; In August, Amherstburg, ON "timeline", The Siege of Fort Erie, and an encampment in Port Stanley, ON. In October, we hope to take part in the reenactment of the Battle of Queenston Heights. Lots going on. If you're in the area, let me know and we'll see if there's an event at about the same time.