A group of Revolutionary War re-enactors expressed gratitude for their forefathers Saturday at Fort Morris State Historic Site’s annual Come & Take It! encampment.
The event commemorates Col. John McIntosh’s defiant stand Nov. 25, 1778, against a British invasion. When the redcoats demanded that the fort at Sunbury surrender, McIntosh reportedly responded “Come and take it!”
“There’s a great deal of people who don’t know about Fort Morris, and don’t know that the American Revolution took place here in Georgia,” park manager Arthur Edgar said. Fort Morris had two confrontations with the British; it won one and lost one.
Clad in British uniforms, re-enactors Ernie Stewart and David Roberts of the 33rd Regiment of foot, a light infantry company, spoke about period dress and offered background on British military structure before conducting musket demonstrations.
“People like to interpret both sides,” Edgar said when asked why British re-enactors were present. “Just like the Civil War down here in the South — nobody wants to be a Yankee, but sometimes you’ve got to have a Yankee on the end of the field.”
Leading up to a canon firing, Fort King George park ranger Jason Baker spoke about canons and strategies for defending from a water attack.
After the cannons boomed, Edgar turned to the canonists and offered an oath: “To God, country and George Washington. Hip-hip!”
“Huzzah!” the men yelled back, waving their caps in the air.
Two traveling re-enactors from upstate New York, Jane Keir and Yannig Tanguy with Crown Point Bread Co., peddled breads and cookies baked with recipes from the era.
“It’s definitely another sensory element of the experience; you can smell the woodsmoke from the fires, hear the gunshots, and being able to taste the bread, it just adds to the deeper experience of seeing what life was like,” Keir said. “People are always amazed to be able to have a tangible example of what life was like, so it’s another artifact of the past.”
Hinesville couple Karla and Tracy Taylor brought their four children in search of historical fun.
The musket demonstrations gave the military family a great appreciation of the technology soldiers use today, they said.
“It was fun,” their son Jeremy Taylor added. “I liked the canons even though they were loud and hurt my ears.”
Whether revelers come for enlightenment or entertainment, re-enactor and cannon specialist Morgan Boesche said he hopes they take something with them.
“I do it out of a sense of trying to explain to people what the colonials went through to gain independence from a tyrannical king.” Boesche said. “It’s that attitude of love of liberty that I wish they would take away.”