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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Thursday, October 03, 2019

“Battle of Daniels Farm” in Blackstone, 5-6 Oct.

This weekend, 5-6 October, there will be a Revolutionary War encampment and battle reenactment at the Daniels Farmstead in Blackstone (originally part of Mendon), Massachusetts.

This event won’t recreate an actual battle. In fact, the scenario is based on an imaginary contingency: the British army holding Newport has driven the New England forces out of Rhode Island. The redcoats are trying to inflict further damage on American and French units in the Blackstone River Valley to relieve pressure on the port back in Crown hands.

This event also includes demonstrations of such crafts as blacksmithing, joinery, tinsmithing, spinning, and gunsmithing. There will be fencing demonstrations and artillery units showing how men worked together to fire their cannon. Battle re-enactments are scheduled for both Saturday and Sunday, quite possibly with different outcomes.

There’s also an educational component of this reenactment, which is partly sponsored by a grant through the Blackstone Valley Regional Vocational Technical High School. On Friday students will view the crafts demonstrations after I brief them about how apprenticeships worked in the eighteenth century.

On Saturday, 5 October, I’ll speak in the high school on the topic “Beyond Battle Road: The Massachusetts Militia’s Other Marches in 1774 and 1775.” That session will be first and foremost for the reenactors themselves, but anyone can attend as long as seats are available. Blackstone Valley Tech High is at 65 Pleasant Street in Upton, and that talk is scheduled to start at 7:00 P.M.

But of course the primary attraction of this weekend is the battle reenactment out at the farmstead. The camp will be open from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M. on both days. Food will be sold on the site. Vendors will have period wares. Admission to the reenactment will be $8.00 per day or $10.00 for a two-day pass, with children under twelve admitted free. There will be free parking at the J.F.K. Elementary School at 200 Lincoln Street in Blackstone and buses shuttling visitors to the farmstead continuously while the camp is open.

The weather report for this weekend predicts that both Saturday and Sunday will be dry and 60°F or above, so fine weather for fall in New England.

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