Sunday, July 25, 2021

Colonial Frankenmuth 2021

I am certainly trying to get the most out of reenacting this year since we had a non-season last year.  So far I have participated in nine reenactments in 2021,  up to and including this Frankenmuth event on July 17.  By this time a year ago I did two,  and they were both unofficial events.
What a difference a year can make when there's no pandemic pandemonium about,  eh?
I think people are ready to be out and to mix and mingle once again with others.  Frankenmuth certainly proved this to be true!
I was there on Saturday only and had my stealth camera on my person,  snapping away,  and I have chosen the best of the lot for today's posting:
As a reenactor,  this is one of the most satisfying sights one can see:
tents,  campfires,  and reenactors.

And sutlers.
It's always good to have a few sutlers about.
Susan Hansen has her Carrot Patch Farm woolen yarn sutlery set up as well.

Jackie & Charlotte did some shopping at the Carrot Patch Farm and found
exactly what they were looking for.

Oftentimes reenactors will sell items they no longer need or want
right from their camp.
I purchased a wooden bucket from this kind woman.

A group shot of Jennifer,  her son TJ,  me,  and Joe 
(who is a student in the classroom where I work and recently
got involved in this hobby). 

Jennifer and her son,  TJ,  spent part of their day playing period games.
The mother and son team are coming out more often this year.

Bob Stark is as close as you will probably get to meeting Benjamin Franklin.  The man is in a constant state of  Franklin research,  always looking further and deeper in Franklin's life to enhance his presentation.
And Franklin wore many hats in his life,  from chandler to printer to writer to inventor to statesman...and one of Bob-as-Franklin top speech requests,  especially this time of year,  so close to Independence Day,  is the story behind - and his contribution to - the Declaration of Independence.
After explaining how the Declaration came about,  Dr.  Franklin reads the
document to the interested audience. 

But you will notice as he reads it,  he begins rolling it back up,  yet
still reciting the words therein.  You see,  Mr.  Stark has the entirety
of the 1320 word document committed to memory!
If that isn't impressive and dedication,  I don't know what is!

Over on the other side of the area saw the local Indian encampment.
I always enjoy it immensely when Native Americans take part and tell their story at reenactments.  
A blanket filled with items showing native life.

The American Indian encampment was placed in a sort of wooded area,  giving it a 
more authentic feel.

It is always enjoyable to hear about Native life - stories that only more recently
have been coming out.

EJ also showed a bit on everyday 18th century life as well.

My friend and co-worker,  Cindy and her husband came up to Frankenmuth when I mentioned we would be there at the reenactment.  
I am always honored when friends come to visit.

Joey is a long-time Voyageur reenactor
who also does blacksmithing.

EJ's mom.

For the visitors and the soldiers,  the two battles presented here are probably the highlight of the day.  Neither is based on a particular historical battle,  but,  rather,  more on the tactics of the war.  This gives the public a little taste - just a taste,  mind you - of what it was like to fight in 18th century America. Children especially can gain a better understanding of our nation's early war years.
When I was a kid,  reenactments were  *almost*  unheard of.  It wasn't until the later 1970s that this hobby began to get a little bit of notice in my neck of the woods.  I don't believe I actually attended my first one until sometime in the late 1980s or early 1990s when I was already married with kids.  I was enthralled.
And if I,  as an adult,  can get so excited,  I can just imagine what it is like for a young 10 year old kid attending something like this - - wow!
Of course,  at the Frankenmuth event,  I had my  'stealth camera'  with me and took some photos of the excitement - the following photos are a combination of the day's two battles.  
To accent some of the photographs herein, I have included original snippets from documents  (letters and journal entries)  as well as a few historical facts.
Jennifer Monarch Mailley took this picture of  Dalton,  the guy in the center, 
 for he was in charge of the regiment.

"Our main body  (had)  time to form and take an advantageous ground."

Over the course of the war,  about 231,000 men served in the Continental Army,  though never more than 48,000 at any one time,  and never more than 13,000 at any one place. 
The sum of the Colonial militias numbered upwards of 145,000 men.

In terms of numbers:
 40,000 soldiers fought in the Battle of Long Island,  making it the largest battle.
30,000 men fought at Brandywine,  Pa., 
and 27,000 participated at Yorktown,  Va..

"The battle was in plain view from our door.  The  (men)  fell in great plenty, 
but to do them justice,  they keep a front and stood their ground nobly."

At its peak,  the British Army,  including the Queen's Rangers of which you see here,  had upwards of 22,000 men at its disposal in North America to combat the rebellion.  An additional 25,000 Loyalists,  faithful to Great Britain,  participated in the conflict
as well.

Battles were fought over a wide range of locations including Quebec in the north down to Savannah,   Georgia in the south.  Some were small clashes with little significance where others were major engagements known to any kid who has ever opened a history book.  Some of these major battles made once little known towns such as Lexington,  Concord,  Saratoga,  Princeton, and Yorktown famous.  In fact,  26 states have cities or towns named Lexington!

"It was now the fate of our army was to be decided---the firing was supported
with equal vigor---and neither party seemed inclined to give way...all was dubious..."

Throughout the course of the war,  an estimated 6,800 Americans were killed in action,  6,100 wounded,  and upwards of 20,000 were taken prisoner. 
Historians believe that at least an additional 17,000 deaths were the result of disease,  including about 8,000–12,000 who died while prisoners of war.

"Every time they shoot it off it takes a horn of powder,
and makes a noise like father's gun, only a nation louder!"

"The particulars of the skirmish surprised me very much,  as I had no conception the
 loss of the troops could have been so great when everybody agrees that the men
behaved with proper spirit."

"The horrors and devastations of war now begin to appear with us in earnest.
As this regiment was to sustain the assault of the whole British line, 
it is not to be supposed they could make a long opposition. 
They were obliged to give way and retreated..."

"...when we mounted the summit, where the engagement was - good God,  how the
balls flew - I freely acknowledge I never had such a tremor come over me before."

One of the most awesome things occurred when the Americans decided to charge the British:  everyone in the stands watching the battle began to cheer rather loudly as the men rushed toward their enemy.

The British responded to the charge...

...killing each American.
The crowd gave out a collective  "awe!!!"  as the men fell to the ground.
I must say that I loved hearing the people cheering on the Americans.  And I loved hearing the crowd boo when the British  "killed"  two American officers by shooting them in the back.  It seems like there is so much anti-American sentiment lately that it did my heart good to witness the patriotic pride from so many.

And then,  not long after the battle,  it was time for us to leave,  for the following day would find me in another time and another place - more on that next week.
But we did one last thing in Frankenmuth:
As the afternoon headed toward evening,  Jackie,  Joe,  and I decided it was time
to leave,  for we had a bit of a drive home.  Being that we were hungry,  we decided
to stop at a local diner - an actual 1950s diner on the outskirts of town.  Besides the
great music from the pre-Beatles rock and roll era,  the food was very good.
The atmosphere was pretty cool,  too!
While inside the diner,  still wearing our period clothing,  a customer who had spent his day at the reenactment came up to us and thanked us for taking part.  He was a history teacher and very much appreciated the experience of witnessing history come to life.
This is what we as reenactors thrive on.

Until next time,  see you in time.

 ~   ~


Unknown said...

Huzzah !! To the loyal patriots !!!

Lady Locust said...

What fun days you have! Those were certainly some LONG guns weren't they? Can't imagine marching with one of those for very long.

Olde Dame Holly Rose said...

Oh wow, those pictures were so vivid and clear I felt like I was there! Thank you for bringing history alive both in your re-enacting and then your posting of the events! It's a labor of love for sure. Thanks for introducing Mr. Stark. What a memory!

pmb said...

I loved taking part in this event! It was hot, but I would not have traded wearing my 18th c. outfit for any modern shorts and tank top! It felt so good to be wearing the those clothes after a year of no events.
Thanks for this interesting blog--I'm glad you like the bucket!