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Civil War Trust

November 19, 2007

Gettysburg Address, Best Lesson Plan, Isaac Avery

 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.  This Day In History: November 19, 1863
2.  Hagerstown Man's 'Passion' Brings N.C. Family to Grave of Confederate Ancestor
3.  Great Web Sites
4.  Deadline for Best Civil War Lesson Plan is Approaching ==> December 1st
5.  Trivia
6.  Selected CWPT Education Programs


1. This Day in History: November 19, 1863

According to E. B. Long’s Civil War Day By Day (p. 435), Lincoln delivered his Gettysburg Address on Thursday, November 19, 1863:

“On horseback the President of the United States rode in a procession to the military cemetery newly established for those who fell in the Battle of Gettysburg.  After a detailed, colorful, two-hour address by the orator of the day, Edward Everett, the President rose and in a few words commented on the task at hand – that of officially dedicating the cemetery.  Some of the audience appeared moved, others just respectful.  Some newspapers commented favorably; others gave it normal or passing coverage.  Mr. Lincoln himself felt that perhaps the brief talk had fallen flat.  Stories that he President’s words were ignored are not substantiated, but it seemed to excite few at first.  Somewhat ill, the President returned that night to Washington, his task complete; but the message was never to be forgotten.”

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address at the Library of Congress:
General Gettysburg Address information:
Full text of Edward Everett’s oration at Gettysburg:


2.   Hagerstown Man's 'Passion' Brings N.C. Family to Grave of Confederate Ancestor

Sunday November 4, 2007, Hagerstown Herald-Mail * By Arnold S. Platou

HAGERSTOWN — Growing up in Hagerstown near Rose Hill Cemetery, Richard Clem couldn’t have known back then that it held the key to a Civil War mystery.   And that he would be the one to solve it.  Clem, 67, was among those at the cemetery Saturday when Bruce Avery, a descendant of a Confederate colonel, came to dedicate a granite marker in his ancestor’s honor.

“He was so excited,” Clem said of Avery after he learned this year through an article written by Clem that his fourth cousin, Col. Isaac Erwin Avery, was buried at Rose Hill.   “He said, ‘You know, you’ve solved this mystery in our family!’”  […]

The story of Isaac Avery
[…] Avery, in his early 30s when the Civil War began in 1861, left one of his father’s plantations in North Carolina to help form a unit of soldiers, Company E, 6th North Carolina Infantry, for the Confederacy.

Appointed captain, Avery and his regiment were sent to defend Richmond, Va., in 1862. The Union was driven back, but Avery was wounded and still was recovering when his men suffered heavy losses at Antietam that September, Clem wrote in an article published this past spring by The Washington Times. 

The following year, Avery — by now, a colonel — led a brigade in the South’s decisive victory at Chancellorsville, Va. Among the Rebel casualties was Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson.  Within weeks, Gen. Robert E. Lee was leading the Rebels on to Gettysburg, PA. In the resulting historic clash between the Northern and Southern armies, Col. Avery’s unit was ordered on July 2 to attack a heavily fortified Union position on East Cemetery Hill, Clem wrote.

On horseback, leading his men, Col. Avery was mortally wounded and, after the fighting, he lay dying when a close friend, Maj. Samuel McDowell, reached his side. With his friend’s help, Avery, now unable to speak, was given a piece of paper.

Using a stick or some other sharp object, Avery dipped its point into his own blood and wrote: “Major, tell my father I died with my face to the enemy.”   Avery died early the next day, July 3.  The document written in his blood is preserved in historical archives in Raleigh, N.C.

Avery’s father lost two other sons in the Civil War, and both of their bodies were returned to North Carolina. But until this year, the family never knew what had become of Isaac Avery’s remains.

They only knew that after the fighting at Gettysburg, Avery’s slave had buried his body on land overlooking the Potomac River at Williamsport as the Rebel troops made their long march back home.   Members of Avery’s family made repeated trips right after the war and as recently as the 1960s to Williamsport, trying to find his gravesite.

Unraveling the mystery

What they didn’t know, Clem said this past week, was that a few years after the war, Maryland Gov. Oden Bowie had appropriated $5,000 to find and rebury the thousands of Confederate soldiers buried in shallow graves near Sharpsburg, Williamsport and other areas of Washington County.

Aware of the anger in many Northern states at even the thought of burying the Rebels in the national cemetery at Antietam, Gov. Bowie bought three acres for what became known as Washington Confederate Cemetery inside Hagerstown’s Rose Hill Cemetery, Clem said. Col. Avery’s were among the remains that were moved, but no one realized that until Clem put the evidence together.

[…] Clem began by obtaining Bowie’s list of the 346 identified Confederate bodies that had been reinterred.   A total of 2,122 unidentified Confederate soldiers also are buried at Rose Hill.  On the list, Clem found a notation, “Buried in the public graveyard at Williamsport,” and with it, “Col. J.E. Ayer, 6th N.C.S.T., July 3, 1863.”

He knew that Avery’s 6th North Carolina Infantry regiment had been known back home during the war as the Sixth North Carolina State Troops, and that its soldiers wore waist belt plates, reading in raised letters: “6th INF — N.C.S.T.”

But what he also deduced was that the “J” listed as the soldier’s first initial actually could be an “I” for Isaac, and that “Ayer” actually could be “Avery.”

“These two minor errors were common during the Civil War and are understandable when considering the marker at the grave site, more than likely made of wood, and ... badly weather-beaten and barely legible” by the time Bowie’s workers found the Williamsport graves, Clem wrote.

Further proof, he said, is that the list shows that three other soldiers, also from North Carolina, were found buried nearby.  “So it has to be him,” he said. “There’s no one else even comes close to that (information). It has to be Avery.”

‘A great reward’
With this evidence, Clem wrote the article for The Washington Times.

“Before I mailed it, I held it in my hand and I thought of what Stonewall Jackson did every time he mailed a letter. He held it in the palm of both hands, and he’d pray about it that it would be a blessing to whoever opened it,” Clem said.  “I remembered that and so, I stopped and held my envelope in the palm of both hands and I prayed, ‘Lord, may this message of Avery get to someone of that family.’

“And you know,” Clem said, still sounding a bit amazed, “about two or three days after that article appeared, I got a phone call from Bruce Avery, and he’s like a fourth cousin from Isaac Avery.” It turned out that Avery, who is 52 and lives on Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay, had done a lot of research on his ancestors, Clem said.

The two men’s conversation, Clem’s first with anyone of that family, resulted in [their] agreeing that a gravestone should be placed on Avery’s burial site at Rose Hill. Through their efforts, together with an employee at the cemetery, application was made and approved for a federal agency on veterans’ affairs to pay for the stone and ship it to Rose Hill.

Clem said his search and its results give him a feeling “like a great reward of accomplishment, especially for something that’s been a mystery so long and for that family. “To me, I think God entered this. Personally, as a Christian, I think God has led me to some of these.”

More at:


3.   Great Web Sites
Camp Curtin Historical Society, with links to The Bugle, its outstanding newsletter.
That Indispensable Civil War Coffee!  From the Cape Fear Civil War Round Table
Research resources from the Cincinnati Civil War Round Table
"Chancellorsville Death Sparks Letters.  When Sue Chancellor wrote about the Battle of Chancellorsville in May 1863, it resonated with a soldier's brother in California.”
"The Superb General: Winfield Scott Hancock”


4.  Deadline for Best Civil War Lesson Plan is Approaching!  December 1st

The "Best Civil War Lesson Plan" Contest
Sponsored by The History Channel and the Civil War Preservation Trust

Prizes: 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 or history in the teacher's home state, or the appropriate NCSS standards (
          *Use of at least one primary source - this could be an historic photograph, document, letter, diary, or artifact.
          *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, or shared via other forms of media.  Winning teachers will be notified January 15, 2008.

Send your lesson plan to:

Education Department
Civil War Preservation Trust
11 Public Square, Suite 200
Hagerstown, MD 21740

5. Trivia

A.   Of which Confederate general is US Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman speaking in this letter, written to Secretary of War Edwin Stanton?  (This man had just defeated Brig. Gen. Samuel Sturgis.)
          “I will have the matter of Sturgis critically examined, and, if he be at fault,
          he shall have no mercy at my hands.  I cannot but believe he had troops
          enough.  I know I would have been willing to attempt the same task with that
          force; but [XXX] is the very devil, and I think he has got some of our troops under
          cower.  I have two officers at Memphis that will fight all the time… I will order
          them to make up a force and go out and follow [XXX] to the death, if it cost
          10,000 lives and breaks the Treasury.  There will never be peace in
          Tennessee till [XXX] is dead.”

B.   In July 1863, which two US regiments decided to accept no pay until they were paid the same rate as white soldiers?

C.  Ambrose Bierce, noted American author, enlisted with the Ninth Indiana Volunteers on April 19, 1861.  About whom is the following paragraph written, taken from his account of Chickamauga?
          “A good deal of nonsense used to be talked about the heroism of General
          [XXX], who, caught in the rout of the right, nevertheless went back and
          joined the undefeated left under General Thomas. There was no great
          heroism in it; that was what every man should have done, including the
          commander of the army.  We could hear Thomas’s guns going – those of
          us who had ears for them —and all that was needful was to make a
          sufficiently wide detour and then move toward the sound.  I did so myself,
          and have never felt that it ought to make me President….”

D.  Who or what was the Swamp Angel?

E.  Thousands of destitute African Americans fled to Washington, DC during the course of the Civil War.  How did the capital raise money to support these refugees?



6.  Selected CWPT Education Programs 
Feel free to pass this information along to fellow teachers. If you need more information, contact me at

Best Civil War Lesson Plan Competition:
Do you have a terrific Civil War lesson plan to share - one that is challenging and relevant to today's students? Sponsored by The History Channel.

Teacher Institute:
Hagerstown, MD: July 25-27, 2008. Teachers will visit Antietam or Harpers Ferry on Saturday, as well as attend classes on Friday and Sunday. To register, contact The institute application will soon be online.
                 Would you like to be a presenter at the institute? 
                 Applications are welcomed for workshops focusing not only on content
                 but also on methods and techniques to help our attendees better
                 communicate that content to their students.  Past workshops have
                 covered a broad range of topics from the controversy surrounding
                 the outbreak of the war to period dance to the role of naval forces in 
                 the conflict. 

                 Selected presenters will receive room and board during the
                 institute, reimbursement for travel, and a tax-deductible
                 in-kind donation letter.  For more information on the institute or to
                 apply, please contact CWPT Teacher Advisor John Blanton via
                 e-mail at or by phone at (202) 367-1861 x 223.

Two-Week Civil War Curriculum CD-ROM:
Download at the link below, or e-mail to get a free copy.  

Classroom Membership:
Receive the monthly classroom newsletter and quarterly Hallowed Ground magazine. You also receive a packet of classroom materials, curriculum CD-ROM & a book of Civil War Trivia.  To sponsor a classroom, receive an application to give to a potential sponsor, or receive a sample newsletter - contact  

Education Web Site: 

Civil War Explorer:

Poster & Essay Competition:
Both winning students AND their teachers are rewarded! The deadline is May 15, 2008.  Learn more at

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.   Email for more details.  Contact for information on Third Winchester, Chancellorsville and Glendale.

Traveling Trunk:
Book now for the 2008/2009 school year. Email for more details.

A. Wilson Greene Scholarship:
Have professional educators from Pamplin Historical Park and National Museum of the Civil War Soldier visit your school.

Battlefields as Outdoor Classrooms:
Contact for more information. 


If you have been forwarded a copy of this e-mail and would like to subscribe, send email to with *subscribe to newsletter* in the subject.


Trivia Answers:

A.   There will never be peace in Tennessee till Forrest is dead.”  Source:  Civil War Chronicle, Ed. Gallman, pp. 436-437.
        [CS Maj. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.] -- biography, and links. 

B.     The 54th and 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry Units.  Source:  Civil War Chronicle, pp. 437-438.

          Visit for surprising information about the
          54th Massachusetts.  Mercersburg, PA is about an hour west of Gettysburg, PA. 

          Information about the 55th Massachusetts:

C.   General James Garfield, future US President.  Source:  Civil War Chronicle, p. 361.

D.  The Swamp Angel was an enormous Parrott gun weighing 12 tons and firing 200-pound shot.  It was located about five miles from its target – Charleston, SC – in a marsh between James and Morris Islands.  Brig. Gen. Quincy Gillmore used this piece to bombard Forts Sumter, Wagner and Gregg.   When this was not effective, it was used to bombard Charleston.  The Swamp Angel fired thirty-six rounds at Charleston before the breech exploded.  BUT two artillery “firsts” were accomplished:  1) it was fired using only a compass reading, and 2) it was the first gun to fire shells at that distance.  Source:  Civil War Chronicle, pp. 348-349.


E.  Black military employees working in DC and Alexandria were taxed five dollars per month to raise the money!  Source:  Civil War Chronicle, pp. 352-353. 

CWPT is trying to save land at Glendale.  You can help!

"Never, before or after, did the fates put such a prize within
our reach. It is my individual belief that on two occasions
in the four years, we were within reach of military successes
so great that we might have hoped to end the war with
our independence…the first was at Bull Run [in] July '61...
this [second] chance of June 30th '62 [at Glendale]
impresses me as the best of all."
-Brigadier General Edward Porter Alexander, CSA


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

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