Living history at Valley Intermediate

On April 11, Valley Intermediate students experienced Civil War history first hand through a living history presentation put on by practiced Civil War re-enactors. (Contributed / Karen Winn)

On April 11, Valley Intermediate students experienced Civil War history first hand through a living history presentation put on by practiced Civil War re-enactors. (Contributed / Karen Winn)


By MOLLY DAVIDSON / Staff Writer

PELHAM—Sometimes history can be boring, with its memorization of names and dates, but not at Valley Intermediate School. On Friday morning, April 11, fourth grade students got to see their lessons come to life and experience fist-hand what day-to-day life was like during the Civil War through an interactive “living history” event.

“In fourth grade we learn about Alabama history,” fourth grade teacher and event coordinator, Melissa Sadberry, said. “We spend a lot of time learning about the Civil War.”

On April 11, students were led through six stations detailing artillery, mounted and dismounted cavalry, period dancing, medical practices and uniforms, all staffed by experienced Civil War re-enactors.

They learned about Civil War medical procedures, witnessed the intricate procedure to load a cannon and participated in drills and dances.

“The whole idea is to teach the kids living history,” Civil War re-enactor, fourth grade parent and event organizer, Barry Winn, said. “They’ll learn more from this interactive experience than from books and memorization.”

The re-enactors’ goal for the morning was to make the experience as authentic as possible. From the medical kit to a 12-pound cannon, everything could have been found on the battlefield 150 years ago.

“This is all authentic stuff, and a lot of training goes into it,” Winn said.

Winn and his fellow re-enactors each participate in around eight battle reenactments each year and dedicate much of their time to learning and studying the intricacies of life and battle.

“Everyone has volunteered their time to be here today,” Winn said of the re-enactors. “Today is the result of a lot of people wanting to teach the kids.”

The day concluded as students were wowed by a demonstration of the strength of the 12-pound cannon, which can fire 323 yards straight on flat ground, said cannon owner Mac McBryer.

“I love that today is not focused on dates,” said Sadberry. “This is something the kids will look back on and remember because it makes their books come to life.”