What Cheer! Day Preparation Underway

It’s a busy week for us here at the RIHS, as everyone prepares for our first What Cheer! Day  on Saturday, October 13.
There are activities at every site: lectures and roundtables at the Aldrich House, lectures and tours at the Library, and an encampment and living history activities at the John Brown House.  Reenactors from several local regiments will be on hand representing Continental Line soldiers of the 2nd Rhode Island Regiment, French Allies with the Regiment Bourbonnais, and the Regulars of His Majesty’s 54th Regiment of Foot. This lineup is especially meaningful for us because of the deep connections not only to the Rhode Island Regiment and our French Allies, but to the re-enacted unit that occupied Newport from December, 1775 until October, 1779.
What will you see on Saturday at the John Brown House?
In the encampment you’ll see cooking, for one thing. Soldiers’ rations in the Continental Line were 1 pound of meat and 1 pound of flour or bread a day. We’re expecting 14 Rhode Island soldiers—will there be enough to eat, or will they complain of short rations, as soldiers so often do?
There will also be drilling. Soldiers have to keep sharp and ready and discipline must be maintained.  After Baron von Steuben joined Washington’s army at Valley Forge, new discipline and routines were put into effect. Did you know that the American “ordinary step” for a march was 75 beats per minute, but for the British it was 60?
Inside the Museum, you can join RIHS Registrar Dana Signe Munroe for a Civil War mitten knit-along. A  pattern and yarn are available as a kit, and Dana will provide instruction between 10 and 12 noon in the First Floor Gallery where the mitten is on display.
For more information, click on the link to the program, or check back here for updates each day this week. ~ Kirsten Hammerstrom, Director of Collections

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