Significant Past Events - Head of Elk, Maryland 2002

     Head of Elk is always a very unique event.  This was the second time the good people of Elkton, Maryland commemorated the landing of British troops on their front door, kicking off what was to become the Philadelphia Campaign, their way to circumnavigate the Delaware forts and take Philadelphia.  What's so unique about that?  History repeated itself a second time in a most unusual way.

     Historically, there was no battle here, as a huge storm had ravaged the entire eastern seaboard, soaking the gunpowder on both sides.  Although disappointed at not being able to attack the British as they disembarked, fate smiled on Washington, for he had grossly misjudged the number of Sir William Howe's forces, and would have surely been defeated.  The most exciting thing that happened was that 'rebel' forces appropriated a small rowboat (complete with four oars), and proceeded to row around the British ships and taunt his majesty's royal forces.  The British could only throw things at them, as their guns were useless.

     During the September 4, 1999 reenactment of the event, Mother nature showed she does have a sense of humor as she sent Hurricane Dennis to the East coast the weekend of our gathering.  Late that Saturday evening, the alarm went out to break camp and evacuate the park, which was located in a flood plain.  Reenactors banded together to make sure everyone was safely packed and on their way, before the rains flooded the entire area under ten feet of water.  Two weeks later the remnants of Hurricane Floyd added even more water to the area.

     Hoping to avoid the same fate if history repeated itself again, the coordinators of the 2002 event chose much higher ground for the August 24-25 reenactment that would kick off the 225th anniversary of the Philadelphia Campaign.  The weather was hot and humid, with a few scattered showers Saturday morning.  We had two successful battles, with us having the chance to play both loyalist and patriot.  As we finished up our unit meeting that evening, the skies turned ominously dark, the wind picked up, then the skies opened up as we all made sure all our tents and gear was properly secured for the storm.  For 45 minutes we endured heavy winds and torrential rain, keeping none of us dry under the fly as the water whipped all around.  The ground turned to mud and puddles, then the front passed by and left us with a wonderfully cooler and less humid night.

     The only casualty was John's tent, which the wind knocked over and managed to soak most of his goodies ... but, they will all dry, and we will retell the saga of Head of Elk over and over again for future generations of the 11th PA to wonder if history will, again, repeat itself the next time we gather on this plain.

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As usual ... John ALWAYS has a smile

Nothing stops John, even a broken tent pole

David takes to the field for his first battle

Safety inspection complete ... it's time to take to the field

Not bad for pictures taken by injured Kristy with her zoon lens from under the unit fly

Playing Loyalists, we advance on the Rebel redoubt

They hit Charles, John and James ... all in one volley !!!

Heavy casualties as the Rebels hide behind fence rails

This is no time to play hero ... lets get out of here !!!

RUN AWAY !!!

... waiting for the dead to arise

Reforming after the battle

Have camera ... will shoot - They can't get a moment's peace

Chuck and Donah

The expression on Randy's face tells you how hot it is

Hey John ... there's STUMPY

The heat has Kristy thinking she's a bunny rabbit

EVERYONE was overheated

Sean says it's time to eat the Mother of all Stews

Second battle ... this time the Brits get the redoubt

Patriot forces are successful at routing the Redcoats

There's an image burned into the brain that won't be soon forgotten

Lost members of the illusive - ever migratory - Luahu tribe

Hi Marge and Wayne

Even David gets into the spirit

Donah and Kristy soak their tootsies in a pan of ice water

The meeting gets underway as everyone cools off

Pictures from the historic 1999 Event

FOR SALE : Unfurnished, one room tent ... cheap

Home set up again

Can you spot the historical inaccuracies?  I'll bet Donah can

The neighborhood

We had a meeting then, too

Membership meeting

. . . then drinks

Lauren, Jen and Kate

The girls just before the evacuation

CLICK HERE to read the Philadelphia Inquirer's article by Michael Schaffer on this event

Learn more about Head of Elk at http://www.ushistory.org/march/phila/elk.htm

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