Posted by Dr. Uncle Mark on July 10, 2000 at 10:26:51:
"Well, me little Buckos", exclaimed Dr. Uncle as he threw his arms wide, "this is Fort Roberdeau; a Revolutionary War fort and we can watch the reenactment this afternoon! Exciting, huh!"
"Whoopee!" Hannah and Hiram shouted. Dr. Uncle walked them from camp to camp and they looked at the different uniforms and accoutrements of the reenactors. Although it was over 90 degrees, many of the soldiers were in heavy wool coats and the women wore several layers of clothing and hats.
As they viewed the different troops Dr. Uncle Mark explained much of what they were seeing. Hannah looked up at Dr. Uncle and asked, "Is this what it was like up at that other fort you reenacted at....that Fort...ahh...Tie Can You Yoga?"
Dr. Uncle Laughed. "You mean Fort Ticonderoga. Well, my little lassie, that was a French and Indian War fort. This fort, Fort Roberdeau, is a Revolutionary War stockade. There were about twenty years difference between the two wars. But our family fought in both."
"You mean Malcolm and Davey, and Flags and Tales and Seamus fought in both wars?", asked Hiram.
"No", Uncle Mark replied. "They were only in the French and Indian War, on the British side and they protected the American colonists from the French and Indians. During the Revolutionary War, your ancestors were Americans fighting against the British."
The niece and nephew scrunched up their faces in bewilderment. Dr. Uncle Mark said, "Oh, I know, my little Historians, it is very confusing. Why don't we go over here and talk to this British captain? Maybe he can explain it better to you."
They walked into the British camp. Hiram and Hannah oooohed and ahhhed over the red uniforms and bearfur caps of the grenadiers. Then they stopped in front of the captain's tent. He was speaking with other tourists, attempting to explain the British soldier's point of view.
"The British soldier was very well trained and he fought out of a sense of duty to the British empire, but also out of fear. If one's duty was not done, soldiers were punished severely. The officers probably saw their role here in the colonies as policemen. The colonists were not obeying the law of the land...that is, to pay taxes and obey English law, as they had always done. But England was so far away, many of the Americans saw themselves as separate from England, able to govern themselves without outside rule."
Hannah pulled on Dr. Uncle's sleeve. He leaned down and she whispered, "I still don't understand a lot of this, Dr. Uncle Mark. But I think war is really scarey. I wish people could just like each other and not fight each other all the time."
Dr. Uncle nodded and gave her a squeeze. "Excuse me, sir," Dr. Uncle addressed the British captain, "war can be a terrible thing. Why is it that people see war as necessary when they could just use words to settle their differences?"
The British captain sighed and spoke slowly. "Ahh, you hit on an interesing philosophical topic. Many of us reenactors, as we sit under the night sky in the evenings, discuss these things. You see, we don't do this to glorify war and bloodshed. But we do need to educate the public as to how battles were fought and also why. But, it is a confusing subject. Many reenactors know that it is much more important for a civilized society to parlay and settle differences with words, to have a thinking society and not one based on savagery. But, there are times that one must fight for a cause...a just cause, that is!"
The captain stopped talking. He looked at Hiram and Hannah, at their confused yet innocent faces, then he looked up at Dr. Uncle Mark in recognition. "You're Dr. Uncle Mark, aren't you? I saw you up at Ticonderoga a few weeks ago with the Highland troops. Look, it's time for lunch. How about if I treat you all to some stew? The ladies of the regiment are just beginning to serve at the kitchen tent. Here are some extra bowls and the tent is right up there. Now, be off with ye, little folk!"
The niece and nephew raced off to the kitchen tent of the British regiment. Dr. Uncle shook the captain's hand. "Thank you, sir, for giving us your views and for inviting us to lunch. This can all be confusing to my wee kin, but education is so important. We would enjoy sitting with you under the night sky and discussing might and right sometime. Our reenacting can get young ones interested in history so they learn the lessons of civilization, just like when you and I were young and we watched Davey Crockett and Johnny Tremain movies. Hey, what did you think of The Patriot? Some of the scenes were done well, but........."
Dr. Uncle Mark and the British captain, with their heads together in deep discussion, walked toward the kitchen tent as the niece and nephew greeted them with bowls of steaming stew.
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