Metro

‘The British are coming’ — 250 years later

Reenactors Rob Lee (front, left) and Jeffery Meriwether (right) marched toward the Old State House.
Craig F. Walker/Globe staff
Reenactors Rob Lee (front, left) and Jeffery Meriwether (right) marched toward the Old State House.

On a clear Saturday morning, a green wooden ship carrying 40 British soldiers dressed in traditional red uniforms sailed toward Boston Harbor. With muskets in hand, the soldiers stood at attention, chanting “Huzzah! Huzzah!” as the Liberty Star brought them closer to shore.

It was a scene straight out of history books, as the redcoat reenactors re-created the arrival of British troops to Boston to kick off Revolution 250, a commemoration of America’s independence from Britain.

The troupe was met at Long Wharf by about 100 more redcoat reenactors, who had arrived in longboats from Fort Point. Rebellious Colonists and fervent loyalists to the king lined the shore.

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“Soldiers of the crown,” bellowed Bob Fallotico, a colonel of His Majesty’s Tenth Regiment of Foot. “It is our duty to seize this rebel town and restore order under the law of his majesty King George. Although we have traveled hundreds of miles from home, this is England, and we shall protect her to the very end.”

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The redcoats were met with hisses and boos from angry Colonists wearing waistcoats, breeches, and tri-cornered hats. The spectacle drew as many as 200 onlookers who watched along the city’s wide brick sidewalks. Once ashore, the reenactors marched into downtown Boston to the sound of Colonial fife and drums.

Boston, MA - October 06, 2018: British reenactor CPT. Jeffery Meriwether, center, is greeted the stern faces of colonial reenactors as the Britsh arrive at Long Wharf during “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” in Boston, MA on October 06, 2018. (Exactly 250 years after British soldiers landed in Boston Harbor for the first time, Bostonians this weekend will once again be able to yell, “The Redcoats are coming!” A troupe of about 150 Redcoat reenactors will land at Long Wharf Saturday morning and march into downtown Boston to commemorate the sestercentennial anniversary of when the red-clad British nationals first arrived in the city in October of 1768. The reproduction of the soldiers’ arrival and the march that will follow it comprise “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” — the signature event organized by Revolution 250, a group of organizations, including the Massachusetts Historical Society, working together to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the events that eventually culminated in the colonies’ independence from Britain.) (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:
Craig F. Walker/Globe staf
British reenactor Capt. Jeffery Meriwether was greeted by the stern faces of colonial reenactors.

They traveled up State Street to the old State House. They continued on to Downtown Crossing, before marching to Boston Common, where they pitched their tents for the night.

The march, called “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade,” is one of several events planned for Saturday and Sunday organized by Revolution 250, a group of 50 organizations that plans to commemorate other historical events over the next eight years, including the Boston Massacre and the Boston Tea Party, leading up to the 250th anniversary of American independence.

“We’re hoping over the next eight years really to focus on the events that happened here in Boston where the revolution began,” Bob Allison, the chair of the Colonial Society of Massachusetts, said to the crowd at Downtown Crossing. “We trace the origins of the American republic to events that happened here in the streets of Boston 250 years ago.”

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For some reenactors, the ceremony was a chance to see history come alive.

Callie Hershey, 49, and her 14-year-old daughter, Wren Werner, dressed in traditional garb — such as a tan-and-white wool gown and a red cape — to portray a British officer’s wife and daughter.

“You study history in textbooks or books or even movies, but it’s so much more fun to be able to wear the clothing and walk the walk,” said Hershey.

Boston, MA - October 06, 2018: British reenactors CPT. Jeffery Meriwether cheers the King at the Old State House after British troops arrived at Long Wharf during “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” in Boston, MA on October 06, 2018. (Exactly 250 years after British soldiers landed in Boston Harbor for the first time, Bostonians this weekend will once again be able to yell, “The Redcoats are coming!” A troupe of about 150 Redcoat reenactors will land at Long Wharf Saturday morning and march into downtown Boston to commemorate the sestercentennial anniversary of when the red-clad British nationals first arrived in the city in October of 1768. The reproduction of the soldiers’ arrival and the march that will follow it comprise “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” — the signature event organized by Revolution 250, a group of organizations, including the Massachusetts Historical Society, working together to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the events that eventually culminated in the colonies’ independence from Britain.) (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:
Craig F. Walker/Globe staff
Spectators listened to the British Commanding Officer British at Downtown Crossing

Eric Niehaus, 70, said he had a special appreciation for reenacting the actions of America’s revolutionary foes.

“I’ve always looked at history from the other side, so aside from the sharp uniforms, I like the other perspective,” Niehaus, a private in the 10th Regiment, said. “History has two sides, but the winner writes the books.”

Boston, MA - October 06, 2018: British reenactors arrive at Long Wharf in long boats and a schooner during ÒBoston Occupied: An Insolent ParadeÓ in Boston, MA on October 06, 2018. (Exactly 250 years after British soldiers landed in Boston Harbor for the first time, Bostonians this weekend will once again be able to yell, ÒThe Redcoats are coming!Ó A troupe of about 150 Redcoat reenactors will land at Long Wharf Saturday morning and march into downtown Boston to commemorate the sestercentennial anniversary of when the red-clad British nationals first arrived in the city in October of 1768. The reproduction of the soldiersÕ arrival and the march that will follow it comprise ÒBoston Occupied: An Insolent ParadeÓ Ñ the signature event organized by Revolution 250, a group of organizations, including the Massachusetts Historical Society, working together to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the events that eventually culminated in the coloniesÕ independence from Britain.) (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:
Craig F. Walker/Globe staff
British reenactors arrived at Long Wharf in long boats and a schooner.

Boston, MA - October 06, 2018: British reenactors Ensign Peter Pechulis is in the bow of a long boat arriving at Long Wharf during ÒBoston Occupied: An Insolent ParadeÓ in Boston, MA on October 06, 2018. (Exactly 250 years after British soldiers landed in Boston Harbor for the first time, Bostonians this weekend will once again be able to yell, ÒThe Redcoats are coming!Ó A troupe of about 150 Redcoat reenactors will land at Long Wharf Saturday morning and march into downtown Boston to commemorate the sestercentennial anniversary of when the red-clad British nationals first arrived in the city in October of 1768. The reproduction of the soldiersÕ arrival and the march that will follow it comprise ÒBoston Occupied: An Insolent ParadeÓ Ñ the signature event organized by Revolution 250, a group of organizations, including the Massachusetts Historical Society, working together to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the events that eventually culminated in the coloniesÕ independence from Britain.) (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:
Craig F. Walker/Globe staff
British reenactor Ensign Peter Pechulis was in the bow of a long boat.

Boston, MA - October 06, 2018: Eli Huebner disembarks a long boat as British reenactors arrive at Long Wharf during ÒBoston Occupied: An Insolent ParadeÓ in Boston, MA on October 06, 2018. (Exactly 250 years after British soldiers landed in Boston Harbor for the first time, Bostonians this weekend will once again be able to yell, ÒThe Redcoats are coming!Ó A troupe of about 150 Redcoat reenactors will land at Long Wharf Saturday morning and march into downtown Boston to commemorate the sestercentennial anniversary of when the red-clad British nationals first arrived in the city in October of 1768. The reproduction of the soldiersÕ arrival and the march that will follow it comprise ÒBoston Occupied: An Insolent ParadeÓ Ñ the signature event organized by Revolution 250, a group of organizations, including the Massachusetts Historical Society, working together to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the events that eventually culminated in the coloniesÕ independence from Britain.) (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:
Craig F. Walker/Globe staff
Eli Huebner disembarked from a long boat at Long Wharf.

Boston, MA - October 06, 2018: British reenactors Leonard Torto display a pair of flags at Long Wharf during “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” in Boston, MA on October 06, 2018. Torto played the surgeon quartermaster of His Majesty's Tenth Regiment of Foot. (Exactly 250 years after British soldiers landed in Boston Harbor for the first time, Bostonians this weekend will once again be able to yell, “The Redcoats are coming!” A troupe of about 150 Redcoat reenactors will land at Long Wharf Saturday morning and march into downtown Boston to commemorate the sestercentennial anniversary of when the red-clad British nationals first arrived in the city in October of 1768. The reproduction of the soldiers’ arrival and the march that will follow it comprise “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” — the signature event organized by Revolution 250, a group of organizations, including the Massachusetts Historical Society, working together to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the events that eventually culminated in the colonies’ independence from Britain.) (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:
Craig F. Walker/Globe staff
Leonard Torto displayed a pair of flags.

Boston, MA - October 06, 2018: British reenactors Corp. Justin Murray exchanges opinions spectator Claire Coyle Aston at Long Wharf during “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” in Boston, MA on October 06, 2018. In character, Murray claimed Boston is part on England, Aston firmly disagreed. (Exactly 250 years after British soldiers landed in Boston Harbor for the first time, Bostonians this weekend will once again be able to yell, “The Redcoats are coming!” A troupe of about 150 Redcoat reenactors will land at Long Wharf Saturday morning and march into downtown Boston to commemorate the sestercentennial anniversary of when the red-clad British nationals first arrived in the city in October of 1768. The reproduction of the soldiers’ arrival and the march that will follow it comprise “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” — the signature event organized by Revolution 250, a group of organizations, including the Massachusetts Historical Society, working together to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the events that eventually culminated in the colonies’ independence from Britain.) (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:
Craig F. Walker/Globe staff
Reenactor Corp. Justin Murray exchanged opinions spectator Claire Coyle Aston. In character, Murray claimed Boston is part on England, Aston firmly disagreed.

Boston, MA - October 06, 2018: British reenactors CPT. Jeffery Meriwether cheers the King at the Old State House after British troops arrived at Long Wharf during “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” in Boston, MA on October 06, 2018. (Exactly 250 years after British soldiers landed in Boston Harbor for the first time, Bostonians this weekend will once again be able to yell, “The Redcoats are coming!” A troupe of about 150 Redcoat reenactors will land at Long Wharf Saturday morning and march into downtown Boston to commemorate the sestercentennial anniversary of when the red-clad British nationals first arrived in the city in October of 1768. The reproduction of the soldiers’ arrival and the march that will follow it comprise “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” — the signature event organized by Revolution 250, a group of organizations, including the Massachusetts Historical Society, working together to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the events that eventually culminated in the colonies’ independence from Britain.) (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:
Craig F. Walker/Globe staff
Spectaors listened as reenactor Capt. Jeffery Meriwether cheered the King at the Old State House.

Boston, MA - October 06, 2018:British reenactors playing the part of His Majesty's Tenth Regiment of Foot wait for orders during “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” in Boston, MA on October 06, 2018. (Exactly 250 years after British soldiers landed in Boston Harbor for the first time, Bostonians this weekend will once again be able to yell, “The Redcoats are coming!” A troupe of about 150 Redcoat reenactors will land at Long Wharf Saturday morning and march into downtown Boston to commemorate the sestercentennial anniversary of when the red-clad British nationals first arrived in the city in October of 1768. The reproduction of the soldiers’ arrival and the march that will follow it comprise “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” — the signature event organized by Revolution 250, a group of organizations, including the Massachusetts Historical Society, working together to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the events that eventually culminated in the colonies’ independence from Britain.) (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:
Craig F. Walker/Globe staff
A reenactors from His Majesty's Tenth Regiment of Foot waited for orders.

Boston, MA - October 06, 2018: British reenactor PVT Eric Niehaus, playing a member of His Majesty's Tenth Regiment of Foot posed for pictures with spectator at Long Wharf during “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” in Boston, MA on October 06, 2018. (Exactly 250 years after British soldiers landed in Boston Harbor for the first time, Bostonians this weekend will once again be able to yell, “The Redcoats are coming!” A troupe of about 150 Redcoat reenactors will land at Long Wharf Saturday morning and march into downtown Boston to commemorate the sestercentennial anniversary of when the red-clad British nationals first arrived in the city in October of 1768. The reproduction of the soldiers’ arrival and the march that will follow it comprise “Boston Occupied: An Insolent Parade” — the signature event organized by Revolution 250, a group of organizations, including the Massachusetts Historical Society, working together to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the events that eventually culminated in the colonies’ independence from Britain.) (Craig F. Walker/Globe Staff) section: Metro reporter:
Craig F. Walker/Globe staff
Reenactor Private Eric Niehaus played a member of His Majesty's Tenth Regiment of Foot and posed with a spectator.

Sophia Eppolito can be reached at sophia.eppolito@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @SophiaEppolito.