When I knew for certain back in the fall of 2009 that my marriage was not going to continue, I started to ask myself questions about what I wanted in my uncertain future. I knew I needed friends, and something to do I was passionate about. I thought it might be time to get back into reenacting, since it had been nearly three decades since my brief stint as a Northern Confederate. My interest in family history and the Revolutionary War period, not to mention a connection made through this blog to a fellow student of history who was also a reenactor, made joining the 1st New Jersey (Continental Line) a potential good fit, and early this year I started to pull together my kit and delve in to this new hobby.
It has exceeded my every expectation. The dedication of my fellow living historians, the comraderie and welcome I received has been a true pleasure to experience. An unexpected bonus is the willingness of my new partner to find a way to be involved in this hobby on terms that work for her and allow us to participate as fully as we wish.
From Training Day in early April at Washington's Crossing (in ill-made breeches) to the 9 1/2 mile march we made from there to Trenton just yesterday, I certainly jumped in with both feet this year. Among the many highlights were singing at Wyoming (and the songs and broadsheets that came after); getting to know some of our honored adversaries in the 35th Regt of Foote, especially its sometimes batman; the crab feast at Mt. Harmon that made up for the theft of the King's sausages; Hut weekend at Jockey Hollow and the chance to live and work as the Continentals did (in much better weather), cooking brisket for our comrades at Cold Spring; rowing the Battoe Moon by moonlight; Constant Belcher (that fraud!); and the footsore march to Trenton.
I also enjoyed the chance to stand guard at Mt. Harmon, the large-scale engagements at the full Line events, and finding opportunities to enage with the public. I'm looking forward to finding ways to do more of that in camp next year, and give them as good an experience there as we try to do on the field.
I truly appreciate the wonderful craftsmanship and service provided by many sutlers in this hobby. Special props to Mona Hubardtt who knits the finest linen and wool stockings available, J. J. for the excellent and affordable regimental coat; Charlie of Charlie's Boatworks in Frenchboro, ME for collaborating on the wonderful soldier's box; David Hannon of Minuteman Armoury; Pete and Wendy from Middlesex Village Trading Company; James Moore of 18th Century Bibles for their superior offerings; and Ted and Sue Huesken of Rancocas Merchant along with our own 1st NJ. You do a tremendous service to our hobby and appreciation of the material culture of this period and we could not do it without people like you.
To Larry, and David, and William, and Marie, and Tom, and Heather; and George, and Scott, and Paul, Thad; and Talya; and especially all my good friends in the 1st and 2nd Jersey; I raise my tricorn in a Happy New Year's "Huzzah!" I'll see you in the field come Spring, if not before.