June 21, 2013
Redcoats Seize the City of Williamsburg Again 232 Years Later
The British Army seizes the city of Williamsburg during Under the Redcoat weekend Friday—Sunday, June 28-30. Hundreds of re-enactors invade the Revolutionary City to re-create the occupation of the city 232 years after British Gen. Lord Charles Cornwallis imposed martial law here near the end of the American Revolution.
Colonial Williamsburg’s guests witness firsthand the trials and tribulations, hardships and loss of liberties suffered by the city’s 18th-century citizens at the hands of the world’s mightiest military power of the time. If confronted by British soldiers, guests are given the opportunity to sign an oath of loyalty to King George that allows them unhampered passage through army checkpoints scattered throughout the town.
The three-day experience begins at midafternoon Friday as citizens run along Duke of Gloucester Street shouting warnings of the approaching British force. Within minutes, Lt. Col. Banistre Tarleton and his legion of British dragoons approach the Capitol on horseback, accompanied by an infantry patrol that removes the American flag from the Capitol and replaces it with the British flag. Enroute to their camp on Market Square, the main British force marches into the city with their baggage wagons.
Under the Redcoat is a busy weekend of programs and demonstrations to entertain, inform and delight guests in the Revolutionary City. Military activities include demonstrations of artillery firing, musket and drill procedures, and drill and firing competitions. A military field hospital at the Governor’s Palace illustrates how surgeons cared for wounded soldiers and smallpox victims. Citizens discuss the consequences of the military occupation. Gen. Cornwallis meets with a select group of citizens, reviews his troops and plans a trap for Gen. Lafayette and the American army.
Guests may opt to respond to British Army efforts to recruit them to His Majesty’s service as the enslaved weigh the British promise of freedom for serving the British forces. Re-enactors portraying camp followers demonstrate the roles of civilians in service to the military. Evening activities for guests abound. A full schedule for the Under the Redcoat weekend is available at www.colonialwilliamsburg.com/plan/calendar/under-redcoat/.
As the weekend draws to a close, the British occupation force prepares to march to Yorktown at 5 p.m. Sunday. The battalion assembles on the parade ground, the marching orders are read, and Gen. Cornwallis addresses his army.
Guests also will enjoy a special edition of Revolutionary City ®, incorporating the British occupation into the daily interactive dramatic presentations.
Guests are encouraged to purchase tickets so that they may enjoy the full range of experiences available during Under the Redcoat weekend. For more information, or to purchase tickets and make reservations, visit www.colonialwilliamsburg.com or telephone 1-(800) 447-8679.