SPRINGFIELD, NJ - Saturday afternoon, cannons roared and muskets cracked at Meisel Field.
However, despite the noise, no foreign forces were waging war in town. The event was a reenactment of the Battle of Springfield, a pivotal turning point in the Revolutionary War that took place locally in 1780.
This is not the first reenactment to be held in town. A previous event was held in 2005 to mark the 225th anniversary of the battle itself. This year's re-enactment was timed to coincide with the 225th anniversary of Springfield's incorporation as an independent township.
For life-long Springfield native Mark Hurwitz, who re-enacts Revolutionary War battles in his spare time, each engagement is a chance to fulfill his childhood passion.
"It's like a dream come true," Hurwitz said. "I grew up here in Springfield. When my friends played World War II in the backyard, I played Battle of Springfield. They had plastic soldiers that were World War II figures, I had a Johnny Tremain set."
And performing in Springfield, where he was also part of the 2005 festivities, is fun for him, and gives him a chance to pass local history on to the next generations.
Hurwitz continued, "This has become a lifetime passion, and being able to do it on literally part of the actual battlefield [is exciting]...We're very excited to make history come alive especially for the school kids."
Tom Traue is the commander of the colonial forces at the battle. For Traue, being able to bring history to life allows him a chance to think about the impact of the sacrifice that colonial soldiers made during the war.
"It's quite interesting having an event on the actual site 225 years ago," said Traue. "As a re-enactor, you get a small glimpse of what it was like to be a Revolutionary soldier or civilian. Fortunately for us, we can all go home after this."
"I am very appreciative of all the people that risked their lives and fortunes during this conflict against great odds," Traue added. "When you get into the fine details of History, it draws you closer to how many hardships they had endured."
Don Hagist was in charge of commanding the British forces for this year's re-enactment. For Hagist, even though the Battle of Springfield might not be as well-known as other engagements in the Revolutionary War, the passion of Springfield residents for the event more than makes up for it.
"This town has always received events like this in a wonderful way," Hagist said. "They're very passionate about their local history, even if other people aren't so aware of it."
Hagist added, "I personally am not only highly aware of this battle, but I studied the individual British common soldiers who fought in this battle and know exactly what happened to some of them, including men who were taken prisoner and actually died...as prisoners of war."
The battle took place at 3:00 p.m. and crowds lined the barricaded area that had been cordoned off with police tape. One of the people in attendance at the battle was a familiar face to many people in Springfield.
Sam Mardini, who retired earlier this year rom the position he had held since 1993, was back in town for the battle re-enactment.
"I love it," Mardini said. "This is my town. I always felt it was my town, and it's like I never left. I really love seeing all my friendly faces and friends."
Mardini also showed an appreciation for the professionalism of the re-enactors and what they do.
"This is incredible," he added. "The act was well put-together. I was so impressed with the effort that went into this and I'm so glad that I was able to make it."
The first day's re-enactment was capped off that evening by a festival and fireworks display.