UTR - 2013

Unit Commander's Letter - UTR 2013


Welcome to the Nineenth Edition of Under the Redcoat! UTR continues to be one of the most popular events at Colonial Williamsburg, both for the visiting public and the participating units.

For UTR 2013 we will present UTR as a full scale representation of the Provost Guard in the center of town.

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.”

We are now fully integrated into the Revolutionary City programming for the weekend, and Revolutionary City is now fully integrated into the Historic Area. Now, all of Colonial Williamsburg is The Revolutionary City! Although Cornwallis’ main army is encamped in farm fields on the other side of the College of William and Mary, Lord Cornwallis himself will be in town at various venues. The Crown Forces at UTR 2013 will still represent the Provost Guard in the center of town, but we will also participate in Revolutionary City events. For example; the Declaration of Martial Law will be proclaimed at the Courthouse on Friday afternoon. In addition, Lord Cornwallis will conduct a Review in Market Square on Saturday morning, and the Church Parade on Sunday Morning has been moved from Capitol Circle back to Market Square.

We will still have three guard mounts per day, with a proper changing of the guard twice a day. Please study your copies of “Guard Mount, Sentry Duty, and Relief”, and be prepared do a complete and proper Changing of the Guard. We have noticed a dismaying tendancy for the old guard to be dimissed as soon as the new guard arrives at the Guard House. Please note that a complete and proper changing of the guard requires that the old guard remain at the Guard House along with the new guard until after all the sentries have been relieved! This was done to splendid effect at UTR 2011! Let's do it some more! We will also be responsible for patrols, drill, and other military activity.

Colonial Williamsburg expects us 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;

Colonial Williamsburg is looking for detailed, personal, interactive interpretation. If you choose, you can go 50 hours straight - from 3:00 p.m. on Friday to Retreat on Sunday. It's one of the hardest working weekends you'll ever have had a great time at!

Returning units for 2013 are:

We will also enjoy the wily efforts of a famliar Opposition Force:

Don't be surprised if you see some 7th Fusiliers, 76th, or 84th Regiment troops, and of course Regiment von Huyn will be host to a number of different German units. In fact, in a return to the procedure we established in 2011, the German forces will operate somewhat independently of the Redcoats. They will be responsible for the security of the North end of camp, doing everything according to German methods and practice.

The Town Major is the overall military Commander for the event. He will have a tent in camp to use as a base of operations, as well as an interpretive location. The “Town Major’s Marquis” should be known to the troops as the location to report to for real world emergencies. His partner, in charge of the “police” functions at UTR is the Deputy Provost-Marshal, who will serve on a daily basis. The Deputy Provost-Marshal is responsible for interviewing prisoners and petitioners, “secure deserters and all other criminals, hinder the soldiers from pillaging, indict offenders” &c.

Bob Vogler sent this information:
The Brigade of Guards Order Book notes that “Serj. Piester of ye 62 Regt. is appt. Dept. P: Martial” and that the “The Army are desired to give every Necessary assistance to him in the execution of his Duty.” This appointment was made as Cornwallis' army sailed south for its southern campaign of 1780-81. (Brigade of Guards Order Book, 26 Oct. 1780).
The Deputy Provost-Marshal with Cornwallis was a Serjeant of the 62nd Foot! This means the office of Deputy Provost-Marshal is open to Serjeants, who will operate with an authority rare to non-commissioned officers.

I, Radford Polinsky (Sjt. John Savage, 33rd Foot - Sjt.major for the weekend)) will be the senior Non-commissioned officer for the event. My job is to ensure that the events published in “This Week” happen on time. I will also interpret a prodigious amount of paperwork - have your ink and quills ready!

I am also the Event Manager for UTR. I am the primary liaison between the reenactors and Colonial Williamsburg. If you have any problems at the event; with the camp, access to water, ice, straw, wood, bathrooms, people, timing, planning, events, scenarios, safety, visitors, CW, or CW staff - see me. I will be circulating all over the event, but my base of operations will be at my tent - in the 33rd Foot Company Street. Tent “A No. 1”.

Both the Town Major and I will have cell phones with us in case of emergency.

Judy Polinsky (Ensign Prym, 33rd Foot) is primary liaison between the reenactors and Colonial Williamsburg’s Coach and Livestock department. If you have a problem with anything that clucks, oinks, peeps, moos, baaas, or whinnys - see Judy. This includes wagons, carts and other rolling stock.

Judy is also coordinating the “Following the Army” civilian interpretive program. She has a unique dual perspective on the male/female military/civilian aspects of life on campaign. In the 18th Century civilians who traveled with the army were expected to pull their own weight. Similarly, CW expects all of your attached civilians to pull their own weight by interpreting the lives of the men, women, and children who were on campaign with Cornwallis' army. Please ask every one of your attached civilians to prepare to interpret some aspect of campaign life, and then contact Judy Polinsky so she can work out a schedule.

The camp will be on the East side of Market Square. The firing events are on the West side of Market Square due to concern for the effect firing is having on the historic buildings alongside the Palace Green. Friday afternoon and Saturday morning registration is at the garden behind Chowning's to make it more convenient to the troops on Market Square.

Registration is due in by 1 June. CW will absolutely, positively not take any changes, additions, or deletions after 15 June. If you have changes after then, be prepared to stand by at registration with the list of new names. If you have un-registered people arriving before you are, please have a designated person available to stand by with your list of changes at registration. CW cannot accept “walk ons” from the XYZ Regiment unless a designated member of the XYZ Regiment is there at registration to vouch for them!

The schedule of events for the weekend is final!

Friday, registration opens at 10:00 a.m. at the Fife and Drum building, stops at 3:30 p.m. and opens again in the back garden behind Chowning's from 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. Saturday registration opens at 8:00 a.m. in the garden behind Chowning's. Please note that registration is closed as of Noon Saturday.

Please note that troops who register on Saturday morning too late to make the 9:30 a.m. Safety Inspection are required to present themselves at the 1:30 p.m. Safety Inspection. We will take names of those who register after 9:30, and we will note who does or does not show up for the 1:30 Safety Inspection.

Please let your people know that the program starts on Friday. Many people take Friday off to travel. If they plan to be in town by early afternoon, we encourage them to participate in the Friday events. A patrol will enter town, and replace the Rebel Colours with the King's Standard at 3:00 p.m. Immediately afterward (ca. 3:10 p.m.) the main body of the Provost Guard will enter. Please do not enter the Historic Area in uniform until after the main body has marched in at 3:10. The staging area for this is the parking lot of the Fife and Drum building. Bruton Heights is the closest parking area to the Fife and Drum building. Google Map to Bruton Heights here. You can drive your cars there during the day while the historic area is off limits and unload your period camp equipment. Even if you were planning to be “Quartered on the town”, please bring your canvas. CW wants to see Market Square filled with tents! The camp equipment (please - tents, poles, and pegs only) will be loaded onto a wagon or cart provided by CW. The baggage will accompany the army as it marches into town. 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.

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.


Do Not Drive On The Grass!! NOT EVEN TO UNLOAD YOUR KIT!!

Park your vehicles on Nicholson Street, or Duke of Gloucester Street ONLY!!!


Please park on the street and carry your kit to the campsite.

Several of the Friday events will be published in the CW “This Week” brochure, which means they have to happen, and they have to happen on time. We understand the difficulties of travel. No person or regiment’s invitation to Under the Redcoat will be in jeopardy if they are not able to participate in the Friday scenarios.

Troops who wish to participate in the Friday activities must have campaign style legwear appropriate for 1781.

To support the claim that we are an army that has been on the march for a long time, the troops are being asked to forbear polishing and cleaning, and even to avoid shaving for a few days.

Speaking of not shaving, as of 2003 Under the Redcoat is a no facial hair event. British troops, to include English, Scots, Welsh, Irish, Loyalist, Naval, and Marine forces will be clean-shaven. No moustaches. No sideburns. No beards. No exceptions will be granted to Highlanders or Pioneers.

Once again we have an Official Opposition Force listed this year. There are an offical Spy, and two offical Deserters to apprehend, as well as the other opportunties for activities against the Crown's interest! There may be any number of other people present who might try to challenge the authority of the Crown. Over the past years we have captured many spies, and cartloads of contraband. We must stress the continued importance of military security to our troops. We need to pay attention to the form and function of Guard Duty. Besides being the most visible symbol of occupation, the Guard and Town Patrol are our primary defense against the mischief provided by the miscreants, layabouts, and ne’er-do-wells that may inhabit Williamsburg. Make sure your sentries know their orders. Make sure their orders include that they be alert and vigilant on their posts.

In addition to our official opposition, Colonial Williamsburg is offering a new kid-friendly program element called RevQuest. The entire town has been salted with cyphers, puzzles, clues, codes, secret meeting spots, hidden messages - and none of it has anything to do with Under the Redcoat! It is difficult to predict how this may affect our program - suffice it to say that if a group comes up to you wearing identical printed kerchiefs (“The Black Chambers” is the RevQuest running during UTR) and offers you information on the location of “Agent 368”, they are on a RevQuest and you should probably thank them and send them on their way.

All persons in 18th Century clothing must 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. Make sure your members take their “Freedom of the City” pass out of their registration packets and carry them with them. 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 in 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: they have a military ID from the regiment to which they are attached, they have a Parole, or they have a Loyalty Oath. Regiments that are providing their own ID are asked to give a sample to the Guard so the Guard may be able to identify them. The fourth way is if they use the pass phrase “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.

Every person who stops at the Guard House for a Parole or Loyalty Oath will be given a paper which explains the Rules of the Game: All persons in 18th Century clothing are subject to search. 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.

We may enjoy a large number of un-registered participants at this event. 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 Under The Redcoat 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 any of your troops get into a situation where things are getting out of hand, the best thing for them to do is stop, swallow their pride, and walk away. If that’s not possible, tell them to get help - get (in this order) their NCO, their 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.

Many of the Colonial Williamsburg employees who are not part of the interpretive staff also enjoy participating in Under the Redcoat. They have received instructions from CW on the limits of their role in the event.

Having said all that, we must bear in mind that the primary focus of our activites is interpretive! The Opposition provides motivation and focus for our troops, but we should never let the "tactical" elements of UTR overshadow the fact that we are there to provide an interactive experience for the visitors.

We should be prepared to deal with those who might wish to interpret the black experience during the AWI. It has been estimated that “Between four and five thousand [black] men and women of all ages followed behind the baggage train of Cornwallis’ army on its doomed journey to Yorktown.” (Sylvia R. Frey - Water from the Rock). Blacks were used by the British as guides, spies, and informers, as well as a wide range of both skilled and common labor. Ewald’s Diary contains this observation: “Every soldier had his Negro, who carried his provisions and bundles.” “ Every officer had four to six horses and three or four Negroes, as well as one or two Negresses for cook and maid.  Every soldier’s woman was mounted and also had a Negro and Negress on horseback for her servants. Each squad has one or two horses and Negroes, and every noncommissioned officer had two horses and one Negro.”

The Blacks attached to the Army were under military discipline (this entry was written in the Brigade of Guards Orderly Book after Jan. 6, 1781 and before Jan. 7, 1781.  At this point in the Orderly Book, Cornwallis repeats orders issued on 27th Sept. 1780, Sept. 30, 1780, and October 4, 1780): 

“27th Sept. 1780- Lord Cornwallis finds it necessary to repeat the Order for marking all Negroes belonging to the Army, with the Number of the Regt. or Initial letters of the Department that Emplys them, & his Lordship. desires that they may be Acquainted that the depy. Provt. Marl. has. directions to take up, & flog out of the Encampment all those who are not Markd agreeable to Orders.__The D:P: Marshal has likewise orders to Execute on the Spot any Negro Who is found quitting the Line of March in search of plunder.”

Blacks attached to the Under the Redcoat forces will have an identification ticket with their name and Regiment or Department on it. This ticket will be issued by the Deputy Provost-Marshal. It may happen that a Loyalist master comes to reclaim possession of his slaves. Lord Cornwallis permitted masters who were loyal to the Crown to search his camp and take their slaves, provided that the slaves would consent to go. Clinton stated that slaves belonging to Loyalist masters would be restored only on condition that they would not be punished for running away. Clinton further said that Negroes formerly belonging to unfriendly persons now belonged “to the public”. If the escaped slaves of rebel masters served their new master faithfully for the war’s duration, they would receive their freedom. (Adapted from The Negro in the American Revolution by Benjamin Quarles)

All of this is an opportunity for us to make full use of our interpretive skills; in fact, it’s what has been asked of us!

Colonial Williamsburg is a major tourist attraction. Under The Redcoat is one of their most popular events. As reenactors and as living historians, we need to exhibit a high level of professionalism. We represent Colonial Williamsburg to the public, and should give them a dynamic and interactive living history experience.

I remain, Sirs,

Your servant,

Radford Polinsky

Event Manager

(Serjeant John Savage, Col's Coy. HM 33rd Foot)

(Provost Guard Serjeant-major)