English, U.S. Government, U.S. History
Before reading "The last temptation of Abraham Lincoln," review vocabulary found in In the Know. Likewise, before reading "Tragedy and self-doubt birth a fierce warrior," review vocabulary found in In the Know.
"Word Study: Campaign Considerations" looks at the etymology of "campaign" within the context of military and political campaigns of Fall 1864 to Spring 1865. Only when Sheridan succeeded in the Shenandoah Valley and Atlanta surrendered to Sherman did Lincoln think he might win reelection. Michael Ruane writes in "Tragedy and self-doubt birth a fierce warrior": This was Sherman's March to the Sea — 150 years ago — a month-long advance that is one of the most famous and controversial campaigns in U.S. military history, as well as an event that foretold the death of the Confederacy.
Sing the Songs of War
Music, U.S. History
Music in the 1860s entertained, influenced public opinion, created a marching cadence and inspired troops. Some songs were written for Northern or Southern sentiments; others shared the tune and changed the lyrics. Review the resources found in the sidebar “Songs of War Between the States.”
Activities would include comparing and contrasting songs, indentifying songs that reflect the events and attitudes during the Civil War, and creating a program of 1860s songs to communicate the historic and cultural context. For example, introduce students to “Battle Cry of Freedom.” Discuss the Southern version, then have students listen to the Northern version to compare. Are they able to distinguish and categorize the versions?
Visit a Civil War Battlefield
Geography, U.S. History
The National Park Service preserves battlefields as well as wonders of the natural environment and cultural resources. Visits to these places entertain, expand understanding of the American experience and inspire.
A visit to a Civil War battlefield brings a history book to life. Students will experience the land where soldiers fought, camped and wrote diary entries and letters home. They can picture the troop movement diagrams and consider logistics dictated by topography, troop size and goals of leaders.
“Visit a Civil War Battlefield,” a student activity, notes nine nearby battlefields that families and classes may visit. Each has a visitor center and other resources such as self-guided auto tours, trails and brochures. Students are asked to sketch a scene while there and to write about the visit. In addition to the suggested writing activity to reflect on the experience, teachers might have their students write diary entries as if they were soldiers, generals, medical staff, residents and family members while they are at different locations within the battlefield park.