When General Oglethorpe was in Georgia, he commanded the 42nd Regiment of Foot. This was the regiment that he led into battle against the Spanish at St. Augustine, at Gully Hole Creek, and at Bloody Marsh. Although unsuccessful at capturing Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine, the 42nd Regiment of Foot won the other battles. As part of the living history here at Fort Frederica, the Heron Company of the 42nd Regiment of Foot comes to life once a month.
The Heron Company is comprised of volunteers who have all been trained in the Bland musket drill. The Bland drill has 24 steps and 57 motions, which means that it takes quite a bit of practice to fire together as a company.
Tom used the von Steuben drill at Kings Mountain, which has 14 steps – not the same steps as in the Bland drill. It took a month for Tom to learn the drill and fulfill all the testing to use black powder in “shooting” his musket. Just learning how to wear all the clothes takes a while! Tom had to satisfy the requirements of the “Captain” of the company, Wes. He also had to prove he knew how to handle black powder safely to the staff of the park.
The Heron Company of the 42nd Regiment of Foot has been at Fort Frederica twice while we have been here. They also appeared at Wormsloe as part of the Colonial Faire at the beginning of the month. The six members of the Heron Company look pretty good marching together in their uniforms with their muskets, bayonets, and swords.
When the Heron Company is doing musket demonstrations, Tom gives the interpretive speech for the company. Previously they have demonstrated without any interpretation. We didn’t even know the NPS allowed that! Guests seem to appreciate knowing what is going on and ask lots of good questions after the drill.
We really appreciate the hard work of the Heron Company volunteers. They add a lot to our living history demonstrations here at Fort Frederica. I’m sure they have better things to do on a Saturday. But they spend it sweating in their wool uniforms, answering questions, and performing the drill like soldiers.
Three cheers for the Heron Company of the 42nd Regiment of Foot. Huzzah! Huzzah! Huzzah!