2017-05-27 / The Rock

Civil War re-enactor visits PHS history classes

By Gavin Goodwin

Civil War re-enactor Kent Cash gives a presentation to the PHS history class. Civil War re-enactor Kent Cash gives a presentation to the PHS history class. On Monday, May 15, Civil War re-enactor Kent Cash visited Katherine Osborne’s American history classes to talk about life for people in the South during the war and to share with students some of his Civil War artifacts that he has collected over the years.

Cash, who served in the United States military for 20 years, does more living reenactments of people who lived in the South than he does re-enactments of battles of the war.

He covered aspects of life of the Southerners during the war as he talked about the postal service in the South, the life of women, the infancy of photography, and accessories of soldiers.

“He taught me a lot about the postal service and how people communicated after the blockade the Union put on the Confederacy,” American history I honors student Brent Whitt said.

Cash explained to students how the postal service in the South changed when the embargo made paper scarce and how important mail was to the morale of soldiers during the war. The embargo, as Cash explained, led to the skyrocket of prices for glue and paper during the war.

Cash also talked about the mourning guidelines for women if their loved ones were killed in the war. He presented to the class the roles women would play and the clothes they would wear. Cash presented the seven layers of clothes women would have to wear for two years and a day if their husband was killed. Then he explained how women would capture their tears to remember them by.

Photography at this time was in its infancy. Cash explained how sometimes, if you were wealthy enough, people would take pictures of their dead loved ones to remember them. He explained this also contributed to the booming of the embalming business. He presented some of these photos to students, which some found to be somewhat “creepy.”

Cash showed students some accessories soldiers carried during the war. He showed the class wooden canteens from the South and metal ones from the north. He showed them a confederate jacket, also.

“You don’t find this stuff in the history books. This comes from digging and research. I encourage everyone to get out there and collect as much knowledge as you can,” Cash said.

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