Students at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica took a trip back in time to reenact Pickett’s Charge at the Civil War Battle of Gettysburg earlier this month.
The reenactment of the third day of battle in July 1863 at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania was held Friday, June 11th, at the school physical education field.
About 400 eighth-grade students — dressed as Northern Union (Huzzahs) and Southern Confederate (Rebels) soldiers — gathered at opposite ends of the field and held their positions until the Rebels began a slow charge.
“Students fell dead or wounded to simulate the horrible loss of life for both sides,” said Jon Monastero, the U.S. history teacher at Lincoln Middle School, who organized the reenactment as a class assignment.
Students spent four weeks preparing for the reenactment and immersed themselves in the life of a soldier.
“This included enlistment, forming of regiments, choosing officers, creation of flags and uniforms, march and drill practice and other activities to develop esprit de corps,” Monastero said.
Uniforms were loaned to the students from Monastero’s collection and some students bought Civil War kepis at local costume shops.
Broomsticks represented muskets. Students were taught how to hold them, march and reload.
Each day, students learned in class Civil War military commands and formations, events leading up to the war and Pickett’s Charge and the war’s aftermath.
Several hundred students from the school, parents, teachers and administrators watched the reenactment, which lasted about 25 minutes.
“Among other traditional classroom means whereby the students have learned about this important time period in which our country was led by the school’s namesake Abraham Lincoln, this reenactment makes education come alive and reaches those who learn most through experimental teaching,” said Alyssa Tennenbaum, Parent Teacher Students Association past president.