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British army artifacts are on display this weekend

The Deltaville Maritime Museum’s replica of Captain John Smith’s 1608 shallop, ‘Explorer’ will participate in the reenactment of the historic “Battle of the Hook.”

When the British return to “The Hook” this weekend, “Bloody Ban,” also known as “The Butcher,” will follow suit.

At least, in spirit.

On Saturday and Sunday, October 19-20, during the Revolutionary War Battle of the Hook reenactment at the Inn at Warner Hall in Gloucester, 28 artifacts from the forces of British Legion’s Lt. Col. Banastre Tarleton will be on display for the first time.

The artifacts are a select few from the thousands recovered by The Ottery Group during archeological excavations conducted at Gloucester Point in 2005 prior to the construction of the College of William and Mary’s Virginia Institute of Marine Science Seawater Research Laboratory.

The items—bilboes, Spanish coins, uniform buttons, brass plates, musket side plates, musket balls, British Legion metal insignia, gun flint hammers and bayonets—reflect Tarleton’s habitation of “Gloucestertown” during the 1781 Siege of Yorktown.

Banastre Tarleton was an up and coming British officer who commanded the British Legion during the Revolutionary War. While he was the young and handsome son of a wealthy English merchant, resourceful, daring and a favorite of young women, he also held the distinction of being the most hated British officer of the American Revolution.

Historians call him “Bloody Ban” and “The Butcher” thanks to the British Legion’s exploits in the southern colonies during the war.

In 1781, the British Army landed at Yorktown and Gloucester Point. Tarleton commanded the Gloucester side of the York River.

Under Tarleton’s command, the British troops in Gloucester were able to forage for food and supplies so successfully that Tarleton was able to woo young ladies.

That is, until the Battle of the Hook.

The historic battle took place on October 3, 1781 in Gloucester and choked off the British supply line to the British troops in Yorktown, helping pave the way for American Independence.

The reenactment of the Battle of the Hook this weekend at the Inn at Warner Hall, one of the largest recreations of a Revolutionary War battle, will bring together more than 1,500 infantry, cavalry, artillery and maritime landing reenactors from across the country.

Labeled a national event, the reenactment is sponsored by the Continental Line, British Brigade, and Brigade of the American Revolution, as well as regional and statewide businesses and Gloucester County.

Having the Tarleton artifacts on display for the first time at the Battle of the Hook reenactment brings actual pieces from history to the living history event.

Following their showing at the Inn at Warner Hall, the artifacts will go on permanent display at the Gloucester Museum of History, a display made possible thanks to financial contributions by EVB Bank.

“We’re pleased to sponsor and support this effort to preserve Revolutionary artifacts and re-enact a pivotal time in Virginia’s storied past,” said Joe Shearin, president and CEO of EVB Bank. “We’re hopeful that the Gloucester community will take advantage of this event and the exhibits; and that we can continue this legacy and educational opportunity for future generations to appreciate our rich history.”

Learn more about the Battle of the Hook at

posted 10.16.2013

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