A half-dozen American patriots loaded their muskets and, on command, fired in unison at British troops guarding a small encampment.

Smoke from the muskets rose into the air as one of the Redcoats cried out and fell to the ground.

It was part of a dramatic staging of the 1781 Battle of Fort Slongo -- when 100 American troops, commanded by Maj. Lemuel Trescott, crossed Long Island Sound from Connecticut in whaleboats, capturing 20 British soldiers and burning down their fort.

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More than 100 people attended the re-enactment Saturday at Callahan's Beach in modern-day Fort Salonga. It was one of several demonstrations by members of the Brigade of the American Revolution -- a living history association -- that showed what life was like for soldiers and women during the Revolutionary War.

The "Day in History" event, organized by the Fort Salonga Association -- a not-for-profit community group -- aimed to educate visitors about local history as the Town of Smithtown celebrates its 350th anniversary, association president John Tweedie said.

"One of the goals was to bring history to life for the children, because they're always reading it in books. We'd like to bring it to life, so they can really feel it and see it," he said. "We're hoping that the children . . . get a sense of what brought about our freedoms."

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The re-enactment offered a glimpse into what an 18th century military encampment looked like. There were tents, talks about period artillery and a cooking demonstration, featuring a ham roasting over a fire.

Gary Vorwald, playing the role of a fife major in the British 22nd Regiment, explained the importance of music on the battleground, noting that it was used to wake up and assemble soldiers.

"It's our country's heritage," he said of the importance of such historical programs. "Men and women had to sacrifice in order for America to become an independent country and to maintain that independence."

Melanie Murphy, 29, of Kings Park, said the program offered her 8-year-old son Xander a chance to witness a piece of Revolutionary War history.

"That's what made America what it is, and if we forget that, I think it would be really sad," she said.