WASHINGTON-ROCHAMBEAU REVOLUTIONARY ROUTE WRRR NEWSLETTER NO. 32

July 4, 2000

Hans DePold, Bolton Town Historian

Purpose

This newsletter is to provide a means for keeping historians, re-enactors, and other interested people aware of the activity to create a national historic trail, the WRRR. Rochambeau’s French army defined the route when they marched from Newport to Yorktown and back to Boston. The goal is to encourage creation of a National Historic Trail with the registration of the entire route that passes through Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia, and to raise to a higher level the quality of heritage preservation all along the route.

Congressman John Larson Introduces The WRRR Bill

The first Congressional District in CT is the home of two Washington-Rochambeau meeting sites as well as several French and Continental Army campsites. It is also the home of Congressman John Larson (1st CT) who has become the Congressional advocate for the creation of what will be our second National Historic Trail dedicated to American Revolution heritage. The announcement was made July 3, 2000 at the historic Webb House in Wethersfield. Thanks to everyone who helped, Congressman Larson has 34 other Representatives co-sponsoring H.R. 4794, the “Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Heritage Act of 2000.” The Ambassador of France, Francois Bujon de l’Estang, wrote a letter supporting the importance of preserving this heritage. The State Historic Preservation Commission estimates that about one third of this Franco-American heritage in CT has been destroyed since 1972.

Congressman Curt Weldon Receives Gold Medal

Curt was the sponsor of the Patriots Bill under which the federal government provided matching gifts to save the Paoli Battlefield from development, to buy easements to protect parts of the Brandywine Battlefield from development, and to establish a new museum dedicated to the American Revolution at Valley Forge National Historical Park. The Gold Good Citizenship medal is the highest honor the PA State Society and NSSAR could award the 7th-PA district Congressman. Jim McCafferty, Chairman, MDSSAR WRRR Committee

Re-enactor Groups Ready for July 22 Weekend

There are a number of umbrella re-enactor organizations that are composed of individual units.
Some of them are:
The Brigade of the American Revolution. (BAR)
The Continental Line
The Virginia Line
The British Brigade
The Connecticut Colony Military Assoc. (CCMA)
Burning of the Valleys Military Assoc. (BVMA)

Together these groups try to positively and respectfully represent the sentiments of all sides, American, French, British, and Native Americans. The Brigade of the American Revolution and the Continental Line are large National organizations of Military and Civilians. They are great groups that do very big, colorful shows.

Richard Swartwout, Captain, Connecticut Sixth Regiment said, “The 6th Connecticut Regiment, Light Infantry, belongs to both the CCMA and the BVMA. The 6th CT has also petitioned the Continental Line for membership. Remember this, the 6th CT is a re-created, Connecicut Regiment. Our full title would be ‘The Connecticut 6th Regiment, Connecticut Continental Line’ (this does not indicate that we belong to the Continental Line Org.). The term ‘Continental Line’ was used to distinguish the ‘Congressional Troops’ from the ‘State Militia’s.’

July 21/22/23 the BAR will have a tremendous event at Fort Ticonderoga above Lake George in New York. They present a lively 1776 culture in air perfumed by pines and campfires. Some re-enactors adopt the identities of period individuals and lead you into another world of soldiers, craftsmen, civilians, and refugees.

July 22/23 is the annual granddaddy muster of ancient fife and drum corps in Coventry CT. at the Nathan Hale Homestead. Units attend from many parts of the country. The finale is Sunday afternoon. I hope to be at Fort Ticonderoga on Saturday and at the Coventry muster on Sunday. You probably would not guess they are both free of charge. They are a growing part of our American culture and are vital if heritage tourism is going to succeed in making American Heritage Preservation pay for itself.

Thank-you For Burning the Candle at Both Ends

There is nothing more difficult to plan or more uncertain of success than the creation of a new partnership or alliance to accomplish a new goal or task like the WRRR. To bring diverse interests to bear in such an undertaking takes many advocates. By burning the candle at both ends, we mean we are simultaneously undertaking a national approach and a state approach. State accomplishments will compliment the work the National Park Services (NPS) will have to do, and the NPS can augment any local areas that are weak.

Re-enactor Humor

Reverend Colton was walking to the meetinghouse on Monday morning and discovered a dead mule left in the front by a passing cart driver. The beast was too big for him to move so he first went to see the militia Captain. There were militia drills in progress so the captain referred the Pastor to the town selectmen who were meeting that day.

Now the pastor knew the selectmen and was not to eager to call on them. The first selectman had a bad temper, often was sarcastic, and was very stubborn. The selectmen did not disappoint the Reverend. They immediately began to rant & rave about having to do everything and about having no funds to do it with. Finally the first selectman said mockingly, “Why did you come to bother us anyway? Isn’t it your duty to bury the dead?”

Reverend Colton paused briefly to ask divine guidance. Then he said, “Yes, it is my duty to bury the dead, but I always like to notify their next of kin first!”