In September 1778, during the Revolutionary War, about 4,000 British soldiers who were landed from 36 transport ships attacked the four villages situated on the Acushnet River. During the raid houses, ships and business places in New Bedford, Acushnet and Fairhaven were ransacked and burned. The fort at Nolscot Point in Fairhaven, now called Fort Phoenix, was destroyed by British troops. It took years for the local waterfront industries to recover from the raid.
The Revolutionary War era will come to life again in Fairhaven during a two-day historical encampment scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, September 23 and 24, 2017, at Fort Phoenix.
During that weekend, members of the Fairhaven Village Militia, the Wareham Minutemen, and the Fairhaven Office of Tourism will live in an authentic period camp the same way it was done 240 years ago. Men, women and children dressed in period clothing will reenact life in 1778 and talk about the history of the fort. They will also be demonstrating campfire cooking, fire starting with flint and steel, sewing and/or knitting, musket ball casting, military drilling, loading and firing flintlock muskets and rifles, cannon firing, and more. A tinsmith and a leather worker will be demonstrating their skills. Visitors may try their hand at tomahawk throwing and children’s games of the period.
The highlight of the weekend will be the firing of the fort’s five large cannons, scheduled for dusk, approximately 6:30 p.m., on Saturday. When fired near sundown, the cannons’ plumes of flames and smoke make a spectacular sight.
The Fairhaven Village Militia began as a small volunteer group in 1999. Made up of members who are interested in local history of the Revolutionary War period, they hold historical encampments in Fairhaven and nearby communities and host educational programs.
At the encampment, the group is depicting camp life during the Revolutionary War period. There will be regular demonstrations of military drilling and musket firing, but there will be no large-scale battle re-enactments.
Both the cannon firing and the overnight encampment will be cancelled in the event of heavy rain. Weather permitting, the militia’s camp will open to the public from 9:00 until sunset on Saturday and from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Sunday.
For more information, call the Office of Tourism at 508-979-4085 or email FairhavenTours@fairhaven-ma.gov.
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