Dean Dyck, with the Confederate Navy Waterwitch crew, smokes his pipe Thursday during the first day of Battle of Selma School Days.  Below, some of the hundreds of students who took part in Thursday’s Battle of Selma School Day cross the covered bridge leading to the battlefield. --Ashley Johnson
Dean Dyck, with the Confederate Navy Waterwitch crew, smokes his pipe Thursday during the first day of Battle of Selma School Days. Below, some of the hundreds of students who took part in Thursday’s Battle of Selma School Day cross the covered bridge leading to the battlefield. -- Ashley Johnson

Children converge on Battle of Selma for start of annual School Days

Published 9:46pm Thursday, April 25, 2013

A class of 32 sixth graders from Montgomery gathered around as they watched the simulation of an amputation of a leg. Red food coloring splattered on the surgeon’s hands and white apron while he explained to them a procedure that would have been conducted after a battle just like the Battle of Selma.

These students were some of the 325 students who attended the school days portion of the Battle of Selma Re-enactment Thursday. Friday, organizers are planning to see more than 1,100 students with 18 schools from all over the state.

“The first half of the year we studied Civil War and to me you have to have hands-on learning because just reading something in a book doesn’t do it justice,” Gwen Walters said, who brought her students from Macon East Academy in Montgomery. “This goes with the curriculum that the main thing we read novels that deal with the civil war but they do not understand the life of what it was like in the 1800s without seeing the camp.”

Walters said her students enjoyed walking around from station to station at the battlefield where they got to watch a cannon be fired, musicians play period instruments and ladies sew antebellum dresses. She said they especially seemed to like stations, like the musical tent experience, where they were chosen to participate.

Walters, a history teacher, brings her students every year and many schools have the same ritual.

Re-enactors that participate in the battle also come annually to the Battle of Selma and some will tell of all the questions students, young and old, will ask them about the Civil War era.

Martin Jowers and Russell Vlack fired a cannon as a demonstration for the students and said students cover their ears or like on Thursday — a whole class of children ran away after the cannon fires.

“The number one question is if we are going to fire it and the next question is do you shoot real bullets out of that thing,” Vlack said.

Battle of Selma events will continue throughout the weekend. For a full schedule visit www.battleofselma.com.

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