Revolution brought to life by 60 reenactors

MARIETTA – The British are coming!

So are the Americans, and maybe even the Spanish and the Dutch.

As part of on ongoing celebration of Marietta’s 225th birthday, about 60 reenactors of the American Revolution will invade East Muskingum Park starting today evening for the Brigade of the American Revolution Encampment.

The event Saturday and Sunday will feature demonstrations of artillery and guns, music, clothing and uniforms, all depicting what life was like in a military encampment during the years of the American Revolution, 1775 to 1783.

The reenactment also is taking place during the same weekend as the Merchants and Artist Walk and the Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival.

“We are trying to show the heritage of this country through the roles of the soldier of the American Revolution,” said Bill Reynolds, historian at the Campus Martius Museum in Marietta. “If we look at Marietta, the majority of the first group of settlers were veterans of the war. It’s nice not to forget the sacrifices these people made despite what life was like for these guys.”

A variety of tents will be used during the encampment, organizer John Conklin said.

He said a couple of them will be wedge tents, usually one piece of canvass that provides shade. He said one will be for the women to sit under during the days and “do whatever it is they do, usually some project, like sewing shirts.”

A group of reenactors plans to display the tools and the work of geographers, a military term for surveyors, he said. They always have some fascinating items and always are interested in talking to visitors about their work, according to Conklin.

Along the lines of battle, the reenactors will demonstrate linear tactics, which are how the units move around the battlefield. Depending on the space, sometimes the reenactors pretend to shoot and be shot, Conklin said.

Conklin said his commander likes to use the oft-repeated quotation from British Prime Minister Winston Churchill: “Those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

“Somebody has to tell the story,” he said. “That’s what we’re all about.”

Some people don’t have an accurate picture of how events unfolded during the American Revolution.

For example, Conklin said the American Colonials didn’t fight behind trees but in the British style because they were former British citizens and soldiers.

“Some people think all the action and battles happened back east, east of the Susquehanna River, mainly in the eastern half of Pennsylvania, Maryland and New York. There was a lot that went on here, not just the great battles of back east,” Conklin said.