WAYNE, NJ - The soldiers and camp followers of the armies of George Washington and King George III did not experience air conditioning, but they certainly would have appreciated it, especially if they were alive this coming weekend. And they almost were--in a sense. The Dey Mansion, Washington's Headquarters, situated at 199 Totowa Road in Wayne, was set to host a Revolutionary War encampment this weekend, bringing life once again to 18th Century soldiers and civilians for visitors to the Passaic County historic site. Mother Nature, however, looks to be bringing a heatwave that is expected to boil the mercury, and the site decided to put off the event in consideration.
With a combination of humidity and heat, the index may reach 112 degrees Saturday. "We have postponed our Washington's Encampment Weekend," Dey Mansion posted on social media. "Please visit us as we continue our living history weekends throughout July and we look forward to our next Washington's Encampment the weekend of October 26 & 27!"
Since June, the Dey Mansion has had reenactors in period attire--often wools and linens--at the site demonstrating 18th Century crafts along with civil and military life during self-guided tours over the weekends. Women of the time wore less-than-heat-friendly layers: generally a linen chemise, long stockings held up by garters, boned stays similar to a corset, several petticoats of linen or wool, and a jacket or gown with a cap or bonnet.
A typical soldier's uniform would consist of a linen shirt and cravat with a linen or wool waistcoat and breeches, sometimes with gaiters buttoned over the legs and shoes. Over that, a woolen regimental coat tailored snugly to the body, de rigueur for British and Hessian troops, or a looser fitting hunting frock favored by many New Jersey Continental soldiers, would be worn. Coupled with accoutrements such as a leather cartridge pouch, knapsack, canteen, bayonet, and musket, all topped off by a hat of any number of varieties, a soldier would be notably restricted and weighed down, warm even in what 21st Century denizens would deem pleasant weather.
Let your voice to be heard, submit a letter to the editor of TAPinto Hawthorne
Sign up to receive FREE TAPinto news in your email inbox: https://www.tapinto.net/subscriptions/new