The Battle of Crysler’s Farm

I think I have become a reenactment junky. In fact, my whole family seems to be going down that road. I’m not sure I can tell you precisely what it is that attracts us to these events. Well, actually, I think the thing that propels me the most is bringing live history to my kids. And the venues…the venues are always perfect. These are the places I like to visit anyway. Small towns with loads of history (Spencerville or Sackets Harbor) or pioneer villages (Upper Canada Village). After spending an entire day in Spencerville a few weeks ago, immersed in history, there was no going back. I really have to hand it to the re-enactors too. Boy! Do they know how to put on a show!

Yesterday, late afternoon, we went to Upper Canada Village for their version of the a War of 1812 reenactment called the Battle of Crysler’s Farm. There, there were more than double the number of participants we saw in Spencerville. They had full forces fighting for the U.S. side and for the Crown. At dusk the battle began with a cannon barrage. At the time we were eating our dinner and nearly choked on our food when the first cannon went off! After that the two sides moved onto the battlefield with muskets and the infantry battle began. It wasn’t long before the air filled with smoke from the firing muskets. It became very clear (in a smoky way) how difficult it would have been in battle back then. Not just because the muskets’ aim was very imprecise, not just because the soldiers had to wear wool in the heat and humidity of July…but because you can’t bloody well see what you’re shooting at with all that smoke!

It all ended well anyway. The Crown forces managed to move forward and keep the Americans back…true to history. It will be interesting to see how the story ends in Sackets Harbor on the American side. We will be going there in a few weeks and the kids are already excited. First because it’s their first trip to the United States, and also because they get to see yet another battle. My daughter has asked me to sew her a period dress for the event. Gulp. We’ll have to see about that.

I’ll leave you with some photos of the events from last night. Have a wonderful week.

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10 thoughts on “The Battle of Crysler’s Farm

  1. I don’t like the sound of cannons. I don’t even like the sound of fireworks. So I can totally understand you all almost choking! Imagine what it was for the people who actually lived through that day. Scary, indeed.


    1. I guess reenactments wouldn’t be your thing, Gabriela. I know they’re not for everyone. Happily there are other less noisy aspects to these reenactments such as dancing, music, baking, etc. They are also interesting to watch.


  2. Great photos πŸ™‚
    I can understand why both kids and adults can have such a wonderful time experiencing reenactments. Nice weather, good food, cold drinks, and fun company… The perfect summer weekend!


  3. Those are very nice photos! The picture of the gun firing is fantastic, great shot, no pun intended! I have a 13 year old daughter who loves living history and is aquiring clothes and accesories. Don’t be afraid to ask the ladies at Sacketts Harbor for a lesson in fashion, we did, and learned a lot. If you don’t have time to make a dress, check out Value Village or a thrift shop. You may be able to find a high waisted dress or cut the bodice from one and add a skirt. Look for slipper type shoes and a long scarf to use as a wrap. Most important is the hair, which must be off the neck. Braid it, put it in a bun. It is a bit easier to dress for 1812 for women. My daughter spent the weekend after Crysler’s Farm in a hoop skirt and many layers for an 1863 event in N.Y. Our American Revolution requires more clothing and hats than you can imagine! We have traveled to many historic sites in the eastern U.S. and Canada, reading, hiking and exploring along the way. I know we may not always be able to do this, but I think I am encouraging my daughter to grow and learn in ways that would not be possible otherwise. Plattsburg, N.Y. has a history event in the fall, l don’t know if this is far from you, l have not been, yet. Ogdensberg does a great job with a French and Indian War reenactment. Have a great time at Sacketts. Don’t forget to bring a picnic. Although food is usually available, l always travel with a cooler filled with water, drinks and snacks, keeps everybody happy.


    1. Wow! Caron, thank you so much for both your suggestions and advice. I really appreciate it. I was considering bringing a picnic to Sackets. It has beautiful grounds. So glad you dropped by. πŸ™‚


  4. So glad you enjoyed the event. My son and I stayed back and guarded camp- we are American reenactors with Machin’s company of Artillery- as the battle happened around nap time and you simply do not mess with nap time πŸ™‚
    We will be at Sackets Harbor as well. Safe travels and hope to see you there!


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