Aggies Travel: American South

David Perkins
Staff Writer

Over the course of Spring Break, Cameron University students from Professor Travis Childs’ Civil War and Reconstruction class took a road trip across the American South to visit the museums and battlefields of the American Civil War.

The trip lasted nine days and spanned across six states, eventually covering nearly 2,800 miles.

Students had the opportunity to view the actual historical locations they have studied in class.

The goal for the trip revolved around giving a clearer picture of what happened in those places, and helping students realize the complexity of the history they studied in class.

For the first half of the trip, the class started in South Louisiana, where they toured a plantation and visited New Orleans.

From there, students traveled to a new location every day, including Fort Gaines; Blakely Battlefield near Mobile, Alabama; the Montgomery Department of Historical archives; and the First Whitehouse of the Confederacy.

The second half of the trip began with the Prisoner of War Museum and Andersonville Prison in Georgia.

However, during their last three days, the class explored the battlefields of Chickamauga, Chattanooga, Shiloh and Vicksburg.

Childs said it was the very first Civil War trip offered by Cameron University, but that it was in the making for some time.

“I had the support of Lance Janda, the Chair of the Social Sciences Department and Howard Kuchta, who is the Dean of Graduate Professional Studies,” he said. “They encouraged me to put together a proposal and to submit it for Lectureships at Cameron University, which I submitted last spring.”

Because of his submission, Childs received three different lectureships to fund this trip. Contributions came from the James O. “Diz” and June Pursley Barnett Endowed Lectureship in History, the Katherine D. Lacy Endowed Lectureship in History, and the Philip L. Jones Endowed Lectureship in Ethics.

These lectureships combined raised more than $10,000 in funds for the student trip.

Funds aided in every way for the trip, from hotel rooms to gas expenses and an additional $180 given to each student for meals.

Ten students jumped at the opportunity to take the trip.

Dakota Connick, a sophomore history major, said he was very appreciative of the importance of the trip, as well as financial assistance given by lectureships.

“You could have a Spring Break traveling across the south without spending a dime,” he said.

“On top of that, we are all history majors, so I got to be around people who enjoy and are motivated by the same subject as me. So that opportunity was hard to pass up.”

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