Students experience Civil War era during Living History event

Published 2:41 pm Friday, April 27, 2018

By JOYANNA LOVE/Senior Staff Writer

It was a day of exploration for students from Verbena High School and other schools in the region at the Confederate Memorial Park Living History day on Aug. 27.

The Living History event will be open to the public April 28 from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Demonstrations by trained re-enactors will  include infantry, cavalry, artillery as well as a chance to view equipment, uniforms and barracks of the Civil War era. A skirmish will be held at 1 p.m. Admission is free for all outdoor activities. Museum admission is $2.

Students saw demonstrations of infantry formation and firing a cannon, while learning about the life of a soldier during the Civil War.

“I love coming here,” VHS teacher Ruth Easterling said. “It goes so well with the Alabama history stuff that we do and the Civil War. It seems to make it more real for the children to actually see it.”

Her favorite parts are the cannon and seeing what a campsite would have been like.

“How do you think the infantry got around?” re-enactor Paul Wolbeck asked as his group began their presentation.

After a student correctly answered with walking, Wolbeck explained that the groups often walked 15 to 20 miles a day.

The re-enactors showed how soldiers marched and stood to fight before demonstrating their weapons. Soldiers usually marched in companies of 100 soldiers as a part of a regiment, which had up to 1,000.

VHS student Landon Brown said he enjoyed seeing the muskets “because they are loud and old.”

During the Civil War, infantry men would have carried everything they needed.

Wolbeck said the equipment was very similar for soldiers whether they were fighting for the North or the South.

This was not the case for the Calvary. Re-enactors Kenneth Morrison in an Union uniform and David Scroggins in an Confederate uniform

“I try to emphasize the technology that the North has over the South, the ability to manufacture, the industrial capacity, the massive amounts of raw materials to make things for soldiers,” Morrison said. “The Confederacy has a hard time because they are not prepared for a war in 1861. (There was) not a single cannon factory in the entire South.”

Scroggins talked about the differences in the quality of equipment available to the North and South during the war.

Many of the metal elements for the cavalry in the South were made by hand. Scroggins said the equipment for the North “is relatively uniform and mine (representing the South) is hodgepodge.”

Scroggins said his great-great grandfather was in the 53rd Alabama Calvary, and this gave him an interest in being a cavalry re-enactor.

Scoggins and Morrison had made the majority of the equipment they used.

Inside a historic church on the property, David Reel walked attendees through the flags used by different regiments throughout the South and the development of what is known today as the Confederate flag.

“I didn’t know there were so many flags,” home-schooled student Campbell Nichols said of the displays after the presentation.

He said he had looked forward to seeing all the re-enactments and visiting the cemetery at the site.

“I really like the cavalry and the infantry,” Nichols said.

Alan Parker was a part of the group demonstrating the cannon. He said he “was a Civil War buff” and got into re-enacting because his son was into it.

He said he enjoys teaching students at the Living History event.

“It’s easier to relate how these cannons work and the function if you don’t have to read a book about the whole procedure,” Parker said.

It took 10 to 11 people just to get the cannon in position and fire it during a battle.

Brown said he had not known it took that many people to operate a cannon until seeing the presentation.

VHS student Tristan Wilhite said he was looking forward to seeing “how they learned how to survive and lived during the old days.”

He especially liked learning about the cannon and the different types of projectiles used.

At one of the stations, students had an opportunity to practice marching and presenting arms with wooden performance muskets like an infantry man would have in the Civil War.

Home-schooled student Sadie Martin said she enjoyed this hands-on activity.

In a series of Civil War era replica buildings, students learned about what soldiers ate and what civilian life during the time would have been like.

Confederate Memorial Park is located at 437 County  Road 63 in Marbury.


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