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Revolutionary Teaching: Youngsters Learn History at Woodstock Encampment

  • Identical twins Trace, left, and Jack Barnhart, 9, of barnard, Vt., learn about a 2-lb. galloper cannon from Wesley Hennig, also from Barnard, at a Revolutionary War encampment reenaction in Woodstock on Saturday, September 21, 2013. The reenactors demonstrated musket and cannon firings to the public, and educated them on 18th Century attire, cooking, and more. The encampment is open today from 10-4 behind the Woodstock History Center. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Identical twins Trace, left, and Jack Barnhart, 9, of barnard, Vt., learn about a 2-lb. galloper cannon from Wesley Hennig, also from Barnard, at a Revolutionary War encampment reenaction in Woodstock on Saturday, September 21, 2013. The reenactors demonstrated musket and cannon firings to the public, and educated them on 18th Century attire, cooking, and more. The encampment is open today from 10-4 behind the Woodstock History Center. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Gil Olivarez, of Hollis, Maine, fires a flintlock musket at a Revolutionary War encampment reenactment in Woodstock on Saturday, September 21, 2013. The reenactors demonstrated musket and cannon firings to the public and educated them on 18th Century attire, cooking, and more. The encampment is open today from 10-4 behind the Woodstock History Center. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Gil Olivarez, of Hollis, Maine, fires a flintlock musket at a Revolutionary War encampment reenactment in Woodstock on Saturday, September 21, 2013. The reenactors demonstrated musket and cannon firings to the public and educated them on 18th Century attire, cooking, and more. The encampment is open today from 10-4 behind the Woodstock History Center. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Two flintlock muskets are seen at a Revolutionary War encampment reenaction in Woodstock on Saturday, September 21, 2013. The reenactors demonstrated musket and cannon firings to the public, and educated them on 18th Century attire, cooking, and more. The encampment is open today from 10-4 behind the Woodstock History Center. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

    Two flintlock muskets are seen at a Revolutionary War encampment reenaction in Woodstock on Saturday, September 21, 2013. The reenactors demonstrated musket and cannon firings to the public, and educated them on 18th Century attire, cooking, and more. The encampment is open today from 10-4 behind the Woodstock History Center. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage) Purchase photo reprints »

  • Identical twins Trace, left, and Jack Barnhart, 9, of barnard, Vt., learn about a 2-lb. galloper cannon from Wesley Hennig, also from Barnard, at a Revolutionary War encampment reenaction in Woodstock on Saturday, September 21, 2013. The reenactors demonstrated musket and cannon firings to the public, and educated them on 18th Century attire, cooking, and more. The encampment is open today from 10-4 behind the Woodstock History Center. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)
  • Gil Olivarez, of Hollis, Maine, fires a flintlock musket at a Revolutionary War encampment reenactment in Woodstock on Saturday, September 21, 2013. The reenactors demonstrated musket and cannon firings to the public and educated them on 18th Century attire, cooking, and more. The encampment is open today from 10-4 behind the Woodstock History Center. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)
  • Two flintlock muskets are seen at a Revolutionary War encampment reenaction in Woodstock on Saturday, September 21, 2013. The reenactors demonstrated musket and cannon firings to the public, and educated them on 18th Century attire, cooking, and more. The encampment is open today from 10-4 behind the Woodstock History Center. (Valley News - Elijah Nouvelage)

Woodstock — A Revolutionary War encampment this weekend offers visitors the chance to see, hear, smell and touch items from life more than two centuries ago. After being invited to watch cornbread being made, 3-year-old Reno Halley also lobbied for a taste.

“Maybe I can try it, too,” he said to his mother, Amy Halley.

“Honey, it will take a little while to cook,” Halley said with a laugh.

Amy and Ben Halley spent the morning with their sons, Levi and Reno, touring the cluster of white canvas tents behind the Woodstock History Center.

“We’re just kind of taking it in,” Ben Halley said.

Historical concepts can be difficult for children to grasp. But in the camp “kitchens” — usually a simple wooden table and small cooking fire, “they ‘got it,’ ” Halley said.

“That’s how they would make their coffee and tea,” she said to her sons, pointing to a copper kettle suspended over a wood fire.

“People used to eat and do all the same things we do. They just used different tools.”

Like several visitors with young children, the Woodstock family searched out Wesley Hennig, a historical re-enactor and longtime custodian at Woodstock Elementary School. Hennig and his wife, Delta, are among about 30 members of Warner’s Regiment, which draws re-enactors from as far away as Maine. By noon, a half a dozen students had come to say hello to Hennig, whose uniform included a black three-cornered hat decorated with feathers.

“They want to see him in action,” said Delta, as she cooked chorizo in a cast metal frying pan.

Hennig is well-known in the school for his love of history. When students are learning about the Revolutionary or French and Indian wars, he and Delta show up in uniform, with their antiques and furs.

“It’s better than reading it out of the book,” said fellow re-enactor Cazimir Rozonewski, of Barnard.

“They see the person right in front of them, and they never forget it.”

At the Hennigs’ tent, Reno examined a dreamcatcher made from the skin of a muskrat that Wesley Hennig had trapped. Then he touched a fluffy white sheepskin draped over the back of a chair.

The soldiers would have used the fleece to keep themselves warm, his mother explained.

“They didn’t have Patagonia.”

The encampment, which continues today from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., includes musket and cannon demonstrations. Admission is free, but donations are welcome.

Aimee Caruso can be reached at acaruso@vnews.com or 603-727-3210.