SALLY SANTORA/For the County News
U.S. 23rd Infantry Regiment prepares for War of 1812 reenactment at Genesee Country Village on June 23 and 24.
Genesee Country Village
Re-enactors bring ‘The Forgotten War’ back to life
Two-hundred years ago, hundreds of brave men from our Western New York and the Finger Lakes regions assembled themselves for what would be called in history, “the second war of independence.”
Again fighting against Great Britain, this time the United States, under President James Madison’s orders, invaded Canada, a British colony, in the June of 1812.
On June 23 and 24, the weekend activities at the Genesee Country Village and Museum will be devoted to the bicentennial celebration of the War of 1812.
The “forgotten war” as referred to by some historians, will be recreated at the village by dozens of reenactors, including the U.S. 23rd Infantry Regiment, comprised of Eric Borresen (Rochester), Bill Parke (Buffalo), David Woodruff (Rochester) and Thomas Walters, a family physician from Livonia.
The men spent Saturday preparing for the activities that will take place later this month and say they are dedicated to preserving this piece of history as it not only impacts the local Genesee, Buffalo and Finger Lakes region, but also the nation.
“It’s out of our sense of patriotism and love for local history that we do this,” Dr. Walters said.
They will be outfitted in authentic military uniforms commonly worn in the war. Much of their uniform is handmade, down to the authentic buttons on their jackets, hand cast by a company in Ohio.
They carry a 1795 Springfield musket, the firearm used in the War of 1812. Their uniform includes a handmade leather shakos, a tall military cap with a visor. The total cost for a complete uniform is about $1,500.
At the onset of the War of 1812, the British maintained possession of Forts Niagara and Oswego, thrusting Western New York into the heat of the battleground. Every able-bodied adult male in the Genesee region was required to serve in a local militia in some fashion.
The US 23rd Infantry Regiment has a busy schedule that includes reenactments at numerous events across the region this summer that commemorate many of the local battles, including the declaration of the War of 1812, highlighted later this month at GCV&M.
The weekend’s activities begin with a parade and flag raising Saturday morning. The event also focuses on Jane Austen. The Genesee Harmonic Society will perform on Sunday. The event is sponsored in part by New York Council on the Humanities.
On October 13, the regiment will reenact the Battle of Queenston Heights, which was the first major battle in the War of 1812, fought in the area that is now Ontario, Canada. Brigadier General William Wadsworth (Geneseo) led the New York militia in the Battle of Queenston Heights.
The battle ended with Wadsworth being taken prisoner and a surrender to the British forces, which included numerous Native Americans attached to British forces.