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North Salem History Repeats Itself

NORTH SALEM - Supervisor Warren Lucas glanced out his window on Saturday only to see "some folks marching in revolutionary garb." They turned out to be seven volunteers from AmeriCorps , a non-profit community service program for men and women aged 18 to 24.

These young men and women comprise one of three teams retracing General Rochambeau's Revolutionary Route from Providence, Rhode Island to Yorktown, Virginia. They are dressed as French soldiers, part of the French Expeditionary Force that came to help the Continental Army. The original march occurred from July 2 to 6, 1781.

The purpose of the march is to "raise awareness of the National Historic Trails and show communities the history they have right in front of them," said David Pergamit, 24, of Eugene, Oregon.

This team is covering the 225 miles from Providence, to Phillipstown, NY, where they will be relieved by the next team. Along the way, they camp out. "People have been great," said Ella Chalmers, 21, of Orange, California. "They give us food and snacks and water along the way."

The group marches five or six hours a day and tries to camp at the same places the French troops did. They are trying to stay true to the dateline as well.

On Saturday morning they started in Ridgefield, Connecticut, marched through North Salem and Cross River and then onto Bedford where they camped for the night.

Both Chalmers and Pergamit said they joined AmeriCorps and volunteered for the march "because it seemed like an adventure."

Pergamit added, "The worst part is when you're done and you've gone 16 miles in six hours."

Supervisor Lucas set aside some time to research the original event. The detailed description of the march includes references to Ridgefield, Route 35, Route 172, Pound Ridge, Poundridge Road, Mt. Kisco and Bedford Village ("or rather what little there was left of it. But a single house had survived the fire Banastre Tarleton's men had set during a raid on the morning of Sunday, 11 July 1779.")

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