The British are coming!

Published 1:51 am Thursday, September 16, 2004

By By SPIROS GALLOS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - The British are coming! The British are coming!
But there's no cause for alarm, because the British soldiers who will be in
Niles Oct. 2-3 won't be actual redcoats, but historical re-enactors.
The King's 8th and 60th of Foote infantry regiments will be at the northwest corner of Fifth and Main streets conducting military drills from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 2 and 10 p.m. to 3 p.m. Oct 3.
The Fort St. Joseph re-enactment event, "The British are coming," is sponsored by the Fort St. Joseph Museum, the Niles District Library, and the Downtown Development Authority.
Throughout the day, members of the Niles Junior Optimists will lead in children's crafts activities, Darlene Jackson of the Niles District Library will be telling stories, and British fort artifacts will be on display by Western Michigan University.
Music will also be performed by the colonial-era music group, A Reasonable Facsimile, in between military drills.
The King's 8th typically participates in one re-enactment event per month from April to October. Some events are large battles consisting of hundreds and hundreds of re-enactors, while some will offer the group full use of a historic site, according to Daniel O'Connell.
O'Connell, Commander of the King's 8th said the group values every event and site that they go to, but the Niles event has them quite excited.
O'Connell said he hopes the Niles community will support the efforts to reconstruct Fort St. Joseph.
The group recently traveled to Quebec City, Canada in August to take part in a battle re-enactment. The re-enactment featured about 500 British soldiers and 500 French "rebels and other disillusioned subjects," O'Connell said.
The military drills the King's 8th will be conducting are the 1764 Regulations for the manual of arms as approved by King George III in 1764, according to O'Connell.
The drills include loading and firing of their guns, different positions of standing as well different positions of the muskets and bayonets, O'Connell said.
The group, which is based out of southeast and western Michigan, has over 25 members from Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, New York, Pennsylvania, and Ontario, Canada.
O'Connell said that most people become re-enactors simply due to "an interest in history" and most members wanting a more out of their studies of history.
Anyone interested in more information about the King's 8th can go to the group's web-site at
For more information about "The British are Coming: A Fort St. Joseph Re-enactment" can call the Fort St. Joseph Museum at (269)683-4702, or the Niles District Library at (269)683-8545.