Harmon’s Company of Snowshoemen was formed in 1994 in preparation of the Grand Encampment at Fortress Louisbourg in 1995. Most members were veteran revolutionary war reenactors, but had hung up their redcoats in favor of the uniform of Billy Yank and the American Civil War in the mid 1980’s. However, we never lost our affinity for the 18th Century and we didn’t want to see our flintlocks collect any more dust hanging on the wall. By 1994, the long rumored Louisbourg event looked like it would finally become a reality and we were not going to miss it for the world. We welcomed the opportunity to become involved in an earlier time period and to make the trip to Cape Breton.
Since that beginning we have branched both forward and backward in time, recreating four distinct periods in early American history, focused on New England: the time of the first settlements (The Piscataqua Company, 1623-1640), the late 17th century/beginning of the 18th century (Benjamin Church’s Company, 1675-1707), the mid-18th century (Harmon’s Company of Snowshoemen, 1748-1760) and the War for Independence (Jeremiah Eames’s Rangers, 1776-1777).
The core group of people in this unit are veteran reenactors. For example, I have been reenacting since 1972. Many others have been reenacting for almost as long, a few longer. Others are relatively new to reenacting. We have seen it all, some of it wonderful and inspiring, some of it amusing, some of it ridiculous, some of it ugly and hurtful. In reenacting, like all endeavors involving human beings, personality comes into play. You have to find a group with the same attitude and the same goals. We want members who have the same attitude and the same goals. If you find that mix, it is pleasant for all concerned. So, we don’t discourage recruits, we just like to take it slow.
There is a process to become a member:
- You must serve a year’s probation
- You must attend at least two events that first year and preferably one being a battle weekend
- During that year we will assess if your personality fits with the group (and you should do likewise), whether you are willing to meet authenticity standards, and whether you act in a safe manner.
- At our Annual Meeting the end of February (the closest one to you finishing a full year) we will take a vote.
- This is also important: It is not necessary for you to do all four impressions. You can do any number you want from one to four. Several members do Harmon’s and Eames’s because so much of the gear transfers, and those are the two impressions that do the most battle weekends. Others do all four. This expansion also need not be rushed. You can start with one and gradually expand your repertoire. However, care should be taken in weapon selection if you are considering doing more than one impression. If you have lots of money you can certainly buy a different weapon for each time period. A few have been able to do this over the years. However, most do not have the financial ability to do this. Read the information about gear for each impression for more details, but briefly before you dig into that information:
- It is not possible to have one weapon that will fit all four units. If you wish to do all four then realize you will need at least two. The following is an overview and other weapons connected to the different times (like Dutch muskets or French weapons) will also be acceptable. This is just a quick example. Specific weapons are discussed under each impression.
- Referring to the lock mechanisms only:
- Piscataqua Company may use a matchlock, snaphaunce, English lock or pike
- Church’s Company may use an English lock or a doglock
- Harmon’s may use a doglock or a true flintlock (preferably one without a frizzen bridle)
- Eames’s Rangers may use a doglock or true flintlock (with or without a frizzen bridle)
- As you can see, a doglock works for three of the units (Church’s, Harmon’s and Eames’s). A true flintlock without a frizzen bridle works for Harmon’s and Eames’s, and an English lock works for Piscataqua and Church’s. While a matchlock, snaphaunce and pike only work for Piscataqua and a true flintlock with a frizzen bridle only works for Eames’s (although we do accept it for Harmon’s depending on the style and date of the weapon)
- All of this is explained in the information under the separate interpretations, but this is the only place where we can put this out there under a general heading for recruits.
We want you to know upfront what we are about. If you haven’t read our Mission Statement on our website, you should go there first. In addition to that, here are some other thoughts concerning how we operate:
- We wear blanket rolls and snapsacks/knapsacks whenever possible, in fact, almost all the time. Snowshoemen were ordered to appear with provisions and a blanket. We do that (see original orders creating the snowshoe companies on the unit website). We carry this rule to all unit impressions where appropriate.
- We pride ourselves on our tactical ability, which means in woods warfare. We are not slovenly, we are efficient.
- We move quickly, even run in reenactments or tacticals, so you need to be willing and able to do that. We also go through any terrain to achieve the tactical advantage.
- The cut and fabric of clothing must be correct. Equipment worn must also be historically correct.
- We pride ourselves on obtaining a correct weapon for this unit (Whatever that is, Piscataqua, Church’s, Harmon’s, Eames’s). It is one of the things that has always distinguished us. That means spending a more money for the unusual or the custom made.
- We try to avoid linear tactics whenever possible, in fact, we try to avoid any standing around for no good purpose
- We don’t sit around discussing the latest book on haversack straps (although many of us probably have read it and own it). Instead, we bust each other balls on a regular basis, so if you have a thin skin, best join another unit
- We don’t have meetings (too scattered geographically), nor a regular newsletter. We communicate by means of email. We do have public and private Facebook groups, however, not all members are on Facebook, so the best communication is through direct email. We want members who know the score, and don’t need to be baby-sat or wet-nursed about events.
- We have a few members who act like fraternity members. They act like juvenile delinquents, but they are our juvenile delinquents, so get used to it.
- Yes, we allow facial hair. Yes, we know they didn’t have it in the 18th century. Is there some point you wanted to make?
- We love coffee
If you can appreciate the purpose and the sense of humor behind those thoughts, and you agree with the approach, then we would like to get to know you. We are a bunch of raggedy-assed New England frontiersmen who want to be known for tactical skill, authentic look, safety and being a good bunch of people. If after all this you are still interested, then we should keep in touch.