Yesterday I got to participate in my first militia review. It was super-fun! Teehee! I tried not to giggle like a schoolgirl when I was dressed down by the captain because I had neglected to shave, but it was hard because the person next to me was tee-heeing like mad.
This is a picture I lovingly stole off of Flickr...it's a couple years old, but it should give you an idea of the uniforms we wear. Yesterday, in 93 degree I had on: silk/linen breeches, a linen/cotton shirt, cotton waistcoat, a stock (around the neck), a purple hunting frock, cotton stockings, leather shoes and black felt hat. The hat is cocked up on the left side so it doesn't hit the musket barrel...unless you're me and you have to carry your gun slightly tilted back because of a little thing called "hips."
The program I participate in is called "Days in History" and it's really sort of the grand finale of the two-day Revolutionary City program. We assemble on the village green, then form up to the sound of the Fife & Drum Corps and fix bayonets. We get inspected and then General Washington gives a speech (or sometimes General Lafayette, who is adorable with his adorable French accent). During the speech, we try not to pass out from the heat. Afterward, we go through the manouvers: loading, firing, marching, pushing bayonets, shouting "huzzah!" in a lusty manner. Then we break for artillery...since I'm not trained on the cannon I got to stand in the "rest" position while the rest of the platoon loaded and fired. Afterward, we broke into two platoons and marched off the field, back to the military "headquarters."
I did everything perfectly, except the marching down the street bit: I forgot the movements for "support arms" which is where you cross your arms over your musket. If you were really marching, this would be a different position to give your arms a bit of a break. Those muskets are really bloody heavy, actually. And there was one point where the ramrod refused to come out of the thimbles, so instead of a careful, safety-oriented slide, I was forced to give it an undignified yank. I don't think that I was the worst person though. The first time we were ordered to "cast about" and continue loading, the woman next to me set her musket butt right on my foot.
Your Continental Army, ladies and and gentlemen!
The program is only about a half-hour long, which is about as much as we can take in our uniforms, but I wish I had more of an excuse to run around and play militiaman, because it's so much fun. Maybe after tonight that will happen--I'm auditioning for the walking tours. Could you see me telling ghost stories? Stay tuned!