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  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Revolutionary War re-enactor Katey Zuber has breakfast inside the kitchen at the Old Fort during Saturday's daylong demonstration.

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Revolutionary War re-enactor Bob Jones sits with his musket inside the barracks at The Old Fort during a day long demonstration of period life open to the public on Saturday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette A ceremonial military sabre hags on display from a bed post inside the barracks of The Old Fort during a day long demonstration of period life open to the public on Saturday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Revolutionary War re-enactors fire their muskets into the air as part of a ceremony during a days long demonstration of period life open to the public on Saturday.  

  • Mike Moore | The Journal Gazette Revolutionary War re-enactor Bob Jones inspects his musket inside the barracks at The Old Fort during a day long demonstration of period life open to the public on Saturday  

Sunday, April 08, 2018 1:00 am

Re-enactments get started at Old Fort

Relive 1777 era in freezing cold, but there's bacon

MATTHEW LEBLANC | The Journal Gazette

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The 13th Pennsylvania Regiment is looking for volunteers. Those interested can email the group at 13thPA@gmail.com or visit its Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/13th-Pennsylvania-Regiment-of-Foote-137173612989327/

It was cold Saturday morning, with temperatures just below freezing. But Mark Parker was warm.

Parker was inside at the Old Fort, frying bacon in a cast-iron skillet over an open flame. The setup – including the crispy breakfast staple – is historically accurate, the Revolutionary War re-enactor said.

Cows are vulnerable animals and have to be penned, making it less likely beef would have been served at many meals at the time, Parker said.

“Pork would have been more of a prevalent meat than beef,” he said, flipping a piece of bacon with a long, two-pronged fork. “Pigs could take care of themselves.”

Parker was one of several re-enactors from the 13th Pennsylvania Regiment who camped at the fort. More planned to attend, but work and other engagements kept them away.

So, about five members of the group cooked, fired muskets and answered questions from visitors about Colonial life to mark the start of re-enactment season.

“This is more of a drill weekend for us,” said Parker, a history buff who spent 20 years teaching fourth- and fifth-graders in Columbia City and Wolcottville.

The group will attend the Spirit of Vincennes Rendezvous Revolutionary War Re-enactment in Vincennes next month.

The 13th Pennsylvania was organized in 1777 and was folded into another regiment just over a year later. Parker said the local group chose to portray the soldiers simply because the regiment wasn't represented among re-enactors.

The Old Fort is a re-creation of the post built by American troops in Fort Wayne about 1816.

The gap in years between the Revolutionary War and when the fort was used didn't matter to Bob Jones, another re-enactor. That's not the point, he said.

“While the fort represents 1816, we embrace living history over a wide range of time periods,” said Jones of Fort Wayne. “Today is 1777.”

Fred Lehman was on his way into the fort, carrying photos of Swiss heritage events he helps organize each year in Berne. Lehman said he was hoping to recruit some people to help with the events.

But he is also a history buff, he said. His interest in history was piqued as a child while listening to stories about cowboys in the Wild West.

“I always listened to the 'Lone Ranger' on the radio,” he said.

mleblanc@jg.net