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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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The 2013 Boston Massacre, 2 March

The Boston Massacre will come early this year!

The Bostonian Society’s annual reenactment is scheduled for Saturday, 2 March, starting at 7:00 P.M. That’s the Saturday nearest the actual anniversary on the 5th. Unless the weather is rainy enough to make the firelocks inoperable or renders the event even more dangerous than a massacre ought to be, the show will go on.

This society and its volunteers work hard to portray this event as authentically as possible. The clothing standards for civilians are at “Battle Road standards,” with beards forbidden. The soldiers of the 29th Regiment of Foot wear hand-tailored uniforms matching the British army regulations of the late 1760s, when that unit was dispatched to North America. And the officers—their uniforms are even more stunning. (Absolutely gorgets, one might say.)

Because of the confined space and sight lines in downtown Boston, it’s best to think of experiencing the Massacre reenactment, not just watching it. If you find yourself in a crowd glimpsing confused actions, hearing louder and louder yells and then gunshots, wondering what exactly happened and being glad you weren’t hurt—well, that’s how the event was for most of the people on King Street in 1770.

This year’s reenactment has a new ingredient: a narrator to provide background information and introduce the vignettes that precede the main action. And the voice you’ll hear will be mine.

The Bostonian Society has also scheduled daytime events for young visitors, starting at 11:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. with a free “Little Redcoats and Little Bostonians” program outside the Old State House museum. Half an hour later, young museumgoers can participate in and view sessions of the “Trial of the Century,” acting out the soldiers’ trial after the shooting; that requires reserving a space, and the museum opens at 9:00 in the morning.


John L Smith Jr said...

Congratulations on your narration gig, Mr. Bell! I see the Bostonian Society continues to insist on the best in their production.

Robert S. Paul said...

Well I'll be there in my kit shouting at soldiers. From that point on, I'll read your blog in your voice!

Jimmy Dick said...

Congratulations to everyone involved! I hope to make it up there in the future one day to observe the reenactment.

J. L. Bell said...

I'll look for you, Robert. We can say hello in person at last. I'll be the one with hair.

Robert S. Paul said...

Yeah I won't have my wig yet, so I'll be bald! I'll probably be wearing my new cloak, though. It's dark blue.

T. Frantz said...

Dammit. Of all weekends not to be in Boston.

I've been to the last 3 reenactments but this one sounds much more intriguing. I would have loved to have heard you narrate J.L., I'm sure you're going to make it much more of an engaging event.

If anyone happens to shoot a decent quality video of the event, I'd love to see it posted on the blog!

Congrats and good luck!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations, Mr. Bell! I hope the event will be well represented on YouTube, so I can experience it electronically. It will be a treat to hear you, assuming it's posted. -- Joe Bauman