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Civil War Trust

Civil War Primer - April 17, 2008

Best Civil War Lesson Plan Contest, Events, Teacher Institute, April in the Civil War

Civil War Preservation Trust Teacher Newsletter

Welcome to the newest Civil War Preservation Trust teacher update.
This issue contains:








To contact me, e-mail



Spring is the biggest time to be teaching about the Civil War! While you're teaching your students this month, consider sending your best lesson to the Best Civil War Lesson Plan Contest!

Sponsored by The History Channel and the Civil War Preservation Trust

Do you have a terrific Civil War lesson plan to share -- one that is challenging and relevant to today's students? Then enter the Best Civil War Lesson Plan contest for a chance to win money and recognition!

First Place -- $1,000; Second Place -- $750; Third Place -- $500
Prizes are generously donated by The History Channel.

Who May Enter: K-12 teachers nationwide -- in public, private and home schools

Deadline: All submissions must be received by December 1, 2007.

Guidelines: All lesson plans must include the following elements in order to be considered:

*The teacher's complete contact information -- including the name of the teacher's school with complete mailing address, complete home address, and preferred phone number and/or email address.

*A brief description of the goals of the lesson and concepts to be taught;

*A list of the materials to be used, as well as copies of teacher-created handouts;

*A brief description of the time involved;

*An explanation of the methods to be used;

*A list of correlating state standards for social studies / history in the teacher's home state, OR the appropriate NCSS strands (;

*Use of at least one primary source -- this could be an historic photograph, document, letter, diary, artifact, etc.; and

*Inclusion of elements that are engaging and thought provoking for students with a variety of learning styles.

**If possible, teachers are encouraged to introduce the concept of battlefield preservation within their lesson. However, lack of this component will not cause an entry to be disqualified;

**Teachers are also encouraged, but not required, to submit a method of evaluation with their lesson plan.

Submissions become the property of the Civil War Preservation Trust and The History Channel, and may be reprinted, posted on their respective web sites, and/or shared via other forms of media.

Winning teachers will be notified by January 15, 2008.

Send your lesson plan to:
Education Department
Civil War Preservation Trust
11 Public Square, Suite 200
Hagerstown, MD 21740


July 20 -- 22 in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Join our national conference featuring practical methods for teaching the Civil War to students. Sponsored by the Civil War Preservation Trust, this sixth annual Summer Teacher Institute will be held July 20 -- 22, 2007, in Chattanooga, Tenn.

Education professionals working with elementary through high school students may attend. Participants pre-register for their choice of focused workshops on Friday and Sunday, as well as a full-day field trip on Saturday.

Our goal is to help teachers find practical, usable classroom ideas to boost their students' skill and motivation -- without using a series of lectures.

In addition, teachers will have the opportunity to network with teachers from across the country.

Eminent historians James I. Robertson, Jr., and William C. Davis will be featured at this event. Dr. Robertson is a prominent author as well as Alumni Distinguished Professor of History at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Mr. Davis is the author or editor of more than 40 books in the fields of Civil War and Southern history who was featured on the A&E network series Civil War Journal.

Workshops include Dancing the Civil War, Southern Newspapers, Making Local Connections, The Navies, Country Music and the Civil War, Controversy and the Causes of the Civil War, Patrick Cleburne, Textbook Strategies for Struggling Readers, Feeding the Armies, and Period Perspectives on Slavery's End. Field trip choices include either Chickamauga or Lookout Mountain.

The institute is being presented in partnership with Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University will be issuing certificates for 1.5 continuing education units (equivalent to 15 contact hours) towards professional development.

** Only teachers who request the certificates will receive the CEU certificates. **

A limited number of stipends will be available to help offset travel expenses. Contact CWPT (below) for more information.

Only teachers will be accepted for the program. We are sorry, but no non-teaching spouses or children will be permitted to attend.

Meals are included in registration but participants are responsible for their own lodging. There is no cost, but there is a $50 deposit upon registration which is refundable after teachers attend the program.

The hotel is the Sheraton Read House Hotel, at 827 Broad Street, Chattanooga, TN 37402. The room rate is $119 per night. Parking is at $12 per night. Reservations can be made at 423.266.4121 / 1800.691.1255 (local) or 1.866.837.4193. You may also make reservations elsewhere.

For more information, contact Jennifer Rosenberry, Education Coordinator at 301-665-1400, ext. 204 or



April was a very busy month in Civil War History! So, I will focus on events that occurred in and around this week in April.

Baltimore Riots -- April 19, 1861 --

From "Civil War Home":
"A clash between pro-South civilians and Union troops in Maryland's largest city resulted in what is commonly accepted to be the first bloodshed of the Civil War. Secessionist sympathy was strong in Baltimore, a border state metropolis.

"Before his inauguration, rumors in the city of an assassination plot against Abraham Lincoln, who was on his way to Washington, D.C., forced the president-elect to sneak through Baltimore in the middle of the night. Anti-Union sentiments there only increased once the hostilities commenced at Fort Sumter on April 12. A week later, one of the first regiments to respond to Lincoln's call for troops arrived in Baltimore by train, en route to the capital. Because the rail line did not pass through the city, horse drawn cars had to take the Massachusetts infantrymen from one end of Baltimore to the other. An angry crowd of secessionists tried to keep the regiment from reaching Washington, blocking several of the transports, breaking windows, and, finally, forcing the soldiers to get out and march through the streets. The throng followed in close pursuit. What had now become a mob surrounded and jeered the regiment, then started throwing bricks and stones."

The Confederate Conscription Act -- April 16, 1862 -

From Documenting the American South:
"The Congress of the Confederate States of America do enact, That the President be and he is hereby authorized to call out and place in the military service of the Confederate States for three years, unless the war should have been sooner ended all white men, who are residents of the Confederate States, between the ages of thirty-five and forty-five years, at the time the call or calls may be made, and who are not, at such time or times, legally exempted from military service, or such part thereof as, in his judgment, may be necessary to the public defence, such call or calls to be made under the provisions and according to the terms of the act to which this is an amendment; and such authority shall exist in the President during the present war, as to all persons who now are or may hereafter become eighteen years of age, and when once enrolled, all persons between the ages of eighteen and forty-five shall serve their full time:

Provided, That if the President, in calling out troops into the service of the Confederate States, shall first call for only a part of the persons between the ages hereinbefore stated, he shall call for those between the ages of thirty-five and any other age less than forty-five:

Provided, That nothing herein contained shall be understood as repealing or modifying any part of the act to which this is amendatory, except as herein expressly stated:

And Provided, further, That those called out under this act, and the act to which this is an amendment, shall be first and immediately ordered to fill to their maximum number the companies, battalions, squadrons and regiments from the respective States at the time the act to further provide for the public defence, approved sixteenth April, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two, was passed, and the surplus, if any, shall be assigned to organizations formed from each State since the passage of that act, or placed in new organizations to be officered by the State having such residue, according to the laws thereof, or disposed of as now provided by law:

Provided, That the President is authorized to suspend the execution of this act, or the act to which this is an amendment, in any locality where he may find it impracticable to execute the same, and that in such locality, and during said suspension, the President is authorized to receive troops into the Confederate service, under any of the acts passed by the Confederate Congress prior to the passage of the act to provide further for the public defence, approved sixteenth April, one thousand eight hundred and sixty-two."

Slavery Abolished in the District of Columbia

From the National Archives:
"On April 16, 1862, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia. Passage of this act came 9 months before President Lincoln issued his Emancipation Proclamation. The act brought to conclusion decades of agitation aimed at ending what antislavery advocates called "the national shame" of slavery in the nation's capital.

The law provided for immediate emancipation, compensation of up to $300 for each slave to loyal Unionist masters, voluntary colonization of former slaves to colonies outside the United States, and payments of up to $100 to each person choosing emigration. Over the next 9 months, the federal government paid almost $1 million for the freedom of approximately 3,100 former slaves.

The District of Columbia Emancipation Act is the only example of compensated emancipation in the United States. Though its three-way approach of immediate emancipation, compensation, and colonization did not serve as a model for the future, it was an early signal of slavery's death. Emancipation was greeted with great jubilation by the District's African-American community. For many years afterward, black Washingtonians celebrated Emancipation Day on April 16 with parades and festivals."

Richmond Bread Riot -- April 2, 1863 -

"On April 2, 1863 a group of women congregated and marched on Capitol Square to demand bread. Dismayed at the absence of the Governor, the group became a mob, looting area shops. The riot was dispersed when President Davis arrived with the Public Guard and announced the soldiers would begin firing in five minutes. This event is detailed in the following articles."

Grant Ends Prisoner Exchanges -- April 17, 1864 -
From "The Civil War Chronicle" page 402:

"On this date, Grant ordered a suspension of prisoner exchanges until the Confederates matched Federal releases. Specifically, Grant wanted no distinction "made in the exchange between white and colored prisoners." Although the general's action was criticized in both the North and South as inhumane, its impact on the military situation was even more significant: The Union army could easily fill the vacancies in its ranks, but the South, already desperately short of manpower, could not. This gave Grant a distinct advantage, even though it meant perhaps thousands of deaths in overcrowded, undersupplied prisoner-of-war camps. The notorious Southern camps, such as Andersonville, have received most of the attention, but Northern prisoners during the bitter winters of 1864 could also be deadly."

Read a letter from an Alabama cavalryman John A. Wyeth, at Indiana's Camp Morton, on page 402 of "Civil War Chronicle".

Also,

Lincoln Assassinated -- April 14, 1865 --
From "The Civil War Chronicle" page 522

"While attending an evening performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre, President Abraham Lincoln was shot in his box by actor (and Confederate sympathizer) John Wilkes Booth. The president was carried across the street to the modest home of William Peterson, where he died at 7:22 A.M. the following day. Soon it became clear that Lincoln's assassination had been part of a larger plot to murder several important Union leaders. Secretary of State Seward was stabbed in his bed (he barely survived), while Grant and Vice President (now President) Andrew Johnson were stalked but unharmed. Walt Whitman captured the nation's despair in his ode to Lincoln, "O Captain, My Captain."

Read more at Ford's Theatre NHS

Read more about "O Captain, My Captain" at

Read "O Captain, My Captain" at

Listen to Garrison Keillor's humorous interpretation of the poem by listening to "A Prairie Home Companion 20th Anniversary" CD. (Of course, the poem is woven into a larger, non-Civil-War story.


General Benjamin Butler's Proclamation following the Baltimore Riots. You can read other documents, including documents from police, militia, the mayor, Official Records, and a Resolution by the House of Representatives here:
"The Statutes at Large of the Confederate States of America, Passed at the Second Session of the First Congress; 1862. Carefully Collated with the Originals at Richmond. Public Laws of the Confederate States of America, Passed at the Second Session of the First Congress; 1862." Ed. by MATTHEWS, JAMES M. (James Muscoe), b. 1822
Transcription of the DC Emancipation Act.,a,1207,q,608954.asp
DC Emancipation Day today
List of Civil War prisons and prisoner-of-war camps
Other Lincoln poems
Robert E. Lee poems



How well did you read the "This Month in the War" section? The answers to the trivia will be in today's readings! And ask yourself: Would Robert E. Lee or George H. Thomas scroll back for the answers? I think not! (You can make your own guesses as to who might or might not have peeked!)

A. In what border state city did the first commonly accepted bloodshed of the war occur? And soldiers from what state were involved?

B. In what year did the Confederate Conscription Act occur, and what would the draftees' length of service be?

C. What were the three prongs of the District of Columbia Emancipation Act?

D. How was the April 2, 1863 Richmond Bread Riot dispersed?

E. Grant's decision to end prisoner exchanges was criticized in both North and South, but why was the decision more devastating to the South?

F. Into whose house was Abraham Lincoln taken after he was shot at Ford's Theatre? And, who else was injured that evening?





Feel free to pass this information along to fellow teachers. If you need more information, contact me at


TEACHER INSTITUTE: Save the date - Chattanooga, TN: July 20-22, 2007. Our event site will be the Sheraton Read House, and we will visit sites in the Chickamauga/Chattanooga area. For more information, visit

CURRICULUM CD-ROM: Download at the link below, or e-mail to get a free copy.

Receive the monthly classroom newsletter and quarterly Hallowed Ground magazine. You also receive a packet of classroom materials, curriculum CD-ROM & *Civil War Trivia* by Edward F. Williams III. To sponsor a classroom - or receive an application to give to a potential sponsor - please contact me. You may also request a sample newsletter!



Both winning students AND their teachers are rewarded!

ADOPT A BATTLEFIELD: Your classroom can save battlefields while learning about their history! Contact me for background information on the program in general and for a preview of contents. Site packs include Antietam, Appomattox, Fredericksburg, Trevilian Station, Perryville, Peninsula Campaign and Harpers Ferry.

TRAVELING TRUNK: For the 2007/2008 school year, rent a trunk of hands-on materials and teaching tools to help your Civil War unit. February, March, April and May book extremely quickly.

A. WILSON GREENE SCHOLARSHIP - earn money towards a field trip to Pamplin Historical Park and National Museum of the Civil War Soldier (Petersburg, VA) - or have them visit your school. E-mail for details.

Till next time, take care and stay in touch.


If you have been forwarded a copy of this e-mail and would like to subscribe, send e-mail to with *subscribe to newsletter* in the subject. To unsubscribe or change your preferences, visit the links below.



A. Massachusetts soldiers were involved in the Baltimore (MD) riots. Read more here:

B. The length of service would have been three years; the Confederate Conscription Act was written in 1862.

C. The three parts were "immediate emancipation, compensation, and colonization".

D. "President Davis arrived with the Public Guard and announced the soldiers would begin firing in five minutes."

E. The South was experiencing a critical shortage of manpower; troops could more easily be "replaced" in the North than in the South.

F. Lincoln was taken to William Peterson's house. And, Secretary of State Seward was stabbed in his bed in his home, and barely survived.


Jennifer Rosenberry
Education Coordinator
Civil War Preservation Trust
11 Public Square, Suite 200
Hagerstown, MD 21740

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