Sounds and sights of Civil War relived during history events

Published 2:59 pm Friday, April 28, 2017

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The blast of cannon and rifles tore through the air giving students from Verbena High School just a taste of the American Civil War.

Students in fourth through sixth grade participated in the annual Civil War Living History Program at the Confederate Memorial Park on April 28.

Re-enactors dressed in Confederate uniforms demonstrated the various ways soldiers would carry their rifles while marching into battle.

“A good solider, they say, could shoot about three rounds a minute,” re-enactor Paul Wolbeck said.

Soldiers had organized shooting patterns with only a portion of the line of soldiers firing at a time. Wolbeck said when the order of “fire at-will” was given, soldiers would keep firing until they ran out of ammunition.

Wolbeck also detailed the kinds of equipment the soldiers carried and how they got it from place to place.

Bill Rambo said the shot from the rifles was not very accurate, so soldiers fired at the same time in an effort to hit something.

VHS fourth-grade student Mia Hubbard said she enjoyed seeing the rifle demonstrations.

At another station students practiced the techniques with wooden replicas.

VHS teacher Briar Smith said she enjoyed seeing the students be able to get hands-on knowledge of history.

“They can get a feel of the time period because that’s hard for them, historically … to understand what was it like. What did they eat?” Smith said. “Sometimes in your pictures it looks all glorious and that’s not what it was.”

She said the re-enactors are always willing to answer the student’s questions.

A little further into the field a cannon crew demonstrated the weapon for the students.  During the Civil War, it took seven men to fire the cannon, each had a specific job to ensure success. A well-experienced team could fire twice in a minute to a range of 600 feet.

A shortage of supplies and manufactured goods for Southern soldiers during the Civil War was highlighted through many of the Living History presentations.

“Manufacturing in the South is not good, we don’t have that much industry, so in order to get the equipment into the hands of soldiers there were a lot of shortcuts made,” Kenneth Morrison said.

Since leather was scarce, cotton canvas was used for the reins.

Morrison showed the students how the saddles used by the Calvary was a modified version of a Western saddle.

VHS fourth-grade student Naomi Mims said she like seeing the horse.

David Neal explained the variety of Confederate flags used throughout the war and the meaning behind them.

“It is so much fun to educate kids, and folks of all ages really to share this portion of history and remember what those folks went through,” Neal said.

He said he hopes learning lessons from the Civil War will keep something similar from happening again.

A bunkhouse, blacksmith station, nursing station, commissary and clothing shop were set up.

Mark Mershimer showed students the very, small tents soldiers would sleep in two or more to a tent.

Music from the time period was demonstrated by Kevin Naught and David Corbett.