Students in Jennifer Kea’s early military history class at Richmond Hill High School recently took a field trip to Old Fort Jackson on the Savannah River. The students went back to the 1860s and became Civil War soldiers.
Brian Lee, Fort Jackson site manager, said the fort was built in 1808 for the purpose of defense in protecting the major port of Savannah. When Fort Pulaski fell in 1862, Fort Jackson became the “primary line of defense” in protecting the Savannah River.
However, today the fort offers students the opportunity to experience the life of a soldier during the Civil War.
“It was interesting to learn about the equipment and experience wearing the uniform of a Confederate soldier in the Civil War,” student Kierra Lynch said.
Ms. Kea’s students learned about the everyday lives and tasks of the Confederate soldiers and were taught everything there is to know about weaponry, especially the art of loading a cannon. As part of the challenge of being a soldier, students learned to march as soldiers and also participated in a timed activity of loading a cannon. Clay Messinger was delegated to “pull the trigger” of the cannon, which he described as “really fun.”
The interactive program that Fort Jackson has for students is something that deserves recognition. As Lee said, “It is one thing to hear about, say Sherman’s March to the Sea … and it’s another thing to see it in the actual fort.” Instead of sitting in class taking notes, Ms. Kea’s class was able to truly experience what they are being taught.