Jefferson College hosts Civil War camp for children

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 19, 2006

NATCHEZ &8212; About 25 children marched in formation around Historic Jefferson College Wednesday.

The college is hosting a Civil War day camp Wednesday through Friday for children ages 8 through 12. The children play the part of Civil War soldiers in training.

&8220;Form ranks!&8221; said Clark Burkett, historian in charge of the camp.

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The children watched while Burkett showed them how to load and shoot Civil War era muzzle-loading rifles.

They took turns shooting black powder. With each shout of &8220;fire in the hole,&8221; the watching children hurriedly covered their ears.

Burkett said he got the idea for the camp from a similar camp in Virginia.

&8220;I thought it&8217;d be a great idea for our area,&8221; Burkett said. &8220;They get to have a little fun doing living history.&8221;

Earlier in the day, the children learned to march and got to eat soldiers&8217; food, like hardtack, a hard dry bread, and dried, salted pork.

&8220;Some liked it, and some didn&8217;t,&8221; Burkett said.

Alex Miller was one of those who liked it.

&8220;That hard tack is actually not bad,&8221; Alex said. &8220;And the bacon stuff is really good.&8221;

Rachel Benoit was the first to fire a rifle Wednesday. She said she liked it, but she did not have a favorite part of camp was so far.

Preston Williams said he loved camp.

&8220;It&8217;s awesome,&8221; Preston said.

He said his favorite part was marching in formation.

&8220;We&8217;re getting better. It was hard at first because we all have to march in step.&8221;

Austin Doughty said he heard about the camp from his grandmother and thought it would be something fun to do.

&8220;I wanted to come,&8221; Austin said. &8220;The summers are kind of boring when your parents work.&8221;

Later in the week, the campers will learn how to march with rifles and what supplies a soldier would have carried with him.

Burkett said the goal was to be able to march in formation to the graduation ceremony on Friday. Each child will get a Civil War hat and a medal at the ceremony, he said.