By Shana Fung
Come meet members of the Revolutionary War’s Third New Jersey Regiment this Memorial Day. The brigade will be stationed at the New-York Historical Society in full uniform ready to answer your questions and share their stories about life on and off the battlefield during the American Revolution. And if you’re a revolutionary history buff, don’t miss our special installation: Lafayette’s Return: The “Boy General,” the American Revolution, and the Hermione opening May 29.
To celebrate the Third NJ’s homecoming, we asked its commander Scott Barone to share his thoughts on being a historical reenactor.
How long have you been a historical reenactor?
I have been attending reenactments for years as a spectator but never thought about reenacting myself until 2005 when I read Private Yankee Doodle written by Joseph Plumb Martin. He was a 15-year-old from New Hampshire who lied about his age to join the Continental Army in 1775. Reading about his experiences really gave me an appreciation for what soldiers sacrificed. I wanted to pay homage to these brave souls. In 2006, at a reenactment in New Windsor, NY, I met a member of the Third NJ Regiment. He explained the fun he’d had raising his kids in the hobby. I had young twin boys at the time, and decided to enlist. Four years later, I’m now the regiment’s commander.
Who is your favorite historical figure?
My favorite historical figure is George Washington. I find him to be an amazing man for standing up to the world’s most powerful military with little hope for success. He was a true underdog. Although he had little formal education, Washington successfully turned a rag-tag group of men into a force to be reckoned with. As Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, Washington boosted morale and instilled his men with a resolute dedication to the revolution. These convictions propelled them to victory. Washington was also humble man and consciously retired from the presidency when he could have ruled indefinitely.
What advice would you give to a history buff interested in historical reenactment?
No matter what period of history interests you, there is most likely a reenactment group that portrays it. There is no better way to experience your favorite historical era than to “live” it. And the group you join usually becomes a second family. Being a reenactor has allowed me to travel to some amazing historical sites. It’s also a great feeling knowing that I am educating the public about the American Revolution, which is sadly an era many know little about.