In 1781, Cornwallis’ Army paused for ten days in Williamsburg while on the march to Yorktown. One citizen of the town described the redcoats as “infamous wretches” who were responsible for the plague of flies and smallpox that descended on the Virginia Tidewater. For those ten days, the town was the home of 8500 troops and almost twice as many followers of the army.
For UTR 2013, the overall context of the weekend is that as far as we are concerned, Cornwallis’ main army is encamped in farm fields on the other side of the College of William and Mary. The Crown Forces at UTR 2013 will represent the Provost Guard in the center of town. What this means is that we are trying to be the Provost Guard at full strength. Lt.-Genl. Cornwallis will review the Provost Guard on Saturday morning, we will have a Tat-too on Saturday night, and a full Church Parade on Sunday
Per Smith’s Universal Military Dictionary:
Provost-Marshal, of an army, is an officer appointed to secure deserters, and all other criminals: he is often to go round the army, hinder the soldiers from pillaging, indict offenders, execute the sentence pronounced, and regulate the weights and measures used in the army when in the field. He is attended by a lieutenant’s guard, has a clerk, and an executioner.
Provost Guard, is always an officer’s guard that attends the provost in his rounds, either to prevent desertion, marauding, rioting, &c. See Provost.
As the Provost Guard, it will be our duty to attend the Provost in his rounds, as well as secure the center of town with three guard mounts per day.
UTR is three days of tactical exercise and street theatre, all on the exact same streets trod by the hobnailed buckle shoes of the British Army 232 years ago!
Under the Redcoat is a paid event. Each participating unit gets an honorarium. For the duration of the weekend we are working for Colonial Williamsburg, and they expect us to pull a full two days of duty including scheduled events, guard duty, and patrols. We are also expected to spend some of our “off duty” time interacting with the public.
As part of our role of interpreting the Redcoats in Williamsburg, Colonial Williamsburg has asked us to bear in mind four interpretive goals;
Those who are interested in detailed, interactive character interpretation will find fertile ground here. It’s one of the hardest working weekends you’ll ever have had a great time at!
Sounds great! When is it?
Friday, 28 June, through Sunday, 30 June 2013.
What if I can't make it on Friday?
There is no penalty if you can't make it in time for the Friday events, but if your travel plans will have you there by Friday afternoon you can jump right into a unique living history experience - as long as you have campaign style legwear appropriate to 1781! An advance patrol and Dragoons enter the town at 3:00 p.m. Then, at 3:10, the Provost Guard marches in and sets up camp period style.
Where do I go to register?
Registration starts at 10:00 on Friday morning at the Fife and Drum building (at the East end of Franklin Street - #3 on the map), closes at 3:30 p.m., then re-opens in the garden behind Chowning’s (just to the right of #4 on the map) at 4:30. Saturday, registration is behind Chowning's as well. Registration opens at 8:00 a.m. and closes as 12:00 noon. Remember - Under the Redcoat is by invitation only! Your unit commander should have turned in your pre-registration information.
What if I didn’t pre-register?
If you are a member of an invited unit, you will need to bring your unit commander to registration with you to vouch for you. If you are not a member of an invited unit, you can ask your unit commander to contact the event manager for an invitation for your unit to a future edition of Under the Redcoat.
What if my unit isn’t going to UTR this year?
UTR 2013 is not allowing individuals to register in the “Additional Company”. The Additional Company concept has been retired.
Can I bring my tent and camp out in Market Square?
Yes! If you are a member of an invited unit your commander should include your tent with the others from your unit and list it on the registration form. Colonial Williamsburg provides firewood, hay, and water - and they have real bathrooms!
Where do I park?
Participant parking is at the Bruton Heights School Education Center. This is located at the intersection of First Street and Capitol Landing Road (#1 on the map). Google Map to Bruton Heights here. Bruton Heights is the closest parking area to the Fife and Drum building. You can drive your cars to Fife and Drum during the day on Friday while the historic area is off limits and unload your period camp equipment.
The camp equipment (please - tents, poles, and pegs only) will be loaded onto a wagon or cart provided by CW. The baggage train will accompany the Provost Guard as it marches into town. It may take more than one trip for the wagon to get all the gear into camp.
Once in camp, you can unload your canvas and poles and set up the camp in a period military fashion. Please, no 21st Century intrusions until the camp is open for vehicles at 6:00 p.m. If you get there after 6:00 p.m. on Friday, you can drive directly into camp to unload.
Please pay careful attention to the vehicle access routes marked in blue on the map. CW wants driving in the Historic area kept to a minimum. Please use North England Street to get to Nicholson Street. Please use Queen Street to get to Duke of Gloucester Street.
VEHICLES MUST NOT DRIVE ON THE GRASS!!
Do Not Drive On The Grass!! NOT EVEN TO UNLOAD YOUR KIT!!
Park your vehicles on Nicholson Street, or Duke of Gloucester Street ONLY!!!
DO NOT PARK ON THE SHELL PATH.
Please park on the street and carry your kit to the campsite.
Vehicles must be out of the Historic Area by 8:00 in the morning.
OK. I’ve registered, parked my car at Bruton Heights, and set up my tent. What’s next?
UTR is not like a battle event. The public is right next to you. They have come to a world class living history site looking for education, entertainment, and a slice of life in an “occupied” city. Colonial Williamsburg expects the registered participants to provide that interactive, interpretive experience.
Do I have to do the whole weekend in first person?
Many people take advantage of the opportunity to interact with the public as an 18th Century character, but if you’re not ready for it, it’s OK. Just be the best soldier or 18th Century civilian character you can be.
What about all these people? How am I going to tell who’s who?
All persons in 18th Century clothing are required to have some form of identification. Regiments may choose to use the CW issued “Freedom of the City” pass, or they may issue their own military style pass. Regiments which are providing their own ID are asked to give a sample to the Guard so the Guard may be able to identify them. Make sure you take your “Freedom of the City” pass out of your registration packet and carry it with you. The “Freedom of the City” pass is your admission ticket to all of the ticketed CW exhibitions and venues. It is also good for a discount at the CW shops (except for the Prentis Store and trade items found at the Golden Ball)!
Every civilian must be identified one of four ways: either they have a military ID from the regiment to which they are attached, they have a Parole, or they have a Loyalty Oath. The fourth way is if they use the password “Queen Charlotte”. This identifies them as a CW employee who is choosing not to participate in the program. If someone says “Queen Charlotte”, don’t detain them further. Let them go on their way - even if it seems unfair.
What if I get suspicious of someone?
You should be suspicious of almost everyone!
If you think someone is hiding something, you may search them. All persons in 18th Century clothing are subject to search. (Please remember about “Queen Charlotte”) Pockets on the right side of the body; coat, waistcoat, breeches, ladies pocket - are off limits. That is where to keep keys, camera, wallet, credit cards, ID, &c. All other areas may be searched. That includes baskets, baggage, packs, parcels, pouches, hats, shoes - anything.
Please note carefully: Women and female children will not be permitted to conceal contraband or documents under their stays or petticoats, therefore, they may not be searched under their stays or petticoats.
What if they don’t want to be searched? What if they don’t stop when I say “Halt!”?
The open nature of Colonial Williamsburg means there is no practical way of excluding someone, nor would we necessarily want to. Most of the “guest players” at UTR are aware of the mutual limits of our behavior and are welcome additions to the atmosphere of the event. It is possible that some of the uninvited “guest players” may arrive with their own ideas; and push us to the point where a real Redcoat would have bashed them. Of course, we cannot do this. If you get into a situation where things are getting out of hand, the best thing for you to do is stop, swallow your pride, and walk away. If that's not possible, get help - get (in this order) your NCO, your Officer, or Sjt.-major Savage (33rd Foot). The excitement of the event can lead to heightened emotions. We need to keep this in mind, and practice a level of professional restraint.
What events are scheduled for the weekend?
Friday, there is a Taking the Town, where we tear down the flag of rebellion and out up a proper King's flag, and a March In, after which we declare Martial Law.
Saturday, there is a Roll Call, Review, Artillery Demonstration, Changing of the Guard (twice), Drill Competition, Retreat, and Tat-too.
Sunday is Roll Call, Church Parade, Artillery Demonstration, Changing of the Guard (twice), Drill Competition, and we get to escort Lord Cornwallis out of town.
These are just highlights. There are many, many other events and scenarios in the full schedule. Although the weekend is very busy, you will have plenty of “off duty” time to shop and tour Colonial Williamsburg. Remember - your “Freedom of the City” pass is good for admission to all the exhibit buildings.
What is “Revolutionary City”?
Colonial Williamsburg has an interpretive program called “Revolutionary City”. At certain times each day, costumed Colonial Williamsburg interpreters will present live “street theater” scenarios of life and events in Williamsburg during the ten days that Lt.-Genl. Cornwallis and his army returned law and order to the town.
What if I get hurt?
The Hospital will be in the East Advance building of the Governor’s Palace. (see #5 on map) They will conduct on going interpretation of life in an 18th Century military field hospital. The Hospital is equipped for minor medical care. They can also summon paramedics. If anyone has a minor injury or is feeling the effects of the heat - go to the Hospital! The best way to avoid the ill effects of the heat is to keep drinking. Drink plenty of water! Every soldier at UTR is expected to have a working canteen. At every formation, canteens will be inspected to make sure thay have water in them!
I have heard that they don’t allow facial hair at Under the Redcoat. Do I have to shave?
Yes. As of 2003 Under the Redcoat is a no facial hair event. Uniformed British troops, to include English, Scots, Welsh, Irish, Loyalist, Naval, and Marine forces must be clean-shaven. No moustaches. No sideburns. No beards. No exceptions will be granted to Pioneers or Highlanders.
I portray a civilian with my unit. What is there for me to do?
Colonial Williamsburg is placing added emphasis on the lives of the civilians who were attached to Cornwallis' army. CW expects every participating civilian to spend some time actively interpreting thier lives, either with the Following the Army programs, or in camp and around town.
What about when it’s time to leave?
The last event is Lord Cornwallis’ escort on Sunday at 5:00. The march route is planned to take you most of the way to your cars at Bruton Heights. UTR is not over, and the Historic Area is not open to vehicles until 5:45 p.m. We will begin to pack up by “airing our tents” (fold and roll) at around 4:15 p.m. Please keep all modern conveniences out of sight until the program is officially over at 5:45!
DO NOT DRIVE ON THE GRASS!!!