Students at Cloverleaf Elementary School this week were able to engage in a hands-on learning experience on the Civil War thanks to the Stiles-Akin Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp No. 670.
“We’re finished with [the Civil War curriculum] and they really want to see the real thing,” fifth-grade teacher Jennifer Lawrence said. “In my room I have a bulletin board with pictures from the Civil War and basically all we’ve been able to see is what we can find on the Internet.
“They can actually visualize and see the uniforms ..., they set everything up and everybody is in [period] attire. It’s a reproduction, but it looks authentic to [students].”
Commander Robert Crowe echoed her statements, saying the event, which was held on Veterans Day, provided an opportunity for students to have a better understanding of life during the Civil War era.
“Instead of getting it out of a textbook, ... by looking at the memorabilia [students] can really get a pretty good idea of what’s going on,” Crowe said. “The [United Daughters of the Confederacy] are trying to give [students] a good idea of what was going on with the women during that era, so it’s kind of a two-way deal.
“We have everything from the tents to guns and pistols, telling them how the cannons operated, how the guns operated, a demonstration of what happened ... and we cover clothing, food — we’re trying to show the complete picture.”
He continued, “We talk about the battles here and what could have happened, even going back to the early part of the war and the [Great Locomotive Chase]. One of the biggest situations that happened happened in Kingston, Ga., right here in Bartow County.
“When you get to the war, a lot of people don’t know certain situations happened in Cassville; they laid the plans to trap the Union Army and they almost did it. You could have had one of those big battles like Chickamauga right here in Bartow County and the devastation would have been horrendous, but it just didn’t happen because of a few things.
“The Battle of Allatoona Pass, which was after the fall of Atlanta, with the Confederate army moving up North trying to draw the Union army back North, but one of the main things that made Allatoona Pass happen was the food stored. The Union had ... rations stored at Allatoona Pass warehouses and the Confederates found out about it and that’s why the battle took place — they went after that food and the Confederates didn’t realize they would be in 20 minutes of accomplishing what they wanted to do, but they just ran out of time.”
He said holding the event on Veterans Day was important because all veterans should be recognized for their service.
“The American Civil War people are veterans also, both Union and Confederate, it makes no difference,” Crowe said. “The U.S. federal government recognizes those people are veterans also, just as the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the Indian wars, to the major wars all the way up through the Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan stuff now. It’s all in conjunction to give honor to these people.”
Student Gavin Hufstetler said he enjoyed learning about the Civil War during class as well as viewing the items on display.
“[We learned] about Abraham Lincoln dying and getting shot in the back of the head with a gunpowder gun,” Hufstetler said.
He said the most interesting article of memorabilia he encountered during the event was a “big gun.” He was not as impressed, however, when he learned soldiers often would eat the worms that grew on the staple food hardtack as a source of protein.
“It was disgusting,” Hufstetler said.