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March Date Wednesday September 6, 2006 March Day 82

Good day to all March to Yorktown followers and supporters ~

David calls a very quiet reveille this morning, as all sleeping bodies are inside the Martha and George wagons. In the faint light of dawn, we can see that the rain and drizzle has stopped and the turbulent brown "river" in the park has greatly receded.

The men prepare for the day, tending to a few blisters that are the result of yesterday's wet march. The rains are a memory but the blisters are real and they are treated with the soldiers' secret remedy....duct tape. They swear by the silver strips that are applied to the affected area. What say you, Dr. Mark? After a light breakfast, the men begin, some 15.5 miles to Christiana, Delaware. They are joined by Ralph Nelson and the group looks splendid in their colorful regimentals and flying colours under the clear morning sky. No drab brown oil cloth garments today.

Kay Nelson stops by the Richardson Mill site, offering her services to help in any way. Although we are down to one support driver, the day will be manageable with Rose driving the small carriage as support and we will return for Martha at day's end.

The army follows Route 4 through Stanton, DE and at the junction of Routes 4 and 7, take a small footpath down to the Stanton-Christiana Road. Here they visit the Hale Byrnes House, a handsome period brick structure with the White Clay Creek flowing by in the back pasture. Rose waits for them here, speading clothing on the ground in the sun....shoes, gaitors and oil cloths still wet from yesterday's weather. They rest a short while here, anticipating the next treacherous part of today's journey. The next two miles of original army road is buried under the intersection of three multi-lane highways and the men must walk in the left breakdown lane going with the high speed traffic. There is no room to walk next to the slower speed lane. They also must wait for a break in the traffic and cross three lanes which merge with an I-95 exit in order to reach another footpath which will again take them to route 7 into Christiana.

Rose and Ralph drive ahead from Hale Byrnes House to the destination footpath where the men are scheduled to emerge, and we wait.....and wait. Those butterflies are back but for a much different reason today. Rose waits at the guardrail facing the speeding carriages, silently praying for the men's safe crossing. Ralph walks past the exit, against the oncoming carriages, crosses the southbound traffic and looks northward from the small grass median strip, hoping to catch a glimpse of the colours.

After what seems like an eternity, and at almost a half mile away, the top of the Bourbonnais becomes visible and it is on THIS side of the highway! Huzzah! They are safe! But Ralph is still on the median, looking for a break to make his dash back across. Thankfully, he uses patience in waiting for his break and makes haste when it arrives. The men laugh nervously, describe their highway experience as "tense" but appear unruffled from their past danger.
After a brief rest, they continue on the Old Baltimore Pike into the small villaqge of Christiana.

The army is met by Glen Pusey of the Pencader Heritage Area Association and by Ken Baumgardt, president of the Christiana Historical Society. Ken escorts the troops through the crossroads of Christiana with his musket and bayonet at the shoulder. They provide us with a most welcome lunch of our choice ( Ah..tuna salad grinders!) on the grounds of a local period home. The troop "noons" and there is always the chat of local history. After lunch, Ralph leaves us to proceed further to the site of Cooch's Bridge.

The army continues another six miles before reaching this site. An impressive monument with plaque and 4 cannon stands on the side of the road at Cooch mansion marking the Colonial and British battle with casualties from both sides buried in the countryside in unmarked graves. They are given a first floor tour of the great house, impeccably maintained in the Revolutionary era by descendant Thomas Cooch.

'Tis now but a mile's march to our night's camp - the Iron Hill Museum. Rose has arrived earlier and is greated by Laura Lee, curator of this small interesting collection of natural and historical artifacts. The grounds are lovely, complete with butterfly garden attracting busy tiny hummingbirds.

The marchers arrive, and after a short rest, prepare for dinner. We are to be the guests at the Blue and Gold Club at the University of Delaware, arranged by Glenn Pusey. Ralph arrives at the museum to escort us to the campus where are greeted by a goodly crowd of supporters. We sit at a long banquet table in a high-ceilinged and windowed dining room, interspersed among these kind people, getting to know each other and answering many questions. We feast on a buffet of salmon, chicken, eggplant parmigiana (Yes, David is eating this!), and roasted potatoes. Speeches are given and once again Mike expresses our gratitude for this group's generosity and care.

We return to our night's camp and the men once again sleep under the clear night sky. A demain.

Avec amour,