By Sue Moore
The Redcoats coming to Vicksburg? Maybe. No need to panic.
If planning becomes a reality, Revolutionary War re-enactors from both sides–British and Loyalists against Continentals and the militia, would battle at the village Recreation Area on June 25-26 next year.
An application, funded by the Vicksburg Rotary Club, has been submitted to the North West Territory Alliance (NWTA) for their participation.
Over 200 men, women, and children, would be expected to attend from the Alliance. Their responsibility would be to stage mock battles for the public to attend, according to Stefan Sekula. His 84th Scottish Highlanders would be the host unit from the NWTA, which has a calendar of re-enactment events that goes from May through October each year throughout the Midwest.
Vicksburg’s Battle on Sunset Lake, as it is proposed, would take place as a scheduled event on the Alliance calendar. In return, local participants will actively seek sponsorships to support the skirmishers. This would include a mock battle in the Historic Village with the village renamed as Lexington, and the rec park as Concord, Massachusetts towns where battles in April, 1775, marked the start of the American Revolution. They would plan a parade through downtown Vicksburg, on Saturday, in conjunction with the Chamber of Commerce’s Taste of Vicksburg.
Chief organizers of the event are the Boy Scouts of Troop 251, the Vicksburg Historical Society as the fiscal agent, the Village of Vicksburg, the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), Sons of the American Revolution (SAR), the Rotary Club, and the South County News. Other groups are currently being asked to participate, particularly when it comes to feeding the re-enactors on Saturday evening in the pavilion.
The idea for such an undertaking began with the 75th anniversary camporee that the Boy Scouts in Troop 251 celebrated in April in the Historic Village. Sekula was invited by Troy Smith, a Boy Scout volunteer, to come in costume and help educate the campers about the Revolutionary War. He brought two other members of his unit, Ric Hansen, and Larry Hengesbach. The scouts were enthralled with the gear, the clothing, and the historic aspect of the Scottish Highlanders Sekula was representing.
He was asked if they would come back again with lots more of his compatriots. Thus the idea was hatched for a full scale re-enactment. Sekula and his larger unit of the 84th Scottish Highlanders regiment have volunteered to be the host unit from the NWTA. This means he and his helpers will make decisions about staging the mock battles, recruit the re-enactors, and plan for their participation. The sponsors of the event will help with the expenses, promote the two days of activities, and provide the venues.
The NWTA is dedicated to educating its members and the public about America’s Revolutionary War, a somewhat forgotten period of history, according to Sekula. This is mainly because the anniversary of the Civil War and the War of 1812, have been re-enacted successfully over the last few years. The Alliance aims to change this by reinvigorating its own organization with plenty of scheduled events in the Midwest. None of these occur in Michigan–one of the reasons the Vicksburg location would be selected.