English, Journalism, Social Studies, U.S. History
The 20 terms that are listed in In the Know were used by Post reporter Joel Achenbach in “Unknown Soldier.” Ask students to define the terms. Find all the words in the feature article. Does context help them to define the words? Are their definitions confirmed in context?
As students read other articles in Grant Takes Command, ask them to compile a list of new terms and the words for which they are uncertain of definition. Teachers might compile a vocabulary list based on the terms most unfamiliar or unknown to students.
Geography, Social Studies, U.S. History
Writers of many of the articles in Civil War 150: Grant Takes Command relate the locations of forts, skirmishes and battles to present day locations. Use this information to locate military activity and to relate to students and their experiences in these locales.
Post reporter Steve Vogel writes in “The day ‘Old Jube’ nearly took Washington”:
“Forty-one white headstones form two concentric circles around an American flag in the tiny graveyard that is tucked into the middle of a block on Georgia Avenue in Northwest Washington.” This is a description of the commemorative marker at Battleground National Cemetery. He later gives directions to Fort Stevens. Walkers and drivers are to “go six blocks south on Georgia and take a right at the Wonder Chicken.” Fort Stevens is is located at 13th Street/Piney Branch Road NW and Quackenbos Street, NW. Have students locate these two Civil War sites on a modern map of D.C.
“Civil War Defenses of Washington” provides the locations of the ring of fortifications that were built to protect the nation’s capital from Southern advances. The District was situated between slave-owning Maryland and Confederate Virginia. Students might be asked to
• Locate Civil War-era forts in present day Maryland, Virginia and D.C.
• Look at the typography of the area. Relate the different reasons each fort would be an important part of the defense.
• Discuss the role of the Potomac River and Anacostia River (Eastern Branch) in the defense and potential capture of the District of Columbia.
Visit a Civil War Fort
Geography, U.S. History
Neighborhoods are named after Civil War fortifications and, for many, are the only acknowledgement of the ring of forts built to defend the federal capital. Give students “Civil War Defenses of Washington,” a map that shows the location of the major forts in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. Are any located in places students know? Have students visited any of the 19 forts that are administered today by the National Park Service? Have students select a fort to read its story. On a contemporary map locate each fort.
This guide features General Jubal Early’s attack on the area, including Fort Stevens. “Fort Stevens and Battleground National Cemetery” provides information to locate these two parks. Have students locate Metro stations near Georgia Avenue (Seventh Street in 1864). The fort, which is undergoing restoration, is located at 13th Street/Piney Branch Road NW and Quackenbos Street, NW.
For more activities and resources download Civil War and The Capital City. This fifth of nine once-a-month guides, produced between September 2003 and May 2004, focuses on the transformation of the federal city, the area between Maryland and Virginia.
Timelines in The Washington Post’s Civil War 150 series provide battlefield maps. Use them in conjunction with current maps to locate where significant events took place.
Write a Headline
English, Journalism, Media Arts
The print and online headlines of news articles and feature stories often differ. The digital version is written to facilitate searches. Digital headlines are more specific with fewer, if any, word play.
Compare the headlines for stories about 1864 Civil War battles.
Print: “At the Battle of the Crater, a brilliant plan is bungled”
Online: “At Battle of the Crater, black troops prove their courage”
Print: “On a hot July day, Bethesda became a battleground”
Online: “For Gen. Jubal Early, a raid north nearly led to the capture of Washington”
Print: "Out of a sense of betrayal, Arlington Cemetery is born"
Online: "Arlington National Cemetery, and the fight over Robert E. Lee’s home”
Read today’s newspaper. Ask students to select five headlines to rewrite for posting online. When finished, go online to compare students’ revisions with the ones written by Post online editors.