Today was a fun day. The drive from the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania, to Mount Harmon, in Maryland, took a little over two hours and despite having to get up insanely early, it wasn’t a terrible ride. We happened to arrive at the site around 9:15, and were (incidentally) the very first spectators to arrive and had our choice of parking spots (which was very cool). The staff and volunteers on site were very polite and extremely instructive. Upon first entering the encampment, we were able to watch the various battalions and units drill prior to the morning tactical.
The sun was out in full force for the fall; I think it breached 68 degrees and for an event like this that’s warm (especially since the area used as a battlefield was so vast). By the time the second public battle took place, I was slightly sunburned. Nevertheless, the plantation was beautiful. The lake was amazing. It was serene; like stepping back in time. It was one event I won’t soon forget.
I received my press pass early and was able to access certain areas of the battlefield during the tactical event, under escort from some of the reenactors who made sure I stayed at a decent distance away from the conflict and didn’t end up in the middle of the fighting (safety is always key). Nothing irritates an event coordinator more than arrogant photographers thinking they can just waltz in between two firing lines for a good shot. STAY BACK. If someone accidentally forgets and loads their musket with their ramrod and forgets to remove it, that ramrod becomes a deadly projectile and guess who is in the way? YOU.
Anyway, the tactical was pretty cool. Unfortunately the dense terrain and fast-paced tactics meant that shots were difficult to get, though I seemed to be one of the few photographers around to capture the action. That part was cool.
I spent some time with some of the members of my reenacting unit, the 6th Pennsylvania, and took advantage of the 30 sutlers at the event (I walked away with a slightly used felt tricorn hat for $20, which is a steal!). I also partook of some of the fine cuisine (hot dogs and cookies) in between reenactments. Photos of the camp are also included below.
Of course the main event was the public battle. There were easily over a thousand reenactors and living history presenters; hands down this was the event to see. Some 30 dragoons really brought a level of intensity to the engagement and there were about 8 field pieces (rough count) total (for British and American forces). When the canons went off, people applauded. It was really cool. Unfortunately, I could only stay through half of the final engagement because of the time–I still had a two-and-a-half hour ride home and all of us were hungry and tired from the day.
Let me stress that I had nothing but positive experiences at this event; unlike Wyoming the coordinators worked well with all photographers and kept the public informed about everything. At one point we had set up where we anticipated the battle would take place; we were immediately corrected and were given ample time to set up at the actual location. The staff at the plantation were very friendly and worked hard to educate the public about this valuable bit of American history. There were plenty of port-a-potties (this is a big deal) on top of a very nice public restroom on site. Plenty of water on hand for everyone as well.
This is an event I would attend again.
Here are my edited photos. Please do not remove the watermark info; if you want to use any of these images, please ask permission to do so:
Here are the raw images. Please do not remove the watermark info; if you want to use any of these images, please ask permission to do so!