Battle of Chase Farm
Step back in time to the 18th century on the weekend of October 19-20, when the tranquil landscape of Lincoln’s Chase Farm Park will undergo a dramatic change as hundreds of troops of Redcoats and Rebels fill the fields with musket fire as they reenact the history that led to the birth of our country.
Over the course of the weekend, visitors will see two separate engagements between British and American soldiers, in addition to hearing the stories from those who took part in the battles. The American Revolution lasted from 1775-1783. This reenactment event, The Battle of Chase Farm, will portray a combination of actual battles that took place during the Revolution.
Spectators will get to experience a narrated, full-scale battle each day between the Continental Army soldiers and the British Army, Loyalists, Native Americans, and Followers of the Army. The music of fife and drum corps will be interspersed with the shouts of the troops and sounds of musket fire.
A large encampment of both soldiers and civilians will offer living history presentations to the public, including drills, artillery demonstrations, medical scenarios, laundry, cooking, clothing repairs and more. Colonial-era games and kid-centered activities will also be featured. Sutlers, merchants who followed the troops, will be on hand with a variety of period goods for sale to the public. Food vendors will also be on site.
“As one of the largest reenactment events in New England this year, the event will draw nearly 500 re-enactors from throughout the country to bring the history of our nation’s beginnings to life, states Kathy Hartley, president of the Hearthside House Museum. “The open meadows, rolling hills, and history surrounding this former dairy farm offers an idyllic setting for the dramatic re-creation of this most important history lesson that every citizen should know and appreciate.”
The event is designed to appeal to families of all ages, and they are encouraged to plan on spending the entire day in order to participate in all the activities being offered throughout the historic campus. Chase Farm Park will be open from 10:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. A limited number of separate tickets may be purchased for a tour of the camps by lantern from 6:00-7:00 p.m. On Sunday, the hours are from 9:30 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. The adjoining historic sites will be open later on both days, closing at 4:30 p.m.
Other features include special exhibits at the Hearthside Museum, next door to the Park, that will showcase Rhode Island’s pre-Revolutionary War event, the GaspeeAffair. A ship’s model of the Gaspee will be on display on Saturday. The "Gaspee in Virtual Reality," an innovative educational experience that tells the story of the Gaspee Affair and the burning of the ship in Narragansett Bay will be presented by Brown University’s Adam Blumenthal. Also on Saturday will be an appearance by the Pawtuxet Rangers, formed in 1774 and among the oldest existing chartered commands in the country as they give the Talbot family a fitting welcome back to their ancestors' home, Hearthside. Docents in colonial attire, Revolutionary War artifacts and exhibits, and presentations are also on the schedule at Hearthside.
Although Hearthside was not built until 1810, some 27 years after the war ended, there is a connection to the American Revolution through the Talbot family. The house was named Hearthside by the Talbots who lived there in the early 20th century. Among the antiques displayed at the Talbot’s house was a portrait of their ancestor Silas Talbot, which hung prominently in the dining room. Silas was from Providence whose fame came as a Revolutionary War hero, serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Continental army under George Washington. He was captured 13 times during the War. He miraculously survived and went on to command the U.S.S. Constitution after the war. William Talbot, great grandson of Silas Talbot and father of Hearthside’s owner Arnold Talbot, lived in Providence and was responsible for saving the Gaspee Room from the Sabin Tavern where the scheme to burn the British ship,Gaspee, in Narragansett Bay was hatched. He had the room moved to his home on Williams Street where it remains today. His wife, Mary, was one of the founders of the Gaspee Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution. Today, five generations of Talbot family portraits are once again displayed at Hearthside, just as they were over 100 years ago.
Other historic sites featured during the weekend’s events are the newly-restored one-room Pullen’s Corner Schoolhouse, which will be temporarily transformed into a doctor’s office as part of the re-enactment, and the Hannaway Blacksmith Shop, where spectators may watch demonstrations at this original shop. A shuttle will provide transportation to the 1812 Moffett Mill, a rare survivor of the early Industrial Revolution. All of these sites are part of the Great Road Heritage Campus at Chase Farm Park.
Organizers of the Battle of Chase Farm are Tew’s Company, 2nd Rhode Island Regiment, and His Majesty’s Indian Department and is being hosted by the Friends of Hearthside, and the Town of Lincoln. Friends of Hearthside is an all-volunteer organization that serves as stewards of the Town-owned historical properties of the Great Road Heritage Campus at Chase Farm Park, including Hearthside House Museum, the Hannaway Shop, the Pullen's Corner School House, and the Moffett Mill. Proceeds from the event help support the preservation and programming at the sites.