The sun is finally shining where I live, and I am so grateful! It’s been a cloudy, dreary, and rainy week here in southeast Missouri. Since the weather forecast predicted more clouds and rain, I decided to get the heck out of Dodge and go somewhere sunny and beautiful. My next field trip took me to the state of Tennessee where I visited the Shiloh National Military Park.
The park is managed by the National Park Service, and as you might it expect it was very visitor-friendly. One of the best things about our parks system is that touring the park is free! No entrance fee and no parking fee. The only money I spent there was on my obligatory t-shirt from the gift shop. There are ranger-led tours every 30 minutes, and their is an announcement as to when and where these start over a PA system. That’s where I started my visit. I had been sitting in the car for almost 4 hours, so it was great to stretch my legs and get the tour going right away. The ranger was very knowledgeable and the historic photographs she had helped me keep all the characters straight in my head as I learned more about why this particular location was chosen. Every tour is different, however, and some of the tour guides wear authentic, historical costumes and fire muskets!
Field Trip Auto Tour
It was a hot, sunny day so after the tour I was glad to get into the air-conditioned comfort of the Visitor Center and look at the artifacts they had on display. After watching an interpretive film about the battle, we grabbed our map and hopped back into the car for my favorite part of the trip – the auto tour.
The park has thousands of acres, and their are 20 stops along the 13-mile tour. Since we were only there for a day trip, we had to prioritize what we stopped to visit. There are dozens and dozens of markers and monuments scattered throughout the park, some of them only accessible by a hike through a field or forest! If you go, I would highly recommend the Monument Location System website, or just pick up Map #102 from the bookstore.
Overall, it was another great field trip! I had a lot of fun hanging out with my mom and learning about this important event in the Civil War. I know I will be able to share what I discovered with my students when we study Missouri’s role in the war. Until next week!