Attending a new American Revolution Reenactment-The Battle of Princeton 2023

January 31, 2023  •  Leave a Comment

Attending a new American Revolution Reenactment is always fun. You don't know what to expect. This time it was the Battle of Princeton on the first Sunday in January. This event has occurred sporadically over the years. One of my photo friends said to leave home at the site early, by 7:00 am. It was around 6:30 am when I started from the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA. The drive took me about 80 minutes. There was no traffic, so I was cruising, listening to the music of Bob Dylan. I arrived around 7:30 am, which I'm glad I did because parking was limited. I saw old friends, made some new ones, and by chance, spoke with the Executive Director of Ft. Mifflin in Philadelphia. I had a great day.

After parking and wandering around, I spotted the Thomas Clarke House. Here is where American General Hugh Mercer was wounded in the battle, carried to the field hospital, and died nine days later.

Thomas Clarke House-where American General Hugh Mercer died from his wounds in 1777.

Below shows the crowd gathering as the reenactment was starting. The news said there were about 800 spectators. This reenactment was unusual because it began early at 9:30 am and ended around 2:00 pm, with the reenactment starting at 10:00 am. That's early! Wawa the convenience store headquarted near my home was there to provide free coffee. On a cold day it tasted perfect.

With this photo, I envisioned first how to construct it. I was on the main road looking down at the sloped open field. I moved around until I could capture the crowd, road sign, and the most challenging part, some reenactors in the photo. It created a special triangle effect.

I don't have a photo like this before, I believe. It shows the flash when the flint struck the steel lip igniting the black powder in the flash pan. It's just before the flash explosion. It's incredible with photos that you can see something in a new way that your eyes cannot! 
Only eight days after George Washington's victory, Hessian forces garrisoned in Trenton, New Jersey, defeated a force of British troops near Princeton, New Jersey. Although the two battles of Trenton and the Battle of Princeton were relatively small, they did help the morale of the patriot cause and helped increase many recruits to join the Continental Army. The photo below gives an idea of how the battle might have looked.

With all the muskets & cannons blasting away, it was hard to see clearly with the swirling wind and blowing smoke. During a real battle, it was almost impossible to see anything.

At any reenactment with cannons, I will capture a few good shots of flashes from at least one. I posted 11 in this gallery. At no previous reenactment event did I ever have so many excellent cannon photos. Here is the photo gallery link American Revolution Photos |Battle of Princeton 2023

Thank you for reading! 

Blog # 57 will be posted in March 2023. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer


American Revolution Photos-2022 Recap

December 31, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

       

This blog is to recap the reenactment events I attended in 2022. I was at five regular and one national. Regrettably, because of a flat tire the night before, I missed one of my annual favorites the, Battle of Monmouth. And was cancelled because of bad weather, the Battle of Germantown. What luck!! Here are my five favorite photos of the year.

For 2022, this is my top choice. Good photos tell a story, and this one does that. It's from the 1777 Whitemarsh reenactment. Notice the reenactor on the right pondering. Everyone else is looking to the left, but he's looking down, thinking of something. About what?

Was it to decide on what type of wine for dinner? Or when is his upcoming dentist visit? That's what makes this photo special. You don't know.

This reenactor asked me to take his photo at the Assault on Ft Mercer event. One of my photo friends recommended me to him. I found a quiet secluded spot near some trees and took about ten shots in ten minutes. I decided to use my Nikon 50mm 1.8 lens. This lens blurs out the background. I knew later it needed to be converted to b&w in post-production. Here he resembles an 18th-century soldier, weathered and battle-scarred. 

National events, such as the Battle of Brandywine, have many reenactors. It is impressive when they are in formation, especially the British soldiers. Yet it must have been frightening to watch in an actual battle. That's the feeling I wanted to reproduce.

To make the British troop formation feel massive, I was on my stomach and held the camera as close to the ground as possible, shooting upwards. The image, with a gray sky, gives a sense of foreboding!

This photo is of Washington's Life Guards at the Frye House at Washington's Crossing. This photo shows the officers starting to gather to discuss strategy for crossing the Delaware River. 

A reenactor spitting the paper from biting a cartridge while loading a musket is a photo I've been attempting to capture for years. When loading the musket, the cartridge black powder is first placed in the priming pan and the rest in the muzzle, followed by the ball and wadding. This photo of Noah "Ned Hector" Lewis, whom I had a blog interview about six months ago, shows that.

Thank you for reading! 

Blog # 56 will be posted in February 2023. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

 


245th Anniversary of the Battle of Brandywine-2022 National Event

November 30, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Christmas LightsChristmas Lights

On a beautiful Sunday morning in late September, I drove the short distance, ten miles, to the 245th anniversary of the Battle of Brandywine American Revolution reenactment. It was a National Event. What is that? 

Simply, it's a big event with more reenactors and programming. Each year around three large event sites are chosen. The last year this event was held here was in 2017. I'm fortunate to live in the suburbs of Philadelphia, where many important American Revolution events occurred.

How do I learn the dates of all the many American Revolution reenactment events? Two leading websites for the original 13 colonies, the British Brigade and the Continental Line, post reenactment schedules and unit websites. The midwest states have a separate reenactment organization, The North West Territory Alliance (NWTA)

One of the reasons I enjoy attending a Sunday event is the Christian religious service. Usually, it starts around 10 am. This year, George Washington attended! I wrote about this, Reenactment Religious Observances, in blog #33,

This reenactment was one of the bigger ones I've attended since before the pandemic. This panoramic photo gives you an idea of how big it was. 

Here are the tentative national events scheduled for 2023.

Monmouth Battlefield-June 17-19

Fort Loudoun-September 30-October 1

In the morning, there was a recognition dedication of the Mass Grave on the battlefield. All the troops assembled. And an opening prayer was given by the Continental Reverend. 

Most American Revolution reenactments are rendered on the actual battle site, so reenactors want to show their respect for the brave soldiers who fought these battles. These ceremonies are always quite moving.

 At a big event with so many reenactors, you can get a feel of how impressive having so many troops assembled is. For this photo, I was on the ground shooting upwards. It shows a different angle and perspective. 

The goal for me of any reenactment is to capture at least one excellent cannon shot. This one does that.

If you look closely at the photo, you might recognize Noah Lewis (Ned Hector), with whom I did a 3-part blog interview a few months ago. When portraying Ned Hector in many reenactments, he is a bombardier. What is that? It's an artilleryman during the American Revolution. 


Thank you for reading! 

Blog # 55 will be posted in January 2023. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

 


Rediscovering Old City Philadelphia Cultural District

November 01, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

As mentioned before, I live in the Philadelphia, PA, suburbs. Because of the pandemic, it has been years since I had the opportunity to visit the Old City Cultural District and the Museum of the American Revolution. On a beautiful Saturday in early September, I obtained a free pass from our local library. They have various passes to museums and even a local zoo in the Philadelphia region. What a great perk. So, maybe your local library does the same? Check!

After leaving the train station, I was in Philly's Chinatown neighborhood. It's a fun place to people watch and, of course, food. But, the museum area was still five blocks away.

On my route was the National Constitution Center. It's a great museum I've visited a few times. Funny, I wrote this blog on September 17, National Constitution Day!

Diagonally across the street from the museum is the Christ Church Burial Ground. Benjamin Franklin is buried here. His funeral on April 21, 1790, was massive; at least 20,000 people attended. At that time, Philadelphia only had about 28,000 residents!

I was walking south on N 5th Street, which turns into S 5th Street, towards The Weitzman National Museum of American Jewish History. The last time I visited the area, over two years ago, they were closed. 

The museum in the photo below is behind the bright red tourist bus. Now admission to the museum is free, how great is that! I visited for about 30 minutes.

Across the street was the Liberty Bell. Of course, that is a popular tourist destination.

 I had sub lunch at a Wawa, a chain of almost 1,000 convenience stores and gas stations located along the East Coast. Their headquarters is only a few miles from my home. 

Walking east on Chestnut Street for about three blocks was my destination, the Museum of the American Revolution. I was able to visit for a few hours. What fun!

In blog # 4, I wrote of my day at the museum. When you're in Philadelphia, it's a must-see.

 

Thank you for reading! Blog # 53 will be posted in December 2022. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer

 


Mount Harmon National Revolutionary War Reenactment & Colonial Festival 2022

September 30, 2022  •  Leave a Comment

Have you heard the expression how time flies where time seems to move very or more quickly? That is how I felt a few months ago attending Mount Harmon's National Revolutionary War Reenactment & Colonial Festival. I couldn't believe it's been three years since I last visited. Why? Of course, the pandemic canceled every reenactment for almost two years. Plus, there seemed to be terrible weather one year, I believe a hurricane. 

How, then, to describe Mt. Harmon MD?

This excerpt is from their website Home - Mount Harmon Plantation

Mount Harmon Plantation originated as a land grant of 350 acres to Godfrey Harmon by Caecilius Calvert, the second Lord Baltimore, in 1651. During the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, Mount Harmon prospered as a tobacco plantation. As you drive down the two-mile lane, through the tunnel formed by Osage orange trees, you will appreciate the isolation of those times, when transportation moved most freely by water. Three of the owners during the period had their own schooners to transport tobacco to the British Isles and return with furnishings and necessities for the house and farm.

There was no major American Revolution battle here or anywhere in MD. The closest was when General Howe landed 13,000 troops in Elkton, formally Head of Elk, during the Philadelphia campaign in 1777. 

It took me a little over an hour to get there. It was on a very, very hot Sunday. Some activities were canceled due to the extreme heat.  What's great about a reenactment is that you never know what to expect.

At this event were Spanish reenactors. I never saw that before. In this photo, they were praying before the reenactment battle. 

Attending reenactment events on Sunday is always fun. A Christian religious service, most times, will be held. I always try to participate.

Having special events for spectators happens often. One of the most popular events is the children's drill with wooden muskets. They pretend their 18th-century soldiers, and the highlight is when they charge with a loud scream. Fun.

When you visit Mt Harmon, you notice Brick Georgian Manor House circa 1730, surrounded by 200 acres of open space. This vastness is evident during the reenactment because when the reenactors are scattered far from the mansion, I can't get good photos even with my long lens. Pictures like this show the scope of this reenactment. Here is the link to the photo gallery. Thank you for reading! Blog # 52 will be posted in November 2022. Be safe & well!

Ken Bohrer