Teachers learned to march like Civil War Soldiers while reenacting the Confederacy’s frontal assault against the Union line on Day 3 of the Battle of Gettysburg (Pickett’s Charge). Check it out!
This gallery contains 10 photos.
- Soldiers Monument at the Cemetery: Four seated figures representing War, History, Plenty, & Peace (shown here as a mechanic w/cogs & machinery)
Imagine that you live in a small town (about 2,500 people) and one hot summer day two armies with over 100,000 soldiers arrive and fight in and around your town for three days. When they leave, there are thousands and thousands of dead soldiers everywhere and thousands more injured. Well, that is exactly what happened in July of 1863 when the Army of the Potomac (North) fought the Army of Northern Virginia (South) in the small town of Gettysburg. The smell of death was everywhere, there were few supplies, food and materials to take care of the living, much less the dead. It was overwhelming!
Read the words of Hugh Ziegler who was a 10 year old boy living in Gettysburg that summer: “Our home was in use as a hospital, all the space was filled up with wounded soldiers. We got busy helping care for the wounded. My mother took charge of the kitchen and did the cooking. There was one of the large rooms used as a clinic, where many arms and legs were amputated and several times I was called on to carry one (outside)to deposit with many others placed there like a pile of stove wood. All the schools and public buildings were used as hospitals and many filled to capacity. There being no school, I, with many other of the boys, wandered over the battlefield and several of them were killed by tampering with shells that had failed to explode. Many of the soldiers lay for several days before they were buried, and their condition made it difficult for them to be moved. A shallow trench would be made, and the corpse buried where it was shot down. Some patriotic and public spirited citizens of the town conceived the idea of gathering all of the dead in one plot and organized the Union soldiers cemetery. All of the Union dead that lay buried over the battle field were removed to this plot of ground located on Cemetery Hill, just on the south edge of town. The day the cemetery was dedicated (November 1863 – 4 months after the battle),people came from far and near. The soldiers are buried in a semi-circle with a large monument in the center. In front of this monument, there was a large platform erected and occupied by Lincoln and many notables. The opening address was delivered by Edward Everett, one of the great orators of the time, and it consumed nearly two hours to deliver, and followed by President Lincoln’s dedicatory address. When Lincoln had finished his address and taken his seat, the people stood as if dumbfounded, not by what had been said, as by its briefness. As I remember, it was the general topic of conversation for a long time. Little did they realize that it would go down in history as one of the greatest addresses ever delivered by man and is now one of the classics of the age.”
post by L.W.
Wayne Mott of the County historical Society describes the scene when Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address
Wayne Mott,Executive Director of the Adams County (Gettysburg) Historical Society and a Battlefield guide, showed us the cemetery and shared priceless original documents from the archives in Gettysburg like the one quoted above.
- At the Historical Society teachers learn how Gettysburg citizens dealt with the battle
Teachers pose by one of the Witness Trees - this one near where Lincoln gave the Gettysburg Address
What is a witness tree? We learned that there are many witness trees on the Gettysburg battelefield. These are trees that were there at the time of the battle and still live today. They bear witness to the epic events that took place nearly 150 years ago. As teachers we are witnesses to our students when we share our knowledge of history based on our knowledge and experience. On Thursday April 14, 2011, we had the chance to walk from what was the Confederate line of attack at Seminary Ridge to the Union lines at Cemetary Ridge – a reenactment of what is now called “Pickett’s Charge“. Robert E. Lee ordered this attack by over 12,000 men on the afternoon of the third day (June 3, 1863) at Gettysburg believing it would break the Union line at its center and win the battle. Instead the frontal assault over nearly a mile was met by a barrage by northern artillery decimating the Confederates and resulting in more than 50% casualties. It resulted in a Union victory at Gettysburg and the loss of men there meant Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia would only fight defensively for the remaining two years of the war. As teachers, we knew these facts and we had read of Pickett’s charge in books, but the experience of walking in the steps of those men on that field makes us witnesses in a small way to history. Under the direction of Wayne Mott, our guide, we practiced marching maneuvers like Pickett’s men used. We learned that what appears as an open field is deceptive because there were many places where the ground rises and falls, allowing soldiers to be out of the enemies line of sight. And, we could imagine in a small way how afraid, exhausted, and courageous those men must have been as we crossed the same ground they did. As we reached the point in the Union lines where only a few men who survived the charge made it to,we turned back to see a group of school children on a field trip carrying Virginia flags as they yelled the Rebel yell and charged up to our position. Gettysburg lives on in American memory and we are better witnesses of history because of our experience on this battlefield.
Post by L.W.
- FLVS teachers assemble on Seminary Ridge before reenacting Pickett’s Charge
This gallery contains 19 photos.