Wareham Militia hosts George Washington re-enactor

Apr 28, 2018

George Washington once again took command of the Wareham Militia on April 27, 242 years after he led the charge against the British in the Revolutionary War.

Washington, as played by re-enactor Samuel Davis of New Jersey, offered history lessons and answered questions as the foremost founding father for an audience of roughly 70 people.

Davis, a retired history teacher, was invited to speak as a guest of the Wareham Militia. The group dresses in historically accurate clothing while marching in parades, appearing at schools, clubs, historical society presentations and other events to celebrate the area's history with a focus on the Revolutionary War and War of 1812.

During the Revolutionary War, approximately 200 men from Wareham fought.

“They were bakers, farmers, carpenters and teachers,” said Davis. “Many did not know how to shoot. It was my responsibility to train these men.”

Davis told the story of how he escaped with his troops across the East River in New York during one battle, aided by “divine providence.” While fleeing British forces, the wind changed direction allowing troops to quickly get across the river, an answer to Washington’s prayers. Later during the same campaign, a heavy fog descended, hiding Washington’s troops from British forces.

Davis also focused on the “10 crucial days” from Dec. 25 to Jan. 3, 1776.

“It may be doubted,” said Davis, quoting historian Sir G. O. Trevelyan, “whether so small a number of men ever employed so short a space of time with greater and more lasting effects upon the history of the world.”

During that span, Washington crossed the Delaware, launching a surprise attack on British and Hessian forces. The victory proved a turning point in the war, showing the world that American forces could defeat the British.

Davis was invited to town after Howie and Claire Smith, both militia members, saw him speak at Washington Crossing State Park in New Jersey. Impressed by the performance, they invited him to Wareham to shine a spotlight on the town.

“We hope this will increase interest in Wareham, which has such a rich history of people and places,” said Howie Smith.