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Civil War Reenactment at Farnsworth Enhances Eighth Graders' History Lessons

Farnsworth Middle School eighth graders were treated to a true Civil War story about a survivor of the war, Corporal James Anderson.


Corporal Anderson was portrayed by professional Civil War re-enactor Christopher Goetz. In full Union Army dress and a wealth of Civil War artifacts, Goetz told the story of Anderson who lived his whole civilian life in the Manitowoc area. Using information from authentic diaries and journals, Goetz gave all in attendance the sensation that the man he was role-playing was actually present.

There were four performances covering a two-day period. Each of the presentations captivated the interested attention of the students. The students saw and handled authentic equipment and weapons of a foot soldier during this era. They heard the misconceptions of a young boy who envisioned going to war as something exciting and adventurous.

Corporal Anderson's agonizing voice was heard via the research of Goetz when he realized this experience became the most horrific event in American history. After escaping the capture by Confederate soldiers twice and many bloody battles, Corporal Anderson's return to a successful civilian life was told.

The show culminated with hands-on and open discussion period. During this session, many students asked about the abundant memorabilia on display. Students also engaged in games played by soldiers while waiting for their next battle assignment. They also had the opportunity to ‘enjoy' some of the food the soldiers survived on and to use some of the hygienic tools the soldiers used to keep themselves groomed. When all was said and done, the students walked away with a new appreciation and interest for the high cost of freedom.

Sheboygan Area School District Press Release
May 20, 2009