Monday, October 29, 2012

British Night Watch

A dramatic spectacle! That’s about all I could think when I first saw the torch-lit Night Watch precession go by on the streets of St Augustine three years ago. And this year’s 38th annual Night Watch parade will be held on Saturday December 1th.

There are few events in St Augustine that evoke as much drama and passion as this. While Drake’s Raid is loud and exciting, it’s the Night Watch that reminds us there were more than just solders in these historic events. With the Night Watch parade it includes wives, children, natives, and allies, so we are reminded that each 18th century new-world settlements relied on more than just an army.

These re-enactors are serious about their craft. For example, we’ve seen camps replete with an arms repairer, wares seller, dress maker, tavern tent, wives mending uniforms, and even children running about in costume. But wait, there’s more. Historically allies were not only needed for supplementing armies, they were needed for trade and scouting as well. So this re-enactment not only has an array of 18th century British armies including the Scott’s, Irish, it even has native peoples who were crucial for scouting and foraging.

Least I forget the upper echelon of society. Life back then was very structured into strata or layers, and the Night Watch is no different. So the Night Watch procession requires torches and drums, but a hierarchy too: the Governor and his wife, the bishop/priest from the church, Generals, Colonels, Majors, Captains, regular army, allied armies, irregulars troops, native scouts, and then the families…

This is one of those weekend events that happen in St Augustine that we highly recommend our guests who enjoy history see at least once. These folks are setup all over town for the weekend, though the parade is Saturday night – and very dramatic, living the 18th century life for everyone to see and experience. Book your room at the Inn on Charlotte today so you can see it for yourself.

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