Wednesday, July 1

What will you put in the Packet?


Open Call to ALL Reenactors, 
Historians and Creative Writers!

The Royal Navy reenacting group that represents HMS Acasta usually attends the Jane Austen Festival in July of every year. 

One of the things that we've done with your help, is deliver a 'mail packet' full of letters to the various Acasta members. This is a project that we have undertaken in the past with awesome results.

THIS YEAR, the group that holds that festival is hosting the huge Annual General Meeting for the national organization, so there's NO Jane Austen Festival in 2015. Never fear, they assure us that the Festival will be back on in July 2016.

So, we're moving the Mail Packet project back a little so that the letters are delivered to the Acastas at the Fair at New Boston that is to be held Sept 5-6, 2015.

This is where YOU come in!

Anyone who would like to submit a period correct letter to add to the packet is encouraged to do so! We'd love to have your contribution, however large or small! Anything added to the packet will help to enhance the historical experience for not only the Acastas who receive them, but for the public who will attend the Fair at New Boston as well.

Another alteration this year that was requested by several of you was that we needed to have some biographical information on the recipients of the letters so that the writers would know a little bit more about who they're writing to.

We have several of the character biographies written so far, here are some examples of those:

Jean Baptiste Girard, Surgeon’s Mate- A well traveled old Creole who has usually worked in some medical capacity on merchant ships. He has been impressed onto the HMS Acasta, but is not unhappy there. In his time Baptiste has traveled through both the East and West Indies and spent six years among the Igorots of the Spanish Philippines when a Spanish privateer (on which he was a prisoner) was shipwrecked there. During the French revolution a Captain who he admired and respected was guillotined, cementing his philosophy as a Monarchist.  His wife Marie is Igrot; she is currently living in Louisiana on the plantation of Messr. Francois Rochambeau. They have young twin boys.

Early in his career Baptiste learned that he could make extra money by collecting curiosities from his travels to sell to educated gentlemen. His non-formal education in natural history and things medical still allows him to believe many superstitions in both fields.


Samuel Hollybrass, Able Seaman- The bulk of Hollybrass's teen and adult life has been spent at sea. Hollybrass has followed Captain Freymann for years from ship to ship, sometimes to Freymann's dismay. A competent leader of men without the learning or refinement to be an officer. A well meaning, if gruff old seaman with no family back home that he knows of.

Hollybrass is enthusiastic and lusty, but tends to do poorly with the ladies given his general appearance and lack of hygiene. 




Josh Wilson, Able Seaman- Born in Virginia, Josh was the son of American Patriots. He apprenticed with a sail maker before taking to sea. Josh voluntarily enlisted in the British Navy to fight Napoleon Bonaparte because he saw him as a usurper and an enemy of America's French allies and believed that if Napoleon should take England, nothing would stop him from looking across the Atlantic to the new formed United States. The allure of prize money also helped to seal the deal. Josh is married to a teacher still residing in Virginia.


James Vassermann, Surgeon's servant- The dapper young personal servant to the ship's surgeon, Vassermann is also mute. He reads and writes well, generally making himself understood through a combination of gestures, looks and a little book and pencil he carries in his waistcoat pocket. Regardless of being of lower birth, he very slender and handsome, making him very popular with the ladies ashore.








Some examples of things that we got in 2014 as part of the project:

Lt Ramsey got a love letter from Germany with candy in it.

Captain Freymann got a letter from a surveyor about his property back in England and a map of said property.

Midshipman Hamilton got a letter from a worried Aunt with a hand knitted scarf in it.

Baptiste got a letter with a black spot in it from an anonymous 'former shipmate'.

The Bosun Mr. Cullen got a letter from a former shipmate inviting him to join him in a business venture back in England.

The Ship's Chaplain got a solicitation letter from a company that manufactures mourning candies.

Need some ideas for what to write? Try one of these:

Letter from a friend or colleague back home. 
(But none from immediate 'family' this year if you please. Cousins, Aunts, Uncles, Nieces & Nephews are fine, but none from Mothers, Fathers, children.)
A bill or request for payment.
An overdue payment of debt.
A letter carrying news of the war(s)

Or, use the link below to see some other types of period letters:

The Complete Letter Writer...

Wondering what a period letter looks like? Here are some beautiful examples:

http://www.bathpostalmuseum.co.uk/john-palmer/

Contact me to find out where to send your finished letter… or questions, or for any other additional information.

Finshed letters will need to be to ME by the first of August so that they can find their way into the Mail Packet!


Start thinking about what you'd like to contribute this year, and HAVE FUN!

Thursday, June 25

A 'Sailor's Progress'

A very 'Hogarth-ian' series of photos taken in the basement of the circa 1760 William Brown House (and Tavern). Special thanks to Kyle Dalton and the Historic London Town and Gardens site for holding the Shore Party event and allowing us to make use of their facilities.

Plate One in which our Sailors are enjoying a few innocent diversions whilst ashore.

Plate Two where our Sailors have gotten into their cups and are joined by a third fellow who falls fast asleep.

Plate Three wherein our Sailors do a bit more imbibing, pipes are broken and chamberpots upturn'd.

Plate Four where our Sailor's are TOTALLY not picking that guy's pockets.

Plate Five after a hard afternoon of drinking and being generally up to no good while ashore, our Sailors take a well deserved rest.

Tuesday, June 23

Aboard L'Hermione


The Acastas got the VIP treatment when they arrived to greet the Hermione in Alexandria, VA. last week. The sole American crewman, Adam Hodges had us aboard several times for tours and photo ops. It was great fun, special thanks to everyone in Alexandria for their hospitality!

Apple, Hollybrass and Fritz on the Gundeck.



Equiping the boarding party.