London Elementary holds Civil War reenactment - NC

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Retired Moderator
Oct 17, 2012
Middle Tennessee
London Elementary holds Civil War reenactment
by Erik Spencer Hill
Staff Reporter
1 day 2 hrs ago | 51497 views | 0
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Photos by Erik Spencer Hill | The Stokes News
Students at London Elementary School donned Union and Confederate uniforms to participate in the day’s activities on March 27.

Photos by Erik Spencer Hill | The Stokes News
The troops assemble for lunch at London Elementary School.

Photos by Erik Spencer Hill | The Stokes News
Libbie Pettigrew-Marshall and Eric Marshall stand in authentic clothing of the Civil War era.

More than 100 years ago, the United States was divided between the North and South, between Union and Confederate forces, in a bloody Civil War that lasted from 1861-1865.
It was a scarring event that has never left the American consciousness.
Eric Marshall, a fifth grade teacher at London Elementary School, does not think the event should be forgotten.
That is why, for 15 years, Marshall has been trying to help his students “connect” with the past in an annual Civil War reenactment.
With the help of grants, teachers, parents, and props from the N.C. Museum of History in Raleigh, Marshall has been able to recreate the American past as it was in the 1860s.
And this year a national film crew with CBS was also at the reenactment to record the event. A story about London Elementary’s Civil War reenactment will air on the CBS Evening News at 6:30 p.m. on Friday, following the local news. The story will air again on CBS’s Sunday Morning show at 9 a.m.
Each student participating in the reenactment from March 26-28 studied the Civil War for several weeks to prepare for the event. Then, they applied for jobs that would have been needed during wartime — anything from scouts to field surgeons.
Morgan Plott, a fifth grade student in Marshall’s class, said that his job was to be a flag-bearer. He said he enjoyed learning about the Civil War in Marshall’s class.
“I love history,” he said. “Doing this just makes it better.”
Getting outside the classroom and continuing to learn in the recreated world of the past made history come to life. Students got first hand experience on what it was like to be a soldier — including facing the day’s chilly and windy conditions.
“I feel like a soldier standing out in this cold,” Plott said.
Marshall believes that the reenactment allows student to engage with the history in a way that isn’t possible in the classroom.
“It is something that I believe is a huge teaching tool,” he said. “It helps students appreciate history and connect to it.”
Marshall’s wife, Libbie Pettigrew-Marshall, a special education teacher, was in charge of teaching students about the life of women and clothing during the period.
She said that while clothing does not seem immediately important to students, they quickly change their minds as Libbie explains that cotton was the United States’ most important crop and that it was used to make clothing for the world over.
Libbie said that the students get a feel for the “music, food, and clothing” of the period.
“They smell it, they touch it, they wear the clothes,” she said. “It makes them connect and plants that seed to love history.”
And the lessons learned in the reenactment stick with students.
“They remember it,” she said. “They don’t forget it.”


Brigadier General
Forum Host
Jul 19, 2006
New Jersey
That's awesome!!! I wanted to do that last year with my 5th graders, but I got vetoed by our visual performing arts coordinator and wound up singing songs and creating a cyclorama.