Visit the artillery encampment at a WCWA reenactment event and you are likely to see a crowd of spectators gathered around one fly. They are listening as Bill Singleton, a member of Stanford's Mississippi Battery, explains in detail the types, uses, and construction of artillery ordnance, projectiles, and fuzes and answers questions about all aspects of civil war artillery operations. Bill's knowledge of and passion for his subject matter, as well as his gift for teaching, are evident as he thoroughly answers questions from visitors of all ages, such as "How did they aim the cannon?" and "What makes the shell explode?"
Bill has been civil war reenacting for about nine or ten years. The idea for creating his artillery display came when he viewed the Navy's display of shells at the U.S.S.Tahoma camp. He began researching the subject, building his own models and recreations of civil war artillery shells and putting together a presentation which has developed into an extremely educational and entertaining exhibit.
Margery Singleton is a former museum docent and also delights in portraying the 1860's lifestyle and educating the public. Her rope making machine has a natural attraction for children of all ages. When they make a rope, the visitors not only have fun but they also receive a hands-on lesson in a practical skill of the times.
The Singletons are both members of Stanford's Battery. When they attend events at which Stanford's Battery does not participate, they often camp with the 1st Michigan Light Artillery, a Union artillery unit. Bill and Margerie are both trained cannoneers and willingly perform gun duties for other units that may be shorthanded at an event.
Hats off to Bill and Margery Singleton, who through their heart for teaching contribute greatly to the richness of the experience a visitor receives at our events.