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Contest Deadlines Approaching!

The deadline for our annual Postcard and Essay Contests are tomorrow, May 1! Thank you for all of the entries we have received. There is still time to enter the Best Lesson Plan Contest, for your chance to win $2500. Entries are due by July 1.

Submit your entries! »

From the Educators

April 2012
Dear Civil War Educator and Preservationist,

Teaching such a complex and sometimes controversial topic as the American Civil War requires a broad approach and I think this month’s Education e-newsletter reflects that. We are encouraging you and your students to participate in our annual postcard and essay contests, attend our free professional development events, see and use our unique web content, get out on to a newly opened battlefield and help to maintain and restore our Civil War Battlefields. If you, your colleagues and student do even a small fraction of what we and our partners offer, the next generations of Civil War historians, enthusiasts and visitors will have a far more meaningful experience.

As always, thank you for your support. We hope to see you in Charleston, South Carolina this summer at our National Teacher Institute! Did I mention that it was free?


Garry Adelman — Director of History and Education


Shiloh Animated Map

Shiloh Animated Map

For the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Shiloh, we have released our newest animated map — the Shiloh Animated Map. Check out this new presentation and learn more about this important 1862 Civil War battle in Tennessee.

Start here »


National Teacher Institute: Charleston

TI Charleston

This year's National Teacher Institute is primed to be the best ever. Join the Civil War Trust in Charleston for workshops, tours of Fort Sumter and Fort Moultrie, distinguished speakers Bob Zeller and David Blight, and more! The Institute is free, and scholarships are available for travel!

Learn more »


Ten Facts about Gettysburg

Ten Facts about Gettysburg

It is the site of the bloodiest battle of the Civil War and one of the most visited places in the United States, but Gettysburg is still plagued by misinformation and mythologizing. Set the record straight with these ten key facts.

See the new page »


New Jones Farm Trail

New Jones Farm Trail

The Civil War Trust and Pamplin Historical Park recently opened a new walking trail on the Petersburg battlefield. This land was previously closed to the public, and represents one of the most significant, and best preserved, pieces of ground that the Trust has been able to make available. Take your class!

Read all about it! »


Park Day 2012

Park Day 2012

See our collection of photos from Park Day events throughout the country. See members and volunteers in action.

See the photos! »


Chicago area Teacher Institute

Chicago area Teacher Institutel

The Chicago area regional Teacher Institute was held April 14-15, and was a big success. More than forty educators were present, most from the Wisconsin and Illinois but a few from as far as New York and Florida. The Institute was held at the Kenosha Civil War Museum, located right on Lake Michigan – the perfect setting for educational workshops and teacher collaboration. Sign up for the national institute this summer above!

See pictures from the Institute! »

April Civil War Battles

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

Fort Sumter »
Shiloh »
Fort Pulaski »
Mansfield »
Five Forks »
Sailor’s Creek »
Appomattox Station »
Fort Blakely »
Appomattox Court House »


Book of the Month

Good Brother Bad Brother

Good Brother Bad Brother
By James Cross Giblin. New York, NY: Clarion Books, 2005.

Giblin’s nuanced biography of Edwin and John Wilkes Booth is a study in contrasts. At first glance, it should easy to determine which of the Booths is the ‘bad brother’ and which is the ‘good’ one. Fortunately for his readers, Giblin shows how Edwin and John Wilkes, two of the most famous actors of the mid-19th century, did not always fit the stereotype of good and bad and how, as with many families, the actions of one member can bring glory or shame to the family name. Giblin opens with John Wilkes’ assassination of Lincoln, immediately illustrating how that action tarnished the family name that Edwin had “labored to establish…a name that all would be proud of.” The use of primary sources, including the letters and correspondence of both Edwin and John Wilkes, as well as the memoirs of their sister Asia Booth Clarke, is woven into a fascinating narrative that delves into the personalities of Edwin, John Wilkes and other members of the family. In doing so, it is evident that Edwin was not always ‘good’; that, like his father actor Junius Booth, he struggled with alcoholism and described himself as a “libertine.” John Wilkes was likewise not always ‘bad’. He was the favorite of his parents and a “matinee idol” of the theater. Giblin notes that like many other Americans, “there was no way that Edwin and his family could avoid the clash of beliefs that was already threatening to tear the country apart” and it is against the backdrop of the Civil War that Giblin shows how the rift developed between Union supporter Edwin and Southern sympathizer John Wilkes. John felt more at home in the South, had wanted to be “essentially a Southern actor” and he identified with the Southern cause and so the groundwork is laid for the ultimate act that branded him an assassin. His family was devastated and several members were arrested and accused of conspiracy, their future in doubt. As John Wilkes Booth left a legacy for American history, Giblin shows how Edwin Booth left a legacy for the American theater in the form of The Players Club, which still exists at the Gramercy Park mansion established by Booth. But the most telling aspect of the biographies is that despite John Wilkes’ heinous crime, his family continued to love him, remembering him not as the ‘bad’ brother, but as a loving son. Giblin supplements his outstanding portrait of the Booths with captioned photographs, illustrations and playbills. Includes an index and table of contents and information for further research. Recommended for grades 7 and up.

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 Good Brother Bad Brother »
See More Book Reviews »


Trivia from the Archives

Trivia from the Archives

Q. In April, 1862, this city, the most populous in the Confederacy, fell to Union forces.

Q. In April, 1865, as the war was drawing rapidly to a close, Confederate general A. P. Hill was killed at this battle.

Answers from the Archives »


Civil War on the Web

  • What Caused the Civil War in Less Than Two Minutes
    Another excellent installment in Kevin Levin’s fine blog, “Civil War Memory.” This time, Mr. Levin offers a brief but clear explanation (by Edward Ayres) of what brought on the war, in an amount of time roughly equivalent to a TV commercial break. Check it out!
  • Gilder Lehrman – Home For History
    Gilder Lehrman recently debuted its new ‘Home for History’ website, with re-worked and upgraded sections on every aspect of American history. The ‘Civil War & Reconstruction’ section now divides into “The Failure of Compromise”; “The American Civil War”; “African Americans and Emancipation”, and “Reconstruction”, each of which offers essays, primary sources, teaching resources, multimedia and interactive features. A fantastic resource for students and teachers alike!
  • Part 3 – The Stereographs
    Part 3 focuses on the three-dimensional nature of photographs taken in the Civil War era. The vast majority were intended to be seen and experienced in 3-D, through a stereo-viewer. The Atlantic has developed an interesting technique for viewing the photographs in 3-D, by rapidly switching back and forth between the two perspectives. They also offer red/blue anaglyph versions of many of the images. To order a FREE pair of red/blue glasses, visit civilwar.org/3D

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