Civil War Cannon Fires Up Meteor History

Recently, the 8th graders have been starting to learn about the Civil War. To help them learn about it, on April 20, Mr. Turner held a really cool event where he invited Civil War artillery reenactors to the school to teach the students about certain guns, bullets, cannons, and cannon shells used during the war. The re-enactors, representing the Pennsylvania B Artillery Company from the Union, had pictures and artifacts from the civil war. The all-volunteer troops included former McPherson parent Vernon Weisman.

Students learned how to load the guns and cannons using different bullets and shells. Different shells were used to do different things. Some, called cannister shells, were meant to explode and shoot metal balls out, and some were used to be shot into someone to injure them. All of the weapons used during this war were very powerful and could damage people which can lead to winning the war.

Katya Sokol said of the experience, “I was surprised because the rifle was louder than the cannon.”

“The goal of the program is to bring history to life,”eighth-grade history teacher Mr. Turner said. “We are so grateful to Company B for doing this for our school. This is the fifth year we have done this assembly and it has become a favorite on campus. It’s always exciting when education happens outside of the textbook and out of the classroom. It is one thing to describe the power of a civil war cannon, but a different thing altogether to hear one go off.” For practical reasons, the cannon only fires a few grams of gunpowder instead of the pound or more it would have fired in the war.

For safety reasons, McPherson has to get approval from the city and local police and fire departments. “Its a lot of people working together for a special day,” Mr. Turner added. “Our school district and the city of Orange is committed to safety and education. You never know what educational experience will resonate with a kid.” It is our guess this one just might.