War Trips logo

Why I Study the Civil War

I grew up in Virginia, a beautiful state where memories of the American Civil War practically seep from the soil. My parents were from the Midwest and moved to Virginia following World War II. On local trips with them, I became familiar with Civil War sites like Bull Run Battlefield. Many of these sites are beautiful and peaceful places today, in stark contrast to their bloody past. I was intrigued by these places and their dramatic stories.

historical interpreterTo me, the most fascinating things about the Civil War are not the dates or names of generals, but rather the questions that are hard for me to answer fully:

man with confederate flag In addition to pondering these questions and hearing interesting stories from the Civil War, visiting Civil War sites offers a feeling for geography and a respect (often awestruck wonder) for the soldiers who had to battle natural barriers and weather as well as the enemy army. Over and over I am struck by the beauty of the landscape and the contasting vision of huge armies traveling over the terrain.

charles polandMy professor, Charles Poland, is an experienced teacher whose passion for history shows in his dedication to exploring and sharing the stories of the Civil War. His wife Betty helps with logistics and making sure everyone is comfortable. Many of my classmates have taken multiple semesters of the course, and some have considerable knowledge of the Civil War. Although the day-long trips are sometimes exhausting, I thoroughly enjoy them. There is excitement in following back roads that you would not discover in daily life, and pleasure in meeting a group of friends in a historic setting to hear a true story from long ago.

group on tour "One of my objectives is to take you to as many remote locations as possible."
- Dr. Poland

Credits: Thanks to Leona Strich and her husband for the picture of me on tour (above right). The other photos were taken by me.


home    Return to top of Page

A Typical Trip (with Tips for Teachers too!)    |   Copyright Info