A group of Revolutionary-era re-enactors planned an encampment at the High Point Museum. However, ice and bitter cold descended on the Piedmont. Schools and churches started cancelling events left and right. Fortunately for me, one of those cancellations left me free to shop the High Point Library book sale in the morning and follow deserted, but clear roads to the museum that afternoon.
I found a few diehard re-enactors huddled in the Hoggatt house, sitting by the fire in their 18th-century woolens. With the cold seeping in and sparse audience attendance, several had slipped home to enjoy modern central heating.
Inside the museum building I found another group, the Regency Assembly of North Carolina. Since my writing is set in 17th-century Ireland to colonial America, I hadn't paid attention to this event on the museum schedule. Happenstance turned unplanned changes into a delightful day.
|Regency Assembly members say, 'Costumes admired, but not required.'|
Whatever the name, the events of this era mostly overlap "Jane Austen's life (1775-1817)."
Members especially like to dance. When I peered into the meeting room, about eight people were dancing one of the English country dances I had seen in Pride and Prejudice.
They welcomed me, inviting me to stay for tea. Mind you, some were dressed in elegant costume, while I was wearing North Carolina "snow gear" — sweatshirt, jeans and hiking boots. So I slunk in and sat at a table while they finished another dance.
As they stopped to catch their breath and enjoy tea and biscuits (shortbread! what had I done to deserve a warm drink and yummy sweets?), two men gave reports from the war and suddenly we were in the current day, but in 1813.
Jim Tate, dressed in the green coat of a British sharpshooter (not a Hessian as I'd first assumed), represented a member of the 95th Rifles Division. Rifles had longer range than muskets, but required more time to reload. The sharpshooters had more training than the infantry and carried their own fine powder in their powder horns, along with a cartridge box.
|English passport, front|
|English passport, back|
Jim Greathouse represented a sailing master, "currently" captain of the gunboat, Alligator. He explained that his costume is rather plain for someone of his rank.
Our hosts, Ruth and Franz Verbunt, presented each of us with our own "passports" — one from the United States of Ameria signed for President Madison by Secretary of State James Monroe, and one from the French Empire.
They invited everyone to come back next month. And then the dancing began again!
|Ruth Verbunt and Jim Greathouse|