Belmont Hall will celebrate the War of 1812 as this year marks the 200th anniversary the war began. Presented by the Friends of Belmont Hall, the event will feature period re-enactors from the Royal Marines 1st Company, 2nd Battalion, which is based in Essex, Md. Last year Belmont commemorated the 150th anniversary the Civil War began.
The event will feature additional family activities such as a meet-and-greet with jolly ol' Saint Nick, a ride on a horse-drawn-sleigh, children's crafts and traditional holiday tunes from The Harmonettes, of Milford. And don't forget to sweeten up your afternoon with delicious gingerbread and wassail.
Revisiting the War of 1812
Susan Wolfe, president of the Friends of Belmont Hall, felt it was important to revisit the War of 1812 because it's less renown than other American battles like World War II or the Vietnam War.
"It's a war I think people are not overly familiar with," said Wolfe, of Smyrna. "[This event is] a good opportunity for us to acquaint people with the war."
Hence, members of the Royal Marines, who'll don 19th century garbs, will host brief presentations on what life was like for sailors, infantrymen and civilians during the battle. After their presentations, the Royal Marines will be available to answer additional questions guests may have.
What sparked the war?
The War of 1812, also known as the Second War of American Independence, was a clash between America and Great Britain. Though America officially received its independence from Great Britain by the Treaty of Paris in 1783, the British continued to flex its muscle on Americans, especially at sea, as they seized American sailors and forced them to work in the British Navy.
This impressment — along with trade restrictions brought forth by France's ongoing war with Great Britain, and the British's support of Indian tribes against American expansion — became the impetus of why America declared war on the British.
During the war, which ended in 1815, the British set fire to many buildings in Washington, D.C., including the White House.
"They burned the White House down," said Friends of Belmont member Missy Vaughn, of Smyrna, before echoing Wolfe's sentiments about the war. "[Yet] the War of 1812 doesn't get noticed much."
Smyrna Museum Civil War exhibit
Prior to Christmas at Belmont, the Smyrna Museum will host an exhibit on the Civil War on Dec. 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., at 11 South Main St.
The event is in preparation of the Duck Creek Historical Society's upcoming Civil War re-enactment of the war's lottery draft, slated for October 13, 2013, said Duck Creek Historical Society Secretary Jim Wolfe, husband of the Friends of Belmont Hall president. He added the Smyrna Museum was used as a place to hold drafts for the Civil War in 1863; and 2013 will mark the 150th anniversary.
The Smyrna Museum and Belmont Hall have both coordinated their events on Dec. 15 as a strategy to help school the community on American history, Vaughn said.
IF YOU GO
WHAT Third annual Christmas at Belmont Hall
WHEN 1-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15
WHERE Belmont Hall, 713 Smyrna Leipsic Road, Smyrna