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August 30, 2006

March Date Tuesday August 29, 2006 March Day 74

Good day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

Another dawn of overcast skies promising more rain as David calls reveille to the camp. We are visited early by Portia Orton, who quietly and quickly brings coffee, breakfast foods and fruit to the group, and then is gone as quickly as she came. Such is her way, caring and efficient with minimal disturbance. Nancy also visits with homemade blueberry muffins. We must practice some restraint from all these goodies as the day's march is some 14 miles to Princeton.

As he promised, pastor Mueller of the Reformed church arrives to lead us in the daily blessing, but before we bow our heads and join hands, he relays the story of Palm Sundays at his historical church of this town....seems they have pony rides for the young through the existing graveyard each Palm Sunday. How novel an idea! If I were interred there, I would rejoice at such a use of my gravesite by the community.

The marchers are readied for the day and we are visited by a mother with her 2 young sons, each bearing small handmade Bourbonnais flags. The group departs down Millstone River Road, marching some 2+ miles against single-driver commuter traffic.

The route continues across a single lane bridge onto Canal Road where the marchers discover a parallel dirt lane following the much swollen river from the recent rains for a distance of 3 miles. They march this distance under the wet, bending trees, better able to envision the army's march 2 centuries ago.

Excitement increases as they approach the city of Princeton, and the group is expected and met by many local representatives. They participate in wreath-laying ceremonies at the Washington monument and army encampment sites.

Many pictures are taken as the commemoration occurs....Attending the wreath laying ceremonies Mathieu PETITJEAN, President of the American Society of the Souvenir Francais Jean LAREUSE, artist and creator of the Washington/Rochambeau ceramic plaque done in 1998 for the Souvenir Francais; his wife, Caroline LAREUSE, DAR member of Princeton Chapter and Rochambeau Chapter in Paris, also former Honorary Consul of France for NJ Wendy LANNING, Regent DAR; Jean HULTGREN, past regent DAR and responsible for placing the DAR stele for the March to Yorktown in 1981 during the Bicentennial.

Forgive me if I have excluded anyone, as I was not present at these ceremonies - instead at the Morven Museum camp for the evening tending to other chores. I have relied on others for this report.

When the group arrives at Morven Museum, we are greeted by Director Martha Wolf. We will park our "Washington Rig" of Martha and George in the adjacent lot of the museum, thankful for the next day's respite from marching.

We are visited by fellow reenactor and NJ resident Paul Hutchins...some may remember Paul for his portrayal of Benedict Arnold at the 225th anniversary reenactment of the Battle of Saratoga.... a treat to see him again. With an evening to ourselves in such a delightful city, we are energized and proceed to go out on the town. We remain in period clothing as we stroll about, receiving quite positive reactions and inquiries from the locals. Our first stop is the Nassau Inn where an original 13 foot mural painted by Norman Rockwell in 1937 entitled "The Yankee Doodle Mural" is the focus of the Tap Room. As we unwind and with time to ourselves, the group diverses with various individual pursuits for dinner and to meet old friends in this lovely city. We return to camp at various times, thankful for no reveille in the morning. A demain.

Avec Amour, Rose

August 29, 2006

March Date Monday August 28, 2006 March Day 73

The rain during the night was incredibly intense with a sound like high winds coming through the farm fields, intermittent sleep for sure. The roosters, with their pen right alongside Martha began their crowing at the very first crack of dawn. It was quite entertaining to hear them attempt to out-crow each other....so, let's all rise. This is surely reveille. Everyone has managed to keep dry in spite of the heavy night rains, and we all hope for a reprieve with just overcast skies.

The group prepares for today's journey, another 15 mile day from the farm to Millstone in Somerset county. The route takes us over Newman's Lane and Steel Gap Road, the high ground preferred by the original army. Martha's brake index surely needs to be increased as she takes the steep downgrades on the wet road poorly....there are those butterflies again! The troops do well, sans le pleine aujoud'hui, and Dana and Zack have rejoined the troop for a half day.

The group stops at the Van Veghten house, headquarters of the Somerset County Historical Society before continuing to the night's destination at Millstone Borough Hall. This small proud historic community welcomes us warmly, with visitors Mary Patrick, Mayor, Portia Orton who arranged our accommodations, Pastor Fred Mueller, Sally deBarcza of the NJ W3R, Tom D'Amico of the Cultural Heritage Commission, Kathy Faulkner and so many others. This community has arranged for our every comfort....from a wonderful dinner at the Church Memorial Hall, to shower facilities in their private homes. They bring us gifts of food and spirits, stories of local history and ancestry. We tour the Old Millstone Forge and the beautiful Reformed Church and Graveyard.

Tents are set on the lawn of the Borough Hall and we are given the "key" to the hall facilities. Our visitors leave as darkness approaches, and the group gathers to sit for a while, discussing our many blessings and new friends' kindnesses. Thank you, Nancy, for my wonderful shower and opening your home to me.
No rain tonight and we will all sleep well and contented. A demain.

Avec amour,
Rose

March Date Sunday August 27, 2006 March Day 72

Good Day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

This day is heavily overcast and the light rain begins as the camp stirs. Bedding from the pavillion is again stored in Martha and the group marvels at the number of deer who have gotten curiously close to the sleepers during the night.

I have been remiss in not acknowledging Barbara D. and daughter Libby's visit during the previous night's camp, dinner, and social time. Barbara presented Captain Mike with a bottle of Courvoisier brandy! No...not for breakfast, 'twill be stashed for our Yorktown arrival!

The marchers begin again from the Lucent/French army site with today's destination the English Farm or Bullion's Tavern in Liberty Corner, NJ., some 16.5 miles.
Dana and Zack do not march today due to developing blisters, best to be cautious to avoid further damage. Keleigh and Rose leave at the same time as the marchers for the daily route scout and will return for Martha when the farm destination is assured.
The rains hold for half the day's distance when the skies open and we are deluged. The remaining 8 miles are completed in the pouring rain, brown oilskins in use.
En route, Mike asks Ms. Mercedez driver if she would like her discarded trash back and is layed out in lavendar with language that could only come from a British tongue.

In spite of the weather, the night's campsite is delightful. Rose, with Martha, is greeted by Carol English who points out a few dry areas of portico, and screened porches where we may set our beds without being washed away. Martha is parked, tucked into the side of a small barn. This is a working farm, complete with corn fields, vegetable gardens, roosters & chickens, rabbits and pigs. Little has changed since the French army encamped here and Carol points out the adjacent field which remains uncultivated to this day.

The marchers arrive, soaked and chilled, and they rest on the portico of the carriage drive before changing into dry clothing. Dick Arnold arrives to visit and goes out of his way to lead some of the troops to a "laundromat" for obvious reason. They will be gone awhile and even though fresh corn and green beens have been procured from the farm stand for a later dinner, David cannot wait. If you haven't seen his picture on the site, David looks like he needs to run around in the shower to get wet, gets "growly" hungry at the end of the day's march and cannot wait another 2 hours to fill his empty tummy. We find a restaurant within walking distance, and David gleefully fills his void with a thick juicy steak....Argentinian beef to be exact. Ah...a satisfied soldier. We walk back to the farm in a thin drizzle of rain.

Keleigh prepares the fresh vegetables for the remainder of the group and we are visited by Anne McCauley of the DAR. She has tracked and found us from our first meeting at the Greene farm back in Ramapo from Suffern NY. She comes bearing home-made brownies, portrait mementos for each of the marchers, and continued good wishes.
Thank you, Anne....you also have gone out of your way for us.

Darkness arrives as the group sits and talks of the day and the morrow. Our thanks again for another safe haven. A demain.

Avec amour, Rose

August 28, 2006

March Date Saturday August 26, 2006 March Day 71

Good Day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

We wake this morning to the sound of the rain again, but what is that strange s-s-s-s sound? The library lawn sprinklers have automatically turned on and 'tis indeed raining inside and out. Seems Zack and Dana have set up their tent atop one of those modern devices. Maureen and Rosemary scramble for the turn-off valve!

These same dedicated ladies provide us with bagels, danish, donuts, juice and coffee and we view their impressive Rochambeau march display in the front foyer of the library, carbing up for the day.

We set off for the day's journey, some 15 miles from these most accomodating townfolk of Pompton to the next town of Whippany NJ. We would truly like to take Rosemary and Maureen with us. Our police escort arrives about 4 miles down route 202 and is with us as we stop for a reception at the Doremus homestead, the site where General Washington commanded a stop for rest and refreshement for the troops. Thanks to Kathy Fisher of the Montville historic society and Dick Seabury of the Morris County Park Commission, we are all served the same period fare as 225 years ago - cider, bread, cheese, apples and peaches. Many photographs are taken and we are interviewed by the local publication Daily Record.

A second memorial stop is made at the Rockaway River bridge where our marchers place a wreath given by the Montville VFW chapter. The bronze marker notes that 2 of General Wahington's armies had crossed there and Frank Warholic of the VFW gave - in part - these words: "Today our heritage is being expressed by these reenactors of our Revolutionary War. They have walked, so to say, in the company of the spirits of the brave men who have walked before them. When freedom had to be fought for or abandoned, they chose to fight....it was Divine providence that all these men came together for the birth of America.....God bless our military old and new."

We complete the day's destination...the French camp currently the site of Lucent Technology Park on Whippany Road, and group camps for the night at Old Troy Park.
The Washington arrives at the park before the marchers, as is usual, and I busy myself with chores of hand laundry, mending and writing the logs of which you now read. (I have stopped kissing the ground on each arrival!) Of course behind these exceptional marchers, there is a definitely a woman.

Carrie Fellows of the Morris County Cultural and Heritage Affairs arrives at the park and waits for the marchers' arrival. She, the Seaburys and other wonderful giving folk have supplied our dinner - a burger & hotdog cookout, complete with all the fixins and desserts to tempt any sweet tooth. We have a great social time and it is dark when everyone departs and we prepare our beds. No tentage tonight, as the group chooses to sleep under the impressive pavillion that is a center attraction of this small serene park. Many deer curiously watch us from the edge of the wood.
We retire, thankful and grateful to all our new friends and supporters met along the road, and to our Great Provider who has kept us safe and in his care. A demain.

Avec amour,
Rose

March Date Friday August 25, 2006 March Day 70

Good Day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

A day of Pageantry!! The day begins with heavy overcast skies, certain for rain but only when it will begin? The tents are quickly taken down while still dry, and Sarah P. stops by during our chores and presents us with a donation... a quick gesture and she is on her way. The troops done full regimentals and the ladies are in their finest in preparation for the NY/NJ border crossing ceremony at Point Park, short walk from our night's camp on the green.

At 9 o'clock, we are police escorted to the park where approximately 100 people -
Veterans, Boy & Girls scouts, community officials and dignitaries are gathered under a quickly erected tent, and umbrellas are everywhere. Yes, it has begun to pour and we carry that unique smell of wet wool as we arrive. The pledge of allegiance is recited, the dignitaries speak in turn, the flags that we carry are exchanged by the scout troop representing the two states, Captain Mike speaks his words of appreciation and supports, mementos are presented to the reenactors, the Light of Freedom lantern is cermoniously passed from Suffern to Mahwah, and we accept the Bergen County Council Girl Scout banner to carry to Yorktown. The rain does not dampen anyone's spirit and many pictures are taken during this 45 minute ceremony. It is now after 10 AM and the 16 mile march to Pompton must begin.

We are provided with police escort and are accompanied by many citizens both on foot and by car....the rain continues. Along Ramapo Valley Road, 2 churches ring their steeple bells as we pass....Holy Cross Lutheran Church and Immaculate Conception Roman Catholic Church. I see Alex R., our enthusiastic supporter, waiving and smiling at almost every turn in the road. HOW does she do that?

Our first stop is at Continental Soldiers' Field near Ramapo college, a 20 minute stop again filled with locals taking many pictures. We begin again with our second destination being Sun Valley Farm owned by Carol and Dick Green. Here, Dick has cleared the woods from the main road down to his fields so that the troops may walk on the exact ground that the French soldiers had walked in 1781. Our hosts have also provided a luncheon reception with approximately 75 people attending.....fresh ham, biscuits, homemade jams, corncakes, cider and sweets.

Seems they also have arranged for the rain to stop. Thank you, Carol and Dick, and thank you to your guests who so generously contributed to our journey.

We set out for the remaining 12 miles to Pompton, noting that clumps of straw for directional markers have been tied to many of the sign posts on Route 202. Now that is some attention to detail!

The Washington arrives at Pequonnack Library in Pompton, our night's camp, about 45 minutes before the troops, and I find another reception waiting. Library director Rosemary Garwood has been anticipating our arrival, with historical society members and the mayor patiently waiting. I give the gathering a short "history" of our marchers, our backgrounds, and answering many questions of how we came to be, before we all exit the library and cheer the marchers as they approach. We are provided a fine fried chicken dinner and again interact with the locals of this friendly community. Later, we are taken by Rosemary and Maureen Brain to Spa 23 for showers, sauna and swim. All this has been arranged by Rosemary and her staff. Our every need was anticipated and they felt like old friends within minutes of our first arrival.

Tents were set on the grassy knoll at the side of the library building, with Rosemary herself camped inside for the night in case we needed her. We all retire to our beds after this full and busy day. No lullaby needed.

Avec Amour,
Rose

March Date Thursday August 24, 2006 March day 69

Good Day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

Light rain showers begin during the early morning. From my bunk in "George", I awake expecting to hear a scramble for cover from the troops sleeping outside, but this does not happen. I lie listening to the quiet of the gentle rain, and realize that the group is protected by the large maple tree and continues to sleep on until the spectacular red sunrise of dawn appears over the Hudson's now far shore. The skies gradually clear and the troop readies themselves for the day's march from Stony Point to Suffern, a total of 14.5 miles.

The route takes us from the Stony Point site through Haverstraw, and towns of Ramapo, Pomona and Montabello. Our passing draws the attention of a photographer from the Journal News, and of a lady officer who stops Mike for "speeding", requesting personal credentials and identification. The day is sunny and hot after the night showers with many hills to be traversed and fast traffic on a 2 lane road.

Today, the marchers are carrying the Betsy Ross flag along with our customary Bourbonnais regiment flag, and many motorists respond with their horns and waves as they recognize the familiar red, white and blue colors.

Our night's camp is a small green adjacent to the Community Center in downtown Suffern and representative Elaine is present to welcome us. She has arranged for the facilities at the Community Center to be available throughout the night, and as the police station is within sight, our peace and safety is assured. Ken DeFerrari from the VFW visits and reviews tomorrow's planned ceremony for the border crossing into New Jersey. The tents are set and David displays the French regimental and W3R flags along the walkway between the tents and centered white gazebo...it looks spectacular. Rose prepares a quick dinner of pasta served in the gazebo and supplemented by a dessert gift of pastries from a no-name lady visitor.

Mike, David, Dave and Rose then are 8 oclock guests of a local live cable TV program with Mike St.Lawrence. Can this be? Are we really sitting under the bright lights being telecast with a professional interviewer? We have our 20 minutes on camera to explain our journey and purpose, all the while faced by a studio audience of Harley Davidson riders who are next on the interviewer's agenda. As we speak, we receive many thumbs-up gestures from the motorcycle group, many of whom are service and war veterans, indicating their approval of our effort for commemorating early American history.

As we return to our town green/gazebo camp, we reflect on our unique opportunity that has evolved.....walking this route, a reminder of 2 countries' unity for the goal of American freedom. Thank you all for supporting our attempt at re-living history.

Avec amour,
Rose

March Date Wednesday August 23, 2006 March Day 68

Good Day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

No reveille needed this morning .. the local crabbers arrive as is their custom, with the sunrise, to begin their day's work, and the excitement for crossing the Hudson is growing among the troops. John Bargo arrives with preparations complete for the ferry crossing. Martha is loaded with the tentage and the men are delivered to Captain "Twinkie" who is happy to ferry the men and children across the river to Stony Point. Another opportunity for gold coin, eh?

It is a fast efficient crossing, as the river is quite calm this fine sunny morning.... Lady Keleigh accompanies the troops and is delivered back to the wharf. Assured that the troops are safe on the far shore, Rose with the Washington rig and Keleigh with the smaller wagon, begin the trek over Bear Mountain. The ascent, descent, and curves are taken well by Martha but Rose attests again to the flock of stomach butterflies accompanying her.

We arrive at Willow Cove, a peaceful maina with little activity as most boats are moored dockside on this work day. No schooners or frigates in sight, but the men have debarked here, and manager Wayne gives us a golf-cart tour to choose a site for accommodating our camp for tonight.

The rest of the day is ours....some members leave to tour West Point, others nap, shop for provisions, jog for personal time alone, swim from the finger piers. We combine leftovers (what a horrid word for good provisions) for a satisfying melange dinner from our many gifts of food. The group chooses to sleep under the stars, spreading their beds under a large protective maple tree. Did I mention that the marina has wonderful HOT showers?

Avec amour,
Rose

August 27, 2006

1781, March Date, Sunday, Aug. 26th, Day 71

From Homestead Headquarters

Greetings all, I wish you all the joy of the day. Tis been a tryin' time of late, what with trying to get the entire Army across the North River. It has taken two days, since last I wrote to you, to get the French Army across, and the Americans were at it for about 6 days, so has been said.

As I said earlier, both Generals Washington, and Rochambeau, took a vist to West Point, and we all figure that is where the headquarters will be for the action against the Brits, here in New York. We are sure that Clinton knows what we are about and must be making plans to deal with us, shortly. I suspect he thinks that the British Army and Fleet, can handle any eventuallity here in New York. He knows not that the French Admiral De Grasse has posted his fleet in the Chesapeake.

We were camping in Haverstraw and New Antrim the last couple of days, getting ready for what we know not. The General Rochambeau seems to have takin' lodging at John Suffern's New Antrim tavern.

Tis confusin' when we don't really know here we are going. Perhaps we will just be laying about the Town of New York and start the long awaited seige. But, we still see no siege guns, and Duportail, as I recall, spoke ill of the idea of trying to accomplish a siege here.... we are a bit flumoxed at the moment. Hmmmm, I was wondering, if De Barras took the seige guns from Newport, with him to the Chesapeake..........No, that can't be. Why would the Generals march an Army, in the heat of the summer, that far?? But we see no siege guns here...?? Even I can see that. Of course, we are but the Soldiers, not the decision makers.

But, a bit of real goods news has just come through the Camp. It seems that General Washington ordered the Light Companies into action, yesterday. They moved in a heavy force from Kakiat, NY to Paramus, NJ. We think that perhaps we might be making an attack at Staten Island. The force later on moved to Sandy Hook, seems like a feint to me, as we have no Fleet to connect with there. What can be going on in the mind of the good Generals?

At the same time, the American baggage train was moving from Kakiat, NY to New Antrim, NY, and was being escorted by a Regiment from Rhode Island. We have just found out which American forces are moving with Washington. It seems that there are some 2,500 troops made up of the following.......... two Regiments from the New Jersey Continentals, the First New York Continentals, Colonol Hazen's Regiment of Canadians, the Rhode Island Continentals under the command of Colonel Ulney, Colonel Lambs Regiment of New York Artillary, and finally, Colonel Scammel's Light Troops from New Hampshire....

We have moved on to Pompton today and look forward to moving on to Whippany, NJ on the morrow.....

The troops are restless, still hoping to tangle with the Brits here in New York, but tis now difficult to see just what the Generals have in store for us.... as always, it seems to take so long for word to get about the camps as well as to the far-flung units spotted here and there. We have not heard much from the Virginias in a week or so, now. We know not what transpires there..... of course, we hope that the French Admirals De Barras and De Grasse, along with the Troops of Wayne and Lafayette, can make short work of Corny. (Gen. Cornwallis, of course) But even so, it seems that Corny and his troops, by my count, outnumber all of them, and Clinton out-numbers us here, as well. It seems to be that way everywhere. Out-numbered both here and in the Virginia's, so, what to do....???

Most of our canvas seems to be dry again, and the horse teams are fresh and seemingly well fed. The Army? Well, the Army is anxious, again the not-knowing what shall be next..... perhaps we will know on the morrow. We3 trust the commanders but we still are a-wonderin', what, where, when...???

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
For, 'AMtY'
At Homestead Headquarters

August 25, 2006

March Date Tuesday August 22, 2006 March Day 67

Good Day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

We wake to the sounds of the early morning crabbers, dropping their crab pots into the river.....another day promising late summer sunshine. We do not march today, grateful for a day of rest beside this great river, and among many smiling faces. Are they anticipating more gold coin to be spent?

It is decided to spend some time scouting the morrow's land trail which will be taken by the Martha land carriage over the Bear Mountain bridge and road to Stony Point. Will the horses be able to safely navigate the grade and curve of the mountain while the men be ferried across? As we are departing camp, we are visited by Rose's friends Marion and George who have made the long journey from Florida Seminole area to visit family in New York. They are accompanied by daughter Michele and grandsons Christopher and Nicholas. It is a great fortune to be pleasantly surprised and reaquainted with old friends. And they generously donate to our fuel need for the horses.

As we proceed to scout, the scenery is spectacular from the top of Bear Mountain....the gleaming river below, pale blue sky with white cloud wisps above, and rolling green mountains as far as you can see. With caution and appropriate speed, Martha should have no problem navigating this road.

We pay a visit to Fort Montgomery on the west side of the Hudson and stand in awe at the remains of foundations and strategic planning of the buildings. We make our way down to the suspension foot-bridge, still in use today. Our scouting continues and we are able to procure a campsite for tomorrow evening after the river is crossed.

The group returns to Steamboat Wharf in King's Ferry, and as word of our presence has spread, we are visited by Terry C. and Delia D., who bear gifts of evening supper....home-cooked chicken, rice, vegetables and dessert pies. Interesting that Terry's last name translated from French means "gifts." Ah......les cadeaux delicieuses!!!!

John Bargo from Hudson Boating magazine visits, bringing details of tomorrow's river crossing..... the group tends to much-needed laundry..... we spend moments gazing at a star-filled sky. That's a WHAT travelling by above? A 'space station' ?
We retire, thankful for another day of gifts. A demain.

Avec amour,
Rose

March Date Monday August 21, 2006. March Day 66

Good Day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

Another beautiful late summer day dawns in this town of Yorktown Heights, New York. The group has enjoyed the Hunt's Tavern hospitality and the community friendship, but is anxious to break camp - our destination is Verplanck, the King's Ferry, some 14 miles to the west. To see the great North River, the Hudson will indeed be a welcome sight. We bid adieu to Madame Freyer and begin our march toward Peekskill.

Many locals acknowledge our passing, but most attentive is Brian Howard who prints a local publication for the citizens called the Journal News. He strikes up a lively conversation with Mike and sketches Mike's and Zack's pose at the Riverfront Green Park in Peekskill. This effectively draws a small crowd and when the purpose of our journey becomes known, we receive a generous donation from Armine H., his wife Renate, daughter Ingrid and grandson Spencer who are marketing in this town from Ossining. Seems they have emigrated from Heidelberg and are sympathetic to the American effort. They convey a great hope of victory to us all.

As we near King's Ferry, the excitement grows with each glimpse of the water in the distance. The remaining 3 miles is open country, without relief of shade, and very hot, but the fresh smell of the river becomes stronger with each step and finally we are at its bank, gazing at the small waves of grey/blue water and the green rising hills of both shores. It is too much....we are overcome. Waistcoats and gaitors, bodices and petticoats are shed. In britches and chemises, we plunge into the river. We are quite the site for the local inhabitants!

We camp here this night, and many people visit to satisfy their curiosity, or to share what little they have. With a few gold coin, we procure a delicacy of blue crabs from a grinning fish-monger. Our supper of steamed crab....exquisite.

We retire to our tents again with full bellies, our bodies cleansed by the river, and we fall to sleep listening to the lap of the waves against the wharf and thanking our Provider for this night. A demain.

Avec amour,
Rose

August 24, 2006

1781, March Date, Thursday, Aug. 24, day 69

Greetings friends, from Homestead Headquarters.......

It has been days of work, march, work, march, work, march..... When last I had the time to write to you, we were just leaving camp, in Philipsburg, NY, some days ago. The Americans went one way...and we, with the French, went in another direction, to New Castle. We gather it is to form a strike against the British here in New York.

We have spent the last two days camped near Verplank, along the North River. The march has been steady going, after the first day of very heavy rains. The Troop is in high spirits, as we move along. the talk among the men is high spirited, awaiing the word for some action against the British.

Some more word has been coming down out of Officer Country, not official of course, but it seems that word had gone back to Newport, to Admiral de Barras, to set sail from Newport, and to go to the Chesapeake to join up with Admiral de Grasse, there. Looks like the French are pretty serious about getting Corny (Gen. Cornwallis) down there. We hope that is as it shall be, so that they can then come back to New York and help us with the action here. With the combined French fleet, and the combined Amewrican/French army, it sems we would be a fair match against Gn. Clinton here.

But a more interesting piece of news is that the map makers have been sent south, by General Washington. None of us has any idea why... south? My goodness, what must that mean? I would think we need the map makers here, and the engineers, to help with the New York seige. Seems they left some days ago, but we are just now hearing about it, again, of course, unofficially. While the 'word' does semto travel through the Army, it is never 'official', all rumors at best. But the rumors, as any soldier can tell you, are usually accurate, we just can't seem to make head nor tails of all that we are hearing, we are just moving about New York. There is no doubt the the Brits know exactly what we are up to. they would have to be asleep, or dear, to miss the fact that the entire combined army is on the move. I suspect they are still quite confident of their defenses. For sure we have yet to be able to breach their line, anywhere. The Americans have started to cross the North River, some days ago, on the 20th., landing at Stony Point, the place of that famous, American, night time bayonet attack, some years ago. T'was that Mad Anthony Wayne leading that attack , in revenge for the similar British, under 'no flint' Grey, in Pennsylvania. The Americans are still crossing over, and have been for some days now.

We heard that yesterday, on the 23rd August, both Washington and Rochambeau visited the fortress at West Pint. We thinks that perhaps it will become the new headquarters in the action about the Town of New York. We have started to cross the great river, mostly in two large ferry boats, and a fine and small, varied fleet of flat boats and sailing craft......but once across, then what?

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
For, 'AMtY'
At Homestead Headquarters

March Date Sunday August 20, 2006

March Day 65

Good Day to All March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

The rains have stopped by early morning and as the day's march consists of 8+ miles, the early risers delay reveille until 7 AM. As we will prepare to get underway during the next hour, perhaps the canvas will only be damp rather than dripping when the camp is struck. I catch glimpses of blue sky amid the clearing clouds. As the tents come down, we receive an early morning visitor - it is our energetic Frenchman Andre Ferrara from the American Society of Le Souveir Francais, come to take our pictures as we depart Mt.Kisko. We oblige him in front of the Rochambeau plaque on the hospital grounds, the plaque that Shirley Porter was responsible for having erected there and which Andre maintains. He has brought his lovely wife Armella and we all bow in French prayer offered by Andre. They bid us adieu et bonne chance, and the troops are off. The flags are flying proudly again.

Keleigh and Rose go on a scouting mission of the day's route to assure that the Washington rig can be maneuvered on the turns/curves/hills by such an inexperienced driver. One day on the road driving a 48 foot rig hardly makes me experienced!

An alternate road or two for Martha is found and after delivering me back to the Girls/Boys club, Keleigh departs as walker support vehicle.

Todays march brings the group through narrow winding country roads, past the picturesque Croton reservoir, with a stop at Hilltop Hanover Farm, invited by the historical society to view the remains of the American earthwork fortifications at Crow Hill.

We arrive at the night's camp at the original Hunt's Tavern, now the site of Freyer Florists in Yorktown Heights. Anna Freyer has most graciously welcomed us to use her land for our camp, visits us with daughter Darlene. (If course I kiss the ground as I turn off Martha's ignition.)

Again, the camp is set for the night, tents erected and as the group relaxes, we are visited by a very distinguished visitor. It is Shirley Porter and she carries with her a folder filled with souvenirs of our current march. Madame Shirley walked the French army route from Bedford NY to Mt.Kisko, ALONE, during the 1976 Bicentennial year, and she states, "I then went home and made dinner for my family." This is the same lady who is responsible for the Rochambeau plaque in Mt.Kisko. She and her pastor husband live in Mahopac NY and made a special trip to visit us. Of course we took pictures with the group. It is an honor to meet this lady.

Thanks to Tom Travis and Monica Doherty, the Yorktown Heights historical society has arranged a dinner feast for us at the Presbyterian church, all dishes prepared by the members - roast chicken, pasta, breads, pies. We meet the Town Supervisor - translate "mayor" Linda Cooper, and the group is given signed copies of the Nasty Affair at Pines Bridges by Allison Albee and edited by historical society member Monica Doherty.

We roll back to camp, only to have Anna Freyer, daughter Darlene, grandchildren Jamison, Hunter, Anna Alexa and William deliver a home-baked cake decorated with blue & red fruit as the American flag. Mike, you'll need to walk MORE!!!!

Until tomorrow.

Love, Rose

March Date August 19, 2006

March Day 64

Good Day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

And this is the day we have all anticipated....the march resumes from Odell House in Greenburgh to Mount Kisko NY, for 17 miles. David, Mike, Dave, Dana and Zack depart Odell House now with 2 flags fluttering in the breeze. David still carries the Bourbonnais regimental flag, purple and blue squares accented by a centered white cross, slightly repaired from the first half of our journey, but impressive nonetheless.

Dana now carries King Louis' flag, pure white with 3 golden fleur-de-lis in the upper corner, also with a centered white cross, given to us as we passed through Southington, CT and one of a group of flags made by the Girl Scouts which we continue to carry to Yorktown.

We continue the tradition of a departing prayer, in English and French, all convinced that a higher power than any of us combined, has so far ensured our safety and success. We step off in the late summer morning sunshine, the marchers handsome in their uniforms and determined in their mission. Rose drives the big rig for the first time and manages the hills and town traffic of White Plains accompanied by a flock of stomach butterflies. Keleigh drives smaller support absolutely determined that she will get lost.

Today's route is a back-track of the previous phase, bringing us past the Kensico Reservoir on our way into Armonk. This area was green, lush and picturesque when we last passed through here 6+ weeks ago....now for almost a mile along the shore, the mature trees have been savagely snapped off at various angles, victims of a wind storm (tornado?) during our absence. What would have been the consequences had the French army been passing through at the same time?

Arrangements have been made, thanks to Brian Skanes and Ken Novenstern, for the night's camp at the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester (showers!), across the street from Westchester County hospital. Rose kisses the ground on arrival, first day of safely delivering the support rig. As we set camp, we are visited by Andre Ferrara, an Italian-born Frenchman avec un accent Francais, excited about our arrival and bearing gifts of wine, blackberry brandy, and stories of the American Society of Le Souvenir Francais. Seems a relative of his is responsible for the Rochambeau plaque placement at the front of the hospital grounds. John Stockbridge, President of the Bedford Historical Society also visits bearing fresh sweet corn to accompany our dinner feast arranged and delivered by Ken Novenstern and catered by Crabtree's Kittle House in Chappaqua.

We have truly been blessed.

The rains come about 8 o'clock and continues with heavy showers throughout the night, but we are safe, together, tummies full and surrounded with loving and caring people. Mon Dieu, merci bien pour tous les cadeaux aujourd'hui.

Avec Amour,
Rose

MARCH DATES AUGUST 17, 18, 2006

MARCH DAYS 62 and 63

Good Day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

It is with great pleasure that I resume our daily log relaying our experiences on the road to Yorktown Virginia, begun some 63 days ago when we first left Newport Rhode Island on June 17, 2006. The original marchers have spent the last 6 weeks tending to the homefires, family, and 21st century responsibilities, all the while preparing for this second phase of the journey.
I do hope you have enjoyed Richard's historical dialogue during the 6 week hiatus that the French and American troops have been encamped in New York, keeping your interests peaked until our return. But now, on with the March.....WE'RE B-A-C-K!!!

On these current dates, the marchers have regrouped from their respective homes to the Odell House in Greenburgh, NY, headquarters of General Rochambeau.
* Mike Fitzgerald, original marcher and second phase leader of the March, is from
Pittsburgh PA, spent the greater part of the past 6 weeks scouting & mapping the
up- coming route, too many hours on his computer and contacting dozens of
supporters.
* David Holloway, original marcher, is from Wallingford CT and supplier of our
beloved George and Martha trailer/truck support rig.
* Dave Fagerberg, original marcher, is from Kansas City, Kansas
* Rose Morin, original support vehicle driver, is from Branford CT, is camp nurse,
cook, laundress, camp follower.
* Keleigh Shumbo with son Zack and daughter Dana from Windham CT, temporary
joiners for the next 2 weeks in capacities of additional support driver, marchers,
camp follower.

We arrive Odell house Thursday evening 8/17/06, exhausted from the preparations that have brought us to this point. We take these next 2 days to mentally transition our personnae from 21st to 18th century. This is a gradual process which begins as we set camp. The sight of the white canvas wedges, the flickering of the fire flames is just what we need to forget the usual trepidations of starting out on a 2 month journey
away from home, loved ones and our creature comforts.
Neighbors and previous visitors stopped by the camp to wish us well.

Friday morning of the 18th arrives with our "transitions" in progress, the morning damp but smelling woodsy-clean. Most of us have slept well but we learn of our first medical mishap. Seems yours truly (the camp nurse no less!) has tripped over the trailer hitch during the dark night while enroute to the ladies' room tree and is certain that a finger is fractured. Yep, after 2 hours at the White Plains Hospital, the xray confirms a fracture at the base of my left pinkie and after a somewhat brief but painful reduction, I am sent on my way with a plaster splint. My special thanks to town historian Frank Jazzo for delivering me to the hospital - he stopped by to re-welcome us to the Odell House - little did he know how MUCH he could assist us - and to Dr. Delamoro, orthopod at White Plains hospital for a superb job treating me. Dr.D. advised a 1 week, then 3 week follow-up but as I explained about the march, and no-can-do, he just shook his head in disbelief and wished me luck. How humbling an experience... I have prayed thanks that it was not any worse.

That evening, the group attended a reception/lecture at the Newburgh town hall by artist David Wagner, the very town hall where we bid everyone adieu 6 weeks prior. We recognized so many familiar faces as we were re-presented, received generous donations from historical society ladies Pauline and Janet from Dobbs Ferry, and gifts of crackers/cheese and fruit. Again, thanks to Frank Jazzo and the historical society for inviting us and officially wishing us well on our journey.

We all turn in, David and Mike sleeping under the stars...anticipating our first day of march on the morrow. Dormez-bien, tout le monde...a demain.

Avec amour,
Rose

August 20, 2006

March Date, Friday, August 18th, Day 63

Greetings Friends, I wish you all the joy of the day.

When last I wrote you, seems only mnutes ago, but I know it was days ago, there was something afoot in the Camps. Indeed, the Generals Washington and Rochambeau had received a communication from via Newport, from Admiral De Grasse, in the Carribean, stating he would be in the Chesapeake in Mid-August. The Camp has been a bee-hive of activity since that moment. A dispatch was sent back to the French at Newport, I supose, as a messenger left the camp on the fly.....also, Duportail ( you remember, he was the one that suggested we could not hold a seige against the British, in this place ) was also sent out of the camp, on another apparent mission of some sort, but we know not where he is going, either. All seems very secret......

There was much commotion in Officer Country, with a lot of coming and going of dispatches and dispatchers, horses, wagons and much rank all about. Tis seems we can only wonder what tis all about. The Company Officers apparently are also not in the know, or if they are, they are being very quiet. But tis for sure, we will not be here much longer, methinks.

Indeed, as I state this, the Order has just come down to prepare to strike the Camp, and be ready to move on the morrow! Oh Gawd! Tis early in the day yet and we have much to do. The tents to be struck, the wagons loaded, the baggage train to be in place, the artillary to be prepared. All personal gear to be attended to, cartriges boxes filled, uniform and acoutrements to be inplace, and ready to go. This camp is but a blur of activity, the men all about, shouting, singing, happy, and yelling to the heavens. Tis finally something to do, and do we must. The Orders indicate that we will be moving from here early in the morning. We all have so much to do, to get ready. The Orders also seem to indicate that we will be going to the North a bit, toward the Hudson. Oh joy, oh joy, the fight looms near......

Further information coming down also indicates that all the French, some 5000 in all, will be on the move as well, but not all of the Americans. Hmmmmmm, this is a bit confusing......? It is starting to look like a lot of the Continentals, and the local Militia, all under the command of General Heath will be staying. Huh..? We can only guess that we will be doing a pincer movement, or something, against the British here in New York, somehow. I guess if the troops that are staying, can mount a front from this direction, then we can do so from ta' other, and squeeze the Brits from two sides. Also, I now remember that the bakers have left the Camp with orders to build some bread ovens about the line around New York, so, it looks like a New York fight to us. Finally.......

Then, of course, it seems that Lafayette and Wayne, with Admiral De Grasse in the Chesapeake, will be able to be a hornet in the British nest. This means we will be engaging our foe on two fronts, at last. So, as it now seems that the French really are going to help us, at least in the short term, we can make a difference here. We can engage with the enemy both in New York, and in the Virginias. I can only pray we are strong enough to carry the fight in both places...At last, we make a move to strike the British..... oh, how long we have waited. Sharpen your Bayonets lads, tis some Brit blood to be flowing soon.... on to New York !

Will write more as soon as I get a moment....light the candle Momma, and get the Good Book out........say some words for us.

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
For, 'AMtY'
www.marchtoyorktown.org

August 19, 2006

March Date, Saturday, August 19, Day 64

Historical Overview from Homestread Headquarters..

AUGUST 19, 1781

Greetings Friends

The Armies have left camp at Philipsburg, this day. Both the American and French Armies have mobilized and are on the move. Those of us with the French are heading back toward North Castle, (now Mt. Kisco) where we had camped the day before arriving at Philipsburg, some six weeks ago.

The Americans, or I should say, perhaps, half of them, have also mobilized and headed out of camp. A large remainder, along with the local militias, are being left behind, with General Heath in command. As we spoke of in my last dispatch to you, on the yesterday, maybe we are to be attacking the Brits, in New York, along two fronts, perhaps to divide and conquer?

T'was a day of many extremes. The reville' came earlier than usual, of course, it is now back to the road. Tis early and tis a foggy morning, heavy dew having fallen in the overnight. The tents were struck and stowed, the baggage train ordered up, the draft animals fed and watered early, certainly before the troops.

All the troops had to be accounted for before we began, rolls are called, company reports handed up, the Colors unfurled, the Musicians to strike the musick.......The Platoons, then the Companies, then the Regiments all eventually forming in line of march, and the word given.........'To the Front, March',

We are told that the French line of march will be different than the American line of March. Apparently, the Americans are heading for Verplank, via a route along the North (Hudson) River, perhaps for a crossing, We know not as nothing has been told to us........ the French line of march is along familiar ground, as I said.... we are going back to North Castle, where once we camped some fortnights ago... the French line of March is in two parts, with about half of the French troops traveling a different road but in the same general direction.

Also, on this day, early this morning, we heard that Louis-Alexander Berthier, set out from Pine's Bridge, with a column of field artillary (no seige guns in sight, why?). His column is mostly drawn by oxen, those huge, lumbering beasts of muscle, that take the army everywhere, it seems. This Column of artillary is being escorted by the French Hussar Cavalry of Lauzun's Legion.

Tis almighty Gawd heavy rain this late day and evening, and we hope to try to rest and be dry, perhaps will be better on the morrow.......no sign of the enemy....

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
For, 'AMtY'
www.marchtoyorktown.org

August 18, 2006

The Troop re-assembles.....

Greetings all, Friends of America's March to Yorktown. Please be advised that the Troop is re-assembling, as I write this, to continue the actual 'March to Yorktown.

We met last evening for a last minute talk session to go over some details, wish each other well, and proceed with the objective....to re-create the entire 'March to Yorktown' for the first time since 1781. The schedule, and route, has been posted at www.marchtoyorktown.org You can go there and determine when the Troop will be in your area, they will be very appreciative of your support. Also, we will have posted CP numbers that will allow you to chat with the Troop, on the March, if that is required.

I have already received communication from some of you that seem to be sorely dissappointed in the posted schedule. You are encouraged to take that up, next week, after the Troop has passed the Hudson River. You should allow the Troop to get its leg under itself before you raise your flags of dissappointment. Remember, this is a small, grass roots effort, by Independent re-enactors, to re-create, for the very first time, the 1781 march to Yorktown, in its entirety. We are doing the best we can, being self-funded, (that means we have no financial support from any W3R Organization, or RevWar umbrella organization.....we are able to do this only because of the generosity of individuals, and ourselves, and with not much in the way of larger organizational, logistical or financial support.

Also, please remember that the Troop is really WALKING to Yorktown. This may still come as a surprise to some of you, but in fact, that is the case. This may also mean that the Troop is walking as much as 20 miles a day in some spots, and may not have the time, or energy, to do all that you expect, in your neighborhood. Should you disagree, please try walking with them for a day, of so......we are trying our very best to walk the Original Route, on this 225th Anniversary year, to the day, after the French/American army did so. In some cases we walk the French route, in some places we walk the American route....and those routes seem to be in dispute still, some 225 years later.........but we are indeed, walking the Route..........for the memories of those that went before us, for history, for you, America.....

The Troop will step off this Saturday, August 19th, going from Odell House, in Philipsburg, NY (now Greenburgh, NY) to New Castle, NY (now Mt. Kisco). A Daily log will be posted by the Troop, as was done on the March from Rhode Island to New York....and the Historical Overview, as you have read for the last 6 weeks, will also continue to be posted. Please enjoy, and support, our efforts. The Troop will be on the road for some 6-7 weeks, until arriving in Yorktown. Should they come to your area, please be so kind as to stop by and say hello, or wave a flag, or honk your horn...... tis a long ,after all, and it would be good for them to know that they are not doing it alone.

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
For. 'AMtY'

August 16, 2006

March Day, Tuesday, August 15, Day 60

Greetings all, and the joy of the day to you all.

May the grace of our Gods give us the strength in this time. The camp is undone by the word of the messages received yesterday, from Newport.

As I wrote yesterday, the French frigate Concorde, arrived in Newport on the 11th of August, with messages from Admiral De Grasse, for the Generals Rochambeau and Washington. Apparently he, De Grasse, plans on being in North American waters... the Chesapeake, to be exact. It seems he shall arrive, mid to late August, at the Chesapeake, and will stay until mid October, but we know of nothing else planned. He has as his fleet some 28 ships of the line, and some 3000 soldiers. It seems he has ducked into the Chesapeake to perhaps avoid the storm season, and will leave in October for the same reason, and to avoid the northern winter.

Hmmmm, we were sitting about the fire last evening thinking about all of this....that perhaps De Gasse, with Lafayette and Wayne, may be able to keep Corny bottled up in the Virginias, aye? Everybody has some ideas.....Gawd, the fire lit up our eyes and our minds......what to do? We are not sure if any of this is good or bad. If Corny stays in the Virginias, and doesn't come north to New York, will Clinton attack us here? Will Corny be able to fight off Lafayette and Wayne?...and De Grasse too?....... will he be able to defeat them?....

We just don't really have any idea what to do.... guess that is why we are not the Generals......but this is for sure, we now have the French, here in New York and, also soon, in the Virginias.. can this be good, for us, for the country? What do they really want...?

Seems we Americans are now outnumbered by everybody else, there are more British soldiers, and more French soldiers, than there are American soldiers. I would be remiss if I did not say that we are starting to feel just a bit uneasy.....

We all remember the war of 20 years ago, when the French and the British did their best to carve up the North Americas, seems to this soldier that they may just be planning to do it again.... We are not strong enough, really, to fight either one of them off at this point......tis a throw of the crow, fight one, fight the other, or do we have to fight them both? Tis a damn un-easy moment here, we are straining to look about us and are not sure what we see, friend or foe, friend or foe, friend or foe.....things could get pretty sticky, in a moment.

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
For, 'AMtY'

August 15, 2006

March Date, Monday, August 14, Day 59

Greetings Friends, I give you the joy of the day.

The day dawns as any other, in an insufferable routine of day after day, week after week, camp duties and drills...waiting for the word to attack, or something. I suppose I am being a bit impatient here, setting in this camp for some 5 weeks or so now. We are more aware of what seems to be going on with Corny (Brit General Cornwallis) in Virginia, than what may be happening right here in the surrounds of New York. How long can we just sit here, waiting? The Brits outnumber us, we do not attack, we stay in camp or conduct small actions, of not much consequence. The men are becoming a bit restless.

The Camps are pristine, the Company streets straight and narrow, the tents clean, the food adequate, the gear clean and ready for something, as are the troops. Yet, still we sit, working and drilling in the day, at evening about the campfire, trying to learn what we can of any camp rumor, be they true or not. And the rumors are indeed flying about, as are the reports of other Army action about the Colonies.

Let me share what I have heard recently.....from some troops recently arrived from some of the Southern action.

We all know that Arnold, that turn-coating pig, (dare I call him a General......... NO!) and General Philips, were prevented from capturing Richmond, by General Lafayette and some 1200 Continentals. Washington had sent Lafayette that way to help counter the actions by Arnold and Philips. That was in very late April, early May, there-abouts. That was some 6 weeks or so before the French left Newport and headed to here in New York, to meet up with General Washington, and the Continentals.

In the later part of May past, about the 20th or so, Corny (geez, I love calling him that, don't you?) arrived with a force at Peterburg, Va. and joined up with Arnold, producing a force of some 5300 troops. The unfortunate Philips, rest his British soul, did the right thing and expired of a fever, a week or so before.

Lafayete was now outnumbered by this British force, and that force included that b'Nasty Tarelton (of Tarleton's Quarter fame), and Simcoe (of the Queens Rangers), both excellent commanders, curse them. They command Light Companies and are most excellent foes, and very quick. Lafayette avoided a direct confrontation, knowing his mettle would be sorely tested.

About a week later, Corny advanced North, toward Lafayette, who withdrew north to the Rapidan Rivewr, so we are told. The news takes so long to get here it seems and sometimes we just wonder what is going on. But apparently, General Wayne, with another 800 Continentals, joined with Lafayette. Corny then withdrew to Williamsburg (about June 25th). I have explained some of this to you in a previous post, I believe, a fortnight or so ago. This info comes from another source, here in the camp, and seems to agree with the other info that I had dispatched to you.

When Corny moved, Lafayette and Wayne shadowed his move. At the same time, Gen. Clinton, here in New York, was worried about the combined French/American force apparently gathering near New York, (you may have read the dispathes posted from that march, June 17th to July 6th, in RI, CT and finally NY) and sent that group of confusing messages to Corny, do you remember...? He wanted Corny to come to New York, then to stay in Virginia, then to move about, etc.....I suspect the Clinton man was in a bit of a sweat, no?

Any way, units of Lafayette and Simcoe forces skirmished at Spensers Ordinary,in the Virginias, but both withdrew, afraid the other might be concealing a larger force......a fortnight later, Wayne was caught by Corny in an action at Green Springs, near Jamstown. Wayne was barely able to get away, but suffered some pretty serious casualties.

So, as it turns out, Corny goes to Yorktown, hoping the British fleet will come get him. I am sure you all remember this, but tis good story telling about the fire..... we laugh and huzzah as the actions are recounted.

And that seems to be where we are at the moment. Corny in Yorktown, a long way away, the British still so strong here in New York, as we sit and ponder the future. Tis just what will that be?

Hmmmmmm... there seems to be another disturbance of some magnitude in the camps, much talking and excitement it seems. The men are most animated and lacking of good conduct. My goodness, I shall return in a moment.......

Oh my Gawd, what I have just heard can not be possilbe, can it?.... but still seems it must be........a messenger arrived in Camp a while ago, aboard a horse very severly ridden. He dissapeared into Officers Country but the word is starting to come into the camps........ startling words at that. It seems that the French frigate, Concorde, had arrived in Newport, after a 14 day journey from Hati. This was three days ago, on August 11th. The ship carried dispatches, just delivered today to Washington and Rochambeau, from the French Admiral De Grasse, and told of his plans to be at St. Francis, on July 16th, and then to move on to North America, from the Carribean, arriving at the Chesapeake about mid August, with plans to stay until Mid October........ can this be? The French Navy in Chesapeake Bay? The British fleet going to get Corny out of there, now or soon, or so we suppose. This does not portend well, the British are always so strong on the sea, the French always second to the British Fleet, how can this possibly be of benefit to us..... now what? Oh, what trevails now mark the mind of men.....

I will write again soonest, as I learn more, expect another dispatch, dearest friends, on the morrow, the horizon darkens, methinks....

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
For, 'AMtY'
www.marchtoyorktown.org

August 12, 2006

March Date, Thursday, August 10th, Day 55

Greetings Friends

It has been a fortnight or so since last I was able to write to you. My apologies for the long delay, but tis seems to be a symptom of the times. Mostly, it has been quiet here in the camps these last weeks.

As last I reported to you, the good Generals Washington and Rochambeau had, with their retinue, conducted an extensive reconnoiter of the environs about the Town of New York. It was a recconnaisance-in-force, conducted with the help of the Huzzar troops of Luzaun's Legion (Cavalry and dismounted troops and combined American-French Infantry). Now that the operation is complete perhaps I can give you a few more details of that. The reconnaisance was conducted in the Kingsbridge-Morrisania area. A small number of British outposts were taken, but tis all.

I can say it did give excitement to the encamped Armies, as we are just waiting about, really wanting to get on with it (kicking the Brits out of New York) However, the reports indicated that the French and American troops fell to pillaging, a bit. Added to that is the fact that this was but a reconnaisance force, not an Army thrust. The troops broke off, and returned to their respective camps, a bit wiser for the intelligence gathered, but not satisfied with the battle action (tis a soldiers plight, I suppose, to be dissappointed). All of that occured about July 21-23rd.

We also learned that Corny (the Brit Gen. Cornwallis) had moved his troops into Yorktown and Glouster, Virginia. Apparently, the Brits will be taking him off from there and back here to New York. At least, that is the conjecture here in the allied camps about New York. The Brits already outnumber us here in New York, and are so well entrenched that it appears, even from my small point of view, that they are im-movable. What to do if Corny returns here? We, here in the line, have not the slightest idea of what comes next.

The Engineer Corps, has submitted a report, by Duportail, to the Generals Washington and Rochambeau, of the British positions about the Island of Manhattan. According to the latest camp rumors, that report indicated that the allies (French/American) had insufficient strength to conduct a successful seige of the British about the Town of New York. This was on, or about July 27th.

On July 30th, we have heard, General Washington sent a note to Gen. Lafayette, suggesting that he thought that perhaps the allied force was incapable of a seige of New York. That piece of news has set the camps on its ear. What? We can't conduct a seige? What are we doing here? And certainly, how could we possibly conduct a seige without the seige guns? Why aren't they here? For days the camp has been in mild disbelief and incredulity.

We also heard that on Aug. 1st, Genral Washington, realizing the validity of the Duportail report, was now considering an operation in the south. This idea had been ventured by Rochambeau when they both met on July 19th, or so it has been reported in the camps, unofficially of course.

A couple of days ago, Gen. Washington received a note from General Lafayette, indicating that indeed, Corny had moved his troops into the small town of York, in the Virginias.

The Virginia's? Here we are in New York, some hundreds of miles from Virginia. I would think that perhaps the Generals Lafayette and Wayne can give some trouble to Corny as he tries to disembark his troops back to New York, but what are we, here, do to?

Will write again soonest....

I Remain,
At Your SErvice,
Richard Swartwout
Camped, New York
www.marchtoyorktown.org

August 03, 2006

Greetings all, from America's.....

.......MARCH to Yorktown. It has become apparent to us, during this adventure, that a lot of you really don't know what we are doing, in spite of my best efforts to tell you. So, here is a brief recap, in 21st Century speak, of 'America's March to Yorktown'.

Some 8 months ago, a small, grass-roots, and independent effort was begun to consider the idea of 'ACTUALLY WALKING' the entire W3R (as it is now affectionally called). Frankly, we were interested in doing an Historic Trek and, as this is the 225th Anniversary of the Washington-Rochambeau March to Yorktown, we decided to do it. We thought of this idea some 6 years ago after doing a two-day trek, here in Connecticut, following the roads that the Connecticut Militia took to go to Cambridge, after the actions at Lexington and Concord.

After some e-mailing, we were able to see that the idea had merit, and support, with others willing to join with us in some sort of capacity.

It was decided that we would WALK THE ENTIRE ROUTE, FROM PROVIDENCE TO YORKTOWN. Yes, I said WALK, because some of you sem to think that we are just driving the route. (like some did 25 years ago) If that were the case we would have called it something else, like maybe, 'America Drives to Yorktown' or perhaps, 'Bussing the W3R, the Road Ahead', (grins).

Yes, inded, we are WALKING, and that is the goal....to do what has not been done, in it's entirety, since 1781.......walking all the way. As did the Army then, we do have a Baggage Train with us, (modern vehicles, of course, we could not find horse/wagon willing to go the whole way, or even part of the way for that matter).

Now, because we are ACTUALLY WALKING THE ROUTE, you must understand that we have limited time, available to us, to show up at an event you have planned. It is just not that easy, as we are moving approx. 15 miles a day, ON FOOT. We have worked with folks, so far, that are willing to amend their schedules a bit, so that we might be a part of what they want to do, in the way of celebrations. However, we do not have the luxury to go much out of our way, or out of our daily time schedule, to accomodate your requests, because WE ARE WALKING.... NOT DRIVING, NOT IN A BUS..... BUT WALKING TO YORKTOWN.

We absolutely do appreciate,and solicit all your enthusiasm, your help, your offers of assistance, as we can not do this without you, very easily.

Also, please keep in mind that WE ARE FOLLOWING THE 1781 ARMY SCHEDULE, AND ROUTE AS BEST WE CAN. This means we are slave to what they did, when they did it, and where they did it. This is an HISTORIC TREK, BASED ON THE FRENCH AND AMERICAN ARMY MOVEMENTS, DURING THE YORKTOWN CAMPAIGN.

Originally, the French Army moved from Newport/Providence, RI to Philipsburg (now Greenburgh, NY), from June 10th to July 6th. We have completed that part of the TREK, exactly 225 years to the day that the French did it in 1781. This means that we moved along on the same day as the army, camped on the same day as the army, as near to the original army camp site as we could logistically get, and arrived at each of our destinations (camps) exactly 225 years, to the day, after the Original marchers did it. Most of you have followed our adventure through the daily posts to www.marchtoyorktown.org and we thank you for that.

That web-site also shows our schedule, and will show the projected schedule, and routes, of the 2nd phase of the march, in the next fortnight or so.

When the French moved to New York, arriving July 6th, they met with General Washington and the Continentals there, staying some six seeks around New York, before moving toward Yorktown, on or about August 18th. Having completed the walking trek from Providence to Philipsburg, we are now in that 6 week camp time. We are engineering the route down south, we are repairing gear, we are fund raising and doing all those things that need to be done before we step off on Phase 2, from Philipsburg to Yorktown, on or aboput Aug. 18th. That will take approx. 6 weeks, and we expect to arrive at Yorktown on Oct. 1st. Why so long you ask????...because we are walking.

I hope that this missive will gently clear the air about 'America's March to Yorktown' and our efforts to complete this Historic Trek, while helping you all pay due respect to those that went before us....

In a day or so, we shall resume our historical commentary, concerning the times of 1781, the soldiers, the camps, the thoughts, the route, the weather and, of course, the military and political actions of the Yorktown Campaign. Should be quite the adventure.........Thanks so much for your support....

For 'AMtY',
I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
www.marchtoyorktown.org

August 01, 2006

March Date, Thursday, July 27th, Day 41

Greetings friends, I give all the joy of the day to you, and yours.

When last I was able to commit thoughts to paper, I recall mentioning that there seemed to be 'something in the wind' here, and that came to pass the very next day. But before I get to that, let me continue the camp fire stories that I have been hearing, and trying to commit to memory, this last week or so.....

As I recall, we left off after just finding out that Gen. Cornwallis (Corny to most of us) has just moved his army into Petersburg, Virginia, about May 20th, I think it was. Well, apparently, right after he got his army to Virginia, Gen. Clinton, here in New York, reinforced Cornwallis with a sizeable force. Cornwallis now has somw 7,200 troops at his command. He very soon started to move against the Marquis de Lafayette, also operating in Virginia. On June 3rd, Corny sent that Col. Benaste ('Nasty' to us) Tarelton to try to capture the Virginia legislature in Charlottsville. He almost succeeded, just missing Jefferson by some few minutes. That was on June 4th., but the legislature reconvened in Staunton, some days later, the 7th, I think....

In the meantime, Simcoe of the Queen's Rangers won a bluffing duel with Von Steuben, at Point of Fork, Virginia. Shortly thereafter, Gen. Anthony Wayne arrived at Lafayette's camp, with reinforcements, but not enough to affect an outcome with Cornwallis. However, Lafayette now had enough men to really harass the British force, which he gladly did.

On June 15th Corny left Elk Hill, and arrived at Richmond on the 16th. Then on June 20th, he headed for Williamsburg, with Lafayette trailing to the north. Lafayette was able to pick up men from the countryside and his force was sizably increased. On June 26, Simcoe of the Queens Ranger's, and Butler of the Continentals, had a little set-to near a place called Chic-a-hominy (I think, tis hard to remember all of this, but I think that's it). It all came to no avail, for either party.

Apparently, somehow, Clinton, in New York, learned of the French fleet under Admiral DeGrasse. He suggested that Corny send some 3000 troops to him there. Things are getting a bit sticky for Corny it seems, Clinton wants some of his troops, Corny wants to go to Charleston, so instead, he settles for giving up Williamsburg, and gets ready to cross the James River.

It is just about this time that Lafayette makes a move on Cornwallis, with Wayne in attendence. In a move that was adventurous, but perhaps not well conceived, at least not with enough intelligence, the Americans are able to fall off before falling afoul of the larger British force.

On July 7th, Corny crosses the James and a day later ( as we noted in a dispatch last week) received the note that Clinton wants men for Philadelphia, on the 12th another note to send the troops to New York, and then again on the 20th that he should keep all the troops and establish a fort at Point Comfort. The British high command seems in a bit of a topsy-turvy mood as of late. What to do, what to do......but the same seems the fate in our own camp as well.

You may recall, that I noted 'something was in the air', I think that was on the 20th, my last note to you.......is that right? Yes, I think so. Mayhap, on the following day, the Generals Washington and Rochambeau, with their retinue, did indeed, conduct a 3 day reconnoiter of the British positions about New York. We being but soldiers of the line, and low ranking Officers, are not privy to the counsels, or the decisions made, or to the discussions in the Marque's.

But, it seems that not much has changed since they have returned. Camp life remains the same here, a bit stagnant at the moment, but pregnant with possibilities, dare I say. Oh yes, the camp fires are rife with conjecture, and ought-to's, and may-be's, and a load of perhaps'es. But the truth is, we know nothing of what is about. The British are still strong in their defense, and still outnumber us, even without any more troops from Corny. There does not appear to be any plan of action on our part, other than to keep the British busy with our patrols. This we do, and thus they do also....

The daily drills are spirited, the camps clean, but the men are awanting to do something, almost anything, ..... time is the enemy here, the interminable waiting that keeps us on edge, taking the life spirit from the men in slow, but nervous anticipation, how many times can we clean a musket, drill a parade, work the teams, practice the artillary...?

We have found that we are able to work together, the French and the Americans, even though we speak not the same words. The men seem to be enjoying the repartee with each other, the sharing of food and stuffs, the difference in the uniforms and commands. Much laughter is heard on both sides, as the commands come across the grounds.......but we cannot entertain ourselves like this forever, can we??

There seems to be an uproar in the camp, let me see what tis about.........
ah hah, more word from the south. It seems that Corny, and his army, have moved into Yorktown, Virginia, there to establish a defensible works, and also to hold Gloucester, Virginia, as well. Virginia, tis seems so far away, what possible consequence could that mean to us, with this large British force right here in front of us, in New York....? Virginia, Corny, damn, we would need a Navy to get there and everyone knows we don't have one...... Tis must be that we kick Clinton out of New York, or what are we doing here..??

I Remain,
At Your Service,
Richard Swartwout
Sommewhere in Camp
For, 'AMtY'
www.marchtoyorktown.org