STRONG — Civil War reenactor, Private Raul Pinto visited students at Strong Elementary School 7th and 8th grade last week after a suggestion from a substitute teacher.
The students wrote questions for discussion regarding the Civil War, which ranged from battle conditions to weapons, food, weather, and the role of women.
Private Pinto told the students that he started re-enacting 11 years ago in Connecticut, with 11 A Company and was now re-enacting with Maine’s Third Regiment. 3rd Maine entered 1,586 men. It lost 10 officers and 124 enlisted men killed in action or died of wounds received in action and another officer and 148 enlisted men died of disease. 33 men from this division died in Confederate prisons. The Third Maine participated in the battles of Manassas, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville, and Wilderness, to name a few. They were an essential part of the Union’s fighting force during the war. The reenactors maintain a website at http://www.thirdmaine.org/ as well as a Facebook page.
Private Pinto told the students that an important part of reenactment is honoring the service and memory of those who served. He spoke about the faithful portrayal of the soldier’s worldview and story and its importance. The students were particularly interested in the daily lives of Civil War soldiers. Private Pinto explained to them what an average day would be like, including roll calls, “fatigue work” and drilling. He described how companies of soldiers would combat food shortages by foraging for food and brewing coffee in their socks.
Many students also became interested in weapons from the Civil War. Private Pinto showed them lead bullets and talked about the effects these bullets had on the human body. He talked about the 9-step process needed to load the rifle of the day and the difficulty of loading guns under fire. Additionally, the challenges of disease and the lack of medical technology were also discussed. Two-thirds of soldiers who died in the Civil War died of disease, while only one-third died of battle wounds. In discussing Private Pinto’s visit to their class, students felt they learned a lot and enjoyed hearing about the Civil War from the perspective of the re-enactor.