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This blog follows the reconstruction of the Revolutionary War Public Armoury on the James Anderson site

Reconstruction of the Blacksmith's & Public Armoury

November 8, 2013

The Latest Details: Armoury Opening Weekend

For three and a half years, the “Continental” army of the young “United States” has marched from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania, fighting not only for independence, but for its utter survival. Washington has done all in his power to keep the Army in the field, but as the war has dragged on, with desertions increasing and few enlistments, he has been forced to consolidate and reorganize the Army several times. In November of 1778 the new British commander, General Sir Henry Clinton arrived with a plan to defeat the “rebels” and put down the rebellion – by dividing the British army and sending 3,500 troops south to attack Georgia. Washington was now faced, not only with fighting the 17,000 British regulars in New York, but also with the real threat of losing the southern states.  On Dec. 29, before Washington can react, the British troops seized Savannah with heavy American losses.

It is now late April of 1779 and with the Commonwealth of Virginia promising enlistment bounties, the state can finally fulfill its quotas and send the reorganized First Virginia Regt. northward to join the Continental line. In Williamsburg, James Anderson’s Public Armory is steadily increasing in size, scope and importance, making and repairing arms and equipment for Virginia and her troops.  But as these recruits arrive to be equipped and trained, rumors begin to circulate that their destination may not be New York!

The James Anderson Public Armoury Grand Opening will take place Nov. 15-17 after more than three years of work.  Use this schedule of events to help guide you through “The Arsenal of Revolution: James Anderson’s Public Armoury Grand Opening.” (Note: *indicates an advertised program.)

Friday, Nov. 15

Noon- 4 p.m.      Reenactors begin to arrive. 

5 p.m.                    Reenactors set up camps on Market Square and Palace Green.   

Saturday, Nov. 16

* 9:30 a.m.  on the Courthouse Steps (15 minutes)Dan making anvil stumps in the Armoury yard.

Understanding the Armoury Opening: Meet with an Historian and explore the importance of the opening of the first public armoury of the Commonwealth of Virginia and what it meant for the Revolution.

*10 a.m.- 4 p.m. at the  Palace East Advance Building

Military Field Hospital:   Surgeons care for wounded patients and smallpox victims.

*10:45 a.m. – 2:30 p.m.  at the Military Encampment (free flow)  

“the difficulty respecting clothing”: James Anderson’s Public Armory has steadily increased in size, scope and importance, making and repairing arms and equipment for Virginia’s troops.  Join the Quartermaster as he discusses the items necessary for a private soldier – and the struggles he encounters with keeping Virginia’s troops in the field.      

 * 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. at the Military Encampment (1 hour)

Assemble Musket Cartridges : Come help followers of the Army prepare musket ammunition by rolling paper cartridges and filling them with gunpowder and lead shot.             

* 12:30 p.m.  at the Capitol Circle (20 minutes)

Military Music Demonstration (Beatings and Signals): A demonstration of music used by the army.

* 1 p.m.  from the Capitol to Market Square (30 minutes)

                Fifes and Drums March

* 1:30 p.m.  at Market Square ( 20 minutes)

Musket Demonstration & Firing: A demonstration of musket firing on the battlefield.

* 2 p.m.  at Market Square (20 minutes)

                Artillery Demonstration:   Artillery crews practice firing ordinance.          

* 2 p.m.  at the Coffeehouse Stage (30 minutes)

The Revolution in Indian Country: Join the Delaware, Iroquois and Wyandot for a reflection on the American Revolution and its impact on Native American peoples.            

* 3 p.m. – 3:30 p.m. at James Anderson House front porch (30 minutes)

The Grand Opening of the Armoury Complex: The official opening of the Armoury with guest speakers, cannon salute, and free-flow viewing of the site.  Cannons fired from Armoury and “answered” from Market Square, Military Encampment and Capitol area.

* 4:30 p.m. at Market Square (20 minutes)

“Come Join the Army!” : The Commander of the Virginia Forces extends an offer for you to fight for liberty!  Join in, be recruited, exercised in the manual of arms and learn to march with the soldiers.   

     

Sunday, Nov. 17

* 9:30 a.m. on the Courthouse Steps (15 minutes)

Understanding the Armoury Opening:  Meet with a Historian and explore the importance of the opening of the first public armoury of the Commonwealth of Virginia and what it meant for the Revolution.              

*10 a.m. – 4 p.m. at the Palace East Advance Building

Military Field Hospital: Surgeons care for wounded patients and smallpox victims.

* 10 a.m.   Behind the Courthouse (15 minutes)

Drum Head Church Service:  Troops assemble for church service, articles of war are read.            

* 11 a.m. at the Military Encampment  (1 hour)

“A spark of patriotic fire.”  You are invited to join in and be recruited, exercised in the manual of arms, and learn to march with the soldiers. As Officers offer encouragements for enlisting in Virginia’s Continental army, you may learn why some of the men are not going to enlist.          

*12 Noon – 1 p.m. at the Military Encampment

Military Music Demonstration (Beatings and Signals): A demonstration of music used by the army.       

* 1:30 p.m.– 2 p.m. at the Market Square (approx. 20 minutes)

Artillery Demonstration.

* 2 p.m.  at the Palace Garden Stage (30 minutes)                  

The Revolution in Indian Country: Join the Delaware, Iroquois and Wyandot for a reflection on the American Revolution and its impact on Native American peoples.

 * 3 p.m. at Market Square Behind the Courthouse.

Musket Demonstration:  A demonstration of musket tactics on the battlefield.

*4:30 p.m.  at Market Square (approx. 20 minutes)

Marching Off to War: Come cheer on the soldiers of the reorganized First Virginia Regiment as they demonstrate their newly learned military skills. It has almost taken a year for Virginia to raise her quota of recruits to meet the needs of army, and now they are finally preparing to march north to join Gen. Washington. But the day is interrupted by the arrival of news that will change plans – and create fears for the safety of families, friends, and homes!         

5:30 p.m.             Reenactors depart.

Funded by a generous gift from Forrest E. Mars Jr., of Big Horn, Wyoming.

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  1. oh man…..this is killing me NOT being able to attend. Have a wonderful dedication time….”YA’LL”!

    • Rick~
      We hoped that additional details would have this effect! You will be missed. Rest assured that all will be well-recorded, and we will pass those images along as quickly as possible.

      • Ditto to Rick’s comments; but Nick and I are looking forward to our visit starting this coming weekend. The video’s describing the site and the tin shop are really great. I think Ken has found a new calling.

        Mike


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