By Charly SHELTON
The Civil War began 151 years ago. In 1861, the battle at Fort Sumpter started, leading to a bloody war where brother turned against brother and the country was torn apart, not only by the actual fighting but by the lines of loyalty that were formed and broken.
To commemorate this event and to give middle school students a deeper look at the most traumatic period in America’s history, Rosemont Middle School hosts its annual Civil War Day with historical reenactments and real life demonstrations of life during the Civil War. Whereas once this was a daytime activity for the eighth grade history students, it has grown bigger and is now held at night, allowing families to learn together.
Teaching stations were set up throughout the common areas of the school. The music department played Civil War-era music while the history of these famous songs was presented in the amphitheater.
In the cafeteria, “President Lincoln” attended a performance of “Our American Cousin” at Ford’s Theatre that ended with his assassination by John Wilkes Booth. The audience had a chance to ask President Lincoln and Booth questions about the circumstances surrounding the event.
In the covered area, a makeshift operating table was set up with the medical tools of the day and students learned about the deplorable conditions Civil War battlefield medics were under.
Out in front of the cafeteria, generals Grant and Lee led students in traditional marching style to get the feel of the regimental exercises troops went through.
And finally, a Union soldier had set up his tent in the eating area near the lunch tables and he gave a demonstration of the day-to-day life of a soldier when he wasn’t in combat that ended with the loading and firing his regulation issue rifle.
Overall the event was a huge success, according to Stacy Fox, head of the history department at Rosemont and the primary organizer of the event.