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.
“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.”
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: