Napoleonic Brigade at Old Austerlitz Saturday & Sunday
Strategy matters, of course, and the battle at Austerlitz was a doozy in that regard, but just as interesting to battle re-enactors and their audiences is life on the front. This Saturday, the 240th Anniversary of Napoleon Bonaparte’s birth, the Austerlitz Historical Society will host a Napoleonic Brigade Re-enactment. Re-enactors from Canada will assemble on the grounds at Old Austerlitz on Friday evening, August 14, where they will don full uniform in preparation for Saturday’s recreation of the Battle of Austerlitz, which took place in Moravia in December, 1805. The battle, in which the French defeated the allied army of Austria and Russia, is considered by many to be the master strategist’s most brilliant campaign.
On both days, infantrymen in full uniform with muskets and cavalrymen on horseback brandishing swords will skirmish. In between, the public is free to mingle with the Brigades, to watch them drill (such maneuvers as “running the heads,” firing from saddle, and saber practice), to see how they live in their tents and cook their food, to listen to their marching songs and engage in conversation with them. Full infantry drills will begin at 9:30 a.m. and cavalry drills at 10:15 a.m.. The actual Battle of Austerlitz will break out at about 1:30 p.m. and again on Sunday at about 11 a.m.
Why Napoleon here? As it happens, the Town of Austerlitz in Columbia County, NY was given its name by Kinderhook-native Martin Van Buren (then a New York state senator). He suggested the name in 1818 in response to a legislative rival’s proposal to name a town in Seneca County “Waterloo.” Van Buren, a Napoleon admirer, felt a name denoting his hero’s greatest victory was more appropriate.
For the war weary, Old Austerlitz has invited craftspeople to demonstrate and sell early American wares. Weather permitting, there will be a tinsmith and potters making stoneware, redware; and mochaware; a spinner; a carpenter who makes Windsor chairs; and an artist who does silhouettes.
Food will be provided by the Austerlitz Fire Company and entertainment featuring music by Ampersand will round out the day.
Napoleonic Brigade Re-enactment
Saturday, August 15, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Sunday, August 16, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Route 22, just south of the Route 203 intersection
Admission/$5 per vehicle