There will be something for everyone to see and do on the grounds of the Trent House during the 2nd annual re-enactment of Washington’s and Rochambeau’s encampment at Trenton in August 1781.
The Trent House with its partners – Trenton City Museum at Ellarslie, Lawrence Historical Society, and the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association-New Jersey – is hosting the second re-enactment of Trenton’s role at this critical point in the Revolutionary War.
Thousands of soldiers of the Continental army under General Washington and the French army under General Rochambeau – and the men, women, and children who supported them – camped in Trenton half-way through their almost-700 mile march to Virginia. Crossing the Delaware River, the combined forces continued to Yorktown, where the Americans and their French allies defeated British General Cornwallis, ending the War for Independence.
Children can join a scavenger hunt, collecting tokens as they participate in each activity and visit each presenter.
Books and other prizes will be given.
Le Regiment Bourbonnais, a French infantry unit, will set up a military camp on the grounds, show visitors how ordinary soldiers lived while not on the battlefield.
They will demonstrate camp cooking, teach children how to drill with French commands, and encourage children and adults to try on articles of their uniforms for photos and to try their luck in dice and card games.
The 1st Rhode Island Regiment, known as the “Black Regiment” for its African American soldiers, will regale visitors with their stories of courage on the battlefield.
Another Black soldier in the Continental forces, Ned Hector, will describe his experiences as a teamster hauling supplies and armaments and as a bombardier who assembled ammunition and placed it in cannon for firing.
It was not just wounds from the battlefield that thinned the ranks of the armies, nor was it only soldiers who suffered injury. Very often disease was as deadly an enemy as the opposing army.
Meet interpreters of medical professionals of the Revolutionary War – surgeons and apothecaries. Examine their equipment and learn how medicines were made. Hear about their challenges in treating injuries and disease in an era when the understanding of germs was in its infancy and illness was associated with an imbalance of “humors” in the body.
Adults and teens can study maps that the French military cartographer Louis-Alexandre Berthier made during the march of Washington’s and Rochambeau’s armies through Mercer County and compare the roads and terrain of that time with those of today.
Throughout the day, Dr. Robert Selig, Historian for the National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association, will give informal talks, highlighting the historical record of the encampment in Trenton.
Visitors can add National Park Service stamps for both the Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route National Historic Trail and the Crossroads of the American Revolution National Heritage Area.