PROFESSOR THADDEUS LOWE

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES


Here with the wind - Event re-creates era of Civil War
Chino Champion (CA) - Saturday, July 24, 2010
Author: Brenda Dunkle

Briggs Fundamental School eighth-graders took a step back in time this spring when their school's playground became a Civil War battlefield, complete with makeshift tents and Union and Confederate soldiers.

For the fifth year, Briggs' junior high physical education teacher Brad Richardson brought his love of the Civil War to the Chino kindergarten through eighth-grade school.

A Civil War re-enactor for 10 years, Mr. Richardson organized the May 28 event that included several of his fellow re-enactors from the American Civil War Society presenting facts about the war, a Civil War era fashion show, the tent encampment, military training, and a mock battle.

The PE teacher got the idea to do a Civil War Day several years ago after Briggs teacher Mike Silva asked Mr. Richardson to bring a re-enactor to his history class. Mr. Silva was also involved in this year's event, coordinating a lunch of fried chicken and baked beans.

Mr. Richardson said the eighth-graders studied the Civil War in their English, history and science classes during May. They covered the war's history, literature, medicine, and inventions. Mr. Richardson taught students to march and drill Civil War-style in his physical education classes.

On Civil War Day, the students were divided into six companies so they could rotate their time at each of the different displays. The companies also competed in making tents out of bedding and pipe.

Steve Pavich of Fountain Valley, a re-enactor, retired high school principal and former eighth-grade history teacher, showed a foraging cap to the Briggs students. He said it was made deep so soldiers could fill it with berries, nuts and other items they might find in the nearby fields and woods. He explained that women of the era rarely washed their dresses because the numerous undergarments they wore kept the dress from touching their skin. Mr. Pavich also displayed several of the Civil War weapons he has collected in 10 years.

David Oneslager of Bellflower told how soldiers would bite down on their lead bullets because lead is sweet. He said some would die from that practice because of lead poisoning.

Ken Frey of Whittier portrayed the famous Confederate General George Pickett, who is best remembered for the unsuccessful assault at the Battle of Gettysburg that bears his name. Mr. Frey told the students about the famous officer and his family and said General Pickett died in 1875 of liver failure from "too much elixir."

Steven and Patrice Demory of Anaheim, as inventor Thaddeus S.C. Lowe and his wife Leontine, gave a living history talk about the couple. Mr. Lowe was appointed by President Abraham Lincoln to organize and command the U.S. Balloon Corps, the forerunner of today's Air Force. Using the first aerial telegraph station, Mr. Lowe reported Confederate troop movements he observed from his gas-borne balloons. He is also known for building the first aircraft carrier in 1861, the first aerial spotlight, the first ice plant and the first commercial refrigeration system.

Mrs. Lowe worked with her husband building the balloons and once rescued her husband from behind enemy lines when he was forced to land after the first battle of Bull Run.

Other items on display at the Civil War Day included currency, swords, paintings of Civil War battles, caps, coats, knives and spyglasses.

Parents, teachers and students modeled Civil War costumes made by seamstress Marion Weiler of Claremont.

Briggs teachers Brenda Hines and Mary Jean Sporman made an Underground Railroad-themed patchwork quilt to be donated to the family of former Briggs student Abe Simpson, who was killed Nov. 9, 2004, during the battle of Fallujah in Iraq. Students attending the Civil War Day were asked to put personal messages to Marine Lance Cpl. Simpson's family on blocks of the quilt.

Students also learned how to use signal flags. The day ended with a mock battle.

INDEX PAGE

BEFORE THE WAR

CIVIL WAR YEARS

INVENTIONS AND INDUSTRY

NORRISTOWN PENNSYLVANIA YEARS

PASADENA CALIFORNIA YEARS

MOUNT LOWE RAILWAY

AFTER THE RAILWAY

LOWE FAMILY

BOOKS ABOUT LOWE

NEWSPAPER ARTICLES

EVENTS AND REUNIONS

ARTIFACTS AND HISTORY

ENCYCLOPEDIA BIOGRAPHY

ACCLAMATIONS AND AWARDS

LINKS TO OTHER THADDEUS LOWE WEBSITES