Sunday’s weather was perfect for a good ride. The Battle of Monmouth reenactment was a good destination. I really haven’t embraced this new riding season this year, but I have a feeling that is soon to end. I hopped on Bonnie and traversed Staten Island to get to New Jersey. I had never taken this route before. I had always seen another crossing to my left as I looked down from the high bridge going toward the Jersey beaches or the now defunct Freehold Triumph where I bought my beautiful Bonnie 5 years ago. This time I was on that small rust bucket of a bridge looking up at the Interstate. I was somewhat dreading going south on Route 9 as it had always been a biker back breaker. Route 9 always had these buckles in the road every 50 to 100 yards that would send a domino effect of vertebrae vibrations that could be paralyzing if you didn’t lift off your seat in time. Much to my surprise New Jersey has smoothed that road out almost all the way to Freehold and Monmouth was a bit to the West from there.
I arrived just in time. When I pulled into the state park I was told the battle was about to begin. I was also informed that my entrance fee was to be half price for motorcycles. I can’t describe how pleased that makes me. I love a good motorcycle discount and always thrilled by motorcycle only parking.
Sure enough, just I got settled in my spot the troops advanced from their cover and BOOM, the canons fired beginning the battle!
They do a good job here. These people who create this scene spend the entire weekend camped out in character.
The battlefield is comprised of American regular army, frontiersmen, British army, loyalists, Hessians and other various soldiers from far off places.
The British Dragoons would attack the canon positions after they would fire trying to take out the infantry manning them.
Smoke filled there air with each loud burst from the canons.
After the battle the troops march in procession back to their respective camps.
I know a lot of people think these reenactments are silly, but when it is done well it really gives insight to a time past.
These two knuckleheads were vastly entertaining. It was like receiving a history lesson from the cast of Monty Python. Someone asked if their accents were real. Real or not they didn’t break character and added that the way we speak here in America is the way the language was changing in England as well. Then during a point of “Enlightenment” people began speaking with what we know as the British accent to sound more upper class and it stuck. I will have to investigate that further.
PS- I investigated, and he was right: http://www.livescience.com/33652-americans-brits-accents.html
I heard numerous false facts and statements throughout the day. I heard a kid ask his dad if George Washington was here. The father gave the kid a quick “no”. Not true; this was a pivotal battle for General Washington following his victory at Valley Forge. Then the kid asked if the the British general became President of England.
Another guy who actually worked for the parks service told a group of people that the trees surrounding the battlefield didn’t exist back then. He said it was farmland and crops as far as the eye can see. Looking at the old map of the battlefield below I would have to differ.
Most of the people stay in character throughout the weekend, but after a hard fought battle this British soldier couldn’t resist enjoying the refined taste of pre-rolled tobacco from our industries in Virginia. When the soldier saw me with the camera the cigarette quickly disappeared.
As I was making my last rounds around the camp this fella called me over and offered me a bit of accurate history about the times and weaponry of the era. His name was Cliff as I recall (I really stink at remembering names). He showed me the differences between the musket and rifle and told me about their uses in battle. He had different flints from France and England and demonstrated how they strike. He showed me how to measure powder and load the weapons and bragged about his own marksmanship. Cliff said he has been attending these reenactments for over 40 years but now has a bum leg and stays in the camp to inform the curious like myself. Thanks Cliff.
And finally before taking off I asked this lady from the British side to pose with my British lady.