Historic interpreters provide window into the past by demonstrating daily life at Camp River Dubois
HARTFORD – Visitors at the Lewis and Clark State Historic Site will get a look at the daily life of the explorers and their crew during the annual “Garrison Weekend” April 5-6.
A group of living history enthusiasts known as “The Detachment” will portray the famed troop as they spent the winter of 1803-04 preparing for their trek westward. “The Detachment” – named after Lewis and Clark’s own term for their men at the camp – demonstrates cooking, laundering, guard duty and shooting.
Visitors are free to roam the camp and talk with the volunteers.
Garrison Weekend also includes the “washer woman,” a woman who came forward on Jan. 1, 1804, to wash and sew for the men of the Lewis and Clark expedition. She was given a small hut, which was built by three men being punished for drinking, fighting and disobeying orders. The woman was still there when the expedition returned in late 1806.
On Sunday only, re-enactors will demonstrate how the area’s settlers lived. They’ll cook, fetch water, spin and sew throughout the day at the site’s new “Settlers’ Cabin.”
The free re-enactments take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 5, and Sunday, April 6.
The Detachment will be joined by several other historic interpretation groups:
• First Royal Regiment of Foote, portraying a regiment that fought in North America during the French and Indian War. Re-enactors will drill, discuss their uniforms and fire their cannons.
• Milicia de San Carlos, a group of men, women, and children who portray the Spanish military personnel and local citizens of early St. Charles, Missouri. Their presentation will include historical background on the Spanish presence in the St. Louis area and a display of artillery being fired.
• 2nd Regiment U.S. Artillery, a group dedicated to re-creating an early 19th century artillery battery. Their encampment will resemble a military camp in the War of 1812.
• 25th US Infantry, portraying a military unit from the War of 1812 that earned the nickname the “Grey Doom.”
The Lewis and Clark State Historic Site, administered by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency, marks Site No. 1 on the National Lewis and Clark Heritage Trail. It features an interpretive center explaining Illinois’ role in the expedition, as well as a reconstruction of the camp where the expedition began. It is open Wednesday through Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for free public tours.
The site is located along Illinois Route 3 a few miles north of I-270 in Hartford, Illinois.
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