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Civil War Trust

January 14, 2009

Walt Whitman Cross Curriculum; Wilderness; Poster & Essay


Civil War Preservation Trust Teacher Newsletter

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.


1. Walt Whitman: “Hush’d Be the Camps Today” : Cross Curriculum Ideas?
2. Great Web Sites
3. Poster & Essay Competition
4. Historians Fight to Save Wilderness Battlefield
5. Trivia
6. Selected CWPT Education Programs


1. Walt Whitman: Hush’d Be the Camps Today - Cross Curriculum Ideas?

How could you use the following poem in your classroom especially a Social Studies or History classroom?
“Hush’d Be The Camps To-Day”: Walt Whitman (Leaves of Grass, 1868)

Hush’d be the camps to-day;
And, soldiers, let us drape our war-worn weapons;
And each with musing soul retire, to celebrate,
Our dear commander’s death.

No more for him life’s stormy conflicts;
Nor victory, nor defeat—no more time’s dark events,
Charging like ceaseless clouds across the sky.

But sing, poet, in our name;
Sing of the love we bore him—because you,
dweller in camps, know it truly.
As they invault the coffin there;

Sing—as they close the doors of earth upon him—one verse,
For the heavy hearts of soldiers.

Share your ideas on our discussion blog in Facebook!


2. Great Web Sites:

In recognition of the Lincoln Bicentennial here are a few “Lincoln Links”.  Other links follow this segment such as “Union Soldier’s Bones Found at Antietam”.

“Learning About Lincoln:  Lincoln Legacy School Recognition Program.  Discuss with your students the values important to President Lincoln Freedom, Democracy, Equality, Opportunity.  Recreate the Gettysburg Address.  Plant a tree or Bicentennial Garden.  By participating in the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial, your school can be designated an official Lincoln Bicentennial School.”

Online exhibitions, essays, historian speeches and events from the Gilder Lehrman Institute.

Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress.  Includes actual images of his writings.  Excellent primary source material.

The Election of 1860. Not strictly a “Lincoln Link” actually, a very in-depth history of this event.  Many resource links to follow. Very useful.

"Union Soldier’s Bones Found at Antietam.”  If well-combed battlefields like Antietam and Gettysburg are still holding on to their dead, how many other soldiers rest in lesser-known hallowed grounds?

Animated map of the HL Hunley, the Confederacy’s ill-fated (yet, ultimately, successful) submarine.

“Declaration of Causes” from the seceding states.  Why they left, in their own words.  Primary source material.

==> ==> ==> The CWPT history pages have moved to:


3. Poster & Essay Competition

Sponsored by Civil War Preservation Trust and by History

Use this activity to supplement your springtime Civil War Unit!
Motto:  “It's Our Turn: Fight to Save Civil War Battlefields”

For Grades 4 through 12
     Posters: Elementary, Junior and Senior
     Essays: Junior and Senior

History has donated the awards:  cash for students and A&E gift certificates for teachers.

Deadline:  All entries must be received in our office by May 15, 2009.

Read guidelines and complete rules at
For other springtime activities, see “Adopt a Battlefield” at the end of this newsletter.


4. Historians Fight to Save Wilderness Battlefield

If you live in Virginia especially in Orange County or the vicinity of the Wilderness Battlefield we encourage you to comment on this article in the Fredericksburg newspaper.  Or, write to your local government.  Teachers:  we especially need you to get your school and your students involved.


5. Trivia

A.  During the Siege of Port Hudson, what were “rat holes”?

B.  What was the “House Committee of Thirty Three”?

C. Who were Edward Day Cohota and Joseph L. Pierce?  What did they have in common?

D.  Who were William Pennington, Galusha Grow and Schuyler Colfax, and what position did they all hold in common?

E.  What did William L. Yancey, Louis T. Wigfall and Wm. Ballard Preston have in common?



6.  Selected CWPT Education Programs

Unless indicated otherwise, email for details.

==> ** Featured Primary Source:  Last Letter from Morris Island. - "For the Last Time on Earth: The Life and Death of Aaron Thomas McNaghton". - McNaghton served in the 62nd Ohio, and had a premonition that he would not survive the attack on Battery Wagner.

==> **Teacher Institute: July 24-26, 2009, Spotsylvania County Virginia.

Eighth Annual Teacher Institute from July 24-26, 2009 in Spotsylvania County, VA. Features "field trip" tours of Chancellorsville and Fredericksburg, focusing on techniques teachers can use to make a battlefield visit a central part of their Civil War curriculum. Open to all teachers and school librarians grades K-12, not just history teachers.  For more information contact the Civil War Preservation Trust at (202) 367-1861 ext. 223 or email

==> ** CWPT Gifted & Talented Curriculum: Character & Leadership in the Civil War.
Examine Civil War leaders through the lenses of character and leadership.  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.  Follows the NCSS Thematic Strands as well as Character Counts!(sm) and the Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.

==> **Two-Week Civil War Curriculum CD-ROM:
For grades 5, 8 & 11.  Download online, or send your land address. The classroom curriculum guide is endorsed by History (The History Channel). According to Dr. Libby O'Connell, Chief Historian at History, the CWPT Civil War curriculum guide is "the best two-week curriculum on the Civil War available to teachers today."

==> More Civil War Lesson Plans

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

==>**Adopt a Battlefield:
Great for your springtime Civil War unit!  Receive free Civil War materials including a mix of fun and informative items with adaptable activities.  Participants pledge to become involved in preservation through fundraising, service and advocacy.  For youths, classrooms, scouts, and homeschoolers.

==>**Traveling Trunk:
Rent one for the 2009-2010 school year to access hands-on items, books, music and visuals.

==>**Civil War Preservation Trust Book List

==> ** Civil War Photos


Trivia Answers:

A.  They were dug out caves in the Confederate defensive lines.  See the Teaching With Historic Places Lesson:

B.  It was a House of Representatives committee composed of one member from each of the then-thirty-three states in the Union.  Its goal was to find a way to settle differences between the North and the South.

C.  Both were Union soldiers.  What is unusual is that both were of Chinese descent.  Pierce served with the 14th Connecticut and participated at Antietam and Gettysburg.  In fact - his regiment helped repel Pettigrew’s North Carolinians at the stone wall.  Cohota served with the 23rd Massachusetts.  He fought at several battles, including the infamous Cold Harbor.  Cohota served in the military for 30 years.  Sadly, he attempted to become an American citizen but was denied due to the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.

D.  All were members of the US House of Representatives:  Pennington (NJ), Grow (PA) and Colfax (IN).  And, all three served as Speaker of the House:  Pennington as of Feb. 1, 1860, Grow as of July 4, 1861, and Colfax as of Dec. 7, 1863.

E.  All three served in the First (Confederate) Congress:  Yancey, Alabama; Wigfall, Texas (he had also been a Confederate General); Preston, Virginia.


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

"To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child."
--Marcus Tullius Cicero

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