The free two-day event will bring to life the land and sea battle that started the Revolutionary War in Virginia.
Nearly 100 re-enactors will portray troops involved in the battle. Patriots will clash with a small flotilla of period boats resolute to land British Redcoats determined to burn Hampton to the ground.
“This truly will be a unique reenactment experience," said Luci Cochran, executive director of the Hampton History Museum. "It won’t be a fight between two armies in a remote field somewhere. This is a land and sea battle, with colonists fighting from the shore, and the British firing cannons onto the shore from ships in the harbor, and close combat in the city’s streets. You’ll find yourself in the midst of a running battle where the Patriots repel the British from our city”
Reenactors on the American side include the 6th Virginia Regiment, 7th Virginia Regiment, 2nd North Carolina Regiment and the 6th North Carolina Regiment. These Patriots will clash with a small flotilla of period boats determined to land British Redcoats from the 14th Regiment, 64th Regiment, 76th Regiment and the Queen’s Own Loyalists in an effort to destroy the city.
Boats and ships enlisted for the sea battle reenactment include the 65’ Serenity from Yorktown, VA; the 54’ Meka II from Beaufort, NC; the 29’6” Moon from Johnsonburg, NJ; and the 16’5” Renascent from Smithfield, VA. The Renascent is being portrayed as one of the boats from the HMS Otter. The Otter was the Sloop of War that Captain Squires commanded during the occupation of Hampton Roads by Lord Dunmore.
“The Battle of Hampton, which occurred on October 26-27, 1775, marked the beginning of revolutionary warfare in Virginia. Six months had passed since the battles of Lexington and Concord, but blood was not shed in Virginia until fighting started between Virginia Patriots and forces aligned with Britain," says Mike Cecere of the 7th Virginia Regiment, the hosting reenactment group.
Both days begin at 10:00 a.m. with activities at both the British and Patriot’s camps in Mill Point Park. Visitors will get to hear both sides of the story, experience daily life of the soldiers, witness a cannon demonstration and be invited to participate in activities including muster and drill.
In Mill Point Park, visitors will find a 18th century general store in a 25’ by 25’ period tent selling colonial-style candy, cutlery, pottery, glassware, military insignia, currency reproductions, yarn, jewelry, pouches, period toys and games, hats, nautical instruments, canteens, fifes, bone and horn items, and a variety of other product one would find in a general store during the Revolutionary era.
At 11:00 a.m. Saturday, focus moves to historic St. John’s Church for interpretations of some of the conflict’s most pivotal figures. These Revolutionary War patriots include the Rev. William Selden interpreted by Rev. Samantha Vincent-Alexander of St. John’s Church; tavern owner John Jones, interpreted by restaurateur Carlyle Bland of Marker 20 and Venture; and Captain James Barron interpreted by shipbuilder Tim Smith
Each day at 1:00 p.m. brings the naval battle off the wharf and in the harbor. Following the spectacle of British vessels firing at the defending patriots onshore, activity will shift to military skirmishes out in the streets of downtown Hampton.
Historian Michael Cobb will lead special walking tours of downtown Hampton highlighting points of interest related to the Battle of Hampton on Saturday and Sunday at noon and at 3 p.m. departing from the Hampton History Museum.
Throughout the day, food vendors, period craft demonstrations, living history and music will take place at the Maritime Center by the Crowne Plaza Marina Hotel. Educational, hands-on activities will be offered by event partners, including the Watermen’s Museum, Virginia Air & Space Center, Mariners’ Museum and Heritage Education.
Heritage Education will set up a camp complete with blacksmith forge, wool carding and spinning, net and crab pot making, cooking demonstration and other colonial era activities.
The Mariners' Museum booth will feature a hands-on activity where kids explore the concept on buoyancy. During this activity participants will build a boat from tinfoil which will then be put to the test with a load of cargo.
The Virginia Air & Space Center will relate the correlation between the sun and wind that makes sailing possible. Through a sun telescope visitors may view the sun to see sun spots and solar flares. A science educator from the VASC will explain how the sun creates winds by heating the air and making it rise which creates air currents.
Strolling musicians Gabe Stone and Stephen Christoff are "The Turnspit Dogs." They will perform Popular Music of the 18th century with virtuosity and humor. Included in their musical menagerie are Baroque Guitars, Serpent, Sackbut, Flutes, Saw, Hurdy Gurdy, Bagpipes, Fist Whistle, Mandolins, and Bones.
The Fife and Drums of York Town will perform in two groups: one in Mill Point Park and the other outside the Maritime Center at the Crowne Plaza Marina Hotel.
It is often taken for granted that after Lexington and Concord the other colonies fell into line, but the truth is, six months passed after Lexington before blood was shed in Virginia and that conflict occurred in Hampton.
The fighting that occurred in Hampton marked a pivotal moment in Virginia history. Unlike Falmouth Massachusetts (present day Portland Maine which was burnt to the ground ten days before the engagement at Hampton), the Virginia forces at Hampton boldly resisted and repulsed the attempted destruction of their town by the British navy.
Presented by the Hampton History Museum, the Battle of Hampton is sponsored by the Hampton Convention & Visitor Bureau and the Downtown Hampton Development Partnership with media support from WHRO and the Daily Press.
The Hampton History Museum is located at 120 Old Hampton Lane in downtown Hampton. For more information, dial 757/727-1610.
Partially bordered by the Hampton Roads harbor and Chesapeake Bay, Hampton, with the 344,000 sq. ft. Hampton Roads Convention Center, is located in the center of the Hampton Roads metropolitan area. Hampton is the site of America's first continuous English-speaking settlement and is home to such visitor attractions as the Virginia Air & Space Center and Riverside IMAX ® Theater, Hampton History Museum, harbor tours and cruises, Hampton University Museum, Fort Monroe, award-winning Hampton Coliseum, The American Theatre, among others.