The Battle of Antietam, FREEZE STYLE
Professor Gary Freeze bends over a giant homemade map that covers an entire classroom table. He shoves a handful of blue spools across the cardboard.
"Right at dawn, just like they're supposed to, Joe Hooker's troops on Hagerstown Pike literally come crashing into the West Woods," he says to the Catawba College students who are gathered around the Civil War battlefield map. "He wakes up Stonewall Jackson and masses his troops at a place called the Cornfield and the West Woods."
The class watches as the spools sweep back and forth in total chaos. "There are more bodies than stubble corn," Freeze says, after pointing out where his great great grandfather got shot in the hip. "Right there."
The students learn that Lee had only 15,000 of his troops at Sharpsburg the day before the battle and only half as many as the Union on the day of the conflict. "What's missing?" Freeze asks. "Half his army is still out there lollygagging around Fredrick, Md."
This is the Battle of Antietam, Freeze style. Livelier than any textbook, more active than a Ken Burns documentary, Freeze's class resurrects the past. "Even when the semester is over, you still want to learn more about the class," says recent graduate Kevin Funderburk. "He gives you an interest in the subject that makes you want to contintue to learn."