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Charleston Teacher Institute

This year the Civil War Trust will hold its annual National Teacher Institute in the cradle of secession; the ‘Holy City': Charleston, South Carolina. Registration is now open, so sign up online now! This year's institute includes tours of the city of Charleston, Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter (as well as an optional tour of the Hunley submarine, on display for the first time in 150 years), distinguished speakers Bob Zeller (President of the Center for Civil War Photography) and David Blight (Yale Professor and author of Race and Reunion) as well as interactive workshops, exhibits and book vendors. The Institute will continue to be free to teachers, and scholarships for travel and lodging are available. Don't miss this opportunity!

Register for the Institute »

From the Educators

February 2012
Dear Civil War Educator and Preservationist,

This is an exciting time for Civil War education. Registration for our National Teacher Institute in Charleston is now live, so sign up soon if you want to take part this summer! We will also be in Los Angeles at the end of this month and the Chicago area in April, doing our best to help teachers all over the country bring the Civil War to life in their classrooms.

During this month, be sure to check out the multitude of resources we have available on African American history, particularly the content on the United States Colored Troops (USCT).

The 150th anniversary of the first battle of ironclads at Hampton Roads is also rapidly approaching, a great opportunity to discuss advances in technology with your students. Check the website as we add educational content related to that titanic clash!

Thank you for your continued support. We hope to see you at one of our upcoming institutes.

--Clayton Butler, Research Assistant, Education Programs


Black History Month

Black History Month

During Black History Month, be sure to utilize our numerous educational resources on the African American experience during the Civil War. To learn about battles in which African American troops played a prominent role, such as Port Hudson and New Market Heights, scroll through our many primary sources, visit our USCT Hub.

Go to the USCT Hub »

Cedar Creek Resources

Cedar Creek

The Cedar Creek Battlefield Hub has been upgraded, and now features extensive content for Civil War enthusiasts and scholars. Check out the new '10 Facts about Cedar Creek' page, a video by historian and author Jonathan Noyalas, and listen to the Trust's own Doug Ullman perform a rendition of the famous song, "Sheridan's Ride."

Learn More »

Chicago Area Teacher Institute

Teacher Institute

Join us April 14-15, 2012 for the Chicago Area Regional Teacher Institute. Free for all K-12 educators, the institute will cover the Civil War in the Midwest and will feature a tour of the Civil War Museum in Kenosha, WI and a talk by Dr. Theodore Karamanski, professor of history at Loyola University. Travel scholarships are still available!

Find out More »

Calling All Great Lesson Planners


Ballooning during the Civil War is a feature hub on the Trust's website, but it's missing one important feature -- an awesome lesson plan. Using balloons, the Union Army gathered intelligence and created the country's first "air force." This is a wonderful opportunity to create a plan for both history and science.

Check out the Ballooning Hub »
Submit your Plan »

Fort Donelson 150th

Fort Donelson

It was 150 years ago this February that Ulysses S. Grant first made an impression on the American public, when he forced the surrender of Fort Donelson on the Cumberland River in Tennessee. When he demanded that Gen. Simon Bolivar Buckner, the fort's commander and Grant's former West Point friend, surrender "unconditionally," he became a hero in the North.

Read More »

Malvern Hill Battle App

Malvern Hill Battle App

We've launched our brand new Malvern Hill Battle App for iPhones and Android. This cutting edge touring tour will help you to better understand this final Seven Days Campaign battle and is a great educational tool.

Learn More »

February Civil War Battles

February battles Expand your knowledge of the Civil War by learning more about some of the great Civil War battles that occurred this month. Access our history articles, photos, maps, and links for the battles listed below:

Hatcher's Run »
Fort Donelson »
Olustee »


Book of the Month

Frederick Douglass: A Noble Life

Frederick Douglass: A Noble Life
By David A. Adler. New York: Holiday House, 2010.

When author David Adler was asked about his approach to writing biographies he answered, "What I try to do is teach as much about the subject through incidents rather than through a listing of facts." In his latest work, Adler accomplishes his goal admirably. The incidents of Douglass' life -- the tragedies and triumphs -- are inspiring. Perhaps the most telling incident of Douglass' life was the comment made by his former owner, who told Douglass many years after his escape from slavery, "I always knew you were too smart to be a slave, and had I been in your place, I should done as you did."

In Douglass' place the owner may indeed have run away but it took a special strength of character to rise above slavery and achieve the respect of the nation. He was born into slavery in Maryland in 1818, the son of a white slave owner and a slave mother he barely knew. As a six year old, Douglass was taken by his grandmother to his new home: a larger plantation where both food and clothing were scarce, but the horrors and punishments of slavery were not. Two years later, Douglass' owner lent him to family members who lived in Baltimore, where he was taught to read. In the years following he was passed among various owners.

Adler describes the well-known incidents of Douglass' life: fighting back against notorious slave breaker Edward Covey, his escape from slavery, and his lifelong devotion to the abolition of slavery and elevation of black Americans into full citizenship. He leads readers to understand how an ex-slave with no formal education became a famous orator, a newspaper publisher and a presidential advisor. With each description of the milestones in Douglass' life, Adler includes primary source quotes and provides the historical context to help readers understand the influence that Douglass had on fighting for the rights of black Americans, not only in the years before and during the Civil War, but in the years after, when it seemed that slavery had simply returned in another form. The primary source photos and illustrations, which include reprints from The Liberator and from Douglass' own newspaper, tell their own story. Quotes and incidents are documented in endnotes, and a chronology is included as a reference. Of special interest in the bibliography are web sites to access the primary source newspapers. Highly recommended for grades 6 and above. Note: a typo on page 89 misspells the last name of Sergeant William Carney, Medal of Honor recipient.

Special thanks to Rosanne Zajko for her book reviews! If you have a Civil War book that you particularly like, or would like to review for this newsletter, send it in to education@civilwar.org. Thanks!

Purchase Frederick Douglass: A Noble Life »
See More Book Reviews »


Trivia from the Archives

Trivia from the Archives

Q. What does the S in Ulysses S. Grant stand for?

Q. In February, 1864, a prisoner of war camp called Camp Sumter opened in Georgia. By what infamous name would it later become known?

Answers from the Archives »


Civil War on the Web

  • Mr. Lincoln and New York
    This website, produced by the Lincoln Institute and the Lehrman Institute, offers an in-depth and detailed look at the relationship between New York City and the Lincoln presidency. Though the Great Emancipator only visited Big Apple six times in his life, it had a profound effect on his political career. An understanding of both, and their relationship to one another, is key to a thorough understanding of the Civil War.
  • Fort Moultrie 3D Rendering
    This very cool website by Battlefields in Motion has made a full 3D map of Fort Moultrie in Charleston harbor. The site is full of interesting and illuminating facts about this key defensive point, and the 3D animation is truly stunning. Combined with old photographs of the fort, this website has tremendous educational potential.
  • NPS Civil War Index
    The National Park Service has re-vamped its Civil War home page. The new site has everything one could want to plan a trip to a battlefield. From an educator's perspective, this site is worth checking out if only because it contains such a wealth of Civil War resources. Search the soldiers and sailors database; explore a highly detailed timeline; follow the Civil War Reporter on Twitter, and much more. This site is a fabulous resource for teachers.

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