APUSH students take trip to Ft. Pickens

apushOn Friday, January 27th, Ms. Parker’s APUSH students took a field trip to Fort Pickens on Pensacola Beach. Groups of three APUSH students were in charge of a student led scavenger hunt with eighth graders from Ferrypass Middle School. Along the hunt, various storytellers were placed at historical spots within the fort to inform students on the historical aspects surrounding the area.

Middle schoolers were to look at the area where the story tellers were, and had to determine what “clue” they were, before answering a historical question and listening to the history of the area.

When the group answered the question right, they were given cards in descending order from 27. The group with the most points were deemed the winners of the scavenger hunt.

After the hunt was over, reenactors showed all the students how confederate and union soldiers had to load their muskets. Soldiers were required to go through 9 steps before a shot was able to be taken.    They first had to place the gun in left hand to load. They then handled the cartridge and tore it with two front teeth. Afterwards, the contents of the cartridge was to be poured into the barrel, including the bullet.    Soldiers drew the rammer and rammed the cartridge into the base of the barrel before taking it out of the barrel and returning it to its proper location. Finally, soldiers were to prime the cap to ignite the gunpowder inside, and fire.

One last performance was put on by Dr. Dan Monroe from Millikin University before lunch and departure. Dr. Monroe is the department chair of history at Millikin, and is the head of the Illinois Historic Sites Council, where he determines places in various states that are historical.    Dr. Monroe has wrote multiple books on Lincoln, and is a leading scholar on Lincoln in the United States. Monroe explained various topics to students; such as the institution of slavery, the civil war, and Fort Pickens relevance to it all.

It’s no wonder Ms. Parker would chose to take a trip to Fort Pickens. Fort Pickens was one of only four forts in the South that was never occupied by Confederate forces during the Civil War, thanks to a heroic stand by Lieutenant Adam Slemmer with one company of artillery and a few sailors.    Fort Pickens was as important as Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C. during the crisis between Abraham Lincoln’s election in November, 1860 and the firing on Fort Sumter on April 12. 1861. The fort was reinforced the day after Fort Sumter surrendered, preventing the Confederates from controlling Pensacola Bay and using the Pensacola Navy Yard.    However, it seems as if all good things must come to an end eventually. Despite having booked the buses for the trip months ago in September, over half of the students were left stranded at the Fort for hours after the outing was scheduled to end. Santa Rosa County has recently switched over to a private bus company, which does not have enough buses to accommodate the needs of students going to and from school, and students on field trips. The buses were overpopulated; with three children in every seat, and many situated on laps and in the aisles.    With the exception of the hazardous bus situation, the field trip was deemed a huge success by APUSH students, Ferrypass Middle Schoolers, and Ms. Parker herself.    “The trip went very well, being out of the classroom and experiencing history with our eyes and hands rather than listening to a boring lecture was the best part,” Parker expressed. “It is only because I have such fantastic students that I am able to do trips like this, I have the utmost respect for them.”

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