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March Date Friday September 15, 2006 March Day 91

Good Day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

We wake this morning with the dawn light...no reveille for this short six mile march into Annapolis. The rain has subsided and the day is overcast. Everything is soaked with the smell of wet wool prominent in the morning air, and the musket barrels are coated with light rust. With our morning prayer, we include a petition for sunshine.

The men set off down the small dirt - now muddy - road to resume the walk on Generals Highway. They are photographed at the Belvoir marker, an opportunity missed last night due to the darkness and the rain. In the fierce one lane commuter traffic, the men are given an occasional honk or wave from passing drivers.

Rose is sent about on errands - to seek a local cobbler known for his speedy repairs, to bring life back into Mike's well-worn period shoes, and to seek a laundress who can clean David's now wet and drooping white regimental. Inquiring of the locals, the well-known Spanish cobbler is located at a large "mall of Annapolis". He studies the shoes for a long moment before giving a slight nod indicating he will try and that I should return in the afternoon. I now inquire about and locate Zip's laundering and cleaning establishment. Here there are also many Spanish shopkeepers and I am told that David's coat will be ready today by 5 o'clock. Both cobbler and laundress demand payment in advance before performing their services. Word of the army's gold coin must have preceded us.

I find the army at the end of West Street at St.Anne's Episcopal church at the rotary entrace to the city of Annapolis. They are chatting with Glenn Campbell, Historian and with Patricia Blick, vice president of Preservation and Education.....both of the Historic Annapolis Foundation. We are all warmly welcomed and we proceed to Phillips Crab House on the wharf for a pre-arranged lunch. The men, looking handsome in their regimentals and carrying the many colours, draw much attention from the locals on their short journey down Main Street. We dine on delicious lump crab cakes and iced tea. David of course, is the exception with his usual cheeseburger.

Afterward, we stroll about the wharf area, are warmly greeted by Harbormaster Rick, and are guided to our campsite by our hosts. We will camp three nights at the Charles Carroll House, built in the 1720's and residence of the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence. The original French camp is directly across the creek from this site. Camp Martha will be parked at the rear of the adjacent St.Mary's church and rectory parking lot, and the tents will be set near the water on the rolling lawn of the Carroll House.

As we are scheduled to participate in a commemorative service at 4 of the clock, we take leave of our hosts to ready ourselves. Upon returning to the small carriage, we find a ticket tariff for a meter expiration. Many coins had been deposited in this device but obviously we tarried too long. A $15 dollar charge is due and payable immediately or the tariff increases on a daily basis.

As we return to Martha, we leave Mike to fetch his shoes at the cobbler's shop. The remaining men fetch muskets and accoutrements and we work our way back to the city. Mike is in the parking lot wearing his period shoes and smiling....the sole holes and worn heels have been expertly repaired. Next we stop at the laundress for David's regimental... he had earlier sent a communication requesting a fetch time of 3:00 pm and was told it would be ready. After searching the shop, his coat is discovered untouched and uncleaned in the morrow's laundry bin. Disappointed at not looking his "suave" best, David takes the coat and we return to Annapolis.

We meet Patricia once more and walk to the grounds of St.John's College and gather at the French monument. We are joined by Glenn, Dave Smith in period clothing portraying Tench Tilghman, Lieutenant Patrick Ratier, French exchange officer, and several midshipmen from the Naval Academy looking crisp in their summer whites.

Glenn, Dave, David and Patrick each speak in turn, relating our countries' histories, involvement and support. David and Patrick together lay a beautiful fresh flower wreath at the base of the monument, remembering the French soldiers buried here.

Many photographs are taken and we note the Holloway family among those attending.
From almost the first moment that we gathered for this service, the rain began...first a fine drizzle, then a steady downpour. David feels a little better that his regimental was not cleaned earlier.

It is now time to fetch camp Martha forward from Belvoir. We drive the small carriage back and David drives the rig into Annapolis and expertly deposits her in the designated lot while Mike, Dave and Rose drive up the long winding road leading to the Belvoir House to give our thanks to Tim Fortney for allowing us to camp here. No one answers our calls at this 1700's brick mansion, but we stroll about these once beautiful grounds complete with terraced gardens, leave our token gift and note of thanks and leave for the city.

The group is all safely back at camp at the Carroll House, and we prepare for dinner. As we will be at leisure for the next two days, we treat ourselves to the Middleton Tavern, built in 1740 and host to early travelers George Washington and also Tench Tilghman on his way to Philadelphia with news of Cornwallis' surrender. How fitting a spot!

The proprietor and his assistants, however, must be experiencing a difficult night as the service did not seem to be up to this tavern's reputation and standards. We eventually dine on standard fare of beast and fish, and are satisfied. As we prepare to pay and leave this establishment, without a word from us, the proprietor acknowledges his less than superb attentions to us amd makes a large adjustment from our tally. The Middleton ~ fine tavern indeed.

It is a short walk from the waterfront to our beds, and we enjoy the sights and sounds of this naval academy city at play on a Friday night. We stroll the slight uphill on red-bricked sidewalks. The next two days are totally ours in this handsome historic city. A demain.
Avec amour,