Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Sleepy Hollow, NY

Around this time of year, when Jack-o-lanterns glow, candy flows freely and costumes are of the most atrocious, a strange attitude towards superstition arises. Even the staunchest of skeptics look over their shoulders in the dark, and watch for witches across the full moon. Autumn, and October in particular, sends chills up all mortals’ spines. Maybe it’s the brisk air, maybe it’s the crunchy leaves, or possibly, it’s the ghouls of yesteryear.
            One such destination familiar to the occupants of the Hudson Valley is the village of Sleepy Hollow. Founded in 1645, the village of Sleepy Hollow (in Terrytown) has been immortalized in the short story by Washington Irving. It tells of a finicky schoolteacher, Ichabod Crane, on his ill-fated attempts to win the love of Katrina Van Tassel. The town, as peaceful as it is, comes a sneaking sense of the supernatural. After a series of events, Ichabod wonders through the dark past a haunted tree, and stumbles upon a headless specter. The rest is history, so they say, and every Halloween the village puts on a myriad of shows, stories and events in honor of old Ichabod.
            A trip to the Old Dutch Church will open your eyes to centuries of history. The church and surrounding cemetery were formally opened in 1849 and continue to house worshipers and the deceased. The cemetery is 85 acres and has over 40,000 in-ground graves. Irving is one of those laid eternally to rest here, as well as Andrew Carnegie, Walter Chrysler and Vincent Astor amongst others.
            Photos are to follow soon, but for now, dear followers, if you hear a sound behind you or feel a stare from beyond, walk quickly towards friends and family; you never know what could be sneaking up to scare you!


Events for Halloween and before detailed here!

Read the whole original story by Washington Irving here!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

"The Fort" Book Review

Good day!  

Aside from the usual 18th century news we would like to expand the blog to cover a broad range of topics. One of those topics is a good old book review! Now do keep in mind I am average Joe history buff and not a scholarly critic…but I will do my best to explore this book and present my findings.

Today’s blog entry is a book review of “The Fort,” (2010) a fascinating and forgotten subject brought back to life by renown historical fiction author Bernard Cornwell.   
This novel stood out for me for a multitude of reasons.   After having read the Richard Sharpe series I was expecting a hero, a villain, and a triumphant victory…not that there is anything wrong with that normal story plot!  This book took a road less traveled.  Never before had I even heard about the Penobscot expedition and I considered myself well versed in the Revolutionary war.  This little known invasion caused much stir in the relatively quiet northern theater in 1779 and caused a massive counter thrust by the Americans, the like of which had never been seen before.  Have you ever heard of New Ireland?
Bernard Cornwell’s excellent character development led to a whole new light being shed on some well know and lesser known figures.   What struck me as really fascinating was Sir John Moore…or should I say Lt. John Moore?  I knew of his fame at Corunna (1809) and had heard of his great leadership (and death!) but had no idea he fought in the American Revolution…let alone at this most interesting and forgotten battle. Cornwell’s description of Lt. Moore fits in with his style of the young officer he portrays so well in the Sharpe series.   When reading this I wasn’t sure what roll he would play and was very pleased with Moore’s outcome.
Paul Revere:  Everyone knows his name and knows his midnight ride, but how many know he was in charge of the Massachusetts State Artillery?   I sure didn’t.  This was a very shocking part of the book for me.  While yes this is historical fiction, you really get the feeling Cornwell has done this right. The facts point to it, and gosh does it change the way you think about Paul Revere.
I very much enjoyed this book. I was disappointed but not in the writing or quality of book, but rather with the history.  After every page I figured the next would bring great news after fierce battle…and while the battle was fierce, there wasn’t such great news. The fact most of the fighting was between Militia and Redcoat (with a handful of ever useful Marines,) made for an interesting story that DID add an extra element of surprise. 
Overall, I would recommend this book to anyone who is a fan of Bernard Cornwell, and to any history buff trying to broaden their horizon with the tale of a lesser known event.  This book is a great way to introduce someone into American Revolutionary history as well.  Always enjoyable, always engaging, I cannot wait to see what Bernard Cornwell has in store for us next! 

-Private Christophani

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Twin Forts Day 2012

The morning is Oct. 6th and it is 1777. You are at the stone fence, and your world is about to change forever. It is a cool crisp autumn morning and the sun has just begun to burn off the fog.  You stand ready with 99 of your brothers in arms at a stone fence waiting for an enemy you cannot see.  Your officers encourage you to stand tall in the face of danger. “And for God’s sake,” they say, “load your weapon fast.”  A picquet jumps out of the brush to your side and points behind him. There is a flurry of orders and everyone is told to make ready. Your heart is pounding, sweat drops off your face, and you can feel yourself shaking.  Your notice your blue cuffs are still clean compared to the militia man’s work smock next to you.   Brown and blue, you think, it really is a beautiful uniform.  Pulled from your thoughts, the officer screams, “PRESENT!” Your eyes focus on the trees ahead. Red shows through the trees wherever you look.  Thousands of red soldiers marching towards you. They’re getting closer. Steady now.  “FIRE!”

Twin Forts day commemorates the Battle of Fort’s Montgomery and Clinton where roughly 600 American soldiers from the 5th New York Regiment and the Ulster and Orange county militias put up a gallant but futile resistance against an onslaught of over 2,100 British, Loyalist, and Hessian troops.
On October 6th 2012, 235 years to the day, we remembered the sacrifice and bravery our men with more musket fire, tactical demonstrations, children’s musket drills, 18th century cooking expositions and simulated fort life.   Tour guides from the 5th New York Regiment gave the public fuel for their imagination as they lead them to the hotspots and places of daily life in 1777. Smiling faces and kids picture’s being taken with soldiers brought a great feeling to the day before the battle took place around 4pm. It got pretty hot out there as the American piquets ran back with reports of approaching redcoats! Firing commenced and jeering was heard over the sounds of muskets flaring to life. “Bloody lobster backs! Take that back to king George!” we yelled.

Eventually we fell back and fought at the “north redoubt” watching our flanks and foreground as the British approached. Cannon’s fired, muskets cracked, and the public cheered our resistance!  Alas, it we were no match for the overwhelming numbers and the British entered the fort. It was indeed a great show!

We’d like to thank the Fort Montgomery Battle Field Association and Fort Montgomery site operators for an amazing event!   Also, a very special thanks to our allies at the 2nd New York Regiment, Lambs, and Mott’s Artillery and our opponent loyalists and redcoats!  I saw the 63rd, Butler’s rangers, the 52nd, a man from the 23rd and a walk on with 23rd facings. If I forgot any other I apologize I was too busy reloading!

Welcome to the 5th New York Regiment blog!  Here you will find the latest news and upcoming events as well as articles on 18th century life and times. Education is our purpose and there is no better way to learn then seeing through the eyes of the soldiers and civilians who fought and built such a great nation.  Thank you for joining us.                                                    ~Private Christophani

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Brief Introduction...

Imagine, if you will, you're in New York state in 1776. The Revolutionary war has just begun to tear the seams of this new world. Your freedoms of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness are threatened. What would you do?
The members of the 5th NY regiment are a group of reenactors dedicated to teaching the importance of history. Many members are teachers of history and others just enthusiastic learners. The corps invites all  interested parties to watch, learn and especially participate in the living history!
Please "like" our Facebook page and watch for more updates!