Student Reactions to Civil War Adventure

What was your favorite part of the 2013 MUHS Civil War Adventure and why?

My favorite part of the trip was touring and walking on Manassas National Battlefield. This decisive battle that the Confederates won was my favorite part of the trip. Most people at that time thought that the civil would not turn out to an actual fight. This battle showed the first attempt for both sides and the miscommunication on the battlefield. My favorite site from Manassas was the incredible statue of Robert E. Lee. This battle very much captured the spirit, experience and emotions of the Civil War.

-Sam Mintner

Picking a favorite part from a trip as dynamic and exciting as this one is extremely difficult, but I would have to choose our experience at Antietam National Battlefield. While Gettysburg and Manassas were certainly fantastic, Antietam made the war seem very real to me. Walking around areas like the Bloody Cornfield, Bloody Lane, and Burnside Bridge brought my learning in the classroom to life and made me appreciate the sacrifices from both sides. Walking the battlefield at dusk made the statues appear lifelike, adding to this fantastic experience.

-Carl Michaletz

It is hard to pick a favorite part of this trip but I would have to say one that stood out for me was walking up Pickett’s Charge at Gettysburg. I always learned in class about how it was a complete failure and kind of a slaughter, being there really opened my eyes to what happened. This was supposed to be the Confederate’s hoorah charge to take Gettysburg and then D.C. These men went through numerous odds and came through so Lee thought they were practically invincible. Unfortunately, they were not and the Confederate army was slaughtered. Even though a short breakthrough occurred and some hope seemed imminent, the Union came in at just the right, or wrong for the Confederates, time. I was standing and walking were hundreds if not thousands of people were hurt and wounded. It seems so peaceful now but we know it was quite the opposite back then.

-Brett McCormick

My favorite part of this amazing Civil War trip was seeing the National Civil War Cemetery and the location of Lincoln’s Gettysburg address.  The trip was an insightful analysis of the war. Throughout the trip we analyzed causes of the War, themes, and major events. All of these ideas came together when Lincoln spoke about a nation that was in hardships but would become one again. Lincoln has also been a very prominent figure that I look up to; seeing the location of his powerful speech was awe-inspiring. The Cemetery also made the experience of the Civil War very real because many soldiers, some from Wisconsin even, were in the cemetery. One of the last activities on this trip allowed me to reflect on the War and its impact on American history.

-Aaron Waldoch

My favorite part of the trip was learning about the Iron Brigade during the first day of Gettysburg.  Hearing about the Iron Brigade’s heroic deeds made me proud to be a Wisconsinite.  Though the battle ended fatally for much of the brigade, it was interesting to learn the journey of the Iron Brigade from Second Manassas to Gettysburg and how much of an effect they had on the war.  Another part of the Iron Brigade that was interesting was the 24th Michigan regiment who encountered their first battle at Gettysburg and had to prove themselves.  They did indeed prove their bravery at this battle by keeping their position and holding off the much larger enemy.  The bravery and ability to fight demonstrated by the Iron Brigade was a great surprise to many other regiments and helped the Union fight off the advancing Confederates early in the war.

-Evan Treacy

  I love learning about the battles fought, especially if I have never learned about them before.  I liked visiting the battlefield at Monocacy, because it was the first time I found out about the Confederacy’s third advance into the North.  The valiant efforts of the forces at Monocacy Junction allowed reinforcements to reach Washington, D.C. in time to prepare for Jubal Early’s 10,000-troop attack.  Our tour of Little Round Top at the left flank of the Union lines at Gettysburg also was very enjoyable.  Most of what I knew about the battle pertained to Pickett’s Charge.  The bravery and cunning of Generals Chamberlain and Warren led to a great victory on the second day of the battle.

-Jacob Webb

My favorite part of the Civil War trip was when we canoed down Antietam Creek. In general, being active and moving around battlefields were also my favorite parts of the trip. I’ve always felt that the best way to see something is by personally experiencing it. As I canoed down the creek, I could imagine what the area must have been like in the time of the Civil War. Walking the trail of Pickett’s Charge and the cornfields of Antietam helped me envision the battles and understand the movements of troops. I could stare at a map of Gettysburg for hours and still have no idea what happened, but after walking the battlefield, I feel like I understand why each side did what they did. Camping out on Gettysburg and Antietam was a real treat as well. It was well worth the sacrifice of leaving the comfort of college dorms. All of our walking and camping allowed me to better understand the battlefields and provided me with a great Civil War experience.

-Ryan Carter

My favorite part of the trip was going to Hartsville Indiana and seeing a large part of the town come together to honor Barton Mitchell. Mitchell is their claim to fame because he found Lee’s lost orders (191) which helped the Army of the Potomac beat the Army of Northern Virginia. A man who gave a speech about Mitchell made a big deal about Mitchell being literate; there are rumors that he couldn’t read and that he passed up the orders by pure chance. We did a small dedication along with some of the town members and re-enactors to Mitchells grave, laying a wreath and a replica of the lost orders. The whole ordeal was incredible, seeing a town remember someone from so long ago.

-Quinn Furumo


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