Tuesday, 13 June 2017 15:17

Welcome to the occupation: Historic Site to recreate British invasion

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British reenactors march through Halifax during 2015's Muster Days. British reenactors march through Halifax during 2015's Muster Days.

In 1781 Cornwallis’s army was making its way from Wilmington to Yorktown, the site of their ultimate surrender.

For five days in May they would stay in Halifax, damage a Continental Army supply depot and a munitions factory.
Saturday, Historic Halifax will recreate that occupation, including a court martial scene at the jail of the Historic Site.
The court martial scene begins at 1 p.m. The occupation of Halifax day begins at 10 a.m. and will run through 5 p.m. There will also be activities Sunday.
During the actual occupation of Halifax there were two court martials, one of a British sergeant and one of a dragoon, Site Manager Robert Bemis said. Both were executed.
The court martials of the sergeant and dragoon, ordered by Cornwallis, according to the state Historic Site website was “for outrages against the town and citizens of Halifax for which they had been responsible.”
The state Historic Site says homes were plundered of valuables and the people insulted.
There were skirmishes as well, site interpreter Frank McMahon said, one at Fishing Creek and another near the grounds of the Historic Site close to the river.
It was during the skirmish at the Historic Site General Banastre Tarleton and his British legion outflanked local militia, which pulled out. British troops fired cannons across the Roanoke River to entrenchments, McMahon said.
After the militia was outflanked, the British left Halifax.
The exodus from Wilmington, McMahon said, came after Cornwallis’s army became “stretched too thin, too far from their operation base. The Carolinas were not working out.”
Bemis said Saturday’s event will be a small vignette with some 60 to 70 reenactors, some 25 british and between 35 to 40 Americans.

Saturday schedule

10 a.m.

March into Halifax (Davie House parking lot to Sally Billy House)


Orders of the day (Sally Billy House)

11:30 a.m.

Artillery Demonstration (behind Tap Room)


Kid’s Militia Muster (Halifax Green)

1 p.m.

Court martial (Jail)

2 p.m.

Kid’s Militia Muster (Halifax Green)

3 p.m.

Drill and tactical demonstration (Halifax Green)

4 p.m.

Artillery demonstration (behind Tap Room)

Sunday schedule

10 a.m.

Site open to the public

11 a.m.

Period church service


Kid’s Militia Muster (Halifax Green)

1 p.m.

Breakdown camp

1:30 p.m.

Artillery Demonstration (behind Tap Room)

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