Imagine if there were only 8,000 men in the entire U.S. Army.
That's how it was in the 1830s. To supplement the meager armed forces, most farmers and craftsmen were required by law to serve in local militia units, the forerunner of today's National Guard. Every spring these citizen-soldiers were "called to muster" for a day of training, inspection, ... and to elect their own officers.
During OSV's Muster Day, meet 19th century Marines from Boston who are in Sturbridge looking for "recruits."
Learn the difference between volunteer militia companies, who drilled regularly and had matching uniforms, and enrolled companies, who typically met only twice a year to train.
Groups will be demonstrating drilling, military martial music, target practice and "sham fights" or mock battles.
We will also be showcasing how Villagers would have relaxed and celebrated on such a day. Visitors can buy gingerbread on the Common using a period-appropriate coin and witness and visit a Striped Pig Tent.
In the 1830's the "Fifteen Gallon Law" was enacted in Massachusetts, making it illegal to sell alcohol by the drink. To circumvent the law, an entrepreneur in Dedham, MA erected a tent, painted stripes on a common pig and charged 6 1/4 cents to see the "Wonderful Striped Pig". Customers were then given a free glass of rum, by-passing the law. Our pig will be in a tent on the Common, lemonade substituting for rum.
Active military personnel get a 50-percent admission discount, and members of their party get 25 percent off admission.