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  • Kelly Ruffel

From the Desk of Shanahan

Glenn recently sent out an email advising the membership that he was appointing me as “Provost Marshall” in charge of recruitment, and “authenticity” in uniforming and camp life.  I want to calm any fears that some thread-counting, brash, dictatorial jerk has been unleashed in the unit. I assure you, I never count threads!

When the officers met for a mid season executive meeting, three things kept coming up in our discussions: the lack of participants at events, the need to upgrade clothing and eliminate anachronisms in camp, and the need for additional members.  We have a mission to portray the common soldier of the Revolutionary War and to educate the public.  In order to succeed, we all need to be quality re-enactors; active re-enactors; enthusiastic and knowledgeable re-enactors.  We need to look good, act well and actively teach.  It’s what we do.  Otherwise, we are just camping in funny clothes.  Let it be said of us what is said of the men at Concord: “We knew what we were about.” Our unit will be celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2019.  It sounds like a long way off, but it is not.  We want to make a big deal of this milestone.  We want to maintain our place as the premier militia unit in the country.  Others will be looking at us..maybe even potential members.  We want to do honor to the bravery and memory of John Outwater and his men. 

New things are going to be introduced.  Fun things that will make our outings more exciting and enjoyable.  But the best thing YOU can do is look at your kit (“kit”=clothing, weapon and equipment).  I am sure you have already know of things which can be improved or updated.   Work on it.  If you need something or advice tell me or someone else in the unit.  Jim has plenty of free linen available for you.  Don’t buy clothing from Townsend.  Before you lay out large sums of money, check with me. If you buy it, and it isn’t right, you will have wasted your money.  

I will probably wind up talking to everyone, one at a time, out of earshot, about your kit or persona.  Please don’t take it the wrong way.  No one of us is perfect, including me.  I’m going to make suggestions and find out what might be in your way.  I’m going to see if I or someone else can make it easier for you.  We are all going to work together on this and I promise not to be rude, demanding or even confrontational.   But I, and the unit, need your cooperation in this effort, or we will fail.  All for one and one for all? I would like to hold a School of the Militia this spring.   The purpose would be to discuss our kits, our clothing, weapons etc.  Each of us should have an idea of what we can work on over the winter to upgrade our appearance.  If we all make it a priority to attend, and work at it, we will march out in the spring really looking like something beyond ordinary.  More to come.

If you haven’t read the research on Outwater’s Militia, you should. It’s on the web site. If you haven’t read The Revolutionary War in the Hackensack Valley, do so before the spring.  You won’t regret it.  Outwater’s was a little different than the other New Jersey Militia units.  See if you know how.  We have to know who we are before we can re-enact it.  Make sense?

Finally, about recruitment: if you know someone who is interested, or who is always talking about re-enacting, invite them to an event or even to the School of the Militia.  Let me know they will be coming.  I would love to hear your thoughts on recruiting, especially where to find people interested in the Revolutionary War to the point of wanting to make it a hobby.  We can’t stand still. 

If you have any ideas, problems, concerns or protests, please feel free to talk to me. Together, with a little work, Outwater’s will be known as “The New Jersey Militia”

Yr. Svt, Bob Shanahan

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