« June 2006 | Main | August 2006 »

July 22, 2006

March Date, Saturday, July 22, Day 36

Campfire stories or intrigue in high places........

Greetings Friends, I give you all the joy of the day. Tis a soup day here, soggy, damp, foggy even, with the sun nowhere in sight. The last number of days have been going by in a rather mind-numbing way. The New England weather makes us pine to be somewhere else, almost anywhere else, in fact. But, we are here, there is no doubting that.

The camp duties have become killingly familiar, take this here, do that there, clean this thing, burn that thing...yes, Sergeant, yes, Sergeant. Dig he latrine, fill the latrine, get firewood....Gawd, the men are but bored out of their minds, but at the same time almost witless about what is to be, or shall be.....

The patrols keep coming and going. We have heard of one piece of news. Apparently, General Clnton, on yesterday, July 20th, has ordered General Cornwallis to keep his Army in Virginia. It has been suggested that Cornwallis should hold a naval station in order that the British fleet could relieve them and perhaps return them to New York. As we look at the maps, it seems that Yorktown, or Portsmouth would be ideal. The rumor is that should that happen, we might attack the Brits here in New York while the Fleet is elsewhere. Oh Lord, perhaps something will happen soon.....

While about the camp fire last evening, the general discussion was about what has got us all here, at this point. The small talk of the soldiers, about a campfire, is a thing that invigorates the mind, gets up the curiosities, and settles friendships. The talk goes on for hours... you know, what about this or that....do you remember when?.... where you there too?.....what do you think will happen now? We only know what has happened of course, not what will happen, but, as I recall, the talk was more about what has happened, and this we are right confident about........of course, tis only soldiers stories,, but some of the lads were there, at other times and places. Let me take a moment to tell you what we have heard...

We know that the French arrived in Newport in May 1780, some 5500 of them. After a period of time, some joint operations were attempted with the Continentals, but most came to naught. It seems there was a distinct lack of workability among the Officers. The French wintered in Newport, and Lauzon, with his Cavalry, wintered in Lebanon, Ct. To the French, it seemed like another Siberia. The good Generals, Washington and Rochambeau, had a couple of meetings over that winter, trying to figure out what to do and how to do it, against the common enemy, the British.

The British, strong in New York, had a very successful Carolina campaign, in 1780. Washington, with about 3500 Continentals, had a ring about New York but was not strong enough to do anything but watch. The French were trapped in Newport. Our friend Lafayette, was harrassing the British in Virginia.

In May 1780, we heard that Clinton, then in the Carolinas, with Cornwallis, captured Charleston. Clinton then returned north, leaving Cornwallis to do what he must do..... to go into the country, bringing the war to the people, while protecting the new British ports of Charleston and Savannah. The Brtish were very strong then, and Cornwallis absolutely routed the Continentals, under Gates, at Camden (you may remember this man, the supposed Hero of Saratoga), in August of 1780, less than a year ago.

Cornwallis seemed unbeatable then, and the Southern American Army was in dissaray. T'was just about then that the almighty God Damn bloody red tide lurched out of control. First, one of his screening forces was well bloodied at King's Mountain (hmmm, seems a fit epitath, if you ask me). Militia, and some Continentals, led by Clarke, Marion, Pickens and Sumter, put a right quick stop to the Brits, then and there. I think that was in October, if I got me story straight. Those fellers continued to harrass the high and mighty until it just seemed to frustrate him.

It got worser and worser for the Brits, after that. General Nathanial Greene was given command of the Southern Army in December, 1780, I think it was. Shortly after that, in January, Morgan kicked the crap out of the Brits at Cowpens, sending the dirty bastard Benaste Tarelton, off the field with his tail between his legs. And Col. Washington and his cavalry, Cousin to his Excellency, was a big help in that, as was the Militia... geez, I wish I'd a been there.....

Cornwallis was fired up now, and tried to catch Greene at the Dan River, but failed, but not by much, sometimes a yard is as good as a rod......they finally had it out at Guilford Courthouse, in May, just two months ago. Apparently Cornwallis held the field, but the losses he sustained in doing so,(we heard that he had to fire into his own lines when hard pressed by the Americans) made him set his sights on some place a little more hospitable.... two months of struggle finally convinced him to move into Virginia, maybe hook up with Clinton in New York, so that they could attack Washington and the Continentals there.....

So, while Washington and Rochambeau were trying to figure out what and when to do something, Cornwallis moved into Petersburg, Virginia. We just found that out a couple of days ago, and we have only been in conjoined camps for about two weeks. Seems Cornwallis got there on May 20, 1781. Things seem to be getting close, if you know what I mean....

I'll bet that makes the Generals stand up and pay attention. Will the Brit Fleet go get Corny and bring him back? We sure hope so cause we would like the opportunity to beat the bloody back of General Clinton.......... of course, tis not our decision, which is why we are sitting around the Campfire.

Lot of commotion around the General's tent this day, seems they are all up and about, with the Engineers and some of the Sappers and Artillery folk. Hmmm, something is in the wind.......

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
Camp in New York
For, 'AMTY'
www.marchtoyorktown.com

July 19, 2006

March Day 32, In Camp at Philipsburg, July 18th

Camp scuttlebut, the lay of the land since our arrival here...

The weather is a wee bit oppressive in the Camp, these days. Please excuse this very tardy letter. The setting of camp has been an arduous task and just now we are starting to get some free time for ourselves. The Engineers are out, looking at possible roads, bridges and other potential, and suitable, camp grounds. We have some 9000 combined French and American Troops encamped about the Town of New York. Daily patrols have been set about in the countryside, probing the defenses of the British Forces here. Most of our advances have been well noticed, and blocked by our adversaries, in fact, most successfully so, to our chagrin.

We continue our camp duties, the cleaning of clothes, repair of the carriages, cleaning of the weapons, cleaning and policing of the camp area itself. MIlitary drill is the order of the day, with the lights being unusually trained in field manuvers.

The Artillary has arrived as well, but we notice only cannon, and no seige guns. What can that possibly mean? How do we conduct a seige without the seige guns? Cannon fires in a line, while the seige guns are designed to fire over obstacles (like Fort walls) rather than through them, as cannon try to do. Ah well, tis all in the hand of the Generals, I suspect......

A fortnight ago, shortly after our arrival, we learned that the entire French Army was in Camp at, or near, North Castle (Mt Kisco). This was accomplished by July 3rd. We are pleased that we are all here, with our brethren. We continue to stay with the advance Troops, and the American Liason contingent and the Count Rochambeau, at Odell Homestead.

On July 8th, General Washington reviewed the French Forces encamped near Philipsburg.

On that same day, we learned a bit later, the British Commander at New York, (and Commander in North America) General Clinton, concerned about the large, but not overwhelming French/American Army (9,000 French/American vs 14,000 British, according to reports), asked that General Cornwallis send some 3,000 of his troops to Philadelphia. We understand that General Cornwallis did, in response to this request, move some 3,000 of his troops toward Portsmouth, Virginia.

On the following day, July 9th, the French Officers were invited to observe as the American Army presented arms (a military salute). The co-operation between French and American Forces seems to be easy, with not much lamentation in the Camps. We understand that we will soon, perhaps, be moving together against the enemy, here in New York. The camp is alert to the prospect, and the training is serious. We have heard that the British have been able to wound, and kill, some of our advancing scout patrols. Tis' dangerous business, that. We can only wonder where the first advances shall be made, and by whom....... But we notice that reconnaissance parties are always coming and going, coming and going. The men are in a bit of a dither about the meaning of all this moving about.

Then again, word came, albeit slow, and more by rumor than official decree, that General Clinton had, on July 12th, asked that Cornwallis send his troops to New York. Methinks that perhaps that man is getting a bit of the case of the nerves, or some such....seems they outnumber us already.....

I trust that all is well there, and I look forward to when we can all be together again.......... As suggested a storm is brewing, but tis now a storm of rain, thunder and lighting. I must needs to get about the camp and help the men make sure all is well

Tis all for now, friends. Will write again when time allows....

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
Camp somewhere in New York
For, 'AMtY'
www.marchtoyorktown.com

July 11, 2006

March Date, Thursday, July 6th, Day 20

To Philipsburg, or bust........

Late reveille' this day. Tis to be a short final march to Odell House (Rochambeau's Headquaters) and Camp 14, at Philipsburg (Greenburgh, NY). Camp 13, at Smith Tavern, is secured and the baggage train moves off, to be in a carriage park a short distance from Headquarters. The troop steps off late, at one of the afternoon clock, with Frank as our guide, bringing us along the safe path.

We stop at Battle Whitney Park, scene of an overwhelming British victory just a few short years ago. We pass unmolested by the enemy, in fact it is safe enough to lunch here, and we do. Some of the locals are astounded to see us here and the tension is starting to grow.

We move off for the final two miles and arrive at the Odell House at approx. 3:30 of the afternoon clock. The carriage and baggage train is left at headquarters and we all move forward, on foot, another 1/2 mile or so, to Camp 14 at Philipsburg (Greenburg, NY). The camp is laid out on gently rolling hills, on high ground.

Huzzah, huzzah, huzzah>>>>>> almost anticlimatically, in fact. We are glad to be here, but the feelings are mixed, for sure. Perhaps it has not settled in yet, but indeed, we are here, Philipsburg, Day 20.....

We toast the end of this part of the March with the same bottle of Cognac that we started with back in Providence. A toast to the journey, our friends along the way, and to ourselves. We join hands, we are safe, we are home, we are there.......here. We shall be joining forces with friends shortly, against the enemy, only the future, yet unwritten, will describe the path that may lay ahead.......

(final notes on Camp 14, Philipsburg.......the Camp 14 at Philipsburg now lies on ground that is the Sunnydale Golf Club, a private club, in fact. The club, is approx. 100 yrs old, and I supppose this is one way to maintain, and preserve America's Heritage, perhaps not the best way. There is a plaque on the Club House wall explaining that this is the location of the French Army Camp of 1781. After we had put the carriages in the park, we all walked the final distance together, through some woods path, over some side roads, and a final woods path to the camp........I suspect it was worth the price of admission, when lo and behold, five Colonial clothing clad folks walked out of the woods and onto the practice driving range tee, there. The looks on the club members faces will last a lifetime, their incredulity and amazement at the sight before them...us. We did go to a less conspicuous place to take our portraits....... Mike was quick enough to pick up a hand full of those little white balls we found in the woods, and passed them out as souveniers.......220 something miles and we get a little white ball as a prize.

The day was not over, the Washington Carriage had a broken wheel that needed repair.and the good people of Greenburgh were kind enough to have us march in a short parade, with all of our flags flying. We were joined by the local Boy Scout/Explorer troop, as well as by the Greenburgh Fire Department, and Town Dignitaries, and by Col. Jim Johnson, representing the W3R Organization. You might remember that we received, a fortnight ago, from the good folks in Southington (Marion), Ct., a number of Regimental Flags made by the Girl Scouts there. We mounted the flags on poles and had the Boy Scouts, and Explorer Scouts carry them in our litle parade (see portraits of the last day). The Greenburgh folks were also kind enough to serve us a cook-out dinner, and asked us to address a Representative Town Meeting, which we did. We spent the last night of this phase of the March to Yorktown, encamped at the Odell House, Rochambeau's Headquarters while at New York, in 1781.

The Original March, from Newport/Providence, RI to Philipsburg, NY happened just 225 years ago to the day that we did the same, using the French Army Schedule of 1781. The French left Providence on June 18th and arrived at Philipsburg on July 6th..we did the same. At that time, the French and American Armies met together around New York, and conducted operations against the British there, for some 6 weeks, before decamping for Yorktown, Va., on Aug. 18th, 1781. We will again follow the Army schedule and decamp Philipsburg on Aug. 18th. Until then we will be sending dispatches concerning combined operations around New York, on or about the day that they happened, some 225 years ago. Yorktown is the Goal, Victory is the plan.......this is the March, that Won a Battle, that Ended a War. Stay with us won't you........)

Oh yes, and thanks for your support of America's March to Yorktown.....

Richard Swartwout
Camp 14
Philipsburg, NY
www.marchtoyorktown.org

July 10, 2006

March Date, Wednesday, July 5th, Day 19

The rain beats on.....and so does the troop.....

Oh wow, a terrific rest. Feel really great this morning. We have decided to walk part way to Camp 14, at Philipsburg, NY, on this day. This final leg is about 18 miles and the troop is restless, should we wait for the morrow, or do some today. We know of plans in the afternoon, tomorrow, by citizens of Philipsburg, that may steal time away tomorrow. The decision is to do perhaps half of the distance today, and of course, it forecasts rain, again.....we go anyway, rain or no...... to close now not to.

We are up at 6:30 of the morning clock, the troop is restless and for sure it is raining, lightly now. Yes, we shall try half the eighteen miles today, saving the last for the 6th. of July, due date at Camp 14, Philipsburg......the rain is coming harder now, &^&% with this rain, again, and again, and again. What a horrible day, muggy, humid and so, so wet. Horribe, horrible, horrible but good for ducks and plants....the rain, hard now, lashing, visibility poor.

We arrive back at the Hospital grounds, to the Washington-Rochambeau Stone there. In the pouring rain, we give the morning road blessing on the Book, and step-off... it is 8:35 of the morning clock and tis the eve of the last day of part one, the end of 225 miles or so, Providence, RI to Philipsburg, NY......

At the 2 mile break, I check the troop, they want to carry on, the same at the 4 mile break, ......long rumbles of thunder in the background beat a note on the day.

We pick up an escort from a local provost, just as the rain begins to taper off. We are 6 miles out from Smith Tavern, and the troop is hungry. We stop for break-fast at a local merchants country kitchen. We meet there a woman, who upon learning what we are doing, makes a sizable donation. we are stunned by the gift, unsolicited........thank you Barbara S., we are humbled by your generosity.....we finish the meal, and with the Provost on our heels, we take the 22 road toward Camp at Philipsburg. Along the way, we stop at the Timberledge School and give a presentation to the very youngun's there. The rain has quit, but not the troop. We continue on to the days destination, a wayfaring station along the 22 road, near the reservoir, near White Plains.

We sup again on left overs, the larder almost empty now, with enough but for one days travel on the morrow.

It will be a short final march tomorrow, mercifully, perhaps some 6 miles or so....we have forced marched for some 14 days out of the last 19. We are now in receipt of messages from our guide in Philipsburg. We move forward with him, and the carriages, to reconnoiter the path to Rochambeau's Headquarters at the Odell House, on the Ridge road. We are a bit wary as we pass ground that was contested for, just a few years ago, in the Battle of White Plains, a horrific American defeat. We advance carefully and locate the Odell house without incident. Thanks to our local guides, and hosts at Camp 14, Philipsburg, (Greenburgh, NY) Frank J. and Bob S., we now know the last miles of the road we must follow.

We retire to Camp at Smith Tavern to get ready for the final push on the morrow.....confident of the final approach, with a wary eye for the enemy.

The camp is in anticipation of the final push. Dinner is served out, the days spirit ration shared. The Baggage train is in order, all gear stowed and secured. We are not only close to the final camp, but also to the enemy, and are thankfull that the Count Lauzon is on our left flank. If we weren't so tired from the forced march, our nervous anticipation might have interfered with the evenings rest, In fact, it does not.......but the dreams are vivid..

Richard Swartwout
near Camp 13
Armonk, NY
www.marchtoyorktown.org

March Date, Tuesday, July 4th, Day 18th

In camp at North Castle, 2 days...or......birthdays and celebrations

We awake in the morning to soldiers strewn about like so many used beer mugs. We tidy the yard, stow the gear, wish our hosts the very best of life. Tis truly was a night to remember, this July 4th eve, in North Castle. We must move on to other Camp ground for the next two days. I realize, unfortunately, that we have missed Gen. Rochambeau's Birthday, he is to be 281 years old, this July 1st past. We agree to toast him, albeit lately, in the evening time. Seems he is a bit old, aye??

Our hosts are also departing, for parts other than here, and we all hug, and wish the best about. We are moving to the Smith Tavern, in the town of Armonk, NY, with the good wishes of Sharon S., our host to be, there, from the North Castle Historical Society. They are holding a lunch repast there for us, and indeed we are in need of food to clear our minds and restore our energy.

We arrive at Smith Tavern, and there is a repast awaiting us. We indulge ourselves, much to our satisfaction. The meal is home cooked, again, and is terrific. Not sure we could eat again so quickly after last evenings feast, but we devour with gusto.

The Smith Tavern is a National Historic Site, and has 4 buildings in residence. The Original Tavern, a blacksmith shop, a school house and a Quaker Meeinghouse. The last 3 buildings are not original to the site, but they all compliment nicely. We tour the buildings, our host leaves, but not before allowing us to stay as long as we please. Tis good, for we surely did not want to go back to the Hospital carriage lot. We set camp for what will be a two day stay.

The day is again a hazy, humid, lazy day, hot, hot, hot...... alomst overbearing. We read, and wash clothes, and wash carriages, wash ourselves, anything to be near the tube of cold water. Generally, the day passes in mindless duty. We remember to toast the Gen. Rochambeau ..... and ourselves (of course). It turns out to be a true rest day indeed, with none to disturb us.... the rest is complete... the afternoon slides into evening. We have been told that the Quaker Meetinghouse may be haunted..... we may have something to say about that. Mike C. is approaching the house when he is startled by a flash of light, Mike F. on the inside of the building, reports the same. It seems it is a bit indefineable, but something definitely happens. We have no remedy for the siting and decide, indeed, it is a spirit, mischievous perhaps, but not dangerous. Evening slides into night, perhaps a most enchanted one, we shall see..... night slides into slumber and I retire early to await the morrow......the troop is still about, but quiet.

Happy Birthday America.......

Richard Swartwout
Smith Tavern
near Camp 13,
North Castle, NY
www.marchtoyorktown.org

July 07, 2006

March Date, Monday, July 3rd, Day 17

Greetings all and the best of tidings to you and yours....

The immigration service arrives, or, serendipity at its best.....

......awakening in Ward Pound Ridge Reservation is one of those special moments, uninterrupted by civilization, most delightful. Tis overcast again, but cooler. The night's rest entirely delightful except when interrupted by the occasional loud screeching of some animal. We are all thinking bear, big cat, or the monster under the bed, but, in fact, it is apparently a Peacock, (yes peacock , much to our chagrin...you know of those big birds with all the tail feathers) Seems there are some being grown by a local resident and they sound off in the night........so much for under the bed monsters.

We know that the days travel is to be a short walk, perhaps 7 miles or so, through some of the priciest real estate in America. We are moving from Camp 12 at Bedford, NY to Camp 13 at North Castle, NY.

Most of the days travel is over an improved road, but not a paved one, for a change. The is the Old Guard Hill Rd., and we pass it along the way. We also pass a really nifty, turn of the last century style Clock Tower, out here in almost wilderness. What an imposing, almost impossible, but mind altering sight it is. Tis at the corner of the Succobone road. Geez, my jaw just drops. Tis not big, (30 ft tall maybe, 4-5 ft. square at the top) nor imposing or any such thing, just in a place so incongrous as to make you stop and wonder. I suppose that was the purpose..........how wonderful. We just portrait away to our delighted hearts content.

As we continue to travel we see many of the local inhabitants and the estate workers. For the most part we are ignored, but the workers are obviously concerned at our passing. I am thinking they must suspect that we are the immigration service, perhaps. Boy, they just can't take their eyes off of us. Tis almost unsettling...

The going is steady, the manors and estates are beautiful, and before long we arrive at Mt Kisco (North Castle, New Castle, etc) A hospital now sits atop what was the French Camp, and a plaqued stone marks the spot where Washington rode out to meet with Rochambeau, from his Camp at Philipsburg.

Sharon S., of the North Castle Historical Society, has made arrangements for us to stay upon the Original Camp grounds, now occupied by the Hospital, or the park across the way. It is just not possible to stay at the park, so we have opted for the Hospital grounds, with the help of John, Michael and Eric. They show us a spot where we might be comfortable, but just before that happens, another lightning bolt of serendipity knocks our socks off. It happens something like this........as I alight from the carriage in front of the hospital, dressed in my days uniform, this Gal drives by, stops, and starts shooting all the questions, you know: who,what, where, when, why, how and WHY again...... her name is Carol E., of Chappaqua, and her Dad, Bill, is a real 'Rev War nut'.........so I tell her what we are up to, and that perhaps we may need a camp ground for he evening. We trade names and communication codes and she departs. We go to the oven that is the hospital carriage park... we are able to catch up on some wash, and to dry the clothes, lay them on the black groud, tis dry in but minutes, truly..... but, camping on this ground may be more difficult that imagined, due to the intense heat... think fry pan, then, think fry pan again, hot, hot, hot.......she is so interested we must needs to have her pull over in order that other carriages may pass....hmmmm, she mutters, (even so that I might hear her), you can set camp at my homestead... OH, heart be still says I to myself..... well, we go to the carriage lot, do the laundry, (remember the laundry?), and I call Carol...perhaps she might be so kind as to let our representatives come by to see if our carriage might be able to negotiate the terrain...they come back, the report is favorable and we decamp the hospital lot..... I call Eric, thank him for his support..(in fact, the hospital is on Original French Camp grounds).........and we are on our way.

We pass a past President's house on the way, and find ourselves wending our way down a sleepy back road to the Camp for the evening.

Tis' another one of those serendipitous moments that seem to have so gleefully followed us along on this journey...30 seconds either way and we would have just been ships passing in the night. What a night it turns out to be..!!!!

We find the spirits table and are being served as we exit the carriages. The place is almost raucus with anticipation, of new friends found, of like mindedness........ the local paper is summoned, reports given on the status of the Arm, portraits taken, tis' not even dinner yet.....when dinner is called, 12 people set about the table and descend with toasts, and huzzahs, to the offerings......we introduce ourselves and find the Patron of the clan, Bill, with daughter Carol and husband Bob, and children and friends as well as us.... the wine gods are well pleased with the offerings (as we discover the next morning) The conversation is lively, with even a young French lad in attendence, to give us thanks and to share experiences. It goes on to the late hours, and we are then convinced that a night Musket fire, on the Eve of the Fourth July, is a wonderful idea. We form the Company and the insuing blast into the countrside is enough to help usher in the Holiday........ a late fire, with chairs about, finally finds us winding down, our energies satiated, and the blessing of sleep to soothe the edges.........we are done, all of us, thankfully.... What is that sound I hear, methinks, must be my eyelids slamming shut......!

Richard Swartwout
For 'AMtY'
near Camp 13, North Castle
Chappaqua, NY
www.marchtoyorktown.org

July 05, 2006

March date, Sunday, July 2nd, Day 16

Greetings AMtY friends, the joy of the day to you all....

Troop movement from Ridgebury, Ct. (Camp 11) to Bedford, NY, (Camp 12).

Last evening we all agreed to a Six of the Clock in the Morning Reville, and to be on the move by 7:00 of the Clock. This Camp #11, now a publick golf course owed by the Town of Ridgefield, will have some early starters I am sure. ..and they do not dissappoint. Shortly after Revellie' the players are arriving. They do a pretty good job of ignoring our 'tin town', so intent are they on the coming battle of stick and little ball. We fold, stow, lift, rearrange and are out of camp by 6:55 of the Clock. A guinea then walks by and scolds me, I suppose. Probably for watching her trying to seduce herself in a chrome bumper (tis too funny). A rabbit then bolts by, the place alive. The golf oasis is good for the local wildlife, assuming they don't chemical the grass too much...

We move the camp out of the Artillery Park hill, the troop already going down route. We pass the Brigade of the American Revolution encampment about 1/2 mile down the road, passing uphill from it. It looks surreal, nestled there in the hay field, early in the morning, with smoke from the cook fires already roiling into the air. The sight is dear to our eyes and hearts, and visually, it is no longer the 21st Century.

The Army road twists and turns down to the 116 road, and then heads to New York, which we enter some 3 1/2 miles from Camp 12. We find a spot to rest the baggage train and grab a breakfast. We enter a road block by the local North Salem constabulatory, checking for contraband, or spies, I gather.......... we pass unmolested. The oficers seem to be astounded by the idea of this venture and portraits are quickly taken..... we have no hay for the horses and I must quickly scour the country side for such a service......no hay yet and at 8 miles from Camp 12, I stop to await the arrival of the troop.

The wait is long, too long and I fear that something has come undone. I ask Rose to take the smaller carriage and go in search of the troop. She does so and when she does not return in 10 minutes, I get really concerned. WE now have no communications available to us, only a growing anxiety. I water some of the local fauna while I wait, nervous....... The possible scenarios run through my mind: lost (OK), injury (not good), worse (worse)... I sit and wait, getting impatient.....finally she returns with the troop in tow....fortunately having only taken a wrong turn...... all is again well with the world. We lunch and move on........

Tis pretty uneventful for the rest of the afternoon, now that we have our bearings back. We arrive at Bedford in mid afternoon, an expensive looking town, well manicured with manored estates, lots of brick, a couple of churches there, and a nice Town Green.... this will be Camp 12, should we find a place to stay. So, looking for a camp I stop in a local merchant's house and inquire. They are nice enough to direct us to a Town park, but it is inadequate for our needs. Rose goes on a scout and locates the Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, and they are very enthusiastic about our staying there. Still the troop has not arrived yet and I am anxious, but, as it turns out, they have stopped a bit short of the Town Green and are awaiting me......we collect ourselves and go off to Ward Pound Ridge. This place is awesomely beautiful, 2000 acres, with wildlife and streams, and oddly enough, practically empty at the moment. That is hard to fathom, considering it is a Holiday Weekend. Where is everyone? But, in the end, who cares, it is all ours, anywhere we want.. thanks to Ranger Rick and his Staff, we are most warmly received. This is a Westchester County Park and is remarkable in its size and diversity......

We bring in the Washington, into a grove, with tables and a latrine area. There are no showers, but as is pointed out to us, there is a rapidly running stream about 75 yards away. Tis not very long before the troop is in the water, trying to remember that we must give Rose equal time.......reluctantly we move to the Camp, Rose to the stream...... Oh MY GAwd, how good this is. Cool, running, refreshing, and we are all clean agian. WE spot deer on the path to the stream and take portraits. The opportunity to bathe has been few and far between and our buckets have had to suffice...no buckets tonight lads, yahoo!!!!!

We sup with a melange of foods left in the baggage train, delights of clams on the half-shell, some left over beef stew, sausage and meatballs, some chicken surprise, all of it unaccountably delicious.

Ranger Rick says a black bear has been spotted in the park, so , keep our eyes open. We can only hope to see it........ but never do.

The air, cooler now and refreshing, is deep within us as we become one with our surroundings. Some late night chat and beverage, in the dark of the forest, with only our fire as a beacon in the night, sends us all off to rest.....idyllic in thought and in nature, the good hand of Providence has again taken us in it's sure grip......

Richard Swartwout
For, 'AMtY'
near Camp 12
Bedford, NY
www.marchtoyorktown.org

July 03, 2006

March Date, Saturday, July 1st, Day 15

Ceremonial day, we move to Camp at Ridgefield (Camp 11)

Well, I arise early. The troop is still under and I wait a bit before yelling Reveille'. We are to be a part of the Town Ceremonials, and we must have the Camp down early. A 6:15 we are stirring and the Scout camp is abuzz....

We are back on the March this day for 16 miles, with a late start. We must go to Ridgebury, the last camp on the w3r trail in Connecticut. But for this morning, duty awaits. We have agreed to do the ceremonials at 10:00 of the Clock in the Morning. This is a remarking of the stay of the French Cavalry, under Lauzon, on this date in 1781. Richard O., our host is the master of ceremonies.

The camp is stowed, we set out the sutlery in the hope of enhancing our coffers as we approach New York........ the ceremony goes smoothly, and we are joined by the 2nd Horse, with Major Arena Commanding. They are resplendent in full regalia, Blue Regimentals sitting ahorse. Their appearance draws ooohs and ahhhs from the crowd.. We look a pitiful, but proud site as we form Company in front, and lead them to the ceremonial stone.....

The ceremony proceeds, the Flags are raised, the Anthem sung (beautifully), we fire a musket volley, and retire to the shade as the Horse follows..the politicians all take equal opportunities, and we take the moment to send the troop back to the Camp at Newtown, to step off. We keep the sutlery open, and engage the publick for a short while thereafter........

We finally take our leave of Monroe, and look to the route to locate the troop, and we find them some miles out, ready for lunch. Because of the late start of the day, this will be a long march (16 miles) and we will arrive late in the evening, at Ridgebury, where we have as yet, no Camp arranged.

The boys are stopped along the way, to say hello to a WW II Veteran, and they do so.........

They are also found by a local newspaper and the word again, is apparently starting to spread. We needle our way through the Towns of Danbury and Ridgefield, now searching for a camp for the evening. The Brigade of the American Revolution is having an encampment just down route from the original French Camp and I stop in to see if we may be welcome there. After a fashion, it is agreed that we might stay in the parking lot, which is OK with me. However, looking at the entrance, it is decided that we will not be able to manuveur the Washington (some 50' long) into the parking lot. At the last moment I stop in at the Ridgefield Country Club, A Publick golf course in town, and they agree to let us stay the night in their lot. Tis a great place, atop the artillery hill, with a sky full of stars and a mixed mileau of food offerings. It has been a long day and a long march for the troop. Sarah, from Rogers Rangers stops in to say hello...... Mike C. has joined us this day, and manages a 4-5 mile stretch this day, before taking some time off. He decides he will stay a couple of days and we agree. The pace is hard, and it may take a while for him to get up to speed, but he is game, and willing, as are we......

I spot a couple of shooting stars as we gather at the days end, 'tis sack time methinks, and I am off......

Richard Swartwout
For, AMtY
at Camp 11
Ridgefield, Ct
www.marchtoyorktown.org

March Date, Friday, June 30th, Day 14

It's all about the boys..........

Greetings friends of AMty. Perhaps this missive shall be sent before my computer is invaded by an online greeting card, and my work obliterated............remind me to never buy from them, this is the second time........

Tis a lazy early morning here at Camp in Monroe (FYI....... the French army did not camp at Monroe, but the Cavalry, under Lauzon. The folks in Monroe asked us to help them celebrate, and we agreed). We are in the process of several camp duties, but mostly to relax, refresh and renew. We are set about cleaning muskets, chatting with folks about the Yorktown March, etc. Rose tends to mending tears and reattaching buttons.

I, David, and Rose leave Monroe for the short trip back to Newtown for an eleven of the clock ceremony of the Rochambeau Plaque unveiling/dedication on the grounds of the Hawley School.
Again, many dignitaries are in attendance, and our line is extended b Lt. Johnson of the Horse Guard...... short speeches are delivered, and we gladly fire a 3-musket salute. Vive la France et le Comte de Rochambeau et ton armee!!! We are engaged in a chat with Ellie B. who presents us with commemorative patches by Southbury Boy Scout Troop 162 and a monetary donation. Merci, tous-le-monde.

Back on the Monroe Green, Gordon reappears, .....you all remember Gordon, for sure, from a couple of my last dispatches. He has brought with him a copy, a boxed set really, of the Rice & Brown Volumns concerning the Rochambeau March, including copies of Original Documents as well as a terrific map done by the French Engineers. What a treasure and hard to find these days.

He also spends some time re-telling his march of 1976, all the organizing it took, the huge budget (some $40,000 in 1976). We think, here we are, the We Five (apologies to the group of the same name) and a budget of $2500.

After Gordon departs, we tour the Masonic Lodge from an invitation by Past Master, Gary D. I recall being in their lodge some 8 years ago.

Later in the afternoon, we are preparing for an arrival in camp of three troops of Cub and Boy Scouts. They will be camping on the Green with us for tonight. So, we are almost overcome by the frenetic energy of the boys. I wonder if I was like that, but my Mother asures me that, indeed, it was so. We set up out sutlery so that we might sell some artifacts to help finance this endeavor, and it is well received by the good folks of Monroe. Indeed, our sutlery time is well spent thanks to the interest and support of the Monroe citizens.......

The scouts arrive and the camp is in full force. We manage to again light the Town's Christmas Tree, and light off our own campfire. We sup on the promised pizza and spirits. Geez, I am surprised that there has been no 'hard cider'. Much publick comes out to stroll about the tree-lit green, visit our camp and chat about our reenactment of this wonderful historical event. And lo...behold....one visitor is Pauline Z. from Woodbridge, accompanied by her spouse Dick and other family members Jim, Pam, Grace and Jack. Pauline greets us like family and we realize she is the sister of Doctor Richard, our daily walker of 3 days from East Longmeadow, retired oral surgeon who smoked our boys up the hill toward Bolton.....remember Doctor Richard???

The townsfolk and even further travelers like Pauline have made our day.

I have agreed to give a presentaion to the Scouts, concerning the Rochambeau March, as well as an overview of the Yorktown Campaign. So. later in the evening, we gather at the campfire, and chat Revolution.......... frankly, to my surprise, it goes pretty well, and seems well received. We are satisfied as well, and as soon as all comunication channels are open, we intend to share the portraits of the evening. Tis' not long after, that we call it a night, a most pleasent day in the Count Lauzon's Camp, in Monroe. On the morrow we shall need to return to Newtown to disembark again, on the trail of the Army.

Richard Swartwout
For, 'AMtY'
in Monroe
near Camp 10
www.marchtoyorktown.org

March Date, Thursday, July 29, Day 13

Regrettably, we have been without communication with HQ for some days as we pass into the Tory Zone. Communication links have been interrupted for days, and we are just now able to file a number of past dispatches. I can't believe we actually pay for such crappy service, America......... now, off my soap box and onto the dispatches.......

Establishing Camp on the Monroe Green, or.......
Dave Departs and the tree dies.....

The Troop is scheduled to rest these two days. We are alert at 7:00 of the Clock in the Morning. Major Janice A., Commanding the 2nd Horse, supplies a brief repast to help us energize the move from Newtown to Monroe. We gather around the 'joe', chat up a storm, horses are being cared for, the troop is rising, dressing, breaking camp. We will remove the headquarters to the Monroe Town Green, for the next two days.

We bid goodbye to our friends at 2nd Horse. Please accept our most kind gratitude for your hospitality.

The troop arrives at Monroe at nine of the clock in the morning, Thursday and is met by Richard O. He is our host here. He has worked hard to make our stay here comfortable. In short order, we know it to be so. Meals come unbidden, other facilities as well.

Dave, our companion for the past fortnight, has been called to Fort Niagra, on the western frontier. We do expect that he will rejoin us down route.

After a quick tour of the local environs, we set camp. The Green has an Episcopal and Congregational Church, Town Offices and a Masonic Lodge surrounding. We set the Baggage Carriages and set camp, glad to be at rest for 2 days. Tents go up, dining fly too, and a firepit is dug. We get out the fire sets, pots and kindling. "All we need now," says Mike...."is some firewood." A couple of minutes later, not 5 minutes for sure, Mike hears a loud CRACCKK, as a tree not 50 yards from us, crashes into to the road. Eureka, Huzzah!!! The tree has missed a carriage, Mike runs to assure the occupant's safety. She is shook up, screaming..."it fell in front of me...my car!" Mike shouts, "Firewood, firewood!!" We need to be careful what we wish for, but the universe has replied. After the death of the tree, we secure a wheelbarrow and forage the wood. Campfire for the night has been assured. Rose manages to get some laundry done.....

Mike C , a former member of the 6th Connecticut, checks in and offers to bring dinner. Wow, what a dinner it was! With salamagundi (salad), clams on the half shell, followed by a pasta creation with shrimp, scallop, clam and squid in a sauce divine. His Lady Maggie stops by and is good to see her as well....

We've powered up the town's Christmas tree much to our own delight. The town seems not to notice, the lamps and the lodge and the houses of worship are all lit up. 'Tis truly a delightful scene here.

Fire is glowing, troop is at rest, the town warm in offering. We chat, and succumb to the pull of the night. Yes, camp 10...home for 2 days.

Richard Swartwout
at Camp #10
Monrie, Ct.
June 29th

July 02, 2006

March Date, Wednesday, June 28th, Day 12

Greetings Friends of Amty........ I would ask that you share our dispatches with any and all that have an interest. You can sign up to receive these directly. you can also sign off at any time, as is your wish....

March Date, Wednesday, June 28th, Day 12

Moving rom Breakneck,(camp 9) to Newton (camp 10) or.......moving from girls showers to horse stalls???

This seemingly endless storm, on our tail for some days now, continues to test our fortitude and our supply of dry clothing. Awake for reveille at 6:00 am, perhaps we should have moved a bit sooner. It starts to rain at 6:15 as we are hustling to take down the tents and stow gear before it really gets soaked. Actually, we do pretty well, only suffering a mild soaking of the equipment and ourselves. We issue oil cloths to the troops and drive to Rochambeau statue, off Artillery Road in Midlebury. It is now a water deluge, how can it possibly be raining like this, heavy rain and a soaked atmosphere.... We park near by the statue and trek the 50 yr trail, through the woods. The rain is almost overpowering. We honor the statue, take quick portraits and scurry, like the drowned rats we are beginning to feel like, back to the carriages.

Moving up the road in the blinding rain, we find the point at which we finished yesterday. The troop disembarks, and starts off on the mach to Newtown, and Camp 10. Rain or not, we are going....We immediately miss a turn and are estranged from the route, it is a bit before the troops discover their mistake, but we all know the road we are on, and the route will conjoin about 3 miles down route and they are but very short distance apart. Tis our first miss, and we blame it on the rain, falling NOT gently on the plain.

Drats........some one has stopped the troop and questioned them. He knows we are not on the right place, how can this be??? What route ae you guys following???? He goes away grumbling. Geez, who knew anyone was actually out here watching us?? Go figure........ he finds me in the baggage train (Camp Martha), a bit later, down route. He is still thinking we are lost and going the wrong way, even though by now, we are back on course. He finally calms down and we can chat, being Masonic brothers, as we quickly learn. His name is Gordon, and he did a large portion of this March back in 1776. He still knows the route like tha back of his hand. IN 1776, he has 60 people doing the March with a budget of $40,000. We have a budget of $2,500 and a group of 5, 30 years later. His group goes from Providence to Verplank, NY, and then a couple of years later, they continue on to Princeton, NJ.. That is far as they are able to go. We part friends, in the rain, and continue our seperate ways, I think.......

We take a quick break at 3 miles, another at 5 miles, and lunch at 9 miles. We have come through Middlebury, Southbury and are moving west into Sandy Hook. We pass over the Housatonic River and just touch on Lake Zoar. Sandy Hook is a picturesque village center, and I rest the team at the 84 road underpass, awaiting the troop. We move in Newtown, Camp 10 territory. The troop catches up and refreshes, and prepares for the last push to Camp 10. We have been invited for the evening, at the 2nd Company Governor's Horse Guard (Ct) military reservation

The baggage train arives, shortly before the troop, and who is that I see getting out of his carriage, but Gordon Oh no, I think, what have we done wrong now. But Gordon is smiling, the rain has stopped, the troop is here, and Gordon wants to chat and share memories and momentos. What at nice start to the evening.........thank you Gordon. He gifts us with artifacts from the 1776 March and we are stunned and delighted, finally humbled and honored.......How kind thou art, my Brother. WE invite him to join with us, in Camp, on Friday and he readily agrees. He will share with us his signed copies of the Brown & Rice books, printed in 1972, detailing the French reports of the Armies March to Yorktown.....We look forward to his visit then, from such rough beginnings to a warm and growing friendship.....

We receive a warm welcome at the 2nd Horse, park the baggage train, and get ready for a dinner out, this evening. It is in honor of David's 33rd Wedding anniversary, with his family to be in attendence. We discover the Horse Stall shower and quickly make ourselves presentable......The stable, earthy, smelling of horse, distinctive, vibrant, leather, hay..a distinctive melange' of aroma..truly farmlike and comforting.

We go to dinner in full dress Regimentals, quite the sight for the locals I can tell you. Rose is in satin red. Dinner is fine and we repair to the Tavern for refreshments and the company of some of the local Ladies. Perhap we should return here someday soon.......returning to Camp 10, we recap the day, have a night-cap, offer an evening toast, and hit the hay......Camp 10 indeed.

Richard Swartwout
For, 'AMtY'
Camp 10
Newtown, Ct.
www.marchtoyorktown.org