With a focus on Day 1 of the battle, students were up before dawn to take a ride to the 26th North Carolina and take the trail down to Willoughby Run. This was an area of the battlefield that was heavily contested and saw both the Union and Confederates advance through the body of the water.
As the sun began to come up over the battlefield students climbed the observation tower on Seminary Ridge to get acquainted with the battlefield geography.
After a delightful breakfast we visited the site of the first day’s fight beginning with a visit to the monument of General Buford. Students were able to see ordinance #433, the artillery piece that shot the first cannon ball of the battle.
After discussing the role of Buford’s cavalry we took a walk through Herbst Woods (at the site of General Reynold’s death). This permitted us to discuss the role of the 1st Corps (especially the Iron Brigade).
We discussed the Iron Brigade (specifically the 24th Michigan and their fight against the 26th North Carolina). We then moved north to pay our respects to John Burns statue the old citizen hero of Gettysburg. After using some Matthew Brady photographs to analyze the fighting outside of the woods we visited the McPherson Barn which served as a field hospital during the battle.
A drive north took us the site of the 6th Wisconsin charge towards the unfinished railroad. We then rode north towards Oak Ridge and visited the Eternal Peace Monument.
We then drove to visit Sallie the Dog (a regimental puppy of the 11th Pennsylvania Regiment. Special recognition to Jake and Colin for fixing the makeshift fencing that had been blown down by the wind!
We then drove down to Dilger’s Ohio Battery and Barlow’s Knoll. We discussed the 11th Corps and their arrival to the field. We also had a conversation about the role of immigrants during the Civil War. As we followed the 11th’s retreat we visited the site where Sergeant Amos Humiston was killed and found looking at a photograph of his children. We then visited the mural on Coster Avenue depicting his regiment’s struggle.
Students were extremely excited to have lunch at Ernie’s Lunch which offers a good meal at a very good price!
With our stomachs warm we braved back out into the cold and spoke of General Lee’s plan for the second day of the battle. We started our work on Cemetery Ridge and visited Father Corby’s monument. Shaun was wearing a Notre Dame sweatshirt so it was a natural photo opportunity! (Note: Father Corby became President at Notre Dame after the war).
We shifted our conversation to Daniel Sickles and the 3rd Corps. We followed the path of his decision to move his Corps forward to the Emmitsburg Road. We began at the Peach Orchard and paid our respects to the 2nd New Hampshire. Charlotte planted a New Hampshire flag at the base of the monument.
After we visited the 12th New Hampshire who was located at Klingel Farm. Jay the Director of Student Success was the honorary flag planter.
We then visited Trostle Barn the site of Sickles wounding and discussed his history a bit.
After finishing our work around the 3rd Corps specifically we shifted to the Wheatfield to focus on the man our learning studio was based on, Colonel Edward Cross (from Lancaster, NH).
With the help of Shaun, we discussed the movements of Cross and his brigade and eventually arrived at the 5th New Hampshire monument to pay our respects to the spot where Colonel Cross sustained his mortal wound. Shaun was the flag planter at the 5th NH Monument.
“Give em’ the war whoop” learning studio at the 5th New Hampshire monument!!! We made it! We are so grateful for everyone that supported our trip. Thank you!
We did the next piece sort of backwards and actually started by visiting Little Round Top first. Much to our surprise and despite numerous coach buses, the site of the 20th Maine and their famous charge was vacant! Needless to say we took the opportunity to spend some time reviewing the situation of the 20th Maine and discussing the very difficult condition of Colonel Oates and his 15th Alabama men. We have new fans of Chamberlain’s Charge now!
We then moved down to the Slaugther Pen and Devil’s Den where we completed our learning for the day. The students were quite impressed by the size of those rocks!
Shaun at the site of the famous Sharpshooter photograph at Devil’s Den.
After Devil’s Den we decided we should probably eat again because eating is indeed good! We treated ourselves at Sweeney Tavern.
Okay I have to go, the Bruins just tied up the game!!!!