Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Soldier boy

As soon as we walked into the fort, I immediately found the perfect place for Biscuit and Jeff.

TO THE PILLORY for them!!!

We walked to the middle of the fort to take a guided tour. Part of the tour at Fort William Henry is a demonstration on how a musket works, including hearing it fire. 

She explained how muskets worked, and Biscuit
soaked in every single word. So when we got home and
he was playing soldier, he had to take a day off
because it was raining, and his gun powder got wet.

From there, you move on to a bigger boom ... a cannon. We walked up to the top of the fort, and Biscuit was saying the whole way, "I think this is going to be too loud."

They explained that on the battlefield, these canons would be handled
by six soldiers, each with his own specific job. For demonstration purposes,
the canon was prepared by just two people. But they did fire it. It was so
loud that they told us to stand with our feet offset and our mouths
open to prevent jarring. The floor vibrated when it went off.

Biscuit closed his eyes and ears when it went off. And even so, he could feel it.

After the cannon demonstration, they said that if we walked back downstairs, the kids could be enlisted in the King's Army.

"Cool," I said. "Let's go down there."

"But Mom," Biscuit said with a worried look on his face. "I don't think I want to be in the army. I'm just a kid."

"Dude!" I said to him. "It's just pretend. They just show you what it was like for the soldiers."

"Mom, I'm just not sure," Biscuit said.

"Well, let's just walk down there to see what they're doing," I said.

As soon as he saw what was going on, he was all in.

They had the kids go into a room to get suited up in long vests that looked like the coats the soldiers would've worn. Then the kids grabbed hats and toy muskets.

"FALL IN!" said the officer. Then he explained to the kids that they needed to line up in the middle of the grounds.

After they lined up, he taught them what to do with their muskets.

Then he taught them how to march.

Once they got to the end of the field, they all aimed their muskets and fired. When they practiced, the were ordered to yell "Bang!" when they fired. But when the kids fired their muskets at the end of the field, they didn't realize that their commanding officer was carrying a loaded musket. At the same time the kids all yelled, "Bang!" The officer fired his musket.

All the kids jumped, but there were actually a few deserters. Several little girls ran off to their parents.

But not Biscuit and a few of the other brave kids. They marched right back to where they came from. 

See how the line got a lot shorter? Some deserters ran off to their parents.

Being a soldier is serious business.

After their field maneuvers, the soldiers had to go make it official.

He used a feather pen to sign his name on his muster papers.

This document certifies your enlistment as a private in His Majesty's
35th of Foot at Fort William Henry. As a soldier joining 35th of Foot
at the Fort, you are to receive your pay, uniform and munitions and
immediately report to your post. Rate of pay .08 cents per day.
Deduction of .06 cents per day for uniform and food costs.

After Biscuit had signed his name on the dotted line, he was sad about having to give up his coat, hat and musket. 

So I said, "Hey, was that YOUR musket that went off out there?"

I thought I would get the drawn-out "Moooom" of exasperation. But he answered me quite seriously.

"No, that wasn't mine. Mine is just a toy," he explained. "The real shot came from the big guy. The one with the REAL musket."

Remember how I've said that Biscuit's eyes
will always find my camera? Here you go!
Even after having doubts about enlisting in the King's Army, Biscuit said it was his favorite thing at the fort.

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