On Saturday, October 25, ten members of Sam McGuire’s Civil War class took part in a voluntary field trip to Chickamauga National Military Park. Chief park historian, Jim Ogden provided a four-hour educational program and guided tour of the battlefield. Jacob McClendon recalled the tour “made me proud to be a History major” and that “going to the battlefield was a chance to come as close to reliving the actual battle” as possible. Thomas Kincheloe and John Carroll recalled how the tour brought history to life. Kincheloe was impressed by being “able to stand where the troops stood,” while Carroll stated, “this was the first time I had ever visited a Civil War battlefield, it really brought the battle to life.”
Ogden not only catered the tour to emphasize themes discussed in McGuire’s classroom—especially the notion of a divided South—but he also took students to sites described in Sam Watkins’s famous memoir Company Aytch, which students read in class. Sarah Gehlhausen recalled, “Reading Sam Watkins’ account while standing at his position in the line gave me chills.” The trip also provided students an exciting active learning opportunity, which supplemented classroom lectures and discussions. Andy Tabeling stated, “What we learned in lecture was fortified by the opportunity to see the battle with our own eyes.” Other students explained how the field trip will influence how they teach history in Georgia classrooms in the future. Kiondre Dunnam explained, “Nothing compares to being in the middle of history…When I’m in my own classroom, years from now, trips like the one I experienced will definitely be utilized!” Emily Startup not only admitted that the field trip was “interesting and entertaining,” but recommended, “the history department should continue doing this field trip in the future.”
University undergraduates who took part in the field trip included: Kameron Abernathy, John Carroll, Kiondre Dunnam, Stephen Friedman, Sarah Gehlhausen, Thomas Kincheloe, Jacob McClendon, Jessica Ryan, Emily Startup, and Andy Tabeling.
Accompanying the field trip were special guests, Dr. Stephen Berry, Vince Dooley, Charles Burch and Gary Hill. This trip was supported by the Amanda and Greg Gregory Fund.