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Students learn history during Civil War day
KES Civil War pic1
Josh Washington, front, takes a group of fifth graders through a military drill during Kilough Elementarys Civil War day Friday. The group held pieces of wood cut to resemble period rifles and learned how to march in ranks. - photo by James G. Wolfe Jr. Dawson Community News

Several area historians gathered to volunteer their time Friday as Kilough Elementary held its first Civil War day for fifth graders.

The event consisted of six stations, each detailing a portion of life during the Civil War.

Kendra Coker, fifth grade teacher, organized the event and was happy with the interest level the students showed.

"They seem really into it," Coker said. "Sometimes with the kids it's hard to get them to focus, but they seem really interested in what these folks have to say."

The six stations consisted of: Camp life and cooking, military drill, soldier's life, artillery and cartridge, life on the home front and drums/camp music.

The camp life and cooking station was led by Rachel Kirk, a student teacher at the school, who took a group at a time into a Civil War era replica tent to explain what it was like sleeping on the ground before leading them back outside to show them how clothes were washed and food was prepared.

"If you think it's hard to load the washing machine at home, imagine having to scrub them in a bucket of water," Kirk told the students.

At the military drill station, Josh Washington formed a group at a time into ranks and taught them how to march in order while holding wood cut to resemble era rifles.

"And you have to remember the most important thing," Washington said to his group, "Don't point your rifle at your buddies."

Jack Hulsey, in the soldier's life station, demonstrated the various things that soldiers carried on their person, in particular, detailing how long it took to load a period rifle.

"The best soldiers could get off three shots in a minute," Hulsey explained. "And that's while bullets are whizzing by you."

Overall, Coker said the day was a success.

"These guys have been so great to volunteer their time to come over here and they are just really patient with the children and their questions," Coker said. "I have nothing but thanks and I hope we can make this an annual tradition because it's an important part of our country's history and the kids need to know about it and see some evidence of it in action."