Revolutionary War revisited at American Village

Published 3:55 pm Monday, June 28, 2010

The fall of a British soldier succumbing to the wound inflicted by a colonial musket brings cheers from a crowd of on-lookers gathered nearby while a colonial soldier stops to pilfer much-needed supplies from the body of the dead redcoat before rejoining his regiment on their march across Old North Bridge.

The historical setting is not Massachusetts; it is a typical Fourth of July scene at The American Village in Montevallo, where members of The First Pennsylvania Regiment, a Revolutionary War re-enactment unit, volunteer their time to educate visitors about the life of a colonial soldier during the Revolutionary War.

Still a part of Indian Territory at that time, no battle for American Independence was fought on Alabama soil. For that reason, members chose to portray The First Pennsylvania Regiment, a unit that served in every major battle of the war, forming in June of 1775.

The unit’s members portray actual people who lived and served in the regiment. “The names and identities of our Revolutionary War ancestors are all too often lost in history. I want to know who they are and honor them through education” states Chris Long, the unit’s major. Extensive research is done to authenticate the clothing and equipment originally used. If an item cannot be authenticated, it is not used.

In an effort to learn more about Corporal Faust, the soldier represented by Chris Quattlebaum, a history teacher from Cullman, Quattlebaum researched Faust’s genealogy and the area where he lived in southern Pennsylvania, culminating in a conversation with Faust’s descendants still living in the area.

One of the unit’s most popular attractions is the table of field surgeon Daniel Valles, who studies herbal remedies. Viewing his collection of primitive surgical tools, visitors wince and grimace as he explains the procedure for amputating an injured limb on the battlefield.

Among the members are reserve and retired military personnel, teachers, college students, and a graphic designer, and new members are always welcome. For many of them, family vacations often consist of visits to historic locations including a trip to Harrisburg, Penn. to view, with special permission, the original flag of the First Pennsylvania Regiment stored in the state museum’s archives.

While not an entity of The American Village, the regiment of volunteers calls the colonial foundation their home.Throughout the year, they participate in living history demonstrations across the Eastern U.S., but the annual 4th of July celebration held at The Village is a priority for them.

To learn more about the First PA, or to join, visit their Yahoo group: