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Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Old Sturbridge Village - Redcoats & Rebels

I recently went to my second event at Old Sturbridge Village a couple weekends ago and had a blast at their annual Redcoats and Rebels event. Here is the event description from the OSV website:

“The largest military re-enactment in New England -- more than 800 soldiers portraying British, Hessian, Irish, Welsh, Scottish, French and Colonial troops. Mock battles, cannon demonstrations, fife and drums and more. The Village is transformed into a military camp focusing this year on the period of the War for Independence, as it was known in early New England. Come see what it was really like for those who fought to win America's freedoms.”

This was an awesome event – from the moment you walk into the Village there were tents EVERYWHERE. You were able to visit the Colonial and British encampments, surgeons, apothecaries, laundresses, fife and drum corps, and watch dances. We were able to take a tour of the British encampment and learn some interesting things:

• Officers lived in large tents with all of their amenities from home, while the enlisted men slept in small tents with 5 other men and basically only what was provided to them by the military.
• In a cavalry or dragoon unit, all of the horses in the unit had to have legs of the same length so that they would all move together at the same pace, get tired at the same time, etc.
• Generally, tougher punishment was meted out in the army, while the sailors were generally the smartest of the enlisted men.
• For British soldiers, the American Revolution was like a police action and they had nothing to show for the war afterward – no acquisition of land, money or resources.

The main event of the day was a re-enacted battle – man, are those cannons loud! It was a lot of fun to see the fight go on and people “die”. Though I got a little too much sun, it was worth it. Can’t wait for my next event.

I put some of the video and photos into a slideshow for your viewing pleasure. I have to give almost all of the credit to my boyfriends photography skills, not mine. All the music included was recorded by me of the fife and drum corps present.

Copyright © 2010 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. So glad you enjoyed visiting a reenactment! As regards point #1 of your lessons learned--this is why I married an officer :) I'm one of the ammenities from home lol.

    The Village looks like a great place for an event--we love getting to play in historic and recreated sites!

  2. I love reenactments! Not only are they great fun to watch, but they smell good, too - those mingled scents of gunpowder and cookfires. It's such a pleasure to visit with so many people who love history and make it part of their lives. And, of course, the best part of any reenactment is that after the skirmish is over, all the fallen soldiers are able to get up and go home. :)

  3. Sounds like lots of fun, thanks for sharing!

  4. Oh Susan, I totally agree about the smells! That was a wonderful part too, and also a great visual.

  5. We *just* became members of Sturbridge Village -- I am in love with it -- I wish I could live there. If I could do reenactment all the time... *le sigh*

  6. Have attended several Revolutionary War and Civil War reenactments. The evening events are usually the most authentic in feel. Operating by torch light and campfire light, it gives you a true feel of place and time. A night time skirmish where it was so dark you could barely see who was standing next to you and night time cannon firing was truly memorable. We will be attending a Native American American troop battle reenactment in Florida in October. I am really looking forward to it. There will be a drum and hopefully a small pow wow. I can't wait.

  7. Audra - do you live near Sturbridge? I live about 10 minutes away from the village.

    LibraryPat - I have not been to an evening event but it sounds so cool. And I would love to see a Civil War reenactment. That Native American event sounds wonderful too! You will have to tell us how that goes!

  8. @Dolleygurl -- I live in Boston. Randomly enough, I took an anthropology course at my university with a professor who did an excavation at Sturbridge Village -- so I ended up studying it for a semester, unseen in person, and it was...eight years before I got to see it in person! I'm obsessed with it now!

  9. Audra - that's so cool! If you come down for an event sometime you should let me know - maybe we could meet up!

  10. @dolleygurl -- YES! It'd be fun to have a local show me around!

  11. Audra - I would love to show you around - with my limited experience - I have only lived in this area for a little over a month, but I can try!


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