Students became Revolutionary War soldiers for a day at CMS May 11. As part of the seventh grade’s Living History Day, the 2nd Regiment Albany County Militia, a reenactment group based out of Schenectady, visited the school to immerse the students in 18th century life.
On the school’s field, the students formed into companies and donned military uniforms like those worn by Washington’s Continental Army, colonial militia units, or the British Army. After the recruits were properly equipped, 2nd Regiment instructors led the students through a series of 18th Century military drills, which required everyone to form into ranks and move together as a single unit. The 7th graders learned how to march, load muskets, fire in a volley, bayonet charge, and more.
They also learned about camp lifestyle, 18th century cooking techniques, and the class system that existed in the colonies during the 1770’s. Students got to try on the different types of civilian clothing that would have been worn by the upper, middle, and lower classes at the time.
In the afternoon, the seventh grade marched over to the Mary E. Dardess Elementary School, where they presented superintendent Cheryl Nuciforo with a tricorn hat in honor of her retirement at the end of this school year. The unit then marched to the nearby Columbia County Fairgrounds where the 2nd Regiment demonstrated a live firing of their muskets and a field canon. After the smoke cleared, the reenactors gave the students a taste of what politics were like during revolutionary times with a lively discussion around 18th Century politics.
To wrap up the day, the seventh grade then marched through the streets of Chatham back to the Middle School.
Living History Day was brought about by social studies teacher William Richard and the seventh grade teaching team. Richard applied for and received a grant from the Chatham Education Foundation of the Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation that made bringing the 2nd Regiment to CMS possible. This is the seventh grade’s third year hosting a living history day.