A couple of weeks ago, I got a rare treat! I sat in on a military history class, and on that particular day, we got a Civil War demonstration. A Civil War reenactor came in and showed the class all sorts of equipment and clothing that soldiers used. The reenactor was dressed much the same as a typical soldier and gave a lot of information about the war and the typical life of a solider. Then, afterwards, the class was invited to come up to look at the gear and ask the reenactor more questions. Presentations like that really make history come alive, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
The reenactor brought of lot of gear that a Civil War solider would have used. He brought in two muzzle-loading muskets, one a smooth bore and the other a rifled musket. He explained how the soldiers would have loaded their rifles using cartridges, percussion caps, and ramrods. Of course, there weren’t any live firing in the classroom! The reenactor also brought and passed around Minie balls and rounded bullets for smooth bore rifles. He also showed us a cavalry saber, a side arm that a cavalry soldier would have carried, and an example of a timed shell that an artillery piece would have fired.
Moreover, the reenactor brought much of the gear that a Civil War soldier would have carried, including a bayonet, a cartridge belt, a canteen, a blanket roll, and a pack. The reenactor also brought various clothes including jackets and hats that a soldier would wear. He also spent a lot of time answering questions but the class. It was much different than a normal lecture about the Civil War would be. The best part of the presentation was at the end where the class was invited to come up and check out the gear and ask more questions. I got to pick up the rifled musket and it came up to my chin!
Overall, I really enjoyed the presentation! I’m glad the professor of the class brought in the reenactor to give us a whole new perspective on the Civil War. It was much better than a standard lecture with a bunch of facts. I think that more history courses need to incorporate reenactors because they really make history more fascinating. I believe that more people would enjoy history if classes were that awesome!