Bushy Run Battlefield Re-Enactment

The volunteers at the Busy Run Battlefield (in southwestern Pennsylvania) put on a fantastic event today, commemorating the high point of Pontiac’s War (the last major unified attempt of the native Americans to oppose British colonization in the aftermath of the French and Indian War).
The event continues tomorrow, with a very engaging series of small interpretive events starting at 11, supplying visitors with the historical context and the viewpoints of several different participants, a re-enactment of the ambush of a column of redcoats marching to resupply Ft Pitt, and a discussion of the aftermath. As is typical of re-enactments, participants set up base camps where they offer demonstrations and role-playing. The native American camp had a groundhog roasting on a spit. (it tastes like chicken, my son says. My daughter says it tastes like roast beef, which is ironic because she had refused a roast beef sandwich for lunch, but went back for multiple helpings of groundhog.) There are also vendors offering everything from carved wooden spoons to hand-made soaps.
The afternoon event was the interpretation of the second day of the battle, where the native forces continued their hit-and-run tactics, which had been very effective against the line formations of the British. General Bouquet distracted the natives fit a feigned retreat, while a group of solderers swung around and attackednthe natives from behind, taking them by surprise and routing them.
My son, who is quite the history buff, got to speak for about 20 minutes with a WWII vet, who told us of his participation in the battle of Iwo Jima.
When Peter gets a little older, we will probably get him started as a re-enactor. For now, we’re just gathering information. I find that when I walk up to a re-enactor with Peter, the re-enactor will generally start out directing their stories to me, but soon shift to Peter, since truth be told he has far more interest in the finer details of military history.

One thought on “Bushy Run Battlefield Re-Enactment

  1. It sounds like a fun, fascinating day. If you and your family ever find yourselves up this way (about an hour up the Hudson from NYC), I hope you might think about stopping by for a day — the History Department here loves to brag that they teach the history that their graduates make, and they’re very good at teaching it, and also at doing outreach and engaging the community. They’re happy to talk to folks about Benedict Arnold, about Custer, MacArthur, Patton, Ike, Grant, Lee, and all the other grads, and all the history that’s happened here. You’re certainly more than welcome.
    The base camps sound familiar from the afternoon Lauralea and I had earlier this year, when the History Department had their historical weapons shoot, and faculty members and friends and family were invited out to one of the ranges to try out old weapons, and to talk to reenactors in period costumes who were barbecuing in much the manner you describe. Long ago, with cub scouts, I fired a Brown Bess musket; this time, I got to fire a B.A.R., a WWI Mosin-Nagant (no safety! no magazine! just load and shoot!), an AK-47, and an SVD Dragunov. It sounds like General Bouquet’s maneuver might have been a distant heir to the Maine regiment’s “swinging door” tactic at Little Round Top — but I bet your son would be a better judge of that than I.

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