Friday, July 10, 2015

Firearms Friday: Revolutionary Run And Gun

It always comes back to Botetourt!
I was wondering what I was going to write about this Friday for my usual firearms centric post as I wanted to tie it into my current travels in Virginia. I really was at a loss for any idea connecting the two until earlier today when we stumbled upon ‘militia training’ while walking down one of the long gravel paths behind the main thoroughfare in Colonial Williamsburg. As we got closer to the encampment I was welcomed with the familiar aroma of gunpowder hanging in the humid air.

The presentation began with a brief introduction about the living history display and what we can expect when exploring the different station at the camp including drum corps, artillery, and light infantry. From the cool cover of this briefing tent we ‘marched’ over to a large tree where we were instructed to take a “rifle” (i.e. large stick) and place it on our left shoulder. At this point we conducted a series of simple drills to simulate loading, aiming, and firing the weapon. And then there was the bayonet drills which my mom seemed to thoroughly enjoy.

Once we cleaned the rack, we had a choice as to which station we would like to experience. Given both family history during the revolution and my own interest in run and gun, it was an easy decision for me to immediately head over to light infantry. After a quick refresher of what we had just learned and a little more detail as to the role the light infantry played in the militia it was time for volunteers. No surprise, my hand was the first one up at which point we watched the demonstration of the course I was going to run.

First stage was at the 10 o’clock position where I was to load and fire. Bang!

Second stage, forward and at the 2 o'clock position from the first stage, was a repeat of the same procedure with the addition of throwing both a tomahawk at the silhouette and a grenade over the wall (disappointingly made of wood in both instances of course). I decided to go for the headshot. Bang!

The third and final stage was to return to where I started and provide cover fire for the next ‘soldier’ running the course. Bang!

Given the blisters that I had developed over the last few days and my overall un-athletic physique, I was rather surprised by how quickly this fat man can still move (without being winded at the end by the way).

From this station we moved over to artillery. It was interesting to watch a few volunteers go through the steps the first time around but it was much more entertaining when the demonstrators took their turn and put an actually, albeit light, load in the cannon.

I had no interest in drums so the best way to conclude this experience was with the fresh smoke and smell of gunpowder swirling in my nose.