Mailout #3, 30 March 2000
The British troops approached us rapidly in platoons with a general officer on horseback at their head. The officer came up to about two rods of the center of the company where I stood, the first platoon being about three yards distant. There they halted. The officer then swung his sword, and said, "Lay down your arms, you damned rebels, or you are all dead men - fire!" Some guns were fired by the British at us from the first platoon, but no person was killed or hurt, being probably charged only with powder. Just at this time, Captain Parker ordered every man to take care of himself. The company immediately dispersed; and while the company was dispersing and leaping over the wall, the second platoon of the British fired and killed some of our men.
Gentleman (and Ladies)
I hope this letter finds you well and ready to begin the new season. We are looking forward to welcoming all of you to Lexington and Concord to share in the recreation of the events that happened 225 years ago on April 19, 1775. This is the first time these events have been recreated in their historic order and we think you will find that it is a great mix of recreating history and of enjoying a combination of battle venues ranging from open fields to a two mile running battle down Massachusetts Ave in downtown Lexington. In addition to the Concord-to-Lexington event on Saturday, the weekend will also include a Military Tattoo, Revere's Capture, Lexington Green, and demonstrations of 18th century life. We think we have put together a weekend that will echo events such as Yorktown in 1981. Thank you to everyone who has risen to the challenge of putting together the clothing and accoutrements of New England civilians in early 1775 now we present you with a new challenge: as you travel to the event, allow yourself to step into the shoes of a civilian on the eve of the revolution in a community that is politically troubled, but not yet at war. When you turn in on Friday night, you expect to wake to the accustomed tasks of an early spring morning. When you are called out on Saturday morning, you will no doubt have a range of expectations and reasons for having responded to the call, but are not likely to anticipate the conflict that erupts. Come Saturday evening, we will have crossed a line together from which there will be no turning back. For those of us who participate annually in the recreation of the events of 1774-75 New England, this experience of crossing the threshold at the beginning of the war is something we look forward to sharing with the rest of you.
Enough about what we're going to experience. We encourage you to think of Battle Road 2000 as more than a fun weekend for the participants: it provides us with an opportunity to build something special for ourselves, our community, our nation and our children. April 19th is an icon in American History and we have school children and scouts from around the country coming to watch us make history come alive.
This is an event that can create a legacy for future events. As reenactors we spend many weekends sharing our love for history with others; Here is an opportunity for us to share our love for history and the sacrifices that these common men made with an estimated crowd of over 200,000. Some of you had the experience of interacting with crowds of that magnitude in Quebec City several years ago; now we can do it at home, in our backyard. This is not just another weekend on the calendar; this is not just Boston Marathon weekend. This event is important to many of us: to all who will get up at 3:30 am to make a bus at 4:30 am; to all who have chosen to shave for the weekend for the first time since the bicentennial; to all that have made sacrifices for it. And most of all it is important for those school children and scouts who will walk away from this event with a little glimmer of what history was like and the sacrifices made by our forefathers. Take the time to stop an extra moment and talk to the child or adult who is watching you ask where they've come from, ask whether they have a question, let them take your picture. We need to embrace these special days, honor them, and share them with others. That is what Battle Road is about. This is our common Legacy, this is America, this is the light of freedom!
The response to Battle Road 2000 has been phenomenal. Our public web site is getting over 400 unique visitors a week (a month before the event.) The Boston Globe has joined our efforts as a media partner and has been publishing numerous articles, and they are doing a special section the week before the event. School groups as far away as Denver have called and are making plans to attend. Scout groups from all over are planning to attend. The banners are up on the main street of Lexington and we are receiving wonderful support from the municipal, state and federal officials. The clergy council in Lexington are going to pray for good weather (and we know that it is New England's God). So we think everything is lined up for a successful event. This is going to be the last communication through print and everything else will be communicated through the BRY2K web site for updates at: http://www.ai.mit.edu/people/sfelshin/BRY2K/ Ask a member in your unit to check the web site a day or two before you leave and if you need web access visit your local library.
We need the detailed returns no later than April 1st. We need your insurance or you cannot participate. I have enclosed in this mailing another copy of the detailed return (for those who have not returned them). We need to have you fill this out and get it back to the Battle Road Committee so that we have accurate information to honor your requests. The returned list includes a list of participants, where they are staying, and how they are arriving. This list needs to be very accurate in order to support the safety and logistical planning that are critical to this event. We will not be able to ensure bus transportation between sites to those (including children) whose names are not on the return.
The Battle Road 2000 camp will open on Thursday, April 13 at noon and you can depart any time after mid-afternoon on Sunday. The camping area must be cleared by 10 AM on Monday, April 17. The registration will be at the encampment site and it is important that everyone register. The encampment will be on Lincoln Fields, a group of athletic fields in Lexington. This location has easy access off the Route 95/128 highway, and is within walking distance of some of the battle sites, a supermarket, and Lexington Green. The BRC is working on providing ice in camp and access to showers on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. You will have to check at the registration tent for details.
The encampment will be open to the public during the day on Saturday from 9 am to 4 pm and on Sunday from Noon to 3 pm. We ask that you keep everything 18th century during the public hours. On Saturday and part of Sunday we are going to have public viewing spots of the camp behind lines. On Sunday afternoon the crowd size will determine the how open camp is. The camps will have police officers in them during the day to keep visitors out of tents. However, please secure your tents. We request that you do not break camp until 3 pm on Sunday and keep your vehicles on the perimeter of camp and carry gear out of camp. We also need your cooperation with the straw: it is important to have accurate returns and to only take the straw that you need. We request that extra straw be left on the truck: if we do not use it, we do not have to pay for it. There will be no children's straw forts at this event. We also need your help piling your straw after you break down your tent: the playing fields need to gotten ready for games later in the week and we are looking at a potential $800 bill to dispose of the straw after the event. We want to limit that as much as possible.
The weather in New England is changeable. A month before the event, there was snow on the encampment field. But it did not last long as mild and cold air fight as Spring takes hold. The prediction for April is warm and dry; however I would expect that the field might be damp. The long range forecast (which cannot be that accurate) has showers on April 710 and cooler, some sun for April 11 14 (and rain starting the April 15). Temperature above normal and rain below normal. So who knows? Just be prepared!
Security and safety are big concerns for this event. There are also numerous ways of looking at security/safety. The first is that we are commemorating April 19th. In recent past, there have been a number of unpleasant issues surrounding this date. We need everyone to be aware and report any odd or unusual situations. The second concern is walk-ons. The have tried to make information readily available, but that also makes it easier for walk-ons. At our recent muster day we had about 5 potential walk-ons. We need to police ourselves. Help the first sergeants when they call rolls and read the orders. If you see something odd, don't let it go, let the command staff know. If a stranger tells you something question it. Walk-ons will be arrested. We need your help. Finally there is the issue of safety. We are doing a running battle and commemoration over 12 miles. Different sites have different rules of operations. Listen to the orders for each site! Take a rest when you can. Be careful getting on and off the transportation. Watch out for cars in the parking lots. Look out for your safety and the safety of the spectators. If you are not certain about something don't do it. Call a cease fire or just do not fire. We are counting on your experience and good judgment to make this event work. We need to keep an eye out for each other. Wear sun screen (put it on before the sun rises). Drink lots of water. Use the bathroom when you can. This is a long event. You are getting up early, eating fast, maybe drinking the night before, and doing more exercise than you are use to during the winter. Be careful! Being tired leads to bad judgment and safety issues. We need work together as a community to make this event secure and safe.
For Your Information (E-mail is the preferred method of communication)
We look forward to all of you joining us for Battle Road and helping us celebrate Lighting Freedom's Flame. At this event, it is an honor to have your units participating. Each and every one of you will have to work hard to make the clothing for the event, arrange your schedules and to travel to attend this event. Thank you for your efforts. We know you enjoy it or you not would attend. As the organizers, we have planned and marketed a great event. Come and enjoy it. Share your love for history with others and through that process we will all be richer. Thank you and God Speed.
...Even women had firelocks. One was seen to fire a blunderbuss between her father and her husband from their windows. There the three, with an infant child, soon suffered the fury of the day. In another house which was long defended by eight resolute fellows, the grenadiers at last got possession, when after having run their bayonets into seven, the eighth continued to abuse them with all the beastlike rage of a true Cromwellian, and but a moment before he quitted this world applied such epithets as I must leave unmentioned.
Last updated: 30 Mar 2000