Culture Connect Featured Event

British Invasion & 18th-Century Horsemanship With Sword Highlight WDS Encampment
Ticket Price: Encampment admission free; regular admission for optional museum tour

Thundering across a field at a full canter toward his “adversary,” an 18th century horseman raises his sword and slashes through… a melon? Bolton resident David Loda will reenact this and other mock battle scenes as Lieutenant Colonel David Humphreys, aide-de-camp to General George Washington, during the fifth annual Revolutionary War Encampment at the Webb-Deane-Stevens (WDS) Museum. The event takes place Saturday, May 25, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at 211 Main St., Old Wethersfield, Connecticut, following the Wethersfield Memorial Day parade. Admission to the encampment is free; regular admission rates will be charged for the optional 60-minute tour of the museum.

As the newest feature at the encampment, Loda—a retired Navy pilot from the 21st-century —will demonstrate “horsemanship with arms,” skills from the 18th-century, including both sword and pistol. Loda creates a dashing figure in full Continental uniform and tri-corn hat and astride his gleaming Morgan horse, Huckleberry. When he portrays Humphreys—barreling across a battlefield toward a “soldier” portrayed by a melon perched atop a post— visitors will easilygrasp the likely level of discomfort their forbears felt when faced with a charging, sword-wielding horseman.

Also new at the 2013 WDS Revolutionary War Encampment is the inclusion of the 54th Regiment of Foot, a band of British redcoats whose safety is uncertain once they commence a “surprise” attack on the Continental soldiers at 1 p.m. A new on-sitebake sale will feature the wildly popular fare created by Liberty Tea, bakers who create delicious homemade treats from historic recipes, using all-natural ingredients. 

David Humphreys served as principal of the Wethersfield public school following his graduation from Yale University in 1771. During the American Revolution, he served as aide-de-camp to generals Putnam, Greene, and finally from 1780 to the end of the war, George Washington. Loda’s portrayal of Humphreys at the Webb-Deane-Stevens Museum encampment is particularly significant as the Joseph Webb House is where General Washington and French Lieutenant General Rochambeau planned the joint military campaign that led to the victory at Yorktown, Virginia, and the end of the American Revolutionary War. Humphreys had the honor of delivering the surrendered British flags from the Battle of Yorktown to the Continental Congress.

The WDS Revolutionary War Encampment offers visitors the chance to interact closely with members of the Fifth Connecticut Regiment in full Colonial costume, with entertaining demonstrations of marching and musket firing, 18th-century open-fire cookery, and enchanting harp and dulcimer music. Shortly after the regiment partakes of its midday meal, children in attendance will be invited to learn to march and perform drills with wooden “muskets.” The British are expected to attack at 1 p.m. A fascinating display and discussion of the medical and surgical techniques used in the late 1700s, and an exhibit of period clothing and fashions, are also be featured.