WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – Witness the evolution of military power through the centuries on March 20-21, 2010, when hundreds of re-enactors depicting soldiers from the 8th century to modern times come together for Jamestown Settlement’s annual “Military Through the Ages.”
In the course of one weekend – from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday – visitors will experience the past and present in a unique chronological display of military history as more than 400 re-enactors show how uniforms, weapons and military tactics evolved through the centuries, as well as aspects of field communication, medical treatment, and mapping and surveying. The event also showcases a variety of military vehicles and equipment.
Visitors are encouraged to interact with re-enactors to learn how soldiers of different time periods attired and armed themselves, as well as how they were fed and housed in times of war.
More than 35 units based in Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey and North Carolina will portray soldiers and military encounters from the medieval and Viking periods, Third Crusade, Hundred Years’ War, French and Indian War, American Revolution, War of 1812, and American Civil War. Re-enactors representing World Wars I and II and the Korean and Vietnam wars will take visitors through the 20th century, with the Virginia Army National Guard representing the present.
Visitors can explore campsites of “Charlemagne’s Army,” “Orkneyingar Vikings,” “House DuChasse,” “Hussite Kompagnie,” “Lord Grey’s Retinue,” and 1500s German mercenaries “The Devil’s Nightmare Regiment.”
The American Revolution will be portrayed by “The 7th Virginia Regiment of the Continental Line” and the Royal Navy “HM Sloop OTTER,” which will display a 16-foot skiff. Soldiers will be treated for mock wartime injuries at re-created American and British field hospitals.
New impressions of the American Civil War include Confederate artillery unit “Knibb’s Battery” demonstrating a 20-pound Parrot fieldpiece. Returning to the event this year are maritime unit “U.S.S. Aroostook,” the 23rd Virginia Volunteer Infantry of the Confederate Army, and Union Army cartographers “Wrigley’s Engineers” who will show visitors how field maps were developed and updated through sketches, interviews and reconnaissance patrols.
The “24th Regiment of Foot” will represent the British Infantry during the 1879 Anglo-Zulu War. “Sea Rats Atlantic” maritime unit will portray 17th-century pirates and privateers, and visitors can take part in games to test strength and drill with wooden swords and muskets. The “1st French Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment” will present aspects of the Algerian-French conflict in 1954-62. Visitors also can learn about the “Donut Dollies,” a Salvation Army war service that aided World War I soldiers. Visitors can tour a command post of World War II German unit, “Infanterie Regiment 226,” featuring a light antitank gun and motorcycle with sidecar.
A cannon salute at noon Saturday, March 20 marks the beginning of a children’s parade on the ships’ pier. There, a military drummer will lead young troops through the re-created colonial fort and campsites to formally present ribbons to each of the participating military units. A posting of unit colors will take place at 3 p.m. Sunday, March 21.Jamestown Settlement, a living-history museum of 17th-century Virginia, offers a film, indoor gallery exhibits and outdoor re-creations of a Powhatan village, a 1610-14 English fort, and the three ships that brought the settlers to Virginia – Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery. A seasonal riverfront discovery area explores European, Powhatan and African economic activities associated with water.
Admission to Jamestown Settlement is $14.00 for adults and $6.50 for ages 6-12. Children under 6 are free. A combination ticket is available with the Yorktown Victory Center, a museum of the American Revolution. Complimentary admission provided to residents of James City County, York County and the City of Williamsburg.
Museum hours are 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily year-round. 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 visit hif.ciniva.net.