North River Library hosts Civil War-related activities

Posted: April 24, 2012

Aaron Good, a Bridgewater resident and social sciences teacher at Montevideo Middle School, talks about artifacts with visitors at the April 17 Civil War program at North River Library. (Photo by courtesy)

Linking with the sesquicentennial of the Civil War, North River Library hosts several events that will bring the history home for children and their families.

The first event was a Civil War Family Night April 17, but those who missed out on last week’s program can attend two more events with historian and reenactor Aaron Good and library volunteer Bonnie Burchfield.

A May 1 Book Club for grades K-5 meets from 4-5 p.m. for a Civil War-related activity.

A May 22 “Fireside Family Night” from 5-7 p.m. will find youngsters and their families gathered around a campfire for a simple meal and storytelling with Good before heading into the library to explore artifacts and learn more about local history.

Adults won’t be left out, either. A Civil War-themed book discussion is planned for May 19 at 1 p.m. Linda Burchfield will lead the group in discussing Jessamyn West’s “The Friendly Persuasion,” a collection of short stories about the family of Eliza and Jess Birdwell, Quakers in Indiana during the Civil War. Light refreshments will be served.

Raised in Cross Keys, Good says he was naturally interested in the nearby battlefield and its history. But his fourth-grade teacher Judy Ringgold helped him focus his attentions on the Civil War.

Now a social sciences teacher at Montevideo Middle School, the  Bridgewater resident is also a reenactor with the 58th VA, 4th Regiment, Army of Northern Virginia. He started reenacting in 1994.

Good has a collection of hundreds of relics—from bullets, buckles, buttons, artillery shells and cannonballs to guns, sabers and various camp objects,. Every artifact that he brings can be handled, he said.

“I love the artillery shells and the way that they evolved during the war to change their detonation (explosion) techniques,” he said, adding that chess pieces and carved bullets are also his favorites.

One local history fact that most people don’t know, he says, is “how vital and important the battles of Cross Keys and Port Republic were to the Valley campagin of 1862 and the war in general.”

Those attending one of Good’s presentations will be sure to find out more they didn’t know, too.

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