J. L. BELL is a Massachusetts writer who specializes in (among other things) the start of the American Revolution in and around Boston. He is particularly interested in the experiences of children in 1765-75. He has published scholarly papers and popular articles for both children and adults. He was consultant for an episode of History Detectives, and contributed to a display at Minute Man National Historic Park.

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Friday, August 31, 2007

New Cider

After learning about the epidemic of the “bloody flux” in Massachusetts in the summer of 1775, I wondered whether that affected Gen. George Washington’s planning. I found one mention of the problem in his writings. He apparently saw the disease as being brought into the camps from outside, rather than being spread by the soldiers from the camps, as others suspected.

Washington’s general orders for 28 Aug 1775 stated:

As nothing is more pernicious to the health of Soldiers, nor more certainly productive of the bloody-flux; than drinking New Cyder: The General in the most possitive manner commands, the entire disuse of the same, and orders the Quarter Master General this day, to publish Advertisements, to acquaint the Inhabitants of the surrounding districts, that such of them, as are detected bringing new Cyder into the Camp, after Thursday, the last day of this month, may depend on having their casks stove.
I can’t resist the segue from that document to this announcement from Graeme Marsden:
The Guild of Historic Interpreters announces its first “Cider and Song” event on Sunday, 16 September.

We will be having an artisan pressing cider, and we will be holding an “open mike” session (as it were) with musicians and songsters in the Hartwell Tavern taproom. [That’s in Minute Man National Historical Park, the battle road section.]

It’s a freewheeling end-of-season event, and if you have a flair for 18c song or if you have an 18c musical instrument, bring it along to ‘jam’ with us.

Planning of “Cider and Song” is unfolding as we speak. Event is likely to run from 10:30am to 4:00pm. [Please call the park in advance to confirm.]
If one dares to drink “new cider,” this seems like a fine occasion for taking that risk.

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