A Call To Arms: The Battle of Mount Vernon 2015

Just got back from Mount Vernon, VA for the reenactment event. I haven't' been to Mount Vernon in a while, and I certainly haven't' been interpreting there in costume, since I was 8-12 years old. So it was great to be back! 

Anyway, it was definitely an experience that I wanted to share with you. First off, this was my first time camping overnight. I was excited but at the same time nervous because I was away from home from my warm bed, but I wanted to experience this first hand. When my unit arrived to the site, we set up camp and settled down for the night… well sort of, on the account that it was FREEZING with hat felt like 30 degrees outside. We tried to sleep, but even with several blankets, a wool coat, modern clothes, and several pairs of socks, we were all complaining about how frigid it was. We ended up taking over a fire pit from someone else's camp and just sitting around just so we could stay warm.  That's when we noticed some strange things happening. Over in the woods, around midnight, we heard singing as if there was a shanty or a huge male choir going on. We tried to decipher what it was (if it were ghosts or another encampment down near the Pioneer Farm a mile away). 

The next morning, ended up becoming a very busy day for all of us. The temperature finally warmed up and thawed everyone in the entire encampment out. As for our unit, as soon as we woke up, we immediately got to work. My Lieutenant went to his officers meeting, while the men and women of the camp got the day started, by getting dressed themselves, making breakfast, and getting all 6 children ready and fed for the day. 

My Lieutenant helping himself to some oatmeal before his meeting.

The Royal Artillery's morning orders

While the Artillery had a meeting of their own, I went to join the ladies of our camp and helped with the spinning demonstrations. Like a student forgetting to bring their homework to class, I forgot my drop spindle for the demonstration, because I figured I wouldn't need it. I ended up borrowing one, as long as  I brought it back on Sunday. I did get to keep the Alpaca fleece top which was amazing to the touch, and a joy to work with. During my break, I got to walk around the grounds and take some pictures. I ran into Gen. George Washington and chatted with him for a while. I don't get to experience this too often with official interpreters of famous people, but he actually broke out of character and talked to me about the modifications of the Mansion. I had to agree with him about how everything has changed since I've last been a volunteer there. Even the white paint was stripped from the house making them look a little brown instead of snow white. I also talked about how digital everything has become, instead of how traditional it was. Great example, would be the fact that Mount Vernon as a whole, even out in the field where I slept, had WiFi! I'm still blown away!

Anyway, my chat with the Col., I went to check out the rest of the site just to take some pictures. I got some of the lower gardens, and of the farm. I didn't get any of the Washington grave site, or the Slave memorial, or the Pioneer Farm, because by then, I had to hurry back to the unit to prepare for the battle at 12 o'clock. 

The Battle of Mount Vernon, went pretty well (except for the sheep who were spooked). The Doctor asked a few ladies including myself to act as nurses who "tended to the injured and resurrected the dead" because we didn't have enough men to fight if everyone was dying. We revived almost everyone; for some reason most of the people dying were falling in front of the guns so we couldn't tend to them, and while we tried to help everyone there were some who didn't want to get up and just wanted to die valiantly. We were also a little spooked ourselves when we saw the Cavalry (the Green Dragoons) charging in our direction. Thankfully, they went around us, but we took off to avoid anymore close calls. 

After the battle was over, I met up with my friend Steph, and went for lunch, as well as shop at K. Walters Sign of the Gray Horse. I purchased a beautiful cameo broach, and a pair of matching earrings.  We went for lunch/dinner at the Mount Vernon Inn, and during the 45 minute wait, we bought a replica of the Bastille Key Lafayette presented to Washington, and also purchased a book from the gift shop, and a pair of stockings from a vendor in which I have to find the guy to pay him back for (story on that a little later). 
I also went to go sit in on a meet n' greet with Martha Washington. It was nice, because I got to learn about her grand children and great grands as well as George's moments with his family (how his great granddaughter wanted him to hold her instead of Grandmama). She explained everything in detail, that you could actually picture Washington hunched over holding his great granddaughter's hands as she's walking up and down the veranda. 

At 5pm, it was time for everyone who wasn't a reenactor, a volunteer, or an employee to get out of the museum grounds. The MV police weren't kidding either! So, while hoards of visitors were going towards the front gate, I can say that everyone who wore 18th century clothes, ditched whatever made them uncomfortable and headed for the Jolification (which consisted of several sheet cakes, beer, wine, and veggie platters with potato chips. I ended up seeing friends that I haven't seen in ages, and meeting friends that I'm now acquainted with. In addition to that, other camps were having dance parties. I went to go check it out to listen to the music and enjoy the fire pit. One gentleman invited me to dance with him, and of course me knowing little about 18th century dancing, I did my very best. Realizing that dancing wasn't exactly my strong suit, I engaged in a conversation with some other soldiers. This is where things got scary for all of us. The same soldier who I danced with, was dancing a solo jig, and got dizzy from spinning around. He didn't see the fire pit behind him and tripped and almost landed straight into the fire. Thank God, he made it out alright without horrible burns or worse. So the other men and myself sat him down for a while, and talked about everything we could think of pertaining to what happened during the day's event. 

As far as the stockings story goes, I purchased a pair of stockings (again the temperature was dropping fast and the other pair of socks weren't doing anything) but due to the vendor's card reader being indisposed (it was on the charger), he let me have them and asked me to come back tomorrow to pay for them. I was more than happy to, until I got sick at 4 o'clock in the morning and had to go home in the dark.

 I'm feeling a little better, but still kicking myself that I didn't have any cash on me to just give to the vendor instead of using my credit card. Even now as I write this, I'm still contacting friends who are there to see if they could help me trying to find the name of the place where I got them from. 

So that's it! I'll have more pictures coming up soon from friends who were also there. But in the meantime, I'm going to get some rest. 


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