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Civil War Trust

Civil War Primer June 5, 2009

Teacher Newsletter

Civil War Teacher Newsletter

The end of the school year is here.  We hope you have a restful summer so you can recharge your teaching batteries.

The Civil War Preservation Trust (CWPT) is America's largest non-profit organization (501-C3) devoted to the preservation of our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields.

CWPT's Education Department promotes Civil War battlefield preservation by encouraging the study of the war's timeless lessons, provoking thought about the vital roles these battlefields play in our nation's history.  This newsletter is meant especially for school programs.



1.  The New CWPT Web Site

2.  Excerpt from the Diary of Alice Williamson - Including Classroom Questions

3.  National Park Service [Fredericksburg] Announces Eighth Year of History at Sunset Programs

4.  Great Web Sites

5.  Ohio Historical Society Needs Help: Ohioans - Contact Your Legislators

6.  Trivia

7.  Selected CWPT Education Programs



1.   The New CWPT Web Site

Web 2.0 is up and running at  Come visit the History Center and Classroom - there are plenty of great new materials for teachers.  Try our lesson plans and curricula, crossword puzzles, battle summaries and biographical information, book suggestions, animated maps - and much more.  We hope you can take advantage of your summer months to gather materials for the 2009 / 2010 school year.

-->Lessons are geared toward specific age groups and NCSS standards.

-Grades 4-8:
Civil War Figures as Examples of Character
Civil War Slang
Civil War Literature Circle
Civil War Reader's Theater
Creating a Civil War Newspaper
Did Your Ancestors Fight in the Civil War?
Election of 1864
Mapping the Civil War
This Gives Life to Thee (preservation and memorialization)
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Using Living History to Understand the Common Soldier
Who Were the 200,000 African American Freedom Fighters?

-Grades 9-12
Battle of the Battlefields
Creating a Historic Site
Creating Civil War Multimedia Journals
Researching Local Civil War Soldiers
Transcribing Civil War History
United States Colored Troops

Looking for fun ways to learn about the Civil War?  Perhaps a Civil War crossword puzzle will interest students.

*Presidential Puzzles:
Abraham Lincoln
Lincoln's First Inaugural Address
Jefferson Davis Inaugural Address
*Crossword Puzzles to Accompany Pages in the CWPT History Center:
Bailey's Dam
Christmas in the Confederacy
Johnny Clem
Railroads of the Confederacy
*Crossword Puzzles for All:
April during the Civil War
April 1865 
Civil War Battles
Battles and Commanders
Civil War in 1863
Third Winchester

*Post Civil War:
Civil War Memoirs
Generals after the War

When you visit a battlefield history page, for example, "Cherokees at Pea Ridge", you find links to maps, photos, a battle overview, biographies of Earl Van Dorn and Samuel Custis, and more Pea Ridge articles.  

In the   _student_   files, you will see Battles of the Civil War, a Civil War Overview, Primary Sources, Biographies, Warfare and Logistics, On the Homefront, Research Help, the Glossary of Civil War Terms, Websites for Kids, Maps, Photos and Civil War Books for Kids.

You can find many other teaching resources throughout  Make sure you visit "Selected CWPT Education Programs" (number 7, near the end of this newsletter) to update your links.


2.  Excerpt from the Diary of Alice Williamson - Including Classroom Questions

Note to teachers:  Before reading this diary excerpt, you will need to make a student handout with annotations from the diary, background on Alice, and basic history about Tennessee in 1864.  Annotations are available within the diary entries.  For very basic background information (and a map), see and


Excerpt from Alice Williamson's Diary
Note that Alice's spelling and punctuation has been preserved as in the original.
Source:  Duke University:  Rare Book, Manuscript and Special Collections Library.

Feb. 19th 1864 What a negligent creature I am I should have been keeping a journal all this time to show to my rebel brothers. I have been studying all the morning and talking all the evening seeking & sighing for rebels. Our king (old Payne) has just passed. I suppose he has killed every rebel in twenty miles of Gallatin and burned every town. Poor fellow! You had better be praying old Sinner! His Lordship left Tuesday. Wednesday three wagons loaded with furniture came over. I do not pretend to say that he sent them. No! I indeed, I would not. I would not slander our king. Any old citizen can see by going to his (Payne’s) palace that his furniture was not taken from Archie Miller's house & other places near by. He always goes for rebels but-invariably brings furniture. I suppose his task is to furnish the contraband camp, i.e. the camp of his angels (colored).

March 2d Snow four inches deep, no winds and the air is quite pleasant, just cold enough to skate. Our king left Monday with a few soldiers in the direction of Hartsville. All the stores are closed by his order and no passes given till his return. Mr. D. has come to get Pa to go and hear what he says to his negroes as he is going to drive them off & he has been so ill used by old Payne that he is afraid to speak without a witness to prove what he said.

March 3d. Snow all melted and weather fine. Gen. Payne rode out this evening to look at the stock, in his last trip he killed only one man (citizen, he always kills citizens when he cant find soldiers) swears he will kill every man in Gallatin and Hartsville if bush whacking isn't stopped shortly.

March 11th Yesterday was the day of elections and as only the union men were allowed to vote nobody knows how it turned out nor do they care. Sallie Montgomery rode out this evening, the pickets would not let her pass, so she slipped them as many do. I suppose they are scared again. Perhaps that scamp John Morgan is about. I only hope he is, for we have not seen a rebel for more than a year and our day must come soon

March 12th Old Payne dined at Mrs. Hales today: every one despises him but are afraid to show it. Yesterday he went up the country a few miles to a Mr. Dalton's whose son came home from the Southern Army the day before and had the same day taken the Amnesty Oath. Riding up to the door he enquired of Mr. Dalton if his son was at home but before he answered his son came to the door. Old Nick then told him to get his horse and go with him. After insulting the father he carried his son a half mile away and shot him six times. One of Payne's escort hearing the young man groan with pain placed a pistol to his temple and remarked, I will stop that, sir, he shot him again. But this is nothing new this is the fifth man that has been shot in this way, besides numbers that have been carried off by scouts and never return.

March 11th I learn today that Gen. Payne had no charge against Mr. Dalton, so he told his (Dalton's) father. After killing him he rode back to the house and told Mr. D. that his son was in sight - he could bury him if he wished. Today a gentleman (Col. E____) was in Payne’s office when he was trying a young man about sixteen years old and the only support of an aged father who was with him. His crime was being a rebel. Payne sent the young man to jail telling the guard to bring him out [at] seven [o'clock]. The father actually fell upon his knees before the heartless tyrant but was heartlessly bidden to rise and go home, the young man has never been heard of since.

March 12th Weather moderate; so is old Payne, but as weather is changeable our general is too.

Questions about the Diary of Alice Williamson:

--> Who is "Our King"?  Why does she call him that?  What crimes and misdeeds has he committed?

--> Paine carried off three wagons full of furniture.  How did he get this furniture?  Do you think he gave the furniture to the African-Americans in the contraband camp? Why or why not?  What do her comments reveal about Alice's beliefs?

--> What is a "bushwhacker"?  (In a nutshell, a bushwhacker is a guerilla:  one who lies in wait and attacks by ambush or by stealth.  Bushwhacking can be bloody and ruthless.) Where, and by whom, was it used (most frequently) during the Civil War? 

If students claim that the Colonials used "bushwhacking" tactics during the Revolutionary War, let them know that "guerilla" fighting was used in a few battles and skirmishes, but not always.  Usually, both sides attacked in linear fashion.  See

--> How did the "pass" system work?  Why was it enacted?  What would happen if, today, the pass system was implemented in your town or neighborhood?  That would mean needing a pass to leave town to go to Target and the supermarket.  How would this affect your life?  What if you could not get a pass to do your normal business?  Would you be able to sneak out?  Why or why not?  What were the consequences back in 1864?

--> What is happening on March 2d?  Why is he going to "drive them off"?  Why is Mr. D afraid to speak without a witness?

-->   Why were only *Union* men allowed to vote (March 10th)?  Why was this allowed?

--> Why did "Old Payne" shoot Mr. Dalton's son?  What does this say about "Old Payne"?  What probably happened to the other men "carried off by scouts"?    Gen. Paine told Mr. Dalton he could do what ... "if he wished"?  What probably happened to the sixteen year old? 

--> Did the Union ever find out about Gen. Paine's treatment of civilians (and former soldiers)?  What happened to Payne - was he punished?

          *You will want to share this information: 

According to Duke Library, "[Payne's] tyranny was always present. He was known all around Gallatin for executing suspected rebel spies without a trial. His sadistic executions like chasing down prisoners who were set free on old horses is described in Williamson's diary as "chasing the fox with fresh horses". He also had a fondness for villagers' furniture, confiscating it for his own use. He was removed from the post April 29, 1864 by the orders of Major General William T. Sherman, who transferred him to Tullahoma to guard bridges across the Duck and Elk rivers. He was quickly back to his old ways, and soon he was under investigation. A congressional inquiry into his actions in Kentucky found him guilty on some counts, and punished him by reprimand at Paducah."


3.  National Park Service Announces Eighth Year of History at Sunset Programs

Fredericksburg, VA -- Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania National Military Park is pleased to announce the eighth year of its popular “History at Sunset: A Community and Nation at War.” This series of ten Friday-evening programs has become a summertime tradition in Fredericksburg, Spotsylvania, and Stafford. Starting on June 12 and continuing every Friday evening until August 14, the History at Sunset series will offer what Superintendent Russell P. Smith has called “an intensely personal look at a community and nation facing human tragedy on a scale unmatched in American history.”

Some of these programs will offer fresh looks at famous sites; others will tell the stories of less-visited areas. “These programs are targeted to both visitors and residents, bringing new light to familiar places,” said Superintendent Smith. “The varied focus on both military and civilian stories and sites will, we hope, offer something for almost everyone.”

The series will kick off on June 12 with a walk at Ferry Farm, tracking the history and development of the property, from George Washington’s early home to its involvement in the area’s Civil War activities.  Later programs will include a tour of sites associated with the 1863 Second Battle of Fredericksburg (July 3), an in-depth look at a family that suffered the impact of war while living on the Wilderness Battlefield (July 31), and a candlelit evening at Ellwood (August 7).

Except for the Ellwood Candlelight Tours on August 7, all programs will begin at 7 p.m. and last approximately 90 minutes. All programs are free.


4. Great Web Sites

Summer Reading Fun: New Our Story Web Site
"Our Story is designed to help children and adults enjoy exploring history together. Themed activities approach historical topics in different ways to support different kinds of learners. Activities include field trips, technology-based investigations, arts-and-crafts projects, and opportunities to learn from the over 3 million objects in the collections of the National Museum of American History."   "Want to know more about Life on the Water, the Star-Spangled Banner, Abraham Lincoln, or Life in a Sod House?  Each theme represented on the site includes a recommended historical fiction book and activities appropriate for children in kindergarten through fourth grade. Current themes include Life on the Water, the Star-Spangled Banner, Abraham Lincoln, and Life in a Sod House, and more themes will be added throughout the year." 

          Why not start with Lincoln at

_Police believe remains of Civil War soldier found on Columbia Avenue site" - from the Williamson Herald (Tennessee) _
"A construction worker digging a ditch today on a site near Columbia Avenue at Southeast Parkway found what Franklin Police -- and historical experts -- believe to be the remains of a Union soldier ... 'The worker was digging a hole when he saw what he thought was human remains,' according to Deputy Chief David Rahinsky. 'Fortunately, he had the sense to stop digging and call us.'"
     ==> Print this article to share with your students, and then discuss.

_No Wilderness Wal-Mart: Preserve and Protect the Wilderness Battlefield_
"This blog supports the efforts of the Wilderness Battlefield Coalition to stop the construction of a 138,000-square foot Wal-Mart Supercenter at the Wilderness Battlefield in Orange County, Virginia."  This is full of information about the struggle to save the integrity and character of the Wilderness Battlefield.  Studying this struggle could support studies about American government, and civic duties / responsibilities / participation.  You could also discuss national memory and

"President Obama Says Men and Women in Uniform Represent 'Best of America': Obama Sends Wreath to Confederate Memorial despite Appeal from Scholars"
"'We ask you to break this chain of racism stretching back to Woodrow Wilson, and not send a wreath or other token of esteem to the Arlington Confederate Monument," the letter states. "This monument should not be elevated in prestige above other monuments by a presidential wreath.' In their letter to the president, the group says that the monument is a 'denial of the wrong committed against African Americans by slave owners, Confederates, and neo-Confederates.'  As a compromise, Obama sent a wreath to the African-American Civil War Memorial in Washington, D.C."

     ==> Classroom Connection:  This video is downloadable.  Save it to share with your students. 
            Read the ABC article.  Then discuss:  Do the students agree with President Obama's
            compromise?  Do they agree with the scholars?  Why or why not?  Then share immediate
            post-war remembrances (poetry, speeches, etc.).  Were Northerners or Southerners more
            likely to honor "the other side"?  Why?  What does this say about American values and national
            memory - then and now?

What student isn't fascinated by the Zouaves -- especially colorful groups like the 1st Fire Zouaves (11th New York Volunteers).  They may have been a rowdy bunch, but they redeemed themselves by putting out a fire near Washington's Willard Hotel.  They also signed up "for the war", not for 90 days.  The story of Elmer Ellsworth is also intriguing.  Visit the Hotel de Zouave and learn of their baptism by fire ... and subsequent disappointment.  Still, "One! Two! Three! Four! Five! Six! Seven! Tiger!! Zouave!!!"


5.  Ohio Historical Society Needs Help:  Ohioans - Contact Your Legislators

This is an urgent _call to action_ from the Ohio Historical Society.  If you live or work in Ohio, you may want to contact your legislators.  According to the OHS:

 "The Ohio Historical Society launched an initiative to commemorate the Civil War 150th anniversary in Ohio early in 2009. With an approach that emphasizes programs and activities that provide lasting value for Ohio’s communities and history organizations, the effort has already generated an immense amount of interest and support, even garnering a Governor’s Directive in April. Today, the program is in danger of disappearing, as the Ohio Senate is considering cutting ALL FUNDING for the Society’s outreach activities from the state budget. The Civil War 150th, which would provide coordination, traveling exhibits, Civil War collections care, and technical assistance on various topics, would be shut down, and Ohio would be unrepresented in an important national effort to better delivery of community-based history programs. In addition, this funding cut would end important programs like Ohio History Day, the Local History Office, and others.

 "We need your help. Please contact your Ohio Senator immediately (Senators are finalizing the budget [now]) and tell them that this is unacceptable. The Society has seen ongoing, disproportionate cuts throughout past years, and these cuts will be the final blow to some of Ohio’s most community-based and effective history programs. Please consider visiting the local senate office or placing a phone call, as these methods have the biggest impact. Send an email if you have limited time, and forward this message to others you feel would be interested, to help protect this and important programs. Here is a link to the OHS Legislative Update website that will provide you with all the information you need to communicate with your Senator (as well as the Governor and your state representative):

--> For more information contact Government Relations Director, Todd Kleismit, at the Ohio Historical Society (, 614-297-2355).


6.  Trivia

A.  What family "connection" did James Gettys (the founder of Gettysburg) and Abraham Lincoln share?

B.  In the following paragraph, a survivor is describing which disaster?

          "What a crash! My God! My blood curdles while I write, and words are
          inadequate; no tongue or writer's pen can describe it. Such hissing of
          steam, the crashing of different decks as they came together, with the
          tons of living freight, the falling of the massive smokestacks, the death
          cry of strong-hearted men caught in every conceivable manner."

C.  Which "Head of State" (and future rival of CS Gen. Stand Watie) was imprisoned with John Howard Payne (composer of "Home Sweet Home") in 1835?  Hint:  his Nation is in the Western Hemisphere.

D.   This question isn't "trivia" as much as it's a "quiz".  This excerpt is taken from the Official Records - it is a report 1) concerning which battle? And 2) by whom is it written?  Use the clues in the text.

"It was supposed that Longstreet's corps was marching on [Brock] road toward my left. At 8.50 a.m. Birney's, Stevenson's, Mott's, and Wadsworth's divisions again advanced along the Orange Plank Road with Webb's, Carroll's, and Owen's brigades, of Gibbon's division, and became very furiously engaged with the enemy. The firing had hardly commenced at this point when my left flank was seriously threatened. The enemy opened with artillery and pressed forward their skirmish line. Rapid firing was also heard in the direction of Todd's Tavern. This was supposed to be Sheridan's attack on Longstreet, which had been ordered by the major-general commanding, as narrated above. The impression that Longstreet was executing the flank movement, concerning which I had been cautioned during the night, was strengthened by a report that infantry was moving on the Brock Road from the direction of Todd's Tavern about 2 miles from my left. Knowing that we had no infantry in that direction I supposed it must be the advance of the enemy, and Brooke's brigade, of Barlow's division, was immediately sent out on the Brock road to my extreme left, where a strong breast-work was constructed across the road."

E.   Which Union general had been exiled to Tasmania in 1849?

F.  Bonus Question:  Which Confederate general killed General L.M. Walker in a duel?  More clues:  He was captured at the battle of Mine Creek.  He was promoted to Major General while he was still a prisoner of war (March 1865).  After the war, he was the Governor of Missouri - but he died three years into his term.

Answers at bottom.


7.  Selected CWPT Education Programs and Highlights.
Unless indicated otherwise, visit
or email for details.

-->     CWPT Gifted & Talented Curriculum
Designed for "gifted and talented" students — or for students with a special
interest in the Civil War — this adaptable enrichment experience may be
used alone or in addition to your existing curriculum.

-->     Two-Week Civil War Curriculum
Most Americans come to care about battlefields for one of three reasons:
either they had an ancestor who fought in the war, they read a great book
or watched a great movie about the Civil War, or they had a great
teacher — you. We hope that our curriculum will make your job easier.
Download online or request a CD-ROM.  If you request the disc, please
send your full address.

-->     Adopt a Battlefield
Great for your next Civil War unit.  Plan now!  Participants pledge to be
involved in preservation through fundraising, service and advocacy. 
Receive in-depth information about sites CWPT has helped to preserve,
as well as classroom preservation ideas and adaptable activities. 
For youths, classrooms, scouts, and homeschoolers. 

Email for more information.

-->     Classroom Memberships
Monthly "Civil War Classroom" and quarterly "Hallowed Ground" magazine,
classroom materials, curriculum CD-ROM & "It happened in the Civil War".
Email jrosenberry to sponsor a classroom, sign up, or review a sample classroom

-->     Traveling Trunk:
Reserve one for the 2009-2010 school year to access hands-on items, books,
music and visuals. Email jrosenberry for details.

-->     Teacher Institute: July 24-26, 2009, Spotsylvania County Virginia
        The program is now full; however, you can contact
to be included on the waiting list.  If you can't attend this year's program, we'd love to
see you next year when we visit Gettysburg.

-->     More Civil War Lesson Plans - Update Your Links

-->     Civil War Glossary


Trivia Answers

A.  James Gettys married "Mary Todd".  Abraham Lincoln married "Mary Todd" - both Mary Todds were distant relatives.

     See more historic facts about Gettysburg at

B.  The Sultana Disaster.  The Sultana was a steamboat that had been requisitioned by the US Government to transport soldiers home after the war (at $5 per enlisted man and $10 per officer).  Because no official count was taken before the men boarded, the exact number of passengers is not known.  Somewhere between 2000 and 2500 men were on board (the legal capacity was 376 passengers).

On April 27, 1865, the severely overcrowded steamboat blew apart and sank after its boilers exploded.  Around 1800 recently freed Union prisoners of war (from Andersonville and Cahaba prisons) were killed.  Most of the soldiers were from Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and Michigan. 

==> Read more about the horrible tragedy at  (The article is also in the March 2006 issue of _History_ magazine.

C.  This was a bit of a trick question.  The "head of state" was John Ross, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation.  Ross and John Howard Payne were imprisoned together in 1835.  Wikipedia has the best brief description of the incident:  "7 November 1835 – The Georgia Guard invades what will later be Southeast Tennessee by crossing its own declared state line on the way to Flint Springs in what is to become Bradley County to arrest John Ross at his house, where they also find and arrest John Howard Payne, taking both men to a make-shift jail at Spring Place. Ross is released nine days later, immediately heading to Washington City, but Payne is held an additional 3 ½ days."  (

          --> Why is John Ross included in this e-letter when he is primarily known for his role in resisting Cherokee "removal" (the Trail of Tears)?

                1.  Students should know that just like the rest of the United States, the
                    Cherokee Nation experienced a terrible, bloody schism before and
                    during the Civil War.  In a nutshell, there was a Confederate group
                    (headed by Gen. Stand Watie, recognized as a Confederate Principal
                    Chief), and a "non-Confederate" group (headed by true Principal
                    Chief John Ross). 

                2.  Politically, Ross was all over the map - first trying to prevent the
                    "secession" of the pro-Confederate Cherokees;
                    second, trying to remain as neutral as possible in order not to anger
                    either the Union or the Confederacy; then trying to protect and provide
                    for the pro-Union Cherokee forced into exile during the war ... and
                    on and on.  The story is full of intrigue, hope, and in the end,

==> Read more in _Andrew Jackson and Early Tennessee History_, which may be accessed at the Internet Archive:  Conduct a search for John Ross.

D.  This is Gen. Winfield Hancock's report on the Battle of the Wilderness.
Learn more about the Wilderness on our web site, where you can access several maps of the site:

E.   General Thomas F. Meagher, organizer of the famed Irish Brigade.  Civil War Home writes, "With his fierce Irish nationalism, Thomas F. Meagher managed to get himself into difficulties on both sides of the Atlantic. Born in County Waterford, Ireland, he opposed British rule and was exiled to Tasmania in 1849. He fled to the United States in 1852, eventually settling in New York, where he was active in the Irish independence movement."  A biography of the colorful General Meagher is available at

F.  John Sappington Marmaduke.  Read his biography on our web:


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

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