“Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.” — Abraham Lincoln, Gettysburg, November 19, 1863.
Experience a sojourn in America’s past, exploring the great conflict that divided state from state and brother from brother. The vast fields and orchards of Riley’s
Farm, in concert with our skilled staff of Civil War living historians, help your students and family imagine the contours of Civil War life in a way that motivates ongoing study.
Start the day off with a rousing town meeting in which your group must debate the war then decide whether to secede, join the union or stay neutral. All sides will get a chance to argue their point, as you relive the Maryland State Assembly.
After voting in the Assembly, spend time with Confederate and Union soldiers as they teach you about their home states and the issues they face. The Civil War comes to life as you experience activities such as a regiment drill, a visit to the Surgeon’s infirmary, and perhaps a lesson in 19th century etiquette, along with various other posts.
Once finished with all your camp posts, you will be given a soldier’s ration of lemonade, cornbread, cheese, an apple and dried beef. Along with your hearty meal our Packing shed bakery is open for additional food purchases to supplement the ration.
And finally at the end of the day, all your students participate in a large mock battle, reenacting the Battle of Malvern Hill . Fight for your home and land as a Southerners, or uphold the Union and fight to keep the country together as a Northerner. Given the muskets they are drilled with, all students will be lead into battle by one of our commanding officers.
When should we arrive?
At least 15 minutes prior to the start of your tour.
What is the minimum/maximum group size?
As with most tours, we require a minimum of 60 to schedule this tour. Once a tour is scheduled, we can add any number up to our maximum of 560 people.
Can we buy food?
There is on site food at the Bakery and Restaurant which can be ordered or purchased throughout the day. A “soldier’s ration” of cornbread and beef jerky is normally provided unless we are otherwise instructed by your school or group leader.
Can we bring our own lunch?
Many schools opt to bring lunches for the students, and they will be given a picnicking area for lunch.
How do we get there?
See Map for driving directions.
Do I need to group my students a certain way before I get there?
Like most of our tours, this program operates with guests being placed in groups of roughly 35 each, including adults. Though it isn’t required, it can be a huge time saver to have a plan worked out in advance for very large middle schools. All of our tour leads are prepared to greet and assist you when you arrive. They will provide you with all necessary paperwork and directions, and assist your students with lining up into lines behind the flag for your group(s).
Do I need to cover any specific topics with my students before the trip?
Not unless you wish to. As with all of our programs, our historians teach as they go. Extra knowledge can help, but is not required.
What is the typical age group for this tour?
The educational content is geared towards 8th grade curriculum, but as always, we welcome anyone. Please be advised that the political content of the tour may be a bit advanced for younger grades. Also, the Surgery station on this tour is historically accurate and is fairly graphic.
Do I need reservations?
Large groups need reservations, but individuals may join a tour in progress if space is available.
We at Calvary Chapel Christian Academy participated in the Civil War reenactment yesterday and I wanted to express my thanks to those who taught us about this important time in our nation’s history. We would like to say that we erally appreciate the effort, time and enerty that went into your presentation. The children especially enjoyed participating in the battle. Many of us will never forget the operation performed on “our soldier”. The person in charge and soldiers did an outstanding job giving the students an idea about what took place during that war. I am sure that many other groups will enjoy your presentation in the future. Keep up the good work.
Assistant Principal CCCA
Dear Civil War tour leaders,
Thank you so much for all your creativity and hard work in bringing the Civil War time period to life. It was such a memorable day for us.
With kind regards,
The 6th Grade Class at The Cambridge School
It goes a long way when you show a child a book with information about the history of the world they live in. When you give that same child the opportunity to see it first hand, hear, and feel the sounds of the past now you have given that child a lesson that will last a life-time. God Bless You!
“I was at the farm on Friday March 22nd with my daughter’s school. I’ve been a mom for 22½ years and have been doing field trips for over 17 years, and yours is by far the best one EVER!!! And it’s not just because our last name is Riley. Everyone was so nice, knowledgeable, polite, professional and in character most of the time. I seriously loved it and will be back with my husband and the rest of the family. Thanks for everything.” –Debi Riley
“We are looking forward to visiting your farm again. It is our school’s favorite fieldtrip. After two years, we have students asking when we are going and signing up early!”
— Shannon Cabanas, Cobalt Middle School
“To all the folks at Riley Farm–Thanks for all the great work you do! All the best,” –Walter Fay,
Executive Producer “The Patriot”
“Thank you for the most wonderful field trip I have ever hosted for children. Your knowledge of history, the authenticity of your facilities, the beauty of the surroundings, and the love of history that you shared with the students are very much appreciated. All 112 students and teachers from Discovery Elementary School thank you!
We are already planning our next visit. We never thought it would be possible to take the children back in time, but you have done just that! What a priceless opportunity. Thank you again for the experience.”
Fifth Grade Teacher, Discovery Elementary
I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed my visit to your farm yesterday with my daughter’s Girl Scout troop. It was a wonderful, peaceful day, as well as educational. Smelling the clean air, hearing the birds chirping, seeing the lovely countryside and feeling the warm sunshine was so relaxing. And watching your beautiful children playing in the tall grass
was enchanting. I felt like a guest at your home rather than a visitor at a tourist location. And by the way, the apple pie was one of the best I’ve ever had!
Thanks for the great day!