Always photogenic, military encampments and battle re-enactments are a fun way to learn history and get some great pictures for the photo album. We are likely to see many Civil War battles re-enacted over the next four years in celebration of the 150th anniversary of America's nation defining conflict.
Another war, oft forgotten, is soon to celebrate it's 200th anniversary. In 1812 the fledgling United States again went to war with Great Britain over a myriad of disputes. I had the opportunity to attend an 1812 militia muster at Greenfield Village. Greenfield Village is a living museum that is part of the Dearborn Michigan attraction "The Henry Ford."
Part of every re-enactment are soldiers dressed in the uniforms of the era. The military of the early republic still retained the colorful military style of earlier years. The bright colors were often necessary for the troops to recognize friend from foe.Especially in the "fog od War."
The re-enactment included weapons demonstrations, crafts and a fashion show. This gives the observer a good idea of what life was like. somewhat simplistic but a great starting point.
The War of 1812 has been often ignored. It was important and widespread however. Detroit was surrendered to the Canadians without the firing of a shot. The new Americans attacked and ransacked the city of York, Upper Canada (now Toronto), while the British attacked the District of Columbia, burning the White House before they left.
If you get a chance to visit a re-enactment of an encampment do it, and don't forget your camera.
© 2011 Tim Marks