Muster at Mabee Farm to bring War of 1812 atmosphere

This weekend at the Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction, a War of 1812 Muster will be held to help comm

In U.S. military history, places such as Sackett’s Harbor and Plattsburgh don’t carry the same weight as Gettysburg and Antietam, or Yorktown and Saratoga. Still, American men died there, and today’s re-enactors making up Captain Giles Kellogg’s Company of Artillery are remembering to honor their commitment and patriotism.

This weekend at the Mabee Farm in Rotterdam Junction, a War of 1812 Muster will be held to help commemorate the effort of Kellogg’s Company and other U.S. troops in what has been often called the Second War for American Independence. Activities will begin at 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.

Along with the muster, which will also showcase British-Canadian troops as well as American soldiers, other events scheduled include a kids’ musket drill, a fashion show comparing clothing styles from the War of 1812 to America’s two previous wars (the American Revolution and French and Indian) and a presentation by Dave Manthey titled “Bateau and Bateaumen on the Mohawk.”

‘War of 1812 Muster’

WHERE: Mabee Farm Historic Site, 1080 Main St., Rotterdam Junction

WHEN: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday

HOW MUCH: $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and children

MORE INFO: 887-5073,

Kellogg’s Company of Artillery was originally made up of men from Schoharie County, and the re-enactors performing as that group this weekend are mostly Capital Region men who also belong to the re-enacting group the 2nd Regiment of Albany County Militia. That group has portrayed soldiers from the American Revolution and the French and Indian War (Schuyler’s Company) for decades now, but donning the garb of soldiers from the War of 1812 required some real effort and research.

“We’ve done a lot with the French and Indian War and the American Revolution, but finding precise information on the uniforms of 1812 soldiers was hard to come by,” said John Osinski, a member of the board of directors for the 2nd Regiment of Albany County Militia.

“It’s only 30 years or so, but the clothing is completely different. Once you get into that early 19th century cut of men’s and women’s clothes, things change. For instance, the coats are less bulky and tend to be shorter, the colors change, and the way the buttons are attached is different. The uniforms got less fancy, and by 1814 there’s little to distinguish the officers from the enlisted men except the epaulet.”

Since the re-enactment community usually focuses on three wars — French and Indian, American Revolution and Civil War — Osinski’s force for the Mabee Farm muster won’t be as large as some previous encampments held at the house reputed to be the oldest in the Mohawk Valley.

“The [War of 1812] bicentennial was not given all that much attention stateside, but it’s a very big deal in Canada,” said Osinski. “That was when a Canadian national presence emerged. It had never happened before that. So, we’re expecting to get a group of Canadians to come on down, and we’ll put together some form of small skirmish or training exercise.”

Busy company

During the War of 1812, Kellogg’s Company was kept pretty busy, according to Osinski. They served at the Battle of Ogdensburg in February of 1813, the Second Battle of Sackett’s Harbor in May of 1813 and the Battle of Plattsburgh in September of 1814.

“The Lake Champlain area, the Ontario-New York border along the St. Lawrence, and the western frontier out in Niagara were all real hotbeds during the War of 1812,” said Osinski, “and Kellogg’s Company saw a lot of the action. They were formed right after Christmas in 1812, and they helped finish up the war at Plattsburgh in 1814. The fighting was nasty, and they were a big part of it.”

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