This isn’t a post about a specific battle or fort, or even a person connected to the War of 1812, but rather the people who continue to preserve the legacy of the war, who make a point to portray as close as we can what it was like 200 years ago, a brave army of men and women who put time, money, and a great deal of effort to maintain a level of historical accuracy of the person they portray. From soldiers to camp followers, merchants and manufacturers.
While a relative newcomer to the hobby, I started out simply as a photographer back in 2008 when I accompanied the Fort York Summer Guard to the 22nd Annual Siege Event at Fort Erie. I soon found a group of people that had a love of history, at the same level if not more than my own. I returned the next year with a new unit within ‘the hobby’ the 7th Battalion, 60th Royal American Regiment of Foot Number 6 company. Two members of the unit, Connie and Ewan were both friends of mine and had the previous year been part of the Fort York Summer Guard. Soon my friend James joined their ranks, but not having a job, I could not really afford to join. But eventually I did, trading my camera for a musket.
Friends were made quickly, not just within the 60th, but within other units, the 49th, Glengarry Light Infantry, 2nd Lincoln Artillery. I had found a group of people who had a strong sense of community and comradery, even stronger than what I had found within the Urban Explorer community. We all don the wool and shoulder the musket. And while yes I’ve dropped a lot of money into being a part of it, I feel it’s worth it. I’ve gotten to visit many historic sites, stay over night in forts that date back to the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries. I’ve learned so much about history, military life, and been able to teach others about it.
So this project is not only dedicated to the men and women who fought in the war 200 years ago, but to those who ensure that their legacy, sacrfice and memory are preserved and passed onto those who come after us. And while the bicentennial is winding to a close, the hobby will continue. Long running events like Fort Erie, Stoney Creek, and Mississinawa will continue. The hobby is certainly worth looking into, if you’re a little bit crazy, have a love of history, and enjoy dressing up. There are lots of excellent units to join up with, either as a soldier or civilian. The ones I would recommend is the 60th of Foot, 49th Grenadiers, or the 1st Royal Scots.
Brigader General Peter Twist with an American trooper. General Twist is the overall commander of the Crown Forces 1812 in North America, a umbrella organization which all British 1812 units are under.
Rolleiflex 2.8F – Carl Zeiss Planar 80mm 1:2.8 – Ilford Pan F+ – Kodak Xtol (1+1) 7:45 @ 20C