UTR 2006 Notes and Comments from the Internet
About 10 years ago I worked at Colonial Williamsburg, and I remember the excitement the town had when the Redcoats came marching in.
Then, a few weeks later, the Americans arrived to ennui.
Fast forward a few years, and as a reenactor I participated in two Town Unchained weekends, both times in a "plum" role, as Washington's life guard. And both times it was the same indifference. Nothing exciting was planned for the American forces. Stand guard. No opposition forces to deal with, just the heat.
I just got back from UTR. It was the first time I was there as an reenactor (I was there with the Royal navy). Though several said the event lacked the zip this year of past years, it was still more exciting that the two American army events I had been to. There were opposition forces, there were things going on other than standing guard at buildings that would have been empty in 1781.
I would like to get people's thoughts on this, especially the CW connected folks on the list. Why do the American forces get the short end of the stick from CW?
Maybe I am not in the majority in thinking so, this is just my opinion. And I am not a CW hater. I worked there, I support them, I wish them to succeed. But I also long for better events for the American forces.
Why not do an event set in 75 that focuses on the raising of the first regiments of Virginia troops? Just one idea.
Chris Christopher Ware
"The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind." -Humphrey Bogart
Re: UTR vs. American events at CW
Chris and Liste, I attended UTR last year with my family as the Artillery commander. I will say that it was the best one I've been to and I go back 30+ years. Here is some ground work that will lead to the end. My youngest son also attended as one of my gunners. He was the Army anchorman in the tug of war.......6 feet tall and 300 pounds and he's 18. He picks my car up for fun. He also did numerous patrolls around the city "arresting" several seditious rebels in the process. We had a blast. Fast forward to Tuesday just after UTR 2005. My wife, son, and I were in line it the Visitors' Center to get new passes. Several CW employees, who are not interpreters, recognized him as one of the Brits....his size gave him away. They told us that they cannot wait for the Brits to come to town so that they can "come out and play." They even go as far as to have their own clothing made just for that weekend. The said that when the Continental's come to town, there's not the intrigue of trying to get away with something....smuggling or spying etc. When the Continental's come, we're free. When the Brits come, we have to be sneaky and underhanded. These statements came from CW staff. They also compared the Brits to the heels in pro-wrestling. Think about it for a second and you see their point. We do and say things in that venue that we would not usually say at a regular event. (Like the time a Wedding party left Bruten Parrish Church and came to the road block at Chowning's. The bride was a hottie so I declaired the right of Prima Nocta. Those who saw Braveheart laughed their heads off....including the bride. I know its not correct but even Artillery commanders like to have some fun!) The Brits can have more fun with it because we can be "bad." I think that this line between the good and bad is what makes the difference between the two events. I guess it comes down to the general attitude. The Continentals are the good guys and free the town that has been in the hands of the evil Lobsterbacks.
Re: [Revlist] UTR vs. American events at CW
>i would like to get people's thoughts on this, especially the cw connected >folks on the list. why do the American forces get the short end of the stick >from CW?
I have been doing UTR for many years - and loving it. This year did seem a bit more tame than in the past, but we still had a lot of fun. Having worked with the CW folks on several levels, I can say that I very, V E R Y seriously doubt that they are giving anyone the "short end of the stick." Rather, I suspect that the boring routine stems more from a lack of imagination on the part of the Doodle participants. Just about any time that we have put forward ideas of different scenarios (within such constraints as no live fire other than in specific demonstrations), the CW folks have been supportive. They LIKE different things to do, and varied interpretive activities.
This year, a nuance was having a Rebel officer show up wanting to discuss POW exchange. That can be done no matter WHO is in charge.
I know that for a couple of years, one or two Brit officers would be invited to portray paroled POWs - and we made major pains in the neck of ourselves as we gallivanted about town. That hasn't been done in a few years, but I know how much fun I had doing it some time ago and Dave Snyder of the 64th will probably second my opinion on it. I don't remember seeing much going on at the "Town Unchained" event that wasn't mostly composed of CW personnel - like visits from major characters like "Lafayette" and so on as well as a neat scenario where a mob destroyed a lot of property of a Loyalist family that was being forced out of town. Think up some cool activities and ASK permission to do them!
Fix up a fancy meal. The Officers Mess luncheon has become a big draw in our camp (and a mighty fine repast it has been as well!! More on that in a few days when I get over it!)
Bring in a bunch of "wounded" from a skirmish outside of town - and deal with them.
Bring in some POWs - regulars and Loyalist - and deal with them. Teach people about paroles, exchanges, etc.
I think a "Tory" force would be most useful in waking up some Doodles from the Doldrums!!
Don't wait for something to happen - - make things happen! ASK CW to support other activities. Use some imagination. A lot of the things we do at UTR were developed by CW, but many were our own ideas that we submitted, refined and had approved.
But - regardless of what you do, it's ALWAYS more fun to be "the bad guys" at a place like that.
Jay (just got home this evening)
4th Coy, Bde of Guards
Re: UTR vs. American events at CW
Jay, You bring up several valid points. Aside from my previous post about attitude, you bring up the idea of making things happen. I know that when we do UTR, there is also an American unit that plays the antagonist. They spy, smuggle, steal from the Brits, etc. This has been an ongoing game at UTR because catching the spy has become a BIG deal. The fight between the army and navy in front of Chowning's drew a big crowd and the ensuing tug of war drew even more. The firing compitition between units drew a big crowd and when I threw my artillery in the mix, it really spiced things up (1:22 minutes!!! You had to be there!) Jay is right, you have to use your imagination to come up with ideas. It has also been my experience that the people at CW are VERY easy to work with. If they like your ideas, you will probably get to play it out. Keep in mind the safety of the tourists, staff and reenactors and you are in like Flynn. Having "fought' against the doodles for many years, and being one when necessary, there are some great guys in that camp. Come up with ideas to enhance the experience. Have a Brit unit come in civilian clothing and play Tory antagonists. Try to catch the Tory spy. Stop the smuggling of items to the Brits. This becomes a major game that everyone can get involved in. Have a spy within the Continental ranks that must be found.
The way I see it, an event in Colonial Williamsburg is like playing the Palace for reenactors. Make the most of it and you can have the time of your lives. Mark Crosby
Re: [Revlist] Re: UTR vs. American events at CW
This is our fifth year at UTR and I look forward to it more and more.
As I read Jay and Marks remarks, it set me to wondering if there couldn't be a POW camp as part of their weekend. Officers on parole, privates and NCO's billeted (and guarded) on the green, perhaps trying to escape or Loyalists trying to smuggle in supplies either for survival or a breakout attempt.
There may be individuals, units or parts of British units who would welcome the opportunity to play the "opposition." I know Dolores and I would seriously consider it (depending, of course, on the usual interference's of "real life.")
I can't imagine our Officers and NCO's haven't developed some skills as they have, more or less, successfully dealt with the Doodles over the years of UTR. I'd like to think we could give 'em fits.
Insofar as the Officers meal is concerned, perhaps a meal for us more common types could be added for next year. Salt pork, pease, oatmeal, spruce beer? I'd be willing to volunteer (my wife helps with the officers meal and loves it). I'm not suggesting we do more than one meal for the troops....I'm not sure I want to partake of such vittles more than once a weekend. And I understand it can't get in the way of guard duty, but perhaps something could be worked out.
Thanks to all involved with UTR. It's a great event.
And let's all be thankful we didn't get the weather that struck in N. Va. We sat stuck on the DC Beltway from 10:15 'till 1:30 a.m. after an apparent mudslide/flood across the highway. We were finally rerouted back around DC and had to get on I-95 from the North. Finally got home at 8:30 a.m. Mon. morn, just in time to start a new job. (The weekend was worth every minute of the drive.)
Re: UTR vs. American events at CW
It's a guess, having NOT attended the Continental event, that the difference might be in the planners. The Polinskys put a great deal of time and effort into planning the event with CW and it shows. They do this every year from California and they coordinate with a lot of the unit commanders on the East Coast working out the scenarios. I don't know who organizes the Continental event, so I'm not saying anything against them and I'm sure they do a great job. The attention to detail, and a lot of cleverness, a lot of scenario planning has gone into UTR and the CW staff and the reenactors get into the fun of it.
Fusilier Regiment von Knyphausen
List, A few photos from Under the Redcoat have been placed on our website. They can be viewed at
on the Event Photo page.
They tend to focus on the crew of the OTTER and others of the navy contingent, but what can I say...;>)
HM Sloop OTTER (Virginia State Navy)
& 7th Va. regt.
Thanks to the Polinky's and all organizers of UTR, as usual we had a great interactive event. I can tell by the reactions of the visitors that they enjoy seeing us even though they mostly think we are Williamsburg employees, he he! Also like to thank everyone who contributed to the munchies for Frau Spear's cart, I believe more lemonade and food was consumed this year then ever. Special thanks goes to Cate Crown and her fellow bakers...their ginger cookies were wolved down very quickly on Sunday morning.
Frau Spear has lost one of her mugs. In the midst of the final dismissal at UTR, one mug hitched a ride with somebody. It is a tin lined copper cup, with straight sides and 2 ridges embossed around it. The truely amazing thing about this, is in all the years doing UTR, I haven't lost anything yet. Really it isn't so amazing because all of Frau Spear's customers are conscienous and brave soldiers of the crown! Anyway if anyone happens to know where the little bugger is, please email me directly at dbspear@... .
I hope someone will write an AAR on UTR soon, I would like to know how well our forces did against the wiley rebel insurgents!
Denise "Frau" Spear
Regt. von Bose
The photo pages for the 42 RHR are up and running and may be accessed by clicking on the link below. Of course, they are heavy on the highland camp activities......
Susan Gable - Distaff
Muskets of the Crown
Dear Cate and List-
> It's a guess, having NOT attended the Continental event, that the > difference might be in the planners. The Polinskys put a great deal of > time and effort into planning the event with CW and it shows. They do > this every year from California and they coordinate with a lot of the > unit commanders on the East Coast working out the scenarios. I don't > know who organizes the Continental event, so I'm not saying anything > against them and I'm sure they do a great job. The attention to > detail, and a lot of cleverness, a lot of scenario planning has gone > into UTR and the CW staff and the reenactors get into the fun of it.
Please let me leap to the defense of Walter MacIntyre, who is the Event manager for the Continental events for Colonial Williamsburg (A Town Unchained, Prelude to Victory). We usually see Walter at the early Spring planning meetings for the reenactor events. (In fact, the first time we ever saw him in uniform was at Guilford this year!) We compare notes, and sit in on each other sessions. I have nothing but admiration for Walter's organizational skills. He does a tremendous amount of work on his programs. That they come out with a different tone than UTR is more an effect of their historical context than any lack of imagination on Walter's part. It is sad but true that Cornwallis' Army was an occupation force, cowing a sullen population by sheer numbers. Jim Daniel was the past commander of the 6th NC and Reenactor Events Manager at CW since Publick Times who had the brilliant idea of interpreting this tension by incorporating an official Opposition unit into the UTR roster.
The Continentals are the home team on their home field. There is no tension - whatever Loyalists that may still remain in the area have gone to ground. This makes Walter's events more of a military display and patriotic celebration. Adding an opposition unit to Walter's events would sound a false note. The public schedule for A Town Unchained came out before I left CW on Tuesday. They had some terrific, imaginative, and educational programs, but they don't have the tension and pageantry of the British.
The Continental events have a different emphasis and goals, but by no means do they take second place to UTR in preparation, time, effort, attention to detail, and cleverness.
Under the Redcoat Event Manager
UTR web site: http://home.earthlink.net/~colscoy/UTR.html
Subject: Re: [Revlist] UTR pics
And - for about 150 more shots:
These are "Guards - centric" but have good shots of others as well.
4th Coy, Bde of Guards
Naturally being the bad guys in town is more fun, I understand that. But the enemy army is not that far away when the Americans march into Williamsburg. The outcome of the war was still in doubt. No one knew for sure what Cornwalis was up to, and since he received no fewer than four sets of instructions from Clinton, he didn't know where he was going either sometimes.
Like a good play or movie hangs on their being a good conflict to get into, so too does a good event require a good conflict. The townspeople of Williamsburg provide the conflict at UTR. I would like to see, again, this is just me, more conflict for the soldiers to get into.
Some POWs to guard would be great. A spy or two to catch. Certainly there would be locals who helped the Brits, or at least would have been accused of doing so. Dealing with wounded would be great. Hows about a dispute with local merchants not wanting to do business with the army? They want something other than paper money, and who can blame them? Desertion was a continious problem, and that is another thing that can be done.
Just my thoughts. Again, I am personally very fond of CW and very much want all events there to be great ones. I just personally wish the American events had a little more sizzle.
Haybales as furnituer, was Re: More UTR pics
>And - for about 150 more shots: >http://www.flickr.com/photos/brigadeofguards/sets
Though it wasn't in the Guards camp, there was an awful lot of haybales used as furniture, seats, drying racks and kitchen tables. You can see this in a few pictures (and one picture does a closeup on the haybale).
At A Town Unchained I am the camp provost (different than the guard provost Jay and Dave did at UTR), and my job is to make sure the farby stuff gets put away. I was wondering while I was there why someone didn't go tell them to get rid of it. Normally I would be on it like white on rice, but I was a guest of his Majesty's government at this time and I merely observed the camp set up.
Haybales as furniture, was Re: More UTR pics
Dear Patrick and List-
> Though it wasn't in the Guards camp, there was an awful lot of > haybales used as furniture, seats, drying racks and kitchen tables. > You can see this in a few pictures (and one picture does a closeup on > the haybale).
What can I say? I'm busted. For UTR it is MY job to patrol the camp for stuff like that. Of course I saw it. When I asked them to remove the hay bales they said they would be delighted and would I please find them some tables to replace the bales? We had maxed out our allotment of tables from Chowning's and I had no others to replace them. The bales were being used as wash stands and staging areas for dishes for the Provost Guard Officer's Mess. I couldn't ask the hard working women of the kitchen staff to work off of the ground, so I turned a blind eye to the offending items. To our credit, I hope you noticed that one of the fire pits used lashed together wood tripods rather than wought iron.
Under the Redcoat Event Manager
Re: UTR vs. American events at CW
Dear Tom and List-
> Insofar as the Officers meal is concerned, perhaps a meal for us more common > types could be added for next year. Salt pork, pease, oatmeal, spruce beer?
At UTR this year I guess you missed the well seasoned camp kettle of the 40th Foot, with a thick slurry of carrots, pease, and a ham bone in it, and perhaps you overlooked the North Carolina Volunteers who had a squirrel roasting on a spit.
Under the Redcoat Event Manager
(Sjt.-major John "No, thank you Cpl. Hobbs" Savage)
Re: UTR vs. American events at CW
As well as the newly-acquired camp kettle of HM 17th Infantry, which was likewise filled with pease, carrots, onions, and some kind of meaty bone in it (I don't ask where the men come up with their forage). Our fire trench was next to the 42nd's kitchen.
HM 17th Infy.
Re: Saluting Whilst On Guard Duty
Radford, Alex, et. al.....Well, next year at UTR the Highlanders will take their chances and not salute Cornwallis!! But, here's a story, one of many from a great weekend.
On Sat. at UTR I was rotating some of the guard back on Nicholson when Cornwallis and his great number of accompanying officers, etc. came marching down to the chev at Nicholson toward camp. I was just rotating about 5 men to other guard posts and I told them to get moving so they didn't get caught in all the saluting, etc....they took off, but I was caught and paid the proper compliments (Aye, Sjt. Major Savage, I did!!) as HE walked past. Cornwallis did acknowledge my salute. I quickly turned and went down the path at edge of camp because I had another one of my men guarding between our street and the 64th. Got there just in time to school him in the salute (we presented arms) as Cornwallis sailed past again (heading toward the courthouse....that man does move fast!). Next thing I know, I hear him yelling at men of the 64th who were sitting in their street, "You dogs, pay proper respects to your commander, on your feet", etc., etc.!! I walked to the side of their street and about 8 of the 64th lads came barrelling out of the street, grinning and as they passed me, I said, "run away, run away".....we all had a good laugh about that!! It was a great weekend. And, while I'm at it. Thanks to you, Radford....and to Mike Grenier, for all the hard work and providing us all with good scenarios which give us the impetus to stay in first person at all times. Huzzah....or is that huzzay!!??
Malcolm MacWm., Sjt. Major, 42nd GrenCoy
Re: UTR 2006 After action reports
> There were bad guys? Didn't seem like there was much activity at the > Guard posts during the weekend, so I guess we either did really well, > or really poorly...
Or you had a really good counterintelligence network set up. You'd be amazed what was happening out there in those backyard gardens.
4th Secret Squirrel detachment
Brigade of Guards
Re: [Revlist] Re: UTR 2006 After action reports
> Howdy, > > > There were bad guys? Didn't seem like there was much activity at the > > Guard posts during the weekend, so I guess we either did really well, > > or really poorly... > > Or you had a really good counterintelligence network set up. You'd > be amazed what was happening out there in those backyard gardens. > > Patrick O'Kelley
That's a fact. It was multi-layer counterintel with both passive and active agents. Pat O'Kelley, Bert Puckett, and Ragu were the "active" agents - - all with properly executed commissions (even with the right names on them) and other essential paperwork. (I got questioned a LOT about those documents throughout the weekend!) The "Commissariat of Captures" was most active throughout the event and a lot of contraband and suspicious characters got intercepted before they even reached a checkpoint. Then again, we had a Rebel deserter - IN REGIMENTAL UNIFORM - blue coat, etc - to simply stroll right through one of the checkpoints without even being challenged! Fortunately, he WAS a genuine Rebel deserter and actually brougt in some pretty good intel about the enemy out there in the wilds of VA. There were some funny stories at the checkpoints - - - some of the sentries were hasseling my wife until she produced a painted miniature (painted by our own much beloved listeowner) of me to show just WHO she was associated with!
I think one of the the best stories of the lot was when some of the "opposition" was getting frustrated at getting busted so often before they even reached "the green zone" and one of them, in frustration, SHOT one of my commissaries!! The insurgency went from cold to "HOT" with that action and it got even more interesting. It made for an intensive report when Bert Puckett came in to report getting "wounded" - and the jocular mood around the Officer's mess got more serious (and realistic) but the best story I heard was about Pat sitting on a stack of boxes beside DOG St. with his blunderbuss on his lap - looking very serious. Visitors would ask him what he was doing there - his answer - a very dead-pan: "My friend just got shot. I'm waiting on the guy who did it so I can kill him." The interesting part was when some visitors asked for a description of the perpetrator. Pat described him - what he was wearing and so on. Then a little girl comes up to him and points out the guy in one of the backyards and Pat got him!! Loyal population!!
There was some good stuff going on. I'm very interested in hearing just how we did - I know we got ONE of the official deserters pretty early on.
As always, it was fun. Thanks a lot, Bert, Pat, and Ragu - you added a lot - - as did my "passive" observers who shall remain nameless on this liste so as not to compromise their future value!
Jay (who got tired of always being on the receiving end at UTR and decided to turn some tables!)
4th Coy, Bde of Guards
ARR (After Repast Report)- UTR 2006 Officers' Mess Menus
After bragging on the officers mess at UTR last year, here is what we were stuffed with THIS year. All had excellent flavour. In all candor, I was pretty thoroughly turned off by the Sea Fish on Saturday because my serving was full of bones and I really, really get disgusted by getting a mouthful of fish bones! I don't know what it is, but something about fish bones really grosses me out (and I'm not one who grosses out easily). Therefore, I didn't even try the Planked Salmon - even though I love Salmon. The crab had a lot more shell than I'm willing to tolerate so after a couple of tastes, I left it alone. Yuck!
Those are the ONLY negative comments I can make, and had nothing to do with flavor. Everything tasted great.
The forcemeats were excellent as were all the venison dishes. The rice puddings were quite tasty. I'm allergic to cucumbers, so I stayed away from the watermelon rind and any salleting that had cucumber in it, but all the commentary around me was most positive. The stewed duck with onions was very good - never had duck that way before (***AFLAC!!***). The "hedgehog" and macaroons were exceptional even in an exceptional meal.
Sunday's repast was about as good as it gets. We were rather rushed due to time constraints and duty calls, but it was an enjoyable experience. Again, all the venison dishes were outstanding. One had a Madeira jelly that was really different and quite good. In hot, sticky weather, the macerated strawberries were most refreshing. I'm usually not a big fan of cooked carrots, but the spiced mashed carrots on Sunday were exceptional. I'd gotten over my "gross-out" from Saturday's fish bones and thoroughly enjoyed the planked Salmon. Again, I stayed away from anything with cucumber in it but heard favorable comments all around me. The candied orange and lemon peels were fabulous. All the dessert items that I tried were wonderful. Watching the young lady whisking away at the whipped crèmes was enough to make me want to try them - - that work deserved enjoyment of the result! Someone asked me what I liked the best - - very difficult to answer. I'd have to say the forced meats were probably my favorite of the entrées and the macaroons were top of the list for desserts. I liked all the fresh fruit and berry dishes, but have a thing for strawberries so have to give them the nod.
All was served by lovely ladies (well - we did have a couple of rather less-than-beautiful sailors serving on Sunday - but they were efficient). We had fine musick provided by Brian Lewis.
The preparation and presentation of all of it reflected a HUGE amount of planning and effort which I greatly appreciated, as did my fellow lucky officers. These meals have become a highlight of the event for us and for a lot of the visitors.