Civil War Civilian Experience Lesson Plan
Experiencing the Battle of Franklin, TN
Civil War Trust
Length of Time: Approximately one 50 minute class period
It is encouraged that you complete the Experiencing the Battle of Franklin lesson before starting this lesson. While your students can complete this lesson without the other, the first lesson provides a context for the battle.
Through the examination of primary sources related to the Battle of Franklin, students will gain an understanding of Civil War battles and how these battles impacted civilians caught in their path.
1.) Given primary sources, students will be able to list post-battle hardships faced by civilians caught in the path of a major battle;
2.) Given primary sources, students will be able to write about a historic event from the point of view of someone who was there, discussing many of the hardships people in that historic moment faced.
Located on the right side of this page
Fannie Courtney, Civilian & Unionist
Franklin: CB Ruggles, US Sanitary Commission
Adelicia McEwen German, Civilian & Student
"Caring for the Wounded" by Eric Jacobson (2:08)
"Problems, Problems Worksheet"
"Problems Problems" Teacher Rubric
Sympathizer – one who shares the interests or feelings of another; during the war, Union and Confederate sympathizers;
Breastworks – a temporary fortification that is chest high;
Alleviate – to lessen suffering or make it more bearable;
Ebbing – receding, flowing out; going from a better state to a worse state;
Scanty – less than sufficient in quantity or quality;
Enumerated – to count items or make a list of items;
Compelled – irresistibly urged to do something; caused to do something by overwhelming pressure; Repast – a meal;
Accordance – agreement;
Exertions – a very noticeable effort brought on by hard work;
Inclinations – a person’s natural character or natural likings;
Quartermaster – officer who provides food, clothing and supplies to a body of troops;
Provision – act or process of giving something which is very necessary; when capitalized, from God;
Larder – pantry;
Alma Mater – a school or university that one has attended; comes from Latin (“fostering mother”)
Ask your students, "What do you think happened to the people who lived in a town when a battle was fought in their town? Do you think people were hurt? What happened to the town after the battle was over?"
Explain that there were hardships almost every time civilians found themselves in the path of large numbers of Civil War soldiers.
Activity 1: Primary Sources
Label each copy of Fannie Courtney, Civilian & Unionist with a #1.
Label each copy of C.B. Ruggles, US Sanitary Commission with a # 2.
Label each copy of Adelicia McEwen German, Civilian & Student with a #3.
Provide a third of your class with document #1.
Provide a third of your class with document #2.
Provide a third of your class with document #3.
Have all students read their documents independently.
Place students in groups. Make sure each group has someone who read document #1, #2, and #3. Give students 5 minutes to tell their group mates what document they read, who wrote it, and what it was about.
Hand out the “Problems, Problems” worksheet for the students to complete as a group.
Together the students will identify 4 problems civilians living in Franklin would have faced during and after the battle. Students will also identify 4 actions they took in response to these hardships.
Activity 2: "Problems, Problems"
On the smart board, overhead, or bulletin board, place the words “Problem” and “Action.”
Elicit examples of “problems” from members of each group.
Once the “problems” have been determined, conduct a class discussion about what civilians did in response.
Discuss other consequences which might have been experienced by civilians in other places throughout the war.
Optional: Teaching Civics through Preservation
The Battlefield Today
Use this lesson in conjunction with the Teaching Civics Through Preservation program.
Ask students if they would like to see the place where the battle took place? Do they think that the battlefield today looks like it did during the battle, nearly 150 years ago?
Watch the teacher-created Battlefield Preservation Presentation.
Then, visit Flickr and show students the rows of headstones at the cemetery, bullet holes and blood stains at the Carter House, the location of the cotton gin, and parts of the battlefield which have been developed.
Elicit student reactions. Are they surprised to see a strip mall at the site of bloody fighting? Are they surprised to learn that a Pizza Hut used to be located on the battlefield? How do the students feel about this? Why do you think the community developed this land? What are your thoughts on preserving or developing this battlefield? What types of land should be preserved? Why? Is a battlefield a local or a national resource? Why?
If your students really enjoyed learning about Franklin and find the battle fascinating, they might be interested to know that there are still parts of this battlefield to be saved.
Informally asses student’s responses during the discussion.
Students will write a journal entry in which they envision that they are a civilian who lived through the Battle of Franklin and its aftermath. They will use their “Problems, Problems” worksheet in order to include at least three problems and their civilian’s reaction. Evaluate the “Problems, Problems” journal entry using the "Problems, Problems" Teacher Rubric.
Students will use adjectives and adverbs in their writing. They will begin this assignment in class and complete it for the next day if necessary.
Collect the “Problems, Problems” worksheet and make sure the answers are appropriate for the task.
Give each group one page of the primary source text and have them volunteer ideas from their section alone;
Use the primary sources as inductive vocabulary lessons;
Have students paraphrase their documents for understanding;
Instead of a journal entry, students could complete a graphic organizer such as a “word web”, or word webs could be substituted for the bulletin board activity;
Using the CWPT map of Franklin, have each student research the battlefield location of each primary source.