The Chronicles, Chapter 2, March to Boston

The Chronicles,

…Chapter Two…

….The First Day, Dec. 3rd

Greetings all, and joys of the day to you.

Our first scheduled gathering for the ‘March to Boston’ was to take place at the North Burying Ground, in North Providence, RI.

David Holloway and I arrived before the appointed time, in his carriage, ‘George’. We set about for a feew moments when I thought it might be prudent to chat with the Caretakers of those beatigul and hallowed grounds. I stepped into the office and was friendly met by the folks apparently in charge there. I spoke of the coming Ceremonial, but, alas, they were not aware. However, rising to the occasion, they alerted the rest of the staff as to our intentions and we carried on as if nothing was amiss.

Our team members, and others, arriving by carriage, shortly after us, started to gather about, and, before too long we had nice contingent of folks ready to pay homage to those that went before, in the pursuit of American Independence, and on this day, we would be thankful to the French Army and it’s Commander, the Count Rochambeau.

Many words have been written of that ‘Expedition Particuliere’ of 1781, and I need not repeat those good words that have addressed…our task was but to give gratitude, and thanks, to our allies of that time, and we would do that by walking in their steps, from Providence to Boston.

However, on this brisk morning, we started with a thanks, at the Stone, given by the State of Rhode Island, to remember the efforts of the French Army in helping to establish the United States of America as a nation, free from tyranny.

Kind words were spoken, by both Serge Gabriel, (French Veteran and spokesman for the French early cause in America, and by Pam Sawyer, State Representative in Connecticut, in tribute to the French, and also in thanks for our continuing efforts to keep that memory alive.

We were joined by others, representing other groups and organizations, as well. Also, we were joined by the folks who administer the North Burying Grounds, who took their share of portraits of us, as we marched about, in our Uniforms and with our colors, vigorous in the morning wind, waving our appreciation. Many thanks to those fine folks and the help they rendered that day.

After our short, but sincere ceremonial, we made our way over to the Jeremiah Dexter House, in Providence, for some warm victuals, and meetings with other interested parties there. It was at that location that we were surprised by the rendering of Certificates of Appreciation from the State of Rhode Island. Shortly after, and being led by Serge Gabriel, we trekked up the nearby road to two Stone Markers, placed there to remember the French Army that camped in that vicinity, in 1781, and upon their return, in 1782.

Following some vigorous Anthem singing and portrait taking, we were ready to do the first days symbolic walk of the coming march, from the Dexter House to the Slater Mill, perhaps some 2 ½ miles.

A good warm up, it seems, to the coming effort. This we did, walking through a heavy metropolitan area, and various neighborhoods…gathering some interesting glances and questions along the way. Mike, David and Dave were joined on the walk this day by John Kelly, representing the Regt. St. Oinge, and Dan Dudley, representing various organizations, including the 11th Connecticut. I on the other hand, am your Scribe, and the Teamster for the Carriage that will carry our supplies.

The weather was quite comfortable, warm, seasonal, sunny, with the men walking into a sweat, but, this is December, and the temperature started to drop as we neared the Mill.

We arrived at the Slater Mill, Pawtucket Village, RI, in the later afternoon, met there by Rob Reyes, a friend to the W3R. He was carrying a new marker that will be used to mark the road of the combined French-American Army trail in 1781-82. The French Army, in 1781, used a bushel of straw, set by the Engineers at intersections, to mark the correct road for the Army.

After finishing our first days walk, it was time to move along to the Joy Homestead, that wonderful resting place for our first day, to be given a hearty meal by the fire side, surrounded by the warmth and friendship of like minded folks. A hearty plate, a blazing fire, and a gill of rum…could we ask for more…? Well, perhaps, but we did not…

With Kindest Regards,
Richard Swartwout
If you have INTEGRITY, nothing else matters…
If you have NO INTEGRITY, nothing else matters…

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