Port Columbus holds RiverBlast! this weekend

Ken Johnston, executive director of the National Civil War Naval Museum at Port Columbus, wants the museum to hold at least one program each month.

April's program, set for this weekend, is the annual RiverBlast. This program is paired with National Poetry Month.

"Poetry was a large part of the Civil War," Johnston explained. "Poetry was written all the time and played a large part of people's time."

He said sailors and soldiers often carried volumes of poetry. They also read poems written to them by their loved ones and wrote poems to their families.

Jonathan Perkins, who is organizing the Fountain City Poetry Slam next week, will be performing along with teen poets Rachel Brown of Chattahoochee County High School and Cherise Lyons and Travis Perry of Spencer High School. They'll perform at 3:30 p.m. Saturday.

The rest of RiverBlast! will include food, music, games, cutlass drills and rifle firings.

Johnston will be dressed as a sailor and he'll conduct history presentations.

Part of his presentation will focus on the uniforms of the sailors. The enlisted men wore similar uniforms -- blue trousers and white shirts -- in both the Union and Confederate navies. When they were fighting hand-to-hand on ships, they wore a designation on their uniforms indicating on which side they were fighting.

Future projects

Port Columbus recently joined with Historic Williamsburg to collaborate on projects. The first begins Tuesday when a crew from PBS visits to scout out locations to make a documentary about the Battle of Hampton Roads (the Monitor and Merrimac).

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