WILLIAMSBURG, Va., February 26, 2014 — Hundreds of re-enactors depicting armed forces from the first century A.D. to modern times will come together for one weekend on Saturday and Sunday, March 15 and 16, for the 30th anniversary of Jamestown Settlement’s “Military Through the Ages” event.
This chronological display of military history, held each year at Jamestown Settlement since 1984, will feature 35 groups based in Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Military re-enactors and modern-day units 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.
Weekend highlights include musical performances, artillery firings, a Saturday children’s parade and Sunday military pass-in-review. The Civil War 150 HistoryMobile, an initiative of the Virginia Sesquicentennial of the American Civil War Commission, will be at this year’s event.
Music, Children’s Parade, Artillery, Military Pass-in-Review
Music of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries will be performed throughout the day on Saturday and Sunday, including Cobham Consort’s Cliff Williams and Lynn Trott at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday, and Barry and Lynn Trott at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Sunday. David Gardner, a nationally recognized Scottish fiddler, will play at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on both days. Musician Bob Zentz, known for his repertoire of folk, traditional, Celtic and maritime music, will perform at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Carson Hudson will play Civil War-era music on banjo at 12:15 and 2:15 p.m. on both days of the event.
A children’s parade at noon Saturday, March 15, allows young “troops” to march through the museum’s re-created colonial fort and re-enactor campsites to formally present ribbons to each of the participating military units. A comparative artillery-firing demonstration will be presented at noon Sunday, March 16, 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 include recognition of re-enactor units judged on camp sites, clothing and cooking presentations, and field demonstrations.
Roman Legion to the Virginia Army National Guard
Re-enactors will portray soldiers and military encounters from Roman times, the medieval period, Hundred Years’ War, War of the Roses, French and Indian War, American Revolution, War of 1812, and American Civil War. Re-enactors depicting World Wars I and II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War take visitors through the 20th century. The National Museum of the Marine Corps and the Virginia Army National Guard will represent the present.
Visitors can learn about the Roman unit “Legio IX Hispania,” encounter “The Fenvald Vikings,” and visit medieval campsites of Charlemagne’s Army “Scara Karoli,” “La Belle Compagnie” and “Lord Grey’s Retinue,” and 1500s German mercenaries “The Devil’s Nightmare Regiment.”
The American Civil War will be depicted by two Union units – the “3rd U.S. Regular Infantry” and maritime group “U.S.S. Aroostook” – and two Confederate units – “23rd Virginia Infantry” and “Norfolk Light Artillery Blues.” 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 at home.
Visitors can learn about facets of the Boxer Rebellion in China at the turn of the 20th century; “West Cork Flying Column” and “Crown Forces in Ireland” will show ambush and explosives training during the 1919-21 Anglo-Irish War; and take part in a simulated barb-wire crawl and “grenade” bean-bag toss with the Spanish Civil War unit “Frente Rojo.”
Aspects of a soldier’s life during World War I will be depicted by the “American Expeditionary Forces,” “and “Guard’s Division, British Expeditionary Forces.” World War II will be shown by “British 1st Airbourne” paratroopers, British “Women’s Land Army,” and a British infantry battalion training exercise prior to D-Day.
Civil War 150 HistoryMobile
The Civil War 150 HistoryMobile, which has made more than 120 stops since its tour began in 2011, features immersive spaces and interactive exhibits that draw together stories of the Civil War and emancipation from the viewpoints of those who experienced it across Virginia. The Civil War 150 HistoryMobile will be located in the Jamestown Settlement visitor parking area and will be open, with free admission, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 15, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday, March 16.
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 1610-14 English fort, a Powhatan village, and the three ships that brought English colonists to Virginia in 1607 – Susan Constant, Godspeed and Discovery.
Jamestown Settlement is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily year-round. Admission is $16.00 for adults and $7.50 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 $20.50 for adults and $10.25 for ages 6-12. Parking is free.
Jamestown Settlement is located on State Route 31 near the Colonial Parkway in James City County, just southwest of Williamsburg and adjacent to Historic Jamestowne. For more information, call (888) 593-4682 toll-free or (757) 253-4838, or visit hif.ciniva.net/military-through-the-ages.htm.