Barnesville fifth graders visited nearby battlefields and museums to immerse themselves in their study of the Civil War. Students overnighted in Gettysburg on a two-day trip that included visits to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center and Harpers Ferry.
The first stop at the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center set the tone for the trip with a film summarizing the impact of the Battle of Gettysburg. Large screen maps of Confederate troop movements heading north show that the town of Barnesville, Maryland was caught right between Virginia and Gettysburg. The museum also showed a glimpse into the daily life of a Civil War soldier. Being at the battlefield, students got a sense of the size and scope of the battle. The Cyclorama painting, which is longer than a football field and four-stories tall also provides an impactful image of one day of battle. Students then took a bus and walking tour that included visits to the famous Devil’s Den, Culp’s Hill, and Seminary Ridge.
Ms. Bittle noted, “The kids really enjoyed reading the excerpts from soldiers’ letters and diaries. The documents offered a personalized perspective of the war that was until then, unfamiliar to the kids. Between the museum and battlefield tours, the kids were able to relate and connect to the events at Gettysburg.”
At the end of the day. students enjoyed their first overnight trip as Middle Schoolers, staying in a hotel with some downtime and eating ice cream together.
The final leg of the trip included a visit to Harpers Ferry National Park where the students explored the remains of the infamous John Brown raid. After a mile and a half hike to the town center, students not only enjoyed the historic buildings of Harpers Ferry but also the amazing scenery of the national park.
Each fifth grader will conclude their study of the Civil War by researching a famous person from the era, presenting that person’s story to an audience of classmates and their parents.