My World Tuesday: Connecticut's Valley Forge Comes to Life
My daughter and her cousins visited Putnam Memorial State Park in Redding/Bethel, Connecticut, on Saturday to take in a reenactment of a skirmish for food on the 232nd anniversary of the Revolutionary War camps on this site. The reenactors enlisted two of the three children to participate in a children's muster and drill. Before they knew it, they were taking orders to march, fire on the enemy, and then run away as fast as they could in proper military style. Many of the kids fell right into the spirit of the thing and fell in action right on Company Street, which marks the road on which enlisted soldiers built huts where they wintered more than two centuries ago.
In addition to the great information from the fabulous men and women reenactors, the brochure tells us: "In November of 1778, the main part of Washington's Continental Army was ordered to winter quarters. The winter encampments formed a crescent around the British Army in New York City, from Middlebrook, NJ, to Redding on the east. Major General Israel Putnam was given command of three bridages which camped in Redding." Severe weather left the men without food or other supplies, though they were only in nearby Danbury. Conditions were tough and left the men cranky and irritable; by February two men were executed on Gallows Hill--one for being a spy and the other, for being a deserter. The quality of the experience won the camp the name Connecticut's Valley Forge.
We spent three hours walking around the park, talking to the reenactors, studying the displays, and visiting the museum before the half-hour reenactment of a skirmish. We were cold and tired by choice; being aware of this made the mock battle to the death over food all the more dramatic. Just as most baseball games are lost rather than won, so are most wars. How does the struggle for bread make or break a nation?
I'm very grateful to the men and women who brought our history to life and raised a lot of difficult questions. Time has not answered those questions but suggested an unfolding of an answer. We live to learn, learn to live. (More photos are here.)
My World Tuesday