- Associated Press - Monday, May 12, 2014

JANESVILLE, Wis. (AP) - When Bill and Marilyn Hess participate in a Revolutionary War re-enactment, they transform into those who lived 18th century life.

Bill, 75, becomes a captain in Alexander Hamilton’s New York Provincial Company of Artillery.

Marilyn, 75, portrays an officer’s wife, a woman traveling with the Army or an 18th century prostitute.

The Janesville couple have been Revolutionary War re-enactors since 1981 and are members of the North West Territory Alliance, a nonprofit educational organization that studies and re-creates the cultures, lifestyle and arts of the time of the American Revolution, 1775-1783.

The alliance strives to duplicate the uniforms, weapons, battlefield tactics and camp life of the era as accurately as possible, Bill said.

A history buff, Marilyn was intrigued by the time period she describes as the start of this country.

“The clothes and the history are interesting,” she told The Janesville Gazette (http://bit.ly/1kFFNrB).

At his second re-enactment in Indiana, Bill met a militiaman, who owned three cannons.

“I bought them five years later,” Bill said of the reproduction 1760-1766 cannons with wood carriages and bronze barrels.

The purchase allowed Bill to form an artillery unit within the North West Territory Alliance that puts on seven re-enactments a year, May through October, in five Midwestern states.

“When we started, we did 19 re-enactments a year, but there are fewer today because it’s gotten expensive for the host city or historical society to put them on,” Marilyn said.

A typical re-enactment starts with a morning troop inspection of weapons and uniforms plus a court of soldiers. It continues with a men’s parade of uniforms that Bill likened to a fashion show with a narrator, then a women’s and children’s fashion show.

Two battle demonstrations with artillery demonstrations are typically scheduled for the afternoon.

The re-enactments are open to the public of all ages.

“We’ve had some small crowds but also as many as 100,000 in one day,” Bill said.

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