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On Sunday, a group of reenactors worked to preserve the details of the decisive battle of the American Revolution, from the smell of gunpowder to the sound of barked orders to the sights of Continental Army uniforms.
Colonial National Historical Park hosted a volunteer unit of revolutionary soldiers at Yorktown Battlefield. The unit portrayed the 2nd Continental Artillery Regiment, which served at the 1781 Battle of Yorktown under the command of General John Lamb.
The volunteer unit twice fired an 18-pounder cannon, which was a replica of the largest siege cannons employed by the Americans at the Battle of Yorktown.
“The Royal and Lamb’s Artillery are made up of men and women who love history,” said park ranger Derold “Mac” McClammy. “They really live and breathe it and have made an enormous commitment to support our artillery programs and support the park.”
Reeanactor John Drummond’s love of history led him to get a master’s degree in military history. He wrote his thesis on the French artillery theories and advancements of the 18th-century, an artillery he says outclassed those of the British and other world powers. He also studied France's impact on the American Revolution.
Drummond said his favorite part of volunteering with Lamb’s artillery was meeting with guests after demonstrations.
“I really liked talking to the people,” said Drummond. “It’s such a wide variety of people. We have people from all over the world.”
Volunteer Tim Smith has been participating in reenactments since 1993 and agreed that meeting people was his favorite part of reenactments.
“We just meet so many people,” said Smith. “So many immigrants come here and have such interest in our history that people whose ancestors go back generations don’t always have.”
After the demonstration the two reenactors were eager to discuss topics such as the effective ranges of the various siege weapons throughout the park and suggest books written about the American Revolution. Despite their expertise, the reenactors said they sometimes find they are the ones being lectured.
“I’m always amazed by how much they know," Drummond said of the park's visitors. "And how much they want to know."
“I like to teach,” he added.
The park will host three more Lamb’s Artillery demonstrations in 2016, on Oct. 2 and 15, and Nov. 13. Remaining demonstrations of British artillery will take place on Sept. 24 and Nov. 13.