Open battlefields, stone monuments and reenactors dressed in period costume were just a few of the things members of Joe Foster’s Civil War class and Civil War Brigade club at Waynesfield-Goshen High saw during their trip to Gettysburg in late November. Seniors Jenna Riemesch, Jenna Whitaker, Kendra Plummer, Mindi Brookhart and Alyn Begly, along with four chaperones including Foster and his wife Carrie, left Thursday morning from the school to make the trek to Quaker Valley Orchard, where they stayed in a guest house for the duration of their stay in Gettysburg.
On Friday, the first full day in Gettysburg, the group went to areas associated with the first day of the infamous Civil War battle. The group toured the house Robert E. Lee used as headquarters during the Battle of Gettysburg, which is now a museum. The group also took photos and collected video footage to use for their documentary projects. Each student picked whichever topic interested them about the battle, from Mindi’s project on Robert E. Lee to a documentary on the effects on the town itself after the battle and the war.
After touring the day-one battlefields, the group went to the Gettysburg Visitor’s Center to get a behind the scenes look at the Cyclorama. The Cyclorama is the largest painting in the country, depicting Pickett’s Charge on the third day of the battle. More than a decade after the Battle of Gettysburg, French artist Paul Philippoteaux created the Battle of Gettysburg Cyclorama painting. For months he researched the battle with veterans, a guide and a photographer before completing the painting more than a year after he stared. At 377 feet in circumference and 42 feet high, the painting is longer than a football field and as tall as a four-story building. During class the students who went on the trip tried to explain how amazing the painting was.
For more information, see the Monday, Dec. 2 edition of the Wapakoneta Daily News.