MUSCATINE, Iowa– A series of new short films will introduce Muscatine Access Channel Nine viewers and other local residents to Muscatine Civil War soldier, Daniel Parvin. “Muscatine and the Civil War: The Letters of Daniel
Parvin” will premiere on Oct. 23. The films features actor Bryce Taylor as Daniel Parvin and Courtney Gevaert as his wife, Sarah. The two read excerpts of Parvin’s letters to home written from 1861 when he enrolled through his recovery from a gruesome battle injury in 1864. The Muscatine Art Center’s collection contains 117 Parvin letters that served as the centerpiece for this project, as well as the original middle school outreach project presented during the 2018-19 school year and the “Muscatine and the Civil War” exhibition on view from June 2011 through May 2012.
“The film project was in response to COVID-19,” explains Muscatine Art Center Director, Melanie Alexander. “When it became clear that outreach presenters would not be allowed into classrooms as planned, we pivoted to short films for teachers to build into their lesson plans.”
Although developed for use in the classroom, anyone interested in the Civil War or local history can watch on Channel Nine or visit the Muscatine Art Center’s website for the YouTube links Chad Bishop produced the series, narrated by Chris Causey, and filmed at a variety of locations in the Muscatine area, including Strawberry Farms Bed and Breakfast, Weed Park, Wildcat Den State Park, and Muscatine Community College’s video studio.
The film project, along with the original outreach program, received funding from the State Historical Society of Iowa’s Historic Resource Development Program. The original outreach program involved a set of actors dressed in costume presenting Daniel Parvin’s letters as reader’s theater. The actors used a variety of props and reproduce primary sources such as maps, letters, photographs, and documents to help middle school students understand daily life for Iowans who in the CivilWar. The props and other materials will remain in the Muscatine Art Center’s education kits for educators to check out in the future.
“One of the project goals was to bring the Civil War to life for students,” states Muscatine Art Center Program Coordinator, Katy Loos: “Daniel Parvin’s words take us to the Battle of Shiloh and the Siege of Vicksburg, but he also describes the food, getting sick and wounded, and the quality of the clothes and blankets. It’s important to follow in the footsteps of one man so we can imagine how regular soldiers experienced discomfort, injury, and separation from family and friends.”
The six part series begins with an introduction that summarizes Daniel Parvin’s life. Segment two follows Parvin through enlistment and training. The next segment spotlights Parvin’s first taste of action at Pittsburgh Landing. Segment four covers daily life in camp near Corinth followed participation in the Siege of Vicksburg in segment five. The last segment
describes Parvin’s injury during the Atlanta Campaign and his hospital recovery followed by some details about Parvin’s life after the Civil War.