Civil War Battles

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   1.  Divides students into groups each.  Have each group work on one battle: 1st Manassas, Antietam, Fredericksburg, Wilderness, Gettysburg, Chancellorsville.  Go to the Valley of the Shadow website for an interactive look into Civil War Battles.

2.  Give students a few minutes to explore the cite in the "War Years" section. 

3.  Students should spend their time researching for specific perspectives and accounts of the battles.  Some of the letters will not provide accounts of the battle, but will express sentiment over the account.  Students should examine and investigate:

The two counties represented in these primary sources are Franklin County, PA and Augusta County, VA, a Union and a Confederate county.

4.  When searching for personal accounts, after finding a source, students need to try to locate that person in the Soldiers' Records which is a database of personal information about the soldiers.

5.  Students will find information about the condition of Civil War Hospitals by searching for documents relating to the condition, status, or purpose of the hospitals.

6.  One student in each group should have the responsibility for leading their group for one of the four major aspects of the research: United States perspective, Confederate perspective, Newspaper accounts, and Hospitals.

7.  Because the information in these searches will not provide a chronological and complete summary of the battle action, refer students to the Historical Preservation Services for battle searches that are about a paragraph long at

7.  Scaffold the research process with critical thinking questions:

8.  Encourage students to ask each other questions and think about what the details mean for the big picture.

9.  Students will use specific examples from their findings as part of their presentation to support their analysis.


This module was created by Nikki Sawyer at the University of Virginia.