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November 8, 2013

Military Re-enactors Join in for the Anderson Armoury Opening Weekend

Revolutionary War re-enactors populate the Revolutionary City during the weekend of Nov. 15-17.

One hundred fifty re-enactors representing the First Virginia Regiment will participate in the grand opening of James Anderson’s Blacksmith Shop and Public Armoury complex and demonstrate various aspects of military life during the American Revolution. The weekend also marks the first public display of the completed replica of the first “Oval Office,” a marquee tent that served as Gen. George Washington’s home for more than four years of the conflict.

The re-enactors begin their activities early in the morning as they rise from their tents on the public greens. At 9:30 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, a historian, speaking from the Courthouse steps, explores the importance of the opening of the Commonwealth of Virginia’s first public armoury and what it meant to the war effort in the 1770s.

As the re-enactors practice their artillery and musket skills Saturday and Sunday afternoons, guests may visit a military field hospital where surgeons care for the wounded and smallpox victims 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Palace East Advance. They may help camp followers prepare musket ammunition at the Military Encampment from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday. Guests also have the opportunity to be recruited and join the army, then learn the manual of arms and to march with the soldiers 11 a.m. to noon Sunday at the Military Encampment.

Guests explore the Revolution in Indian Country as the Delaware and their allies reflect on the American Revolution’s impact on Native American peoples at 2 p.m. Saturday at the Palace Garden stage.

Throughout the weekend, guests may visit the replica “Oval Office” — Gen. Washington’s marquee — erected for the first time at the Secretary’s Office, next to the Capitol at the east end of Duke of Gloucester Street. The large linen tent was constructed through the summer by Colonial Williamsburg Historic Trades tailors using linen, some of which was hand-woven at the Weaving Shop. Carpenters, joiners, wheelwrights and blacksmiths handcrafted poles, stakes and hardware for the tent project. The replica was made for Philadelphia’s Museum of the American Revolution, which owns the original — a national treasure.

A highlight of the weekend is the grand opening ceremony for the Anderson Armoury complex at 3 p.m. Saturday. Guests are invited to visit the site through the weekend and learn more from tradesmen demonstrating their crafts — blacksmiths, tinsmiths, carpenters, wheelwrights, coopers, basketmakers and historic foodways cooks — while archaeologists explain how excavation discoveries informed the reconstruction of Williamsburg’s first major military-industrial complex.

To learn more, visit and view six videos about the Armoury project at

Media Contact:
Jim Bradley