Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Rolling into high gear

Its been a while since our last actual event - but we've been hard at work in the interim. Now, attention turns back to recruiting for the reenactment of the Battle of Great Bridge 2010, our fifth visit to this event. Last year was fun, we brought the boat down the Dismal Swamp Canal to the event site and landed the marines at the park for the battles. This year, we're planning on bringing the boat back, armed with her shiny new 3-pdr, and adding the setup of a camp at the event site.

One of the limiting factors we've always faced is getting people out to reenactments. Yes, they are a little lame - the "battle" itself is always a little anti-climactic. But around the periphery we have plenty of opportunity for improvisation and some fun. Last year, the marines went into emergency mode to care for their 'wounded' lieutenant, assembling a stretcher of coats and muskets to carry him off the field. Others, equipped with pre-bloodied bandages, made up an interesting procession after the battle, dragging the wounded along. I anticipate plenty of such 'quick response' improvisations this year, though I won't say what those are yet. Let's just say that the marines will have their work cut out for them preventing sailor desertion. Tidbits like these can bring more people out, though we always find ourselves a little short handed.

That said, we are making a full-court press to recruit sailors, marines and support personnel. Remember, all of your uniforms and equipment are provided free of charge. Provisions and ammunition are still up in the air, though I hope our benevolent Board of Directors will deem fit to comp that for everyone too, in hopes of attracting more people.

For the sailors, we offer the No. 1 Monomoy Pulling Boat, fully equipped with your own powder-burning device that can (and will!) set off car alarms at a half mile with its concussion. We're also hoping to try for a new speed record in the flat calm waters of the canal - we have to beat 9 knots off Naval Station Norfolk, reached late last year by volunteers from USS Theodore Roosevelt. We'll also have the sailing rig onboard, for those quick jaunts down the canal, should the winds prove favorable. At the end of the day, you'll have the option to go home or camp with the marines on site.

For the marines, we offer the newly improved Sea Service Firelock Musket - lately delivered from our Danville Arsenal with notably improved locks. There should be a lot more "bang" and less "click" this year. If our sailors turn out, you won't have to row (because you're horrible at it anyway) and you can concentrate on keeping that firelock spitting downrange. At the end of the day, marines will likely raid the restaurant across Battlefield Blvd before retiring to their camp and sub-zero sleeping bags. I'll be there with some home brew to share, regaling the group with tales of Great Bridges past.

Support services are being taken to another level this year, with dedicated videographers and photographers coming to capture the action in detail. Our hope is to deliver plenty of video to web outlets and our website. We'll also have the usual on-scene logistics assistants, led by the indomitable Mr. Woodard.

So it should be a fun time! Tell your friends, and let's go! Remember to register by emailling info@navalheritage.org and make sure you tell them if you intend on going as sailor, marine or SS.


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