Re-enactors bring Revolution-era encampment to life

MARIETTA – Over 200 spectators learned about life during the Revolutionary War in East Muskingum Park on Saturday as the celebration for the 225th anniversary of Marietta’s settlement continues.

“This is impressive,” said Mary Fullmer, of Chicago, Ill. “It is fantastic this is going on and is open to everyone.”

Fullmer and Kris Arnold, of Connecticut, were visiting their children who live in Marietta and did not know East Muskingum Park had been taken over by people from more than two centuries ago.

“We just went for a walk with the grandkids and had no idea this was going on,” Fullmer added. “I am pleasantly surprised.”

Arnold said the grandchildren were the happiest members of their family group, as they toured the camp and talked to several of the roughly 60 re-enactors who are participating in the American Revolution Encampment Saturday and today at the park in downtown Marietta.

“The grandkids are having a great time learning about the Revolutionary War and running around the park,” Arnold said.

The re-enactors participating in the Brigade of the American Revolution Encampment in the park between Front Street and the Muskingum River gave demonstrations of artillery and guns, music of the time, clothing and uniforms and other depictions of what life was like in a military encampment in the years of the Revolutionary War – between 1775 and 1783.

“We are dedicated to preserving what life was like for the common soldier and those in the encampments during the Revolutionary War,” said re-enactor Bob Cairns, of the 8th Pennsylvania Regiment, Fort Laurens Detachment.

The brigade has toured much of the East Coast of the country and went to England in 1987 to re-enact battles from the American War of Independence on foreign soil.

“It was wonderful to be there and re-enact some of our Revolution in the country we were against,” said Cairns, who is also the commander of the Brigade of the American Revolution’s Northwest Department. “The English are such nice people and truly love Americans.”

Bill Reynolds, historian at Campus Martius Museum in Marietta, said Saturday’s event went well and beyond expectations.

“We had a nice number of people,” Reynolds said. “There weren’t hundreds here, but those who came were very interested and spent a lot of time asking questions and genuinely wanted to learn our history.”

The re-enactment continues today in the park with a non-denominational church service at 10:30 a.m. and an afternoon full of activities, ending at 4 p.m. when camp breaks.

Until then, there are various types of tents strewn throughout the park to depict how the men and women in the camps lived. Other re-enactors will display and discuss the tools and responsibilities of geographers, who were military surveyors; as well as women who show what the wives of those fighting the battles did in the camps.

“We want people to know about this country’s heritage by watching it,” Reynolds said. “By visiting the encampment and talking to the re-enactors, people are able to get a sense of what it was like.”

Cairns said his regiment has re-enacted in Marietta in the past.

“We were at Camp Tupper – the turtle mound – to celebrate Marietta’s bicentennial in 1988, so it’s great to be back her to celebrate the city’s 225th birthday,” Cairns said.