Valley students experience the Civil War Revisited

FRESNO, California

Confederates and Yankees battled it out in front of thousands of Fresno area students, exposing them to life during the Civil War.

"At school, we have to listen to books and everything, it's not as fun as it is here," said 5th grade student Harjot Thiara.

More than 2,000 school children descended upon Kearney Park for a real life look at the mid-eighteen hundreds.

"We have to allow students to experience the glorious enterprise of doing history. This is history. Of course we have to study it, but we have to do it too," said Bill Coats with the Fresno and Madera County Historical Societies.

"Germs and blood, and lots of legs and body parts," said 5th grade student Cristo Martinez. Once the battle was over, kids were able to see how surgeons in those times treated the injured.

"Young ladies and gentleman, what we're going to do is prepare this wounded soldier for a leg amputation," said one of the cast members.

"In class they don't use fake stuff, you have to read, read, read. And out here they actually use take legs and stuff like that," said Martinez.

And it's that firsthand knowledge teachers want their students to experience and take back with them to the classroom. "It just fuels your lesson so that they are, where they have their own experiences, when we were there this is what they said and this is what my captain said so it's really fun," said Michelle Alexander, a teacher at Weldon Elementary School in Clovis.

The 16th President of the United States even made a surprise appearance to motivate his young troops. Students also welcomed a Civil War stage coach that a famous general once rode through the Valley. "Once, this state coach, in 1879, General Ulysses S. Grant went from Madera to Yosemite on that very stage," said Coats.

A bit of local history connecting the Central Valley to the Civil War era.

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