Reenacting History in the Harbor

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Members of the 6th Connecticut Regiment of Light Infantry fire a volly off the end of Long Wharf during a reenactment of Meigs' Raid in Sag Harbor that took place on Saturday, May 15, 2010. Michael Heller photo
Members of the 6th Connecticut Regiment of Light Infantry fire a volly off the end of Long Wharf during a reenactment of Meigs’ Raid in Sag Harbor that took place on Saturday, May 15, 2010. Michael Heller photo

By Christine Sampson

Short of actually rowing across the Long Island Sound from Connecticut in the middle of the night, carrying their boats across the North Fork and capturing prisoners, two regiments of historical re-enactors on Saturday will retrace the footsteps of rebel troops in the 1777 conflict known as Meigs’ Raid, which took place in Sag Harbor during the American Revolution.

The 3rd New York Regiment and the 6th Connecticut Regiment will join forces to recreate the raid, as has been done every few years, to commemorate the 240th anniversary this year of the rebels’ thrashing of the Brits’ Sag Harbor stronghold. It happens to fall this year the same weekend as Sag Harbor’s Cultural Heritage Weekend.

“If you get past the glitz of the quote un-quote ‘Hamptons,’ this is really an early settlement of America, and people don’t really realize that,” Andrew McClain, commander of the 3rd New York Regiment, said in an interview. “We just try to educate them and let them know there’s more to it.”

They will first assemble at Long Beach in Noyac at 9 a.m., depart at 9:30 down Noyac Road and Stony Hill Road toward Brick Kiln Road and then advance on Brick Kiln Road toward St. Andrew Cemetery. Mr. McClain said there was once a British outpost there, so the two regiments will pause for a commemoration at that site before continuing on to the Sag Harbor Whaling Museum.

Then, they will march up Main Street to Long Wharf, fire their guns and read the triumphant letter written to General George Washington about the success of the raid – in which Return Jonathan Meigs led 130 rebels in taking 90 prisoners, destroying enemy ships and supplies and accomplishing it all without losing a single man of their own, all in 25 hours. The reenactment concludes with a stop at the Old Whalers Church, where a fort was once located.

“This was a pretty important victory for the patriot cause,” Mr. McClain said.

The 3rd New York Regiment is being supported by the Robert David Lion Gardiner Foundation, which funds history initiatives locally and across New York State. On the Connecticut side of things, Rick Schreiner, president of the 6th Connecticut regiment, said Meigs’ Raid follows the historical timeline after the Battle of Ridgefield, which his group recreated a few weeks ago.

“These are people that helped create the nation,” Mr. Schreiner said. “All these things happened right in Connecticut and Long Island.”

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