Sunday, May 20, 2007

Impressions - English Soldier - Roanoke Island Expedition, 1584

These pictures are from the Fayetteville "Military Through The Ages" event. One of the best stocked impressions of the day actually came from Roanoke Island Festival Park with two English soldiers representing the first English expedition sent to Roanake Island. This expedition pre-dated the actual landing of the "lost" Roanoke colony by a year.

The English soldier featured to the left would have been part of a two man team. One soldier (musketeer) in the team would have used the firing weapon, the other would be his close-in protection by using a pike and sword to challenge anyone who would advance on the musketeer.

The musketeer here is wearing the clothing typical of the period and hefting a pre-matchlock weapon, otherwise known as a caliver. This soldier is not armored - other than his morion helmet - lacking a vest of plates or solid breastplate. Past the caliver, he's armed with a long dagger for self defense. I assume the pikeman would have donned armor of some sort to survive any close combat to defend the musketeer.

To load the caliver, the soldier wore a bandolier that suspended 12 wooden vials with powder in them, known as "apostles". In 29 movements, the musketeer would load his weapon, ramming home the bullet with a "scouring stick", better known to us as a ramrod. The loading process was long, and it's a wonder they ever got to shoot their weapons in the first place.

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