Walking in the Footsteps of History

Photo-report of Leg 1: RI and CT

by Ralph Nelson (Kirkwood Chapter, Delaware Society SAR)

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Lee arrived at the airport at 9 AM Thursday on June 17 and was driven to Newport by Richard Sheryka, fifer for the Bourbonnais re-enactors. I had driven the van, with uniforms and equipment up the day before (330 miles in 7.5 hours including lunch and rest stops).

We changed into uniform in the parking garage. Lee (shown above) portrays a soldier in the Bourbonnais Regiment, and I portray a captain in Lauzun's Legions (which was technically a Navy regiment).

We then marched to the Old Colony House, which in 1780 was one of the four capitol buildings of Rhode Island -- they rotated the seat of power between four cities. There we were met by historian Jim Snydacker, four summer interns, a video crew, former Newport mayor Robert McKenna, and Roseanna Gorham (chair of the W3R in RI), who had planned the day's activities. Jim provided a tour of this building and several others used by the French during their almost year-long stay in Newport.

The road passes an old inn dating to the Revolution and several small dams.

In the evening Lee (now in U.S Continental uniform) gave a talk at the Nathaniel Greene's home in Coventry. ]Nathaniel Greene was a Quaker foundry manager who became a soldier and rose through the ranks to become commander of the southern branch of the Contnental Army.]

We stayed at the Waterman Tavern, where Rochambeau spent several evenings as he travelled to Connecticut and back. There we had a fine Colonial dinner with all participants in colonial dress -- and a chamber music group playing colonial tunes in the background.

Saturday, June 19

Since we had a heavy travel schedule, Lee got up at 6 AM to hike up Biscuit Lane. It's name came from an incident where a French food cart broke and spilled its contents. The French army had to move on without picking up the food, and the local households reaped the benefits.

After this hike Lee had a few minutes to relax and phone home. Our van had magnetic signs on the sides. These led many people to question us about the W3R.

Several Scouts and their leaders joined Lee and a re-enactor for a five-mile
section of trail along Rt 14 to the Rhode Island border with Connecticut.

The Huntington Homestead Museum in Scotland CT has a fine display
on the W3R, including a model showing the march past that house.

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