5th grader shares love of history with personal account of Gettysburg

Published 8:16 am Friday, April 26, 2019

In a recent trip to Gettysburg, 5th grader Liam Wiggins donned a Union soldier’s uniform and traced the paths taken by soldiers during the three-day battle. He loves history and said this trip with his father and cousin brought those stories to life.

“Being at Gettysburg makes you feel like you’re really there,” he said. “It doesn’t seem so long ago, and it feels kind of sad because you know people died there.”

After speaking with his 5th grade teacher Amanda Righter about his trip to Gettysburg, she suggested he write a paper to share his experience with the community. Here’s his story.

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“When I was seven, I really started getting into history. I learned about the American Revolution, WWI, and WWII. When I was in the 4th grade, I started learning about the Civil War. Then all of a sudden, I wanted to learn everything about it. I was so excited when during spring break I went to Washington D.C. and Manassas Battlefield. In 5th grade, we started learning a lot more about the Civil War in school. In October during fall break, my dad took my cousin and me for a surprise trip to Gettysburg. It was an early birthday present to me. I was all ready to go in my blue Union uniform. The battlefield was huge, and there was a lot to see. When we got there, we checked out where the first day of the battle happened. There were a lot of open fields and real Civil War cannons! After that, we went to some cool shops, ate, and went back to our campsite.

“The next day, we went to the second and third parts of the battlefield. We saw Devil’s Den, Little Round Top, Culp’s Hill, the Peach Orchard, and Pickett’s Charge. We saw a reenactors encampment and saw how soldiers camped and lived. We also learned how the guns worked and how some of the ground was too hard to fight on. The CSA Army had to walk a mile under cannon fire on open ground during Pickett’s Charge.

“We also went to the Gettysburg National Museum. At the museum, we saw guns, equipment, and uniforms used during the battle and war. We even saw the stretcher and table used when Stonewall Jackson was wounded. It made me sad when I saw uniforms with bullet holes and blood on them. It also made me sad when I saw chains they used on slaves. The next day we had to pack up and go home. On the way home, we went to Antietam Battlefield. I learned a lot, and it was one of my favorite trips I won’t forget.”

Liam Wiggins

5th Grade

Harold McCormick Elementary School