Kids Kollege re-enacts Civil War with water instead of lead
The (Farmington, N.M.) Daily Times
FARMINGTON, N.M. -- Just as it happened 150 years ago, the North won again but this time, it did so with water guns and balloons.
The Battle of Antietam, the bloodiest battle in American military history and perhaps the defining battle in the Civil War, played out again Monday, though it was substantially less gruesome than the first time around.
"I think probably the North guys won 'cause the bad guys don't usually not win," said Izabel Stock, 8, who played the role of the Confederate Army Gen. Robert E. Lee.
More than two dozen children enrolled in the Civil War re-enactment class learned about the battle, which originally was fought by Union and Confederate armies along Antietam Creek in Maryland in mid-September 1862.
"It was about freedom," said Montgomery Watson, 8, who acted as the Union Army Gen. George McClellan during Monday's soccer field re-enactment.
The class is part of Kids Kollege, a children's summer camp program through San Juan College. Students learn about one Civil War battle each day during the week. After learning about each battlethe causes behind it, the people involved in it and the results of itthe children re-enact the battles.
After separating into their armies, the children scribble out their strategies and game plans in notebooks. On Monday, one team wrote a map of numbers with arrows shooting forwarda 6-year-old's way of drawing an attack.
The other team's Plan A: "Use all of the water
balloons, then attack," it read. Plan B was blank.
"I'm supposed to keep it a secret," said Watson, who did not want to reveal the plan. His counterpart, Stock, said her troops might try sneaking up from behind.
"The Battle of Antietam has begun," shouted Kiley Terrell, the class instructor.
The kids stood still, some of them staring at the grass, others fiddling with their plastic weapons.
"Go!" she shouted.
They rushed forward, spraying water streams at each other, not always at their enemy. One child sobbed as he ran for the sidelines, not because he was "killed," but because the shirt he really liked was wet.
Other children were hit spot-on in the chest, which is lethal in water gun Civil War, yet they would sprawl dramatically on the ground for a minute before miraculously springing back to life.
Apparently the North's plan worked, though it seemed that the real winning strategy was pretending never to have been hit by enemy fire in the first placeand the "nuh uh" strategy was likely not as easy to pull off in 1862.
When the teacher counted more "Yankees" alive in the end, it was apparent some had been shot twice, if not thrice, just by their soaked shirts.
"Someone shot me in the eyes," said Ethan Fiske, who fought valiantly for the South but in the end walked away with a soggy shirt.
"We won!" yelled Grant Hawkins, from the other side.
As for the rest of the week, they'll just have to find out if history repeats itself, again.