Dordt College News

Experience Civil War battlefield tactics and strategy

December 27, 2013

Experience history through the eyes of those who fought and strategized in the Civil War battles. Dordt College is sponsoring a Civil War Staff Ride July 9-12, 2014, in the Springfield, Missouri, and Eureka Springs, Arkansas, area.

Dordt History Professor Paul Fessler will lead the group on an experience that goes far beyond a simple tour. A staff ride involves participation in the unfolding of history, where each person is assigned to play the role of an original battle participant. This is the second year that the tour has been offered to the public; Fessler has led this tour with students several times in the past.

Participants will learn about those who fought and will discover how political, social, and religious factors shaped the military outcome. The early battles of Wilson’s Creek and Pea Ridge, the focus of the trip, were significant in deciding the outcome of both the Western theatre and the war as a whole. They offered tactical and strategic lessons that both sides would need for future battles. Important themes will emerge about leadership, decision-making, and responsibility that extend to other Civil War battles and to battles in other wars.

The tour will begin and end in Springfield, Missouri. The adventure costs $550 for single occupancy and $425 for a double occupancy stay. This price includes lodging accommodations (including a two-night stay at the historic Manor House in Eureka Springs), meals, and a battlefield guidebook. Educators can receive two licensure renewal credits for an additional $50.

To learn more, view the itinerary, or register for the trip, visit or contact event coordinator Dianne De Wit at (712) 722-6029 or Space is limited.

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