Thursday, May 26, 2016

Chautauqua: Voices of the Civil War: Longstreet's Assault at Gettysburg (Pickett's Charge)

The best way to teach history has been through reliving it.  Whether physically going to a place, listening to a reenactor, taking in a piece of art, etc. history was brought to life.  We absolutely love learning history this way.  Our county library and the Chautauqua group presented Voices of the Civil War: Longstreet's Assault at Gettysburg and we were privileged to attend the event with friends.

The event was to commemorate The Johnson Collection's placement of  The Battle of Gettysburg: Repulse of Longstreet's Assault by James Walker.  Walker was commissioned to paint the grand canvas by John Badger Bachelder.  Bachelder was a photographer and topographic artist of the Union Army.  After the Battle of Gettysburg, he conducted an on-site study of the scene.  His study was very intensive and gave Walker all the information he would need to depict the scene. The painting took on a life of its own travel throughout the United States.  We are very privileged to have the work displayed indefinitely in our community.  Click the here to see the painting and hear an audio presentation. 

Pat Grills portrayed four different Civil War characters from the Battle of Gettysburg – Confederate General George Pickett and Union General Winfield Scott Hancock – and two privates (one Blue, one Grey).  The characters were reflecting upon the battle 20 years after it had taken place.  It was very insightful and the children enjoyed listening to the characters.  

Between character changes, music of the Civil War was presented.  This was a nice touch to the program.  Each piece was introduced and background information was given.  We were delighted with The Battle Hymn of the Republic, sombered by Taps, intrigued with The Bonny Blue Flag, and remorsed with Home Sweet Home.  These songs helped to bring the feeling to the room of the boys in grey and blue.

We enjoyed our evening learning more about this moment of the Civil War.  We will definitely return and study the detail of the painting in the near future.