Historic re-enacting is something that I have been involved in for well over 34 years. In trying to recreate the past it is interesting just how much study and effort goes into making sure everything is just right. Not just the late night study sessions but the sitting around the camp fires discussing the historic in’s and out’s of any given time period. It’s hard to know just what draws people to try and recreate the past. If you where to line up 500 historic re-enactors you’d more than likely get 500 different variations on the theme. For the most part, as people, we are interested in where we come from because it also helps us to answer the question of where we are going. These are some of the people that I photographed at Stoney Creek Ontario this past weekend who like me are interested in preserving and presenting the past.
Before the advent of modern communications in the military musicians played a vital role. Not just for playing music to entertain or while on the march. Musicians where also the communications network for every military regiment. Every order that regulated a soldier’s life had an accompanying musical tune that told him when to get up, when to eat, when to sleep, and everything in between. The tonal pitch of fifes and drums could also be heard over and under the roar of battle making them vital as a communications system to relay orders and commands. This past weekend I had the joy of photographing one of the finest recreated early 19th century fife and drum unit as well as listen to them play.
I have two passions, the study and recreation of history or historic re-enacting as well as photography. History is made up of people, their ups and downs, interactions, and day to day lives. My fellow re-enactors feel much the same way but the thing that is missing is the faces of those people we try to recreate. These are some of the faces of my fellow historic re-enactors that I photographed at the bicentennial of the battle of Longwoods on the 8th of March 2014. I hope I’ve done them justice as they have tried to do justice to the people from the past and letting them live again.
On the 4th of March 1814, British, Canadian, First Nations, and forces of the United States met in battle by a quiet stream in Upper Canada (Ontario) at a place called Longwoods. As the sun started to set the British forces commenced their attack against the Americans who where dug in on high ground. The resulting battle was an American tactical victory but still forced American forces to pull back to Fort Detroit while the British retreated back to their base at Delaware. So started the final moves between British and American forces in the last year of the War of 1812-1814.
Prior to the War of 1812 the 41st Regiment of Foot had been in garrison in Upper Canada (Ontario) since the late 1790’s. This Regiment, along with the 49th of Foot, where scheduled to be rotated out of the Province and returned to England. However with the out break of war against the United States the 41st was called on to hold the line and remained in Upper Canada for the duration. The War of 1812 was a hard war for this regiment which saw the virtual destruction of its first battalion at the Battle of the Thames on October 5, 1813 and the second battalion loosing half it’s strength in the battles of late 1813 and 1814 on the Niagara Peninsula. In the end this proud regiment through all it’s trials and tribulations held the line and won more battle honours for the War of 1812 than any other British Regiment in Upper Canada. These Honours can been seen today on the colours of it’s decadent regiment, The Royal Welch Regiment. Regimental Motto, “Better Death than Dishonour”.
This is photo book number three of my wife’s and my study of the War of 1812 which gives a quick over view of the war in 1813. As many of you may or may not know my wife, son and I are historic re-enactors when we are busy doing other things. We are currently in the 200th anniversary of the War of 1812 and made the decision to photography and document that anniversary. Enjoy.
Two hundred and one year ago this weekend, and American Army crossed the board at Queenston Heights in Upper Canada (Ontario) and fought a battle that lasted all day. In the end that American Army surrendered to British, Canadian, and First Nations forces. On October 13, 2012 Canadian and American historic re-enactors came together to recreate that battle. This publication is the book that my wife Virginia, my best friend David (DC) Clare and I put together to honour those historic re-enactors who commemorated that battle. What was a pivotal moment for me was as the re-enactment was winding down between 4:00-4:30 pm it started to rain. On October 13, 1812 as the battle was winding down between 4:00-4:30 pm, it started to rain. For those who are interested this book it may still be purchased at www.blurb.ca.
And for those who still can still hear and follow the drum, yes those are the ghosts that walk past just outside the camp fire light. Enjoy.
My wife and I publish photo books of some of our travels and experiences. This is our latest endeavor I hope you enjoy.
Backhouse Mill is the oldest surviving flour mill in Ontario. Built in 1798 by the Backhouse family, this mill survived the War of 1812 and is now part of the local Norfolk Conservation Area, located just outside Port Rowen. Each year Backus Mill sponsors a War of 1812 event that depicts the war between Great Britain and the United States of America.