Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Battle of Fort Necessity

Painting by Robert Griffing

After learning of the attack at Jumonville Glen, Claude-Pierre Pecaudy de Contrecoeur, the veteran French commander at Fort Duquesne, ordered Captain Louis Coulon de Villiers, Ensign Jumonville's brother, to assail Washington and his force near Great Meadows. De Villiers left Fort Duquesne with nearly 600 French soldiers and Canadian militiamen, accompanied by 100 native allies.
Aware of the onset of a powerful French column, Washington busily fortified his position at Great Meadows. Despite receiving additional reinforcements, Washington's bedraggled force of around 400 men remained outnumbered by the approaching French. Even more concerning, the small circular wooden fort constructed less than a month before– named Fort Necessity - was built in the center of the meadow was poorly situated and vulnerable to fire from the nearby wooded hills that circled the position.

On July 1, 1754, the large combined French and native forces reached the Great Meadows. Washington gathered his troops and retreated into Fort Necessity. 
On a rainy July 3rd Coulon moved his troops into the woods, within easy musket range of the fort. 
Washington knew he had to dislodge the Canadians and Indians from that position, so he ordered an assault with his entire force across the open field. Seeing the assault coming, Coulon ordered his soldiers, led by Indians, to charge directly at Washington's line. Washington ordered the men to hold their ground and fire a volley. British regulars obeyed Washington's command, and supported by two swivel cannons, they inflicted several casualties on the oncoming Indians. The Virginians, however, fled back to the fort, leaving Washington and the British regulars greatly outnumbered. Washington ordered a retreat back to the fort.

Coulon reformed his troops in the woods. The Canadians spread out around the clearing and kept up heavy fire on Fort Necessity. 

To add to the garrison's troubles, heavy rain began to fall that afternoon, and Washington's troops were unable to continue the firefight because their gunpowder was wet. Sensing the hopelessness of his situation, Washington agreed to surrender to the French. The surrender terms allowed Washington and his troops to return to Virginia in peace.

The Battle of Great Meadows proved to be the only time that Washington surrendered to an enemy in battle.
The reconstructed Fort Necessity

Interested in 19th Century firearms? Check out my other blog.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Sutlers and Artisans

                              Stump Bluff Trading Post
            Manufacturer of reproduction tin and copperware HERE


Blacksmith at Heart

Jeff Helm will custom make items to your needs and desires. Check his web site HERE or Facebook HERE .

"Someone is Wondering Why He Don't write" by David Wright


Apple Cart Creations

Historically Accurate Hand Knitted and Hand Woven items HERE


Hemp and Nettle Cordage, along with a number unique items from Brandenburg Storehouse .


Suze's Sashes and Stashes

Straps, sashes and such made to your desires HERE .


Interested in 19th Century firearms? Check out my other blog.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Heroine of the Revolution

On June 28, 1778, the Battle of Monmouth was fought in weather that was hot, over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. Mary Ludwig Hays attended to the Revolutionary soldiers by carrying pitchers of water to them. Just before the battle started, she had found a spring to serve as her water supply. Mary Hays spent much of the early day carrying water to soldiers and artillerymen, often under heavy fire from British troops. 

“Molly” was a common name for women named Mary during the time; thus: “Molly! Pitcher!” Two places on the battlefield are currently marked as the "Molly Pitcher Spring”.

Sometime during the battle Mary’s husband, William Hays an artilleryman, collapsed from heat exhaustion. Mary Hays took his place at the cannon. For the rest of the day, in the heat of battle, Mary continued to "swab and load" the cannon using her husband's ramrod.

Joseph Plumb Martin recalls this incident in his memoirs, writing that at the Battle of Monmouth, "A woman whose husband belonged to the artillery and who was then attached to a piece in the engagement, attended with her husband at the piece the whole time. While in the act of reaching for a cartridge and having one of her feet as far before the other as she could step, a cannon shot from the enemy passed directly between her legs without doing any other damage than carrying away all the lower part of her petticoat. Looking at it with apparent unconcern, she observed that it was lucky it did not pass a little higher, for in that case it might have carried away something else, and continued her occupation."

After the battle, General Washington asked about the woman whom he had seen loading a cannon on the battlefield. In commemoration of her courage, he issued Mary Hays a warrant as a non commissioned officer. Afterwards, she was known as "Sergeant Molly," a nickname that she used for the rest of her life.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Sutlers and Artisans

The Drunk Tailor blog is great for the reenactor who is interested  in learning some of the do's and don'ts of tailoring. Informative.


Fabrics-store .Com
I've purchased linen from this source on several occasions and have been quite pleased with the product and service. I always check out their "doggy bag" and find remnants, at reduced prices, for straps, bags and such. Give it a look HERE 


Need Linen Thread?

Large selection at Royalwood Ltd. They can fill your needs click HERE .


"Delicate Balance" by Robert Griffing

Kris Polizzi Custom Weaving
Straps and sashes of all descriptions HERE


                     Need Leather?               

The Leather Guy has a complete line of leather plus related goods. All with quick delivery. HERE

Interested in 19th Century firearms? Check out my other blog.

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Do It Yourself Market Wallet

I just got  back from spending a few days at Friendship and for the first time I saw someone there using a market wallet. Normally all one sees are haversacks. So, why not a post about them, says Me.

 "The Market Wallet, is a rectangular bag with an opening in the center, made of cloth in various sizes and used as an all-purpose carrying item by civilians. It makes a great addition to a civilian kit.
The wallet, being of a long length and narrow width, can be carried in several ways. It can be put around the neck so that each side rests on one’s chest or twisted at the center and thrown over the shoulder. The twist will keep the contents from falling out. 
Fabrics mentioned range from course and sturdy flax or hemp linens, tows, and osnaburgs to striped ticking and checks and occasionally even marked with the owners initials."

"The pattern shown below is based on a Wallet in the collection of Historic Bethlehem Inc., a historical society located in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. These dimensions can be used as guidelines but the wallets were of many sizes."

The great thing about the Market Wallet is the ease of manufacturing. No straps, no buckles, no buttons and one size fits all. That size can be whatever you want it to be. A small one for day trips and/or a larger one for an extended trip. 

Don't want to make one, Townsend has them HERE for $24.


Thursday, June 9, 2016

Andrew Pickens, Hero of the Revolution

Andrew Pickens was a dignified diplomat who, during the Revolutionary War, captained several militia-led campaigns . His 300 strong guerrilla style militia was instrumental at the Battle of Kettle Creek, Battle of Cowpens and the siege of Augusta, Georgia. 
Late in the war, Pickens also led a campaign in north Georgia against the Cherokee Indians, which led to the ceding of a significant amount of land between the Savannah and Chattachoochee Rivers. 
Pickens was mostly pacifist by nature, and his Cherokee campaigns involved few outright battles, and much negotiation. Accordingly, Native Americans regarded Pickens highly, and nicknamed him “The Wizard Owl.” 
He was one of the first congressmen in the House of Representatives of South Carolina, where he was also well-liked. Several counties share his namesake as a result of his territorial expansions.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Heroine of the American Revolution

Sybil Ludington

"On April 25 1777, a 2,000 man British force entered Danbury, Connecticut in search of hidden Continental Army supplies. In the process they set fire to storehouses and homes. The 150 man detachment of Rebel defenders was no match for the Red Coats. A rider was dispatched to the home of Colonel Henry Ludington, commander of the 7th Regiment of the Dutchess County Militia. He arrived around 9 PM on a dark and stormy night with the message for Colonel Ludington to mobilize his men and drive the British off. Colonel Ludington’s men had been released to tend to spring planting and were scattered on farms around the countryside. Someone had to sound the alarm but the messenger was exhausted and didn’t know the area. Colonel Ludington couldn’t go because he had to prepare for battle. His daughter, Sybil, who had just turned 16, volunteered. She set out on that dark, stormy night, mounted on her father’s favorite horse, Star, with a large stick to bang on doors and protect herself. She rode on a man’s saddle and guided Star with a hempen halter, avoiding Red Coats, Tories and skinners* along the way. She rode 40 miles that night, over twice the distance of Paul Revere’s famous ride, arriving back home at dawn. She was responsible for the muster of 400 men. They arrived too late to save Danbury but joined other American forces at the Battle of Ridgefield who were able to drive the British to Long Island Sound where they boarded ships for New York."