The PCC color guard uniform is in the style of The Commander in Chief’s Guard. These men were hand picked out of the continental regiments to guard Washington, his papers, and his baggage. They were also a fighting unit. At Valley Forge the CIC guard was personally trained by Von Steuben and then detached to lead the training of each regiment.
On Saturday, March 12th, SAR compatriot Michael Carver, a veteran reenactor and living historian at Fort Mifflin, will conduct refresher training session for the Continental Chapter Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard at historic Fort Mifflin on the Delaware. We will teach our guardsmen both the British (1764) and Von Steuben (Blue Book) manuals of arms. Flag bearers will also be trained.
The public is welcome to observe.
During the winter of 1777 to 1778, Washington camped with his troops at Valley Forge, nearly twenty miles north of Philadelphia. The army that marched into Valley Forge had retreated against the vastly superior British Army all across New York and New Jersey and had suffered may defeats. Despite victories at Gloucester Heights (Boston) and Trenton, they were clearly an army in shambles and lacked proper discipline.
Benjamin Franklin enlisted and recommended to General Washington a young former Prussian army Captain — Friedrich Wilhelm Rudolf Gerhard August, Freiherr von Steuben – who joined the army at Valley Forge. Von Steuben taught the Continental Army the Prussian military drill techniques which were far more advanced than those of other European armies. The baron streamlined the use of the firearm, simplifying the complex procedure for firing and reloading muskets. He implemented a standard pace and cadence, allowing soldiers to keep step in a march without the use of a drum simply by watching the officer at the head of the column. When the army marched out of Valley Forge in the summer of 1778, they were ready to stand toe to toe with the British Regulars.
Von Steuben chose the Commander-in-Chief’s Guard as his model for training the troops. Von Steuben personally trained the Guard with his techniques and they in turn trained the rest of the army. To reduce the possibility of inter-colony rivalry, the Guard was augmented with soldiers from all the other colonies for the training.
The Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard is the ceremonial bears of our nation’s “colors” at significant society and public events. During the 18th and 19th centuries, flags were commonly referred to as “the Colors.” These colors were of primary importance to the military regiment or brigade as the line of battle was formed around the colors of the unit which were placed at the center of the line. These colors were easily seen through the smoke of battle. If the colors advanced, the line would advance. If the colors retired, the line would retire.
The importance of the colors was so significant that a ceremony was performed before battle called “The Trooping of the Colors.” The men of the regiment or brigade were assembled on the parade ground in camp and the colors were paraded before them. This way, each man would see and thus be certain of his colors before taking the field of battle. Likewise, while there could be many diverse objectives in a battle, one of the most important was capturing of the colors of the enemy unit. This would deprive the enemy of their primary means of control and rallying point during the battle. To prevent this, regiments and brigades would select the most valiant men to protect the colors and color bearer. These men comprised the “Color’s Guard.”
On March 12, the Continental Chapter of the Sons of the American Revolution Color Guard will assemble at Fort Mifflin for a day of training and drill. Following the legacy set down by General von Steuben, our men, dressed in the uniform of General Washington’s “Life Guard” – those soldiers detailed to protect the Commander-in-Chief as well as his senior commanders – will “Troop to the Colors” on the Parade Grounds of Fort Mifflin to learn, practice, and teach the Manual of Arms (AKA the Blue Book) complete with volley fire of muskets. The public is invited to watch and members of reenacting groups who which to augment our ranks and help take the drill back to their units are also welcome.
The Sons of the American Revolution is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to promoting patriotism, preserving American history, and promoting education to our future generations. SAR members volunteer untold hours of service each year in their local communities. SAR is very active in supporting active duty military personnel and assisting veterans as well. We proudly assist classrooms with living history interpreters, lesson planning materials and reenactment events. Any man (women are welcome to join the Daughters of the American Revolution) regardless of race, religion, or ethnic background-who can prove blood lineal descent from a patriot of the American Revolution, is eligible for membership.