[KHTS] – The sounds of gunshots filled the battlefield as soldiers marched in formation, nurses ran to and fro collecting the wounded and a cluster of southern belles watched from a distance.
It was all part of Santa Clarita Valley International Charter School’s Civil War Living History event at Rancho Camulos on Thursday.
This second annual 8th grade project took months to prepare, as learners researched the characters they would portray and handmade era technology and souvenirs.
At the sutlery, the nineteenth century equivalent of a convenience store, learners sold handmade soap and candles, Jacob’s ladders, rag dolls and tin soldiers.
The Abolitionists had their booth with pins and pamphlets calling for the abolition of slavery.
Other learners demonstrated a steam powered ping-pong ball cannon and a working telegraph.
Ethan Nilsen, who built the telegraph with several other learners, noted that its importance is often not covered in textbooks.
“(The telegraph) is not a well said part of the Civil War,” he said. “It’s actually barely mentioned.”
He went on to explain how a telegraph works, completing a circuit and sending an electrical current through a wire to a telegraph on the other end.
On the main field, Union and Confederate armies staged a battle, followed by a mock trial and execution.
In the medical tent, students took the roles of wounded soldiers and doctors performing surgery.
Many of the students said that in preparing for the reenactment they learned things about the Civil War they never expected.
Dylan Joscak, who worked in the medical tent as a doctor, said that he had not realized chloroform and opium were used as anesthetics in medical procedures.
“We just thought they operated. We didn’t know they used anesthetics,” he said. “…The fun part is being a soldier, but it gets hot in those uniforms. I don’t know how they did it.”
Emily Fitton, working in the sutlery, said she learned how much work went into producing common household items.
Rancho Camulos opened their property to the public for the event, and as a field trip for other SCVi students.
The Civil War Living history is open until 2 p.m. Thursday, for a $5 suggested donation to get into Rancho Camulos.
For more information about SCVi Charter School, click here.
Learn about the history and events at Rancho Camulos, here.
For more photos of the event, visit KHTS AM-1220 on Facebook.