The 35th annual Mississinewa 1812 has come and gone, leaving billowing clouds of gunsmoke and history in the air.
The legendary Battle of Mississinewa reenactment left many thousands of visitors from all over stunned and amazed as blasts from cannon fire and the subtle pop of musket shot tore through the scenic preserve.
Other than a slight chill, weather was not an issue for guests or campers who enjoyed clear skies and a light breeze, giving the perfect autumn feel.
From the scent of cookfires on the wind to the sound of hawkers belting “Turkey legs! Fresh, hot turkey legs!” stepping back in time to walk those dusty paths again remains largely unchanged. However, for the first time in the festival’s history, beer, provided by Imagine Burgers & Brew, was served from The Salty Dragoon at the end of Captain B. Pierce Pike.
Similarly, the reenactment itself is consistent in quality and scale. Returning viewers may notice that the field, which is normally maintained, was kept longer this year. This rewilding is an effort to restore the battlefield to what it might have looked like on that December morning over 200 years ago.
Additionally, last year was the first year the reenactment saw the wigwams of the Miami village burned, as would have likely occurred during the original battle. With the season being too dry this year, organizers opted to forgo the addition as the grasses of the field would have likely gone up in flames.
This year also saw the inclusion of a President James Madison impersonator who provided the history of his time in office and how he managed the War of 1812 as the 4th President of the United States.
The Indiana Rangers Program provided details and history regarding the Indiana Territorial Mounted Rangers organized by Gov. William Henry Harrison in 1807 to provide a fast response to attacks, primarily as a deterrent to random Native American raids.
Though only four in number, the rangers would have been 100 men strong, meaning that each reenactor represents 25 troops. These light cavalry – made up of men and women – were each required to supply their own horse, powder, shot, tomahawk and knives but were outfitted with a brass-butted pistol and cavalry sabre. Their distinctive black and red hunting frocks were intentionally designed to be billowy and disorienting, obscuring them through the smoke of battle. The reenactors demonstrated the rangers tactics and prowess skillfully while mounted on their Tennessee Walkers.
With the Battle of Mississinewa behind and the holiday season ahead, the Mississinewa Battlefield Society looks forward to next year’s festival and reenactment already scheduled for Oct. 6 through 8.
To learn more about Mississinewa 1812 and the history behind the largest War of 1812 living history event, visit www. mississinewa1812.com, and keep up to date by following them on Facebook @Mississinewa1812.
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