Continental Army Looks Me Over In Historic Philadelphia

Continental Army
Written by Terry Gardner

terry-gardner-anewdomainaNewDomain — I always thought that if ever called to serve my country, I would pick up a firearm to defend life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. But…

Last week in historic Philadelphia, at the Once Upon A Nation Living History Military Muster Re-enactment, I discovered that I don’t have the right stuff to be make it in the Continental Army. Perhaps if I hadn’t given up meat and embraced the peace and love beach culture in California…

Continental ArmyMusket practice

When we had to practice hoisting our rifles, I kept hoisting mine to my right shoulder instead of the left. Everyone else correctly hoisted their wooden “practice” musket. It’s embarrassing to see that children under 10 were made of tougher mettle than me.

But I did eventually pass the test of knowing my right from left. And I had sufficient teeth to get into the Continental Army. And, had I not deserted, the drill sergeant might have taken me, too. That shows how desperate George Washington’s Army was for soldiers. All summer long, they seem willing to enlist men, women and children.

Continental ArmyWhy I deserted

Now, about my desertion. It was clear I wasn’t going to be a successful soldier. So I deserted. So that my readers would have pictures and videos. To see how much fun a Continental Army Military Muster can be.

This is the 10th anniversary of Once Upon a Nation. They offer interactive entertainment to help visitors feel like they are back in 1776.

Although the Muster schedule can vary, it usually happens Tuesdays-Saturdays at 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. You don’t need a ticket. You just show up to either watch or join the Continental Army.

The benefit of being approved for enlistment is that you get to practice putting an imaginary bayonet on your “rifle.” You have a chance to charge across the green. For graduation you march to the Signer’s statue behind Independence Hall. There the Declaration of Independence is read by a group of patriots.

Continental ArmySomething I’m good at

I was far more successful getting tipsy on Historic Philadelphia’s Tippler’s Tour that night.

And I realized I had heard some of the drinking terms earlier in the day when our drill master arrived hungover.

Our recruiter, Robert Hare, asked him if he was “off his rudder.” And our sergeant replied that he had “been to Barbados and back — twice” which meant he had too much rum the night before. Most colonial rum came from islands like Barbados.

But stay tuned. I may have been a Continental Army washout, but I was successful in winding up “off my rudder” later that night with a drinking, er, tippling tour.

For aNewDomain, I’m travel editor Terry Gardner.

All photos and video by Terry Gardner for aNewDomain, All Rights Reserved.