There was the unusual sound of cannon fire coming from the field south of the Phillips 66 Sportsplex near Pioneer Park today, May 10th. It was due to members of the 15th Alabama Volunteer Infantry having set up camp and hosting Civil War lessons for bus loads of students from schools in Whatcom and Skagit Counties.
The 15th Alabama Volunteer Infantry has members all over the state as well as in Idaho and Oregon according to spokesperson Karin Porret. They are part of the Washington Civil War Association, a group of Civil War reenactors in Washington State.
“We started out here in Whatcom County, so the education event is held here. We are a nonprofit organization so this is a fundraiser for our club and gives us an opportunity to do some living history education,” Porret said.
The event had been held at Hovander Homestead Park in years past. “But,” Porret said, “the cost to rent Hovander is approximately $1,000 more than the City of Ferndale charges, so it made sense for us to relocate.”
The group provides the following stations for the students to visit and experience.
- Cause and effect
The students watch a skit that discusses why the Civil War began.
This station teaches students about drilling and maneuvers used during the Civil War. They get to practice marching on the field.
The students learn about fashion in the 1800’s. This station’s presenters dress up one of the students to show all the layers women wore.
The kids learn about medicine in the 1800s.
The crew explains about cannons and artillery. The students are shown what goes in to firing a cannon and then watch as it is fired.
- Soldier’s life
Students learn about what soldiers did day-in and day-out, including the gear they wore and weapons they used.
- Camp Life
The final station teaches the kids about what life in a military camp would have been like. The tents, the food, the music, etc.
The exhibits are not open to the public and will be presented to students again tomorrow.