Growing-Up before they had to: Children of the Civil War

Teacher Notes:

Introduction to Case:

In this case, students are challenged to "put themselves in the shoes" of children from the north and south, at the front line and on the homefront during the Civil War. They will read excerpts from a number of journals kept by children on their experiences, feelings, and views from the war. During the process, students complete a "detective's log" to help them chart their findings, including a Venn diagram of differences and commonalities of experience. At the end of the case, students are challenged to write a paragraph answering the following question: Through the eyes of the children, what aspects of living through the Civil War would have been most difficult? You must cite evidence to support your answer. Please indicate whether you were satisfied with the evidence and list any additional questions that have been left unanswered through your investigation.

From the trenches...

Case Study video coming soon...


Acknowledgements:

This activity is based on work done by Alexandra Roosenburg and Jaime Lacore for EDIS XXX at the University of Virginia.

Standards:

NCSS Theme II: Time, Continuity and Change
Focus on reading and reconstructing the past to:
1. include various perspectives on historical events;
2.draw upon historical knowledge during the examination of social issues;
3. develop the habits of mind that historians and schalors employ.

National Center for History in the Schools
Standard 2: Historical Comprehension
Standard 3: Historical Analysis and Interpretation
Standard 4: Historical Research Capabilities
Standard 5: Historical Issues-Analysis and Decision-Making

Maryland Voluntary State Curriculum Standards
Grade 8A10c: Describe the views and lives of leaders and soldiers on both sides of the [Civil] war.

Virginia Standards of Learning
USI.9: The student will demonstrate knowledge of the causes, major events, and effects of the Civil War by:
a. describing the cultural, economic, and constitutional issues that divided the nation;
f. describing the effects of war from the perspectives of Union and Confederate soldiers (including black soldiers), women, and slaves.

Implementation Ideas:

In this activity, you can narrow or broaden the number of sources used as evidence, depending on your time constraints.

You might choose for students to pick one of the children whose journal is used for evidence, do additional research on the time period and conditions of a particular place during the war, and continue on the journal entries. This would challenge students to empathize with the journal writers and develop a plausible extension of the writing.

Word document of Case and documents

 


Becoming a Detective

On April 2, 1861, fifteen-year-old Elizabeth Horton from Mobile, Alabama, wrote to her cousin Emma Barbour, age seventeen, in Cambridgeport, Massachusetts: “Times are indeed troublous, when our city is so flooded with soldiers, thirsting for the blood of those whom they consider their enemies. My fervent prayer is that not a drop of blood may be shed on either side.”

Given the following documents make inferences as to which life was harder during the American Civil War as seen through the eyes of children. It is your job to determine the type of evidence included within this file, the credibility of each piece of evidence and how the evidence fits together. Finally, you will be asked to come up with an answer to the following question: What aspects of living through the Civil War would have been most difficult?

 

Investigating the Evidence

Click here to view the documents from the front line.

Click here to view the documents from the home front.

 

Searching for Clues

Please answer the following questions about each document or download the formatted Case File (PDF format | Word document).

  1. Answer the following questions for each set of documents pertaining to the home front and front line:
    • What type of documents are these?
    • Who created the documents? How old are they?
    • When were the documents written?
    • Why do you think these documents were written?
  2. Using quotes from the text, list experiences that children faced during the Civil War.
  3. Using the Venn Diagram in Case log, describe the similarities and differences of experiences that children faced during the Civil War.

 

 

Cracking the Case

After analyzing the different documents, please write a paragraph answering the following question: Through the eyes of the children, what aspects of living through the Civil War would have been most difficult? You must cite evidence to support your answer. Please indicate whether you were satisfied with the evidence and list any additional questions that have been left unanswered through your investigation.