200 years later, Riverhead students recreate a battle scene

06/26/2014 3:24 PM |
Riverhead High School student Emily Green (right) glues figurines last month on a diorama depicting a battle from the War of 1812. She and Megan Carrick (from left), John Vega, and Brian Brenton were students in Justin Cobis' history class. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

Riverhead High School student Emily Green (right) glues figurines last month on a diorama depicting a battle from the War of 1812. She and Megan Carrick (from left), John Vega, and Brian Brenton were students in Justin Cobis’ history class. (Credit: Barbaraellen Koch)

In April, a group of Riverhead High School sophomores, juniors and seniors visited a spot on the Long Island Sound near Hallockville Museum Farm, standing just a few hundred feet away from where some of Riverhead’s founding fathers fought off the British in a once-forgotten battle from the War of 1812. 

There, they gathered twigs, plant roots, smooth beach rocks and strips of seaweed to use for a project in their Long Island History class: a 1/72 scale diorama of the battle, complete with painted seas, miniature militiamen, tiny trees and a recreation of the sandy cliffs.

“Nature replicates itself in miniature,” said Jack Smith, a retired teacher and miniatures expert. “I wanted them to really get a feel for what the bluff looked like.”

Over the past two months, the students have constructed a diorama of the Defense of the Eagle, a nearly 200-year-old naval battle between American sailors and militiamen and a pair of British warships off the Northville coast.

That diorama, now complete, will be unveiled at a celebration of the battle’s anniversary tonight, Thursday, at Hallockville Museum Farm starting at 6:30 p.m.