Hundreds of attendees braved the chilly air Saturday to witness a demonstration and reenactment on the 210th anniversary of the River Raisin battles during the War of 1812.
The festivities were part of an event at the River Raisin National Battlefield Park Visitor Center, 333 N. Dixie Highway. Attendees were treated to music and storytelling by performers Genot Picor & La Compagnie prior to a battlefield reenactment.
Dozens of participants dressed in period-appropriate clothes, armed with replicas of muskets used at the time, and demonstrated weapons inspections before recreating a battle scene for onlookers. During the demonstration and reenactment, a narrator explained weapon technology from that time, some background on the battle, and a retelling of what took place during the battles.
A large, replica cannon fired flank ammunition as the participants fired their muskets. The demonstration reflected the events that took place in January 1883, as American troops sought to gain ground going north toward Fort Detroit, which they had previously lost to British and Native American forces.
On Jan. 18, 1883, the American Army of the Northwest, led by Brig. Gen. James Winchester, took back Frenchtown at the battlefield site during the first Battle of the River Raisin. However, British Col. Henry Proctor quickly responded on Jan. 22, forcing the Americans to surrender after a brutal battle. Then, on Jan. 23, Potawatomi natives who had fought alongside the British killed up to hundreds of wounded American soldiers and citizens, which became known as the River Raisin Massacre.
A flag and wreath-laying ceremony followed, honoring those who took part in the battle. Then, attendees heard a vignette titled “In Defense of General Winchester.” The day concluded with another performance by Genot Picor & La Compagnie.
This article originally appeared on The Monroe News: River Raisin battles commemorated with tactical demonstration, music