(The Picket)-Two Shepherd students, founders of the Living History Club at Shepherd University, were involved in the events going on at Antietam Battlefield this past weekend to commemorate the 155th Anniversary of the battle in which some 4,000 soldiers died.
Cameron Mallow, a junior, works at the Pry House in Antietam, which operates the National Museum of Civil War Medicine. A history buff his entire life, Mallow is especially interested in West Virginia’s role in the Civil War. He does re-enactments about once a month, from Virginia to Pennsylvania, and has done tens of re-enactments in his life. He re-enacts not just for the Union, but for the Confederate side as well.
War statues play an important role in showing history and what it took for American to become the country it is today, Mallow said.
Senior Joshua Hughes is the president of the Living History Club. He became interested in military tactics at a young age, and was also interested in Civil War history. Originally a football player for the Rams, he stopped playing football to focus on his studies.
He took the time to explain the difference between living history and re-enactments. Re-enactments are mainly of battles and can be political, he said, but living history is part of public history. Living history teaches the public about the time period.
Dr. James Broomall, the director of Shepherd’s George Tyler Moore Center for the Study of the Civil War and an assistant professor in the Department of History, is the faculty adviser to the Living History Club.
“Individual students who are members of the Living History club are participating not in the event at Antietam, but in the one at South Mountain,” he said about this past weekend’s events. “One of the important things is when the Living History Club participates in events, they only do living history interpretations. That means that they basically interact with the public: they don’t have fights, there’s no reenactments of battles. There’s nothing of that sort, we generally don’t condone that. So whenever Living History does something its always interpretive so if they do something officially for the University or the Center, it’s going to be very scripted: it’s going to involve interaction with the public, cooking demonstrations, and firing demonstrations.”
Shepherd graduate Michael Galloway worked as an intern this past summer at Antietam and chronicled the names of those buried in the graveyard there. They include those who fought during the Civil War, as well as World War I and World War II, Broomall said. A commemoration was held Sunday at Antietam for the 150th anniversary of the national cemetery. The Living History Club, which began last year and now boasts 12 members, was created for students who love history and who want to translate it to the public.
“For many of them, history can only get you so far when it’s read through a book,” Broomall said. “History kind of changes or is enlivened by say, smelling what 19th century cooking smelled like, or hearing the sound of gunfire, or touching clothing from the era to experience what it was like back then.”
For further information on the 155th Anniversary of The Battle and Antietam National Battlefield’s Events please see the websitehttps://www.nps.gov/anti/planyourvisit/upload/Weekend.pdf