Trenton AAR - first timer
- Hi all! Here's another Trenton AAR from Guards Recruit Will Tatum - his first full event:
From Rct. Will Tatum: Greetings All, For those who did not make Trenton, you missed a smashing event. The big 4th Coy rendezvous took place at Corporal Sahlin's residence Friday afternoon at 2 o'clock, and from there we set off for Trenton around 3 pm. Unfortunately, we ran into some major traffic on the way up which delayed our arrival
until 7 PM. After quickly stowing our gear at the Old Barracks, we headed off to sample regional gourmet cuisine at the Blue Danube restaurant. It was quite a cultural experience, as said dining facility blended elements ranging from fiesta ware to French cuisine. After passing our bill off to some hapless doodles who came in after us, we all piled into the vans and returned to the barracks, where we set about preparing for the battles ahead. Rum ration was distributed, and preparations were completed, despite visitations from various rebels intent on spying. The accommodations at the barracks were excellent all around. The enlisted men and distaff of the detachment were given an entire squad room, equipped with three sets of double-occupancy bunks, three stools, and a nice long table. The fireplace was rigged so that it looked operational, but was in fact merely the vent for the barracks' heating system, which kept us all cozy throughout the evening and the following day. Captain Callaham, as deserving of his
station, was billeted in the officers' quarters, which apparently met his high standards.
We all awoke the following morning around six o'clock to find a good foot of snow on the ground and more still coming down. By the time we formed up for battle at 11, after some company drill, the snow was around 18 inches thick, and still coming down. Quite suspiciously, it snowed very hard during both our battles, but it stopped in between them. The rebels preceded us out the gate at the start of the first battle and formed up across the parking lot away from the barracks. Our valiant Hessian allies, commanded by a Provincial Officer, sallied forth to skirmish with the vile servants of the tyrannical and usurping Congress, while we stayed inside the barracks wall in reserve, along with two provincials. After the impertinent doodles drove the hard-fighting Hessians (there were merely two of them) back through the parking lot, we were called forth to slow the enemy advance so that another position could
be set up behind the barracks. We sallied forth majestically from the Barracks' walls and engaged the filthy peasants in a long range duel of volley fire, while covering the withdrawal of the Hessians.
When it finally became time for us to withdraw, we suffered our first casualties of the day. Both Guardsman Morris and myself succumbed to the fearful depredations of the foul and cruel ice. However, after making slight slippages, both of us managed to rejoin the line in time to withdraw through the barracks and about face to send imaginary metallic messengers of death to the hateful enemies of the rule of law.
The rebels followed us quickly through the Barracks' yard, and we barely had time to form line in the street ahead of the barracks before the filthy upsetters of the natural order of being were formed to face us. We engaged in a withdrawing volley-fire down the length of the street, getting off several fantastic volleys which echoed exquisitely along the towering confines of the neighboring buildings. We paused our retreat for a few minutes at an open street intersection where a local TV station's news crew had set up a post. There we engaged in a heated contest with the enemy, which was filmed live onto the local news. Mistress Katie has taken on the duty of attempting to secure the raw footage for the edification of the Coy. This halt and the frenzied fire fight which followed brought home a very important distinction between the regular troops of His Majesty's forces and the rustic rabble we faced. While our muskets were misfiring from time to time, we were still getting off good volleys, with maybe one musket out of seven misfiring at a time. The rebels, on the other hand, who had formed double ranks, were experiencing mass misfires throughout the fight, undoubtedly due to the reprehensible condition and inferior construction of their French weaponry.
Following our short firefight at the intersection, we withdrew through a park to a bridge, near the location of the original bridge, after braving the hazards of icy brick steps. After firing several volleys while withdrawing, we made our stand on the bridge, at which point the rebels charged bayonets and came after us. As we all turned to run (we were ordered to do so), I had the misfortune of slipping in the ice and barely managed to evade capture by the lice-ridden peasants who were pursing us. We formed up again on the other side of the bridge and "surrendered" to the rebels. After that bit of malarkey, we set out again for the warmth of the barracks to clean weapons, eat victuals, and take our ease. The snow did a very nasty job on all the muskets, creating almost instantaneous rust, which
took a bit of work to get off. The barracks staff was very good to us in the way of food: we had a choice between coldcuts and real warm food, along with salad. Throughout our stay at the barracks, the staff went out of their way to help us and make us feel very much at home, which bodes well for the 225th next year. After eating and cleaning, and engaging in the much discussed "Guards' nap time," we formed up again at 3 pm for our final battle. Before fighting, we all marched off to the Presbyterian Church, where we conducted a short ceremony in honor of the fallen.
Then we allowed the rebels to advance ahead of us and drove them back on the park. We engaged in furious volley fire all along the street, driving the filth before us like the mindless cattle they so resemble, until we once again faced them off at the bridge, in knee deep snow. By this time, we were joined by more of our valiant German allies, though their muskets were about in as good repair as the rebels' pieces. At one point, the captain ordered them to fire a volley and every single one of the muskets misfired! We drove the rebels back over the bridge after refusing an attempt by them to outflank us, but were then sent back in disarray by a tremendous enemy volley.
It was at this point that tragedy struck. Brave Guardsman Morris was cut down in the prime of his life, performing his duty for His King. After reforming, we made three heated charges at the impertinent doodles, finally driving them back in disarray after losing one Hessian and killing multitudes of the enemy. The field was strewn with piles of rebel corpses, which gave good witness to the skill and strength of the Crown forces. After the rebel flight, the corpses were magically returned to life, and we all marched back to the barracks to quickly pack up and move out. We managed to get out of town by 5 pm and made it back to Corporal Sahlin's residence around 8:30 that evening, concluding a splendid event.
The staff at the Old Barracks were truly remarkable: they are a good group of people and looked after us well. We should make it a point to attend this event in the future, especially next year for the 225th.
The Old Barracks itself was an incredible building- built all of fieldstone, save the officers quarters which were out of brick. This place is definitely worth a visit if anyone happens to be going through the area.
Keeping muskets in tip-top condition showed its worth at this event. While we all had occasional misfires, mostly due to damn cartridges, the rebels and Hessians were misfiring madly. I had my doubts about how effective our weapons would be in heavy snow, but they worked remarkably well.
I hope this finds everyone well, and I look forward to seeing a great many of you at Gatsby's in February.
Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense, Will Tatum, 4th Coy, Bde of Guards
His point about firelock maintenance was well taken. We thoroughly cleaned and tested each firelock between fights. It did make a difference as we were getting off some good volleys even in driving snow. I must again second his comments about the staff at the Old Barracks. They were great hosts. We were kidding them with some lines from "All Quiet on the Western Front" to whit: "You mean you've got bread for 150 men, and beans for 150 men, and sausages for 150 men - - - " when they really did have bagels for 150 men and later had sandwiches, chicken, rice, salad, etc for 150 participants!! It was one of the best reenactment meals I've ever had supplied by a host. Good folks!
4th Coy, Bde of Guards
"If you do not receive this, it must have miscarried. Therefore I beg you write and let me know." - - Sir Boyle Roche, 18th century Member of Parliament
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