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June 15, 2010

Hundreds of Military Re-enactors Re-create the 1781 British Army Occupation Of Williamsburg During “Under the Redcoat” Weekend June 25-27

Witness the arrival of the British Army as they seize Williamsburg and raise the British flag over the Capitol in Colonial Williamsburg’s Historic Area during Under the Redcoat, the re-creation of the occupation of the city by British Gen. Lord Charles Cornwallis near the end of the American Revolution. Hundreds of British Army re-enactors occupy the colonial capital during the annual weekend-long program from June 25-27.

Colonial Williamsburg’s guests see firsthand the trials and tribulations, hardships and loss of liberties suffered by the city’s 18th-century citizens at the hands of the world’s dominant military power of the time. Programs include:

Friday, June 25

  • Eighteenth-century Wardrobe Construction Clinic, every 20 minutes, 10 a.m. to 3:40 p.m., Costume Design Center. Get assistance with specific costume construction. Participants sign up for individual sessions and get answers to questions on construction, materials and techniques for creating or correcting an 18th-century wardrobe. Cost is $15 per session. Reservations are required and can be made through 1-800-HISTORY.

  • The Provost Guard Marches In, 3 p.m., Duke of Gloucester Street. The provost guard sets up camp near Market Square. Weather permitting. No admission ticket is required.

  • The Consequences of Occupation, 3:30, 3:50, 4:10 and 4:30 p.m., Raleigh Tavern. Join townspeople and express your concerns of the British Army entering Williamsburg.

  • Eighteenth-century Clothing: Reproduction and Adaptation Case Studies, 6 p.m., Bruton Heights School. This program traces the process of reproduction and adaptation of antique clothing used in Historic Area programming including elements of selection, analysis (patterning, reproduction and adaptation) and production. No ticket required.

  • Rule Britannia, 7:30 and 9 p.m., Governor’s Palace. Enjoy an evening of chamber music from the Georgian period played by the Governor’s Musick in the candlelit ballroom of the Royal Governor’s residence. Reservations are required. Ticket: Adults and children ages 6-17 $12, under 6 $6.

Saturday, June 26

  • Declaration of Martial Law, 11 a.m., Duke of Gloucester Street (Capitol Circle). One town after another has fallen into the hands of the seemingly unstoppable British Army. Williamsburg’s citizens are told what to expect from their “conquerors.” The terms of occupation are read to the citizens of the town.

  • “His Lordship Reviews His Troops,” 12:05 p.m., Capitol Green. General Cornwallis reviews his troops as they are exercised in the manual of arms. He then encourages all to join in a patriotic parade to the Market Square in celebration of yet another victory for His Majesty.

  • “To the Victors Go the Spoils,” 1 p.m., DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Col. Banastre Tarleton offers recollections of his Southern campaign, highlighting events surrounding the capture of a set of American colors. Free reservation required.

  • An Interview with His Lordship, 3, 3:30 and 4 p.m., Courthouse. Surrounded by his generals and senior staff, Lord Cornwallis agrees to speak with select citizens.

  • Retreat, 5 p.m., Market Square. The provost guard assembles on the parade for retreat and evening roll call. Orders of the day for Sunday are read. The troops are dismissed. No admission ticket is required.

  • Uniforms of the Revolutionary War –What Survives, 7:30 p.m., DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum. Military historian Marko Zlatich discusses surviving uniforms of the Revolutionary War period and what they reveal.

  • Tattoo, 8 p.m., Duke of Gloucester Street. The Tattoo was instituted to warn tavern keepers to “turn their taps to” or stop the flower of beer and ale to the soldiers who needed to return to camp. Join in the march as Fifes and Drums step off from the Capitol and stop before each tavern to beat the tattoo on their way to Market Square. No admission ticket is required.

Sunday, June 27

  • The Army Attends Divine Service, 11 a.m., Duke of Gloucester Street (Capitol Circle). The chaplain performs a drumhead church service with a reading of the Articles of War, followed by “God Save the King.”

  • Running to Freedom, 11:25 a.m., Coffeehouse backyard. News has spread that Lord Cornwallis and the British Army are planning to leave Williamsburg. Enslaved Virginians consider the option of joining them for the promise of freedom. How will this life-changing decision affect individuals within the enslaved community?

  • In His Majesty’s Service, noon, Raleigh Tavern steps. His Majesty extends an offer for you to join his forces. Volunteers are recruited, exercised in the manual of arms and marched from the Raleigh Tavern to the Market Square.

  • Laying a Trap, 3, 3:30 and 4 p.m., Courthouse. General Cornwallis holds a staff meeting to prepare to engage Lafayette and the American forces.

  • The Army Prepares to March, 5 p.m., Market Square. The battalion assembles on the parade in full marching order. The marching orders are read, and Gen. Cornwallis addresses the troops. No admission ticket is required.

Saturday and Sunday, June 26-27

  • Military Field Hospital, 10 a.m., Governor’s Palace. Surgeons care for wounded patients and smallpox victims.

  • Following the Army, 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., Saturday and 1:30 p.m., Sunday. This ongoing program highlights the roles of civilians who traveled with the army. No admission ticket is required.

  • A Dragoon Demonstration, 11:15 a.m., Saturday and 11:40 a.m., Sunday. Swift horses and able riders make the Light Dragoons the “eyes and ears” of the army. Bear witness to their practice as they hone their skills with sabers drawn. They must always be ready to engage the enemy.

  • Artillery Demonstration, 1 p.m., Saturday and 2:30 p.m., Sunday. Witness a demonstration of the Ultimate Argument of Kings. No admission ticket is required.

  • Drill and Firing Competition, 4 p.m., Saturday and 4:30 p.m., Sunday. All regular troops were expected to fire 15 rounds in three minutes and three quarters. See how well the troops perform. No admission ticket is required.

If confronted by British soldiers, guests are given the opportunity to sign an oath of loyalty to King George that allows them unhampered passage through army checkpoints scattered throughout the town.

“Under the Redcoat” is the first of two special re-enactment weekends in the Historic Area during 2010. Continental Army re-enactors flock to the Revolutionary capital to prepare for the siege of Yorktown, the final battle in the War for Independence, during “Prelude to Victory” Oct. 9-10.

Unless otherwise indicated, a Colonial Williamsburg admission ticket or Good Neighbor Card provides access to enjoy these programs. For more information, call 1-800-HISTORY.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is the not-for-profit educational and cultural organization dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and presentation of the restored 18th-century Revolutionary capital of Virginia. This town-sized living history museum tells the inspirational stories of our journey to become Americans through programs in the Historic Area and through the award-winning Revolutionary City program. Explore The Art Museums of Colonial Williamsburg and discover the DeWitt Wallace Decorative Arts Museum featuring the best in British and American decorative arts from 1670 – 1830 and the Abby Aldrich Rockefeller Folk Art Museum home to the nation’s premier collection of American folk art, comprising more than 5,000 folk art objects made during the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. Colonial Williamsburg Hotels feature conference spaces and recreation activities from spa and fine dining to world-class golf. Colonial Williamsburg is committed to expanding its thought-provoking programming through education outreach on-site and online. Purchase of Colonial Williamsburg products and services supports the preservation, research and educational programs of the Foundation.

Williamsburg is located in Virginia’s Tidewater region, 20 minutes from Newport News, within an hour’s drive of Richmond and Norfolk, and 150 miles south of Washington, D.C. For more information about Colonial Williamsburg, call 1-800-HISTORY or visit Colonial Williamsburg’s website at

Media Contact:
Penna Rogers
(757) 220-7121