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March Date Sunday October 1, 2006 March Day 107

Good Day to all March to Yorktown Followers and Supporters ~

Again, we have brought the rains. It comes in heavy intermittent showers throughout the night but ceases with the dawn. David makes the rounds as usual with reveille and is chourused quite loudly by the hounds' baying from their kennels. Everyone now is certainly awake! Damon emerges dressed in her civvies and takes her leave of the group - we'll miss this courageous lass who has kept step with the army these last four days. Bonne chance, Damon.

David, Mike and Dave are brought by carriage to route 2 and step off from Antioch Road. Rose returns to camp to prepare the day's provisions. Preparations at the farm for today's hunt is in progress in this early morning. Riders are handsome in their saddles and the horses are excited...soon horse and riders amidst the hounds are circling the main house and set off for the wood. Rose watches in fascination before setting off to intercept the men.

At less than a mile on route 2, the men have turned onto route 721, following the newly-placed Washington-Rochambeau route marker, the first of many throughout today's winding quiet roads. The marchers continue on Mattaponi and onto Old Stage Road where they are "found" by Herbert Collins, a most extraordinary gentleman waiting for the marchers' arrival at Green Falls - the oldest house, built 1711, in Caroline County.

Here, we experience an historical treat. Green Falls has been in Mr. Collins' family since 1787 and has been lovingly maintained in its original state. He gives us a grand tour and this is the first time that 4 seasoned reenactors are speechless. There are 650+ acres, the main house a tavern stop for Washington and Rochambeau, slave quarters a short distance from the house....but the furnishings and interior are the most impressive. Each room is filled with priceless period pieces of furniture, portraits, lamps, carpets and paintings. We stand on a carpet owned by Nellie Custis, view President Madison's carved four-poster bed, and on it goes... We spend the better part of an hour here and this gracious man invites us back to visit and to set our camp on the property any time we wish.

Sadly, it is time to move on. Old Stage Road continues to wind through wood, still bordering Mr. Collins' land and changing into dirt/gravel surface for almost a mile. As Rose waits at Burke's bridge over the Mattaponi River enjoying the quiet water and wood, Mr. Collins arrives in his pick-up wagon to present a video made earlier about Green Falls and its history - a treasure that will need to wait until our march is over, I'm afraid. The tour is not over....Mr. Collins takes Rose for a short walk to a community spring in the wood which was used by the Mattaponi indians, and is still used today. He related how he "worked" these fields as a child. At age 74, this remarkable man plans to restore his wood to open field as it was in the eighteenth century. "I promised Mama I'd keep and restore this place as it was, and she said I was only dreaming." He's true to his dream.

The day's march continues, and about the eight mile mark, we have an unexpected surprise. Our friend Gary O'Brien from the 1st Virginia has travelled hard by carriage to intercept and join the army for the day - great to see a familiar face and all hands are extended in welcome. Gary unfurls his l-a-r-g-e bright red regimental flag and the men are a quartet of colours as they step off again. Keep your feet on the ground, Gary, or you'll be on your way to Kansas.

The original army road turns and crosses route 2 - Richmond Road - more than a few times, a goodly pace is set, and the day's 18.1 miles, identical to yesterday's miles, is completed by about four of the clock when the large open field area which is the center of Dawn, is reached. David, dubbed the Crazy Frenchman, has finished the day almost a mile ahead of the rest of the army and goes in search of ice cream. No carrot needed on his flag, a cone will do.
Disappointed in finding no accommodating shops, he returns to the carriage. The army is now together and all board the wagon with a successful shop for la creme de glace. Gary is brought back to his carriage and we once again bid him adieu, knowing our paths will cross again.

As no suitable campsite has been procured for Dawn, we return to Chase's End Farm where we spend a delightful and relaxing evening with our host and hostess, Bob and Elizabeth. A short-lived rainstorm brings a perfect rainbow across the sky, and we all relax in the yard with a bit of spirits, watching another celestial spectacle - the splendid red sunset over the rolling fields. Bob displays his talents as chef, and we dine in their huntsmen's lodge on grilled steak (Be still, David's heart!), corn and terrific salad. No - not ice cream sundaes for dessert!
The men speak of their military service experiences, and Elizabeth too has truly served, solely managing this farm during Bob's tour in Iraq. This is an extraordinary group gathered here and we can feel the generated commeraderie, warmth and comfort.

The men are tired - as are our hosts from their day's hunt and chores. We night-cap, thank our hosts and head for our beds. A demain.

Avec amour,