WILLIAMSBURG, Va., March 2, 2012 — Hundreds of re-enactors depicting armed forces from the first century A.D. to modern times will come together on March 17 and 18 for Jamestown Settlement’s annual “Military Through the Ages.” This year’s chronological display of military history will feature 34 groups based in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.
Among the units participating in 2012, the second year of the American Civil War’s 150th anniversary and the 150th anniversary of the 1862 Battle of Williamsburg, are two Union units – the “3rd U.S. Regular Infantry” and maritime group “U.S.S. Aroostook” – and two Confederate units – “23rd Virginia Infantry” and “Nancy Hart Militia,” a female volunteer militia. Ground troops will demonstrate military drills, uniforms and period cooking. The “3rd U.S. Regular Infantry” will invite visitors to take part in hands-on company and bayonet drills, as well as present interpretation of Civil War medical treatment and civilian life on the home front.
This year also marks the bicentennial of the War of 1812, depicted by “Fort Norfolk Garrison” with stations to “recruit” visitors and allow them to drill with wooden muskets.
Children’s Parade, Artillery Firings, Military Pass-in-Review
Among the weekend highlights, a noon artillery salute at the Jamestown Settlement ships on Saturday, March 17, marks the beginning of a children’s parade on the ships’ pier. Young “troops” will be lead through the museum’s re-created colonial fort and re-enactor campsites to formally present ribbons to each of the participating military units.
Four centuries of artillery will be demonstrated at noon Sunday, March 18, featuring the firing of several guns — a 17th-century swivel gun and falcon, early 18th-century naval deck gun by the “Crewe of the Archangel,” Revolutionary War brass battalion gun, and a Virginia Army National Guard howitzer.
A posting of unit colors will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 18. The military parade will conclude with an awards ceremony, in which re-enactor units are judged on camp sites, clothing and cooking presentations, and field demonstrations.
Boudicca’s Rebellion to the Virginia Army National Guard
Re-enactors will portray soldiers and military encounters from Roman and Celtic times, medieval period, Hundred Years’ War, War of the Roses, French and Indian War, American Revolution, War of 1812, and American Civil War. Re-enactors representing World Wars I and II, the Vietnam War and the Soviet War in Afghanistan take visitors through the 20th century, with the National Museum of the Marine Corps and the Virginia Army National Guard representing the present.
Visitors can learn about Boudicca’s Rebellion in 60 A.D. by Roman and Celtic units “Legio IX Hispania” and “Iceni Celts” and visit medieval campsites of “Charlemagne’s Army,” “La Belle Compagnie,” “Lord Grey’s Retinue,” and 1500s German mercenaries “The Devil’s Nightmare Regiment.”
The “11th Siberian Rifle Regiment” will depict the Imperial Russian Army in 1916. Visitors can learn about the “Donut Dollies,” a Salvation Army war service that aided World War I soldiers, experience an American Expeditionary Forces’ 1918 battalion aid station, and see the training and drilling of the “West Cork Flying Column” during the Irish War of Independence. “Stadtwehr Bremen” will portray a German Police Force in Bremen in 1919.
Aspects of World War II include Nederland Dutch Army in 1940; a foxhole emplacement by the “504th Parachute Infantry Regiment” during Operation Shingle; and British paratrooper displays by the “Stray Devils.” German Army “Infanterie Regiment 226” will show an encampment in the Kuban Peninsula in April 1943, featuring a vintage Volkswagen Kublewagon scout car and motorcycle with sidecar.
Re-enactors will show how uniforms, weapons and military tactics evolved through the centuries, as well as aspects of field communication and medical treatment. The event also showcases a variety of military vehicles and equipment. Visitors are encouraged to interact with re-enactors to learn how soldiers attired and armed themselves, as well as how they were fed and housed in times of war.
Military Aspects at Jamestown Settlement
Arms, armor and military accouterments of 17th-century Virginia can be seen 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 Powhatan village, 1610-14 English fort, and the three ships that brought the settlers to Virginia – Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery.
Jamestown Settlement is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round. Admission is $15.50 for adults and $7.25 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. A value-priced combination ticket with the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution, is $20.00 for adults and $10.00 for ages 6-12. Residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg, including the College of William and Mary, receive complimentary admission. Parking is free.
Jamestown Settlement is located on State Route 31 near the Colonial Parkway in James City County, just southwest of Williamsburg. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838, or visithif.ciniva.net/military-through-the-ages.htm.