BENNINGTON -- In correlation with Bennington Battle Day this Saturday, Aug. 16, several opportunities are available for the public to extend their historical engagement beyond the rope line.
The Brigade of the American Revolution, a nonprofit living history association, has invited up to 15 members of the public to join reenactors.
"This is truly a unique opportunity, because usually people just stand back and watch," said Brigade member Peter Schaaphok. "This is something a little out of the ordinary."
Participants will follow alongside members of the costumed Brigade on the route of a section of Col. Moses Nichols' flanking march ending on "Hessian Hill," in time for the reenacted attack on the "Dragoon Redoubt," which will take place at the historic battlefield site in Walloomsac, New York, at 4:45 p.m.
This march was historically part of a two-pronged pincer movement initiated by militia Gen. John Stark to surround the Brunswick Dragoons in their barricade on "Hessian Hill."
The march will take place on a three-mile hike over what Schaaphok called a "mixed bag," of back roads, woods, fields and trails, which have been charted out ahead of time.
"Of course there is no way to actually know the route they took, so we are mostly guessing," Schaaphok said. "It's close enough to accurate, but we had to plan through land we know people don't mind us going on."
The Brigade of the American Revolution puts on a remembrance ceremony on Battle Day every year, but Saturday will be the first time they have put together a full re-enactment since 2007.
The Brigade consists of volunteer members who come from all kinds of backgrounds: They are teachers, lawyers, businessmen, industrial workers and members of various communities. But, every now and then, they assume the identity of centuries-old individuals for the sake of their own interest in history.
There are still spaces open to the public to hike with the reenactors. For details on the time, meeting place or to reserve a place as one of the 15, call Schaaphok at 518-369-0910 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For those interested in tracing the steps of the Germans involvement in the Battle of Bennington, Lakes to Locks Passage's Lieutenant Colonel Friedrich Baum Trail can be followed to the Bennington Battlefield, where Baum and his men met their fate.
Lakes to Locks has been developing a mobile application that would take individuals on a GPS-guided tour along Baum's hike to the hill to promote the historical significance of German involvement in the Revolutionary War.
Lakes to Locks planned to have the Beta version of the application, that would explain the historical value of every turn in the trail, available in time for Battle Day. Executive Director Janet Kennedy said the technology is not ready for debut, but that history buffs can still take part using mobile devices or printed information.
Connect to the Lakes to Locks site at http://www.lakestolocks.org/content_detail.php?uid=ltl9427411ECA72E233D to find an audio- or print-guided tour with a visual lesson in geographical history along roads leading from Fort Edward to the Bennington Battlefield.
To get the full picture, people can take the route with an audio history lesson to arrive at the Walloomsac historical site in time for the start of the Battle reenactment at 1:30 p.m.
The battle site will be open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Saturday, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday for the reenactment and related activities.
The Brigade of the American Revolution will hold its annual remembrance ceremony for those that lost their lives in the Battle of Bennington at the top of the hill after the reenactment on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
On Tuesday, Aug. 19, the Bennington chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will meet at the Bennington Centre Cemetery in Old Bennington at noon to lay wreaths on tombstones to honor fallen Bennington Battle patriots. The ceremony is open to the public. Dessert and beverages will be served. For more information, call Janet Wilson at 802-375-9020.
Contact Tom Momberg at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @TomMomberg