Hull-Daisetta students learn about Civil War through reenactment

Hull-Daisetta students watch as a cannon is fired outside the high school on Thursday.

The roar of cannons and muskets could be heard around Hull-Daisetta ISD on Thursday as reenactors from the Texas Rifles and Sons of Confederate Veterans presented a live fire volley and demonstrations. Students from the elementary and high school campuses watched from the Bobcat Stadium bleachers as the reenactors displayed the ferociousness of the cannons and the laborious process of loading and firing a musket.

The display was the culmination of the day’s events, which included demonstrations on camp life for soldiers and how women helped on the front lines of the war by washing and rolling bandages, providing first aid and comfort to wounded soldiers, mending clothing and cooking.

While the Civil War is a painful part of American history, the reenactors believe the history should be preserved and shared with youths so that history is not repeated.

The flash of a musket being fired is seen in this photo at a Civil War reenactment on Thursday at Hull-Daisetta High School.

“We are a collection of folks who, at the very least, are history buffs. Some of us are specialists in history – teachers and college professors. We love history and enjoy teaching each other. There is a screening process and a probation period to joining our groups. If someone who wants in our unit does not share our values and appreciation of history, they will not be accepted. The stigma is bad enough as it is. We are all about honoring our history,” said James Richardson with the Texas Rifles.

Thursday’s reenactment in Daisetta was performed by reenactors from the Texas Rifles, which also performs post-Civil War and Texas Revolution reenactments, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1745 in Orange, Texas.

“For this particular event, we looked at local history. Those who enlisted from this area – Hardin, Liberty, Jefferson and Orange counties – served in Hood’s Texas Brigade in the Civil War. They fought on major battlefields, including Gettysburg,” said Joe Akers, commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp 1745. “As they were fighting in the Eastern Theater, we had the Red River Campaign going on at the home front. The Union was trying to bring Texas and Louisiana back into the Union. From a curriculum standpoint, a lot of our local history never makes it into history textbooks.”

Three granddaughters of Confederate soldiers attended the reenactment at Hull-Daisetta High School on Thursday. Left to right, they are Nelda Shippey, granddaughter of Thomas Alexandre De Hart, Company G 21st Mississippi Infantry; Sherry Eure McKey, granddaughter of William E. Eure, Company G 1st Battalion State Troops Mississippi Infantry; and Joyce Tabers, great-great granddaughter of William Faircloth, who enlisted in Texas, and died in 1923.

Akers, who is a retired history teacher, said his experiences have shown him that students read about history but often fail to grasp how certain events shaped their lives and the country.

“They think it’s ancient history and has nothing to do with their town, their history,” he said.

Hull-Daisetta ISD Band Director Kerry Rice, who previously taught at schools in Beaumont with Akers, organized Thursday’s reenactment event.

“Doing events like this is a great way for kids to experience living history and to get a hands-on view of it instead of just looking at it in text. They are using real antique weapons, a real cannon and a camp set-up. Students get a real sense of what it was like back then during the war. History comes to life.”

Photos from the reenactment:

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Before creating Bluebonnet News in 2018, Vanesa Brashier was a community editor for the Houston Chronicle/Houston Community Newspapers. During part of her 12 years at the newspapers, she was assigned as the digital editor and managing editor for the Humble Observer, Kingwood Observer, East Montgomery County Observer and the Lake Houston Observer, and the editor of the Dayton News, Cleveland Advocate and Eastex Advocate. Over the years, she has earned more than two dozen writing awards, including Journalist of the Year.

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