Education News

Houston College Celebrates 150th Civil War Anniversary With Reenactment

A 35-mile forced march by Union soldiers in 1863 came to life recently in The Woodlands. A symbolic reenactment at Lone Star College-Montgomery involved about 300 students and their broomsticks.

“I told everybody to wear blue. This is the Union Army’s day, and bring a broom for a gun.”

That’s History Professor Craig Livingston who began planning this event about a year-ago. The idea was to have students learn some basic close order drill and march three-and half miles around The Woodlands campus. That would be one-tenth of the 35-mile forced march of the Union Army’s 6th Corps on July 2, 1863. It was completed in 16-hours with the 6th Corps arriving on the 2nd day of the battle of Gettysburg.  

Lone Star College-Montgomery is celebrating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War with a number of special activities and classes, but why this particular event?  

“I want them to take away an appreciation for the, a little bit of some of the just miserableness of marches. You’re unsure of where you’re going or what you’re doing; you’re following orders; you’re weighted down with thirst and heavy packs, heat and exhaustion, a little bit of the confusion and also the panoply of battle. The formed lines, the bayonet charges, the huzzahs, the throaty cheers — all that to give a sense of gravitas en mass to the event.”

If Professor Livingston is enthusiastic most of the students seemed less so. Tatiana Sibrian from Houston answered the same way every student I spoke to did about why they were taking part.

“Ah, because my teacher said I was going to get extra credit.”

That being said, the large group marched and maneuvered and charged with enthusiasm and it turned out better than expected.

“Yeah, it was a lot of fun. People started really getting into it, and it gave me a better idea because they started taking it more serious than I thought.”

There was no initial enthusiasm gap for Bobby Deiss from Conroe. He’s an older student and was decked out in a Union Army uniform. He’s a real Civil War buff.

The Battle Hymn of the Republic blared over a large grassy athletic field as the symbolic 6th Corps entered it. The battle lines formed and with the sound of cannons echoing across the field those assembled charged …

It seemed clear that despite the extra credit that drew them to the event, almost all really enjoyed it because only a few dropped as the group reformed and did the whole thing again.

Now if you’re wondering why a Texas college is commemorating a Union Army event …

You know I did my Confederate thing in 2009. So, I said today, we subordinate our instincts to the glory of the Union.”

 To find out more about Civil war events and lectures at Lone Star College-Montgomery contact the school.