— As part of a living history lesson, a tiny unit of Confederates set up at Whitesville Elementary School on Friday bringing along their guns, cannon and rebel battle flags.

Students studying the Civil War heard from about a dozen wartime re-enactors, both male and female, Union and Confederate, to learn about their period clothing, games, weapons and tools.

Third-grade teacher Viola Alford, who is African-American, said the presence of several Confederate battle flags on school grounds played into the learning process, including telling of a past that was not always neat and tidy.

“It’s all part of our history,” she said. “It’s best to know how it resulted in a war.”

The Confederate re-enactors followed Whitesville’s lessons on slavery taught during February’s Black History Month, Alford said.

Whitesville has about 1,048 students and serves the general Moncks Corner area. Its racial makeup is about 55 percent white and 34 percent black.

Parents were not told the re-enactors were coming and any students who were offended by any of the displays were told they could skip the lesson.

“The re-enactment was part of the school’s culminating event for lessons on the Civil War as outlined by state standards,” the Berkeley County School District said.

The re-enactors made the visit as volunteers, including Steven Winnen, a retired Army veteran who has been involved in the hobby for the past 18 years.

“We just enjoy doing the living history stuff,” he said. His son, Richard Winnen, was with him but dressed as a Union soldier.

The highlight was the firing of a cannon blast on the school’s grassy playfield.

Reach Schuyler Kropf at 937-5551.