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Military Through the Ages

March 16-17, 2019, at Jamestown Settlement

In just one weekend, visitors can experience centuries of military history during Jamestown Settlement’s time-honored “Military Through the Ages” event on Saturday and Sunday, March 16-17. This year’s event will feature a special salute to women’s roles in the military and their contributions during times of war.

“Military Through the Ages,” held at Jamestown Settlement each year since 1984, will feature more than 500 re-enactors depicting armed forces from the first century all the way to modern-day soldiers with the Virginia Army National Guard. This unique chronological display of military history allows visitors to explore military encampments and interact with re-enactors to learn how uniforms, weapons and military tactics evolved through the centuries, as well as aspects of field communication and medical treatment. Comparative artillery-firing demonstrations will be presented at noon on Sunday, with weapons ranging from a 17th-century swivel gun to a modern-day howitzer. During a special program at noon on Saturday, discover how women have played a vital part in world conflicts throughout history with this year’s special salute to women’s roles in the military and their contributions during times of war.

Timeline from the First Century to the Virginia Army National Guard

More than 500 re-enactors will portray soldiers and military encounters from Roman times, the medieval period, Hundred Years’ War, War of the Roses, American Revolution, War of 1812, Napoleonic Wars and American Civil War. Re-enactors depicting World Wars I and II, and the Vietnam War will take visitors through the 20th century. The National Museum of the Marine Corps, U.S. Army Transportation Museum and Quartermaster Museum and the Virginia Army National Guard 111th Field Artillery will represent the present day.

A Salute to Women’s Wartime Roles

During a dedicated program at noon Saturday and in military encampments throughout the weekend, discover how women have played a vital role in military conflicts across the ages, from traditional roles of nurses, cooks and tailors to advancement as soldiers, pilots and mechanics. Among the re-enactment camps, visitors can take in the spinning, weaving and leatherworking of women in Scara Karoli in A.D. 778, as well as the field telephone operations and message delivery of a German Army signals company, Afrikakorps, in 1942, and the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps in 1944, which recruited women as typists, telephone operators, supply clerks, cartographers and engineers. Representatives with the U.S. Army Women’s Museum also will highlight the history of women in the armed forces.

Artillery & Pass-in-Review

Comparative artillery-firing demonstrations will be presented at noon Sunday, with weapons ranging from a 17th-century swivel gun to a modern-day howitzer. A military pass-in-review will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday and will feature recognition of re-enactor units judged on campsites and field demonstrations, as well as awards for visitor and re-enactors’ choice for the top re-enactment unit.

Military Aspects at Jamestown Settlement

Arms, armor and military accouterments of 17th-century Virginia can be seen year-round inside Jamestown Settlement’s extensive galleries, featuring films and interactive exhibits that tell the story of America’s first permanent English colony and of the Powhatan Indian, European and African cultures in 1600s Virginia. Families can experience hands-on activities, such as trying on reproductions of English helmets and breastplates, in outdoor re-creations of a 1610-14 English fort, a Powhatan Indian village and on board one of three re-created ships that brought English colonists to Virginia in 1607 – Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery.

Military Through the Ages 2015 Pass-in-Review