Friday, August 2, 2013

Battle of Crysler’s Farm Re-enactment July 13th

The actual battle was fought on November 13, 1813.

We managed to fit in a day at this re-enactment weekend at Upper Canada Village, before we went off to Rhode Island for a family reunion.

We arrived about 11 a.m. to find that the number of cars entering the grounds was much larger than usual.  We also noted that the number of white tents used by the re-enactors was unusually large. Once we were parked and had paid our admission, we headed for the St. Lawrence Branch, UELAC tent. We finally found it near the Battlefield Memorial.

We said hello to Lynne and Mahlon Cook, Sandra Shouldice, Mike Eamer, Carol Goddard and Lorraine and Gordon Reoch. The day was very hot so we sat around the tent for a while in the shade.

We spent a few minutes watching the Commemorative Ceremony with the Voltigeurs de Quebec on the Battlefield Memorial Mound.

The number of people visiting or milling around the St. Lawrence Branch UELAC booth was unusually high. This could be for a couple of reasons:
1)      There were a lot more people there for the re-enactment of this historic and important battle.
2)      Those who had UEL ancestors and who may have fought in his battle were registering for a group photo.

The actual battle re-enactment started after 1:30 and the viewing area was crowded with standing room only remaining. I heard later that there were up to 600 re-enactors present on site. This could be confirmed by the sea of white tents pitched on the grounds.

As mentioned it was hot and sunny that day and while we did put on sun screen and wore a hat, I did get some sunburn on my face and nose. 

The re-enactment battles are always interesting to watch, with the re-enactors trying very hard to represent battle tactics of the time period. There is always noise with muskets and cannon firing. There were a number of small sailing ships and gunboats involved as well on the St. Lawrence River. All very exciting! Since this was Day One of the re-enactment the outcome of the battle was indecisive on Saturday.  We were unable to attend on Sunday but I would assume the Americans lost again otherwise it would not have been a true re-enactment.

Ronald L. Doering published a book recently about the days preceding the battle and the actual battle, as seen through the eyes of the local people who lived in the area. It is an excellent read.
I have a copy of the book signed by the author. He was also at the re-enactment.
Defending Our Home. Loyalist Families of Dundas County and the Battle of Crysler’s Farm. A War of 1812 Novel. Borealis Press, Ottawa, Canada. 2012.

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