Gettysburg Trip Provides Ground-Up View of the Civil War
Photos by Lewis Schrager
By Emily Hollenbach '18
In May 2017, students spent several days at Gettysburg National Military Park as part of their work in Professor Nicholas Marshall's Honors Program history course on "The People's Civil War" and in Professor Mark Morreale's Civil War-themed First Year Seminar. For the past decade, Profs. Marshall and Morreale have taken students to the site as part of courses they have taught in the departments of History and English. Honors Program Director and Associate Professor of Philosophy James Snyder also helped to plan the event and joined the students on their travels.
The trip immersed students in locations and events they had read about in their coursework, such as Pickett's Charge and the Battle of Little Round Top. In addition to site visits, students viewed a film in the Gettysburg Cyclorama and sang along with Civil War-era songs at the Lutheran Seminar's library. Through these firsthand experiences, Prof. Morreale explained, students gain "a much better appreciation for the historical and literary dimensions of the course readings." For Prof. Marshall, "the trip's main purpose is to personalize history, to allow students to get closer to the experience of those in the past: the similarities that one can immediately identify with, but also the key differences that make the past much like a foreign country and culture today."
History major and Honors Program student Kimberly Woodward '17 said that walking Pickett's Charge was one of her favorite parts of the trip. On the whole, she said, seeing Gettysburg "put the class readings and lectures in perspective. The experience was not only incredibly fun but educational." Similarly, History major Andrea Monteleone '17 valued the opportunity to learn about "the complex, human experiences and perspectives of those who lived through the significant historic events, like the American Civil War.” The students' reflections support Prof. Snyder's characterization of the trip as "an academic experience that students will remember for the rest of their lives."