General George Washington and members of the Sixth Pennsylvania Regiment camped out at the Peter Wentz Farmstead in Worcester Saturday, re-enacting George Washington’s 1777 encampments, before and after losing the Battle of Germantown. General Washington, as portrayed by Jim Gibson of Fallsington, said it was not a very good year.
“We have also had the Paoli Massacre recently, and we did not do well at Brandywine, and then we had the Battle of Germantown, and then on top of that I also have my own generals conspiring against me. Conway and Gates are in league against me, sending notes about how incapable of a general I am.”
He said they learned an important lesson from those losing battles.
“We should never underestimate our enemy. The British are well-trained, well-equipped, and our army is still in its infancy compared to what the British Army is capable of, so we should never underestimate our enemy, and that’s what we’ve done in some of these cases.”
Sixth Pennsylvania Regiment member Jim Reynolds of Glenside was there as one of Washington’s Life Guards.
“Their sole job was to travel with the general and to protect him when they were in encampments, such as at the Wentz house here. There were requirements to being a Lifeguard. You had to be of good character, you had to be literate. He wanted the best of his troops to be with him to act as his protection. It’s somewhat analogous to what we have as the Secret Service today, guarding the President -- somewhat analogous.”
Reynolds said “literate” in 1777 simply meant able to read and write, which many soldiers were not. He said the Secret Service did not exist in the early days of the United States, and the first three presidents – Washington, Adams and Jefferson – walked the streets of Philadelphia with no protection.