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March Date Tuesday September 5, 2006 March Day 81

Good day to all March To Yorktown followers and supporters ~

We wake to a fine drizzle of rain with dark skies overhead. The marchers do not linger in rising, as they are rapidly becoming covered with a fine mist. We quickly prepare for and begin the day's 15 miles from Chester to Richardson's Mill in Wilmington, Delaware.

Rose and Ramona again take the small carriage, leaving Martha and George behind on the Widener campus, as the marchers take to the road on Route 13. The small town of Chester is entered and the sites of the Chester courthouse and Washington's staff headquarters are visited before the rains begin. They begin and do not stop the entire day. The marchers don their oilskins and continue with heads bowed and rain dripping from their tricornes.

At the 6 mile mark, after walking through more than a mile of Sunoco refinery on either side of the road in Marcus Hook, originally a Swedish settlement, the army stops and is received at the Robinson House for the state line crossing ceremony. They arrive drenched on the porch of this restored historical homestead and removed their soaked outer garments before entering the parlor. Light refreshements have been laid out and we all socialize with this welcoming group, which includes many supporters and local dignitaries... Delaware W3R Ralph Nelson and his lovely wife Kay, and Frank Ianni, Brett Saddler of Clayton Renaissance, Marcus Hook mayor George McClure, State Representative Wayne Smith, Carolyn Mercadante of the Claymont Historical Society, SAR and DAR representatives and many other supporters. The marchers are introduced, the flags are exchanged to each state's representative, short speeches are given and we are presented with the handsome Delaware W3R pin.

After this short reprieve, the army must again don their still sodden outer garments and resume the march, now accompanied by Ralph Nelson in his full rain suit, sans regimental. We have been invited to Major Frank Ianni's home, a few miles ahead, for lunch and a respite from the torrential rain. Ramona delivers Rose the 6 miles back to the Washington rig still at the Widener campus, to work on the late correspondence to the colonies. Ramona then continues to scout the route with the troops.

Within the hour, a call for assistance comes from the marchers. They have almost reached Major Ianni's home but are in a drenched and chilled condition. They have travelled many hills with major flooding, and the roadway is filled with water. The rain continues to fall and visibility is poor. The rain has soaked through their clothing and David describes certain parts of his anatomy as "floating." Many townsfolk estimate 6 inches of rainfall on this afternoon.

The Washington rig is taken to the Ianni homestead where the marchers await dry clothing. They are being well taken care of by lovely Carmella Ianni who has prepared a most handsome table of every imaginable foods. Most welcome is the crock of hot soup, held first for warmth before being consumed. We are given a tour of the Major's study and parlor, filled with military memorabilia from his successful career.

With dry and warm clothing, full bellies and renewed resolve, the marchers begin again. The rains continue but the intensity is lessening. Ralph accompanies Rose in Martha and the rig is delivered to our night's camp at Richardson's Mill, adjacent to picturesque Canby Park where the French army camped. The stream through the park is now a torrid small river from the day's rain, but Martha is parked on higher ground. Ramona has followed in the smaller carriage, and delivers Ralph to the marchers who are making their way through the city of Wilmington. They are saluted in passing by the Junior ROTC and then received by the Del-Mar-Va Boy Scout Council with Mayor James Baker present.

The army finally marches to the night's camp, still accompanied by an unrelenting drizzle, and feeling the tribulations of the day. There is no time for rest, as we are all expected at the Delaware Military Academy for a dinner reception. We redress in what remains of our dry clothing and take the small carriage to the Academy where we are received by Commander Bruce Shumway. We are presented a fine meal of roast pork, rice and vegetables, served impeccably by three young cadets, students at this military prep school, who also join us at table and engage in conversation with the marchers and their teachers. How refreshing to see these young men (and women, as this is a coed school) so dedicated to preparing for their chosen military careers.

We return to our camp, exhausted and grateful for the day's end. We will erect no tentage tonight, as the effort would be too great and the ground is saturated.... our beds will lie within Martha. The men take advantage of the laundress situated down the road and return with clean, dry clothing. In their absence, Rose again begins work on communication with the colonies, visited by a local militia to check on her safety. The Ricciardi family has apparently left for home in Bergen County. We five stand in the light drizzle and recount the day's happenings.....Mike, David, Dave, Rose and Mikey. We have survived this difficult march day... are warm, fed and dry, have made many new friends and look forward to the morrow's adventure.

A demain.
Avec Amour,