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Travel Trunks from the
Northeast Georgia
History Center
Travel trunks enrich and support classroom learning, home-school instruction and
media center presentations. At every age level, these materials encourage the
development of critical thinking skills and reinforce content knowledge. Each trunk
contains artifacts, documents and reproduction clothing chosen for their versatility in
the teaching environment. Each is a catalyst for comprehension.
Trunk resources can be used as learning centers, as the core of a student-created
museum display, for hands on discovery and as supplemental teacher tools in the
regular education, special education and ESOL classroom. Trunk materials provide
prompts for teaching multiple perspectives, enhancing storytelling, structuring inquiry
learning and costuming characters in classroom simulations.
You will also find recommended trade books and associated lesson plans that address
core goals for teaching across the curriculum and integrating literacy skills. We believe
the travel trunk materials will support your instruction as you encourage critical
thinking and analysis, gaining the depth of knowledge and rigor that inform the
Common Core GPS standards.
We hope you enjoy your experience with our Travel Trunk. Please return the evaluation
form and let us know your ideas for using and improving these resources.
Best wishes!
Glen Kyle
Director, NEGA History Center
[email protected]
The Civil War in Georgia
Standards addressed in this Travel Trunk
5th and 8th grade GPS
SS5H1 -The student will explain the causes, major events, and consequences of the Civil
SS5H2-The student will analyze the effects of Reconstruction on American life.
SS8H6- The student will analyze the impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on
 Key events of the Civil War; including Antietam, the Emancipation Proclamation, Gettysburg,
Chickamauga, the Union blockade of Georgia‘s coast, Sherman‘s Atlanta Campaign, Sherman‘s
March to the Sea, and Andersonville.
 The impact of Reconstruction on Georgia, emphasizing Freedmen‘s Bureau; sharecropping and
tenant farming; Reconstruction plans; 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments; Henry McNeal Turner
and black legislators; and the Ku Klux Klan.
ELACC5RI2: Determine two or more main ideas of a text and explain how they are supported by key
details; summarize the text
ELACC5RI3: Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or
concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text
ELACC5RI5: Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, and
problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts.
Integration of Knowledge
ELACC5RI7: Draw on information from multiple print or digital sources, demonstrating the ability to
locate an answer to a question quickly or to solve a problem efficiently.
ELACC5R9: Integrate information from several texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the
subject knowledgeably.
Middle School ELACC 6-8RH2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary
source; provide and accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
Middle School ELACC 6-8RH4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a
text, including vocabulary words specific to domains related to history/social studies
Middle School ELACC6-8RH6 Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author‘s point of view or
purpose (e.g., loaded language, inclusion or avoidance or certain facts).
Middle School ELACC6-8RH7- Integrate visual information (e.g., in charts, graphs, photographs,
videos or maps) with other information in print and digital texts.
Northeast Georgia History Center
page 2
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
What’s in the travel trunk?
Teacher Guide
It‘s what you‘re reading now! Please feel free to reproduce pages as you need, including the NE
Georgia History Center credit line and logo.
Take a moment to read Database: Civil War for an overview of the content supported by the
trunk materials. Links at the end of the essay point the way to more resources.
Included in the trunk you will find a selection of trade books and suggestions for incorporating
strategies that build comprehension in the content area. These books can supplement your own
resources and serve as the core of a learning center.
Maps, documents and newspaper reproductions
Large format printed resources are laminated and rolled into protective tubes. Newspaper
reproductions are in folders. Please replace them when you pack. The teacher guide includes a
list of sources for historic maps and documents to download.
Artifacts: All Real! Some Reproduction!
The selection of three-dimensional materials in the travel trunk represents key concepts for this
unit. Unless we tell you otherwise, these are REPRODUCTIONS. Reproductions are carefully
made copies of historic objects found in museums and archives. The difference between an
artifact that is preserved in a museum and the item in the trunk is that you can handle the
reproductions. There is no glass case between students and the information you want them to
acquire. We‘ve included objects that kids during the Civil War era would have used at home and
in school. There are also examples of objects that soldiers would have used. Some were made
recently (hardtack) and some are authentic battlefield examples (mini balls).
One of the best ways to encourage your students to ‗step through the door‘ into an appreciation
of the lived past is to let them wear the clothing of the era. We‘ve included accurately
reproduced civilian and military clothing with suggestions for their use. We include our clothing
sources so that you can produce your own clothing.
Music and DVD
Enhance the classroom atmosphere! Add sound, music and images to your teaching!
Northeast Georgia History Center
page 3
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Travel Trunks from the Northeast Georgia History Center:
The Civil War in Georgia
1. Database: Civil War
 Slavery in Georgia
 Milledgeville vs. Atlanta – Georgia‘s two futures
 Secession and War Fever 1861
 Women and Children on the Home-front
 Battles and Blockades
 Antietam and Emancipation 1862
 Chickamauga 1863
 The Atlanta Campaign 1864
 March to the Sea
 Reconstruction in Georgia
2. Inventory of Trunk Resources – checklist for quick reference when unpacking
and repacking the trunk
3. Illustrated Inventory: An item by item description of each object in the trunk with
suggestions for its use in your classroom and media center presentations
4. Teaching with Artifacts – An introductory activity to give your students practice
working with hands on materials.
5. Lesson Plans
 Timeline Activity
 Reading Civil War Photographs
 National Archives Lesson Plan: Civil War Documents
o Vocabulary Building (Semantic Mapping activity)
 Discovery Learning Center: Kids in the Civil War
 What Did You See: Researching and Writing Scenes from the War
 Victory and Homecoming: The End and the Beginning
6. Culminating activity: Step-by-step instructions for setting up your own museum
display using the objects in the travel trunk.
Northeast Georgia History Center
page 4
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Database: Civil War in
The Civil War was a turning point of American history. As with the American Revolution before
it and the Great Depression after it, the war left its imprint on every survivor. The United States
of America regained its boundaries in 1865, stitching back the states that had torn themselves
from the national fabric in 1861. The world that the newly reunited nation was part of however
had changed almost beyond recognition.
The losses of the war were staggering. The Civil War had cost over 600,000 American lives.
Southern cities, Atlanta among them, were in ruins. The agricultural economy that had made
the United States a global power, supplying cotton to European factories, was a fraction of its
former self. The achievements were as great. Slavery was ended in America. Four million
formerly enslaved Americans were now citizens, with the right to vote, hold office, form legally
recognized families, own property and gain an education. The war pushed the envelope of
citizenship open to include more people.
One version of the war has been told in books for almost one hundred and fifty years. It is a
narrative of battles and generals, great names and decisive moments in armed conflict. There
are more stories woven in and around that one. The Civil War is also a story about technology
and literacy. For the first time, photographers could arrive at a battlefield within hours of the
fighting and bring back searing images of destruction. Inventions like the telegraph, railroad,
ironclad, and repeating rifle altered the materials with which soldiers fought and civilians
communicated during the war years. The Civil War was contested by soldiers who were for the
most part literate. The war came home in newspaper articles, letters and diaries. Years later
these first impressions became a flood of memoirs, making the Civil War one of the first
thoroughly documented conflicts in history.
Following the trail of primary sources through this era brings us directly to the present. The
13th, 14th and 15th amendments that became part of the Constitution as a result of the Civil War
formed a platform for the modern Civil Rights Movement. They frame today‘s equal
opportunity legislation. People who lived during the Civil War are not that different from
Americans today. The war was fought over the rights that Americans could claim. Americans
were fighting each other about whether the government of your country could tell you do to
something even if you didn‘t want to do it. They were fighting over whether people could decide
to take themselves out of the United States of America and make their own rules. The Civil War
was about something we all understand. Who makes the rules in our country? What do you do
when someone breaks the rules? What do you do if you believe that the rules aren‘t right?
Northeast Georgia History Center
page 5
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Slavery in Georgia
The causes of the war have been proposed and debated for years. Abraham Lincoln, an
eyewitness to the conflict, identified them as the effects of slavery. In his Second Inaugural
Address he noted that in 1861, at the time of his first address to the nation as chief executive,
―Slaves constituted a peculiar and powerful interest. All knew that this interest was somehow the
cause of the war. To strengthen, perpetuate, and extend this interest was the object for which the
insurgents would rend the Union even by war.‖
All the causes of the war circled around questions about the existence of slavery in a society built
upon cherished beliefs about personal liberty. In 1861 the country was divided over the question
of expanding slavery into the West. Northern and southern states had developed distinctive
economic structures: one was based on wage labor in an increasingly industrialized system; the
other depended on agriculture and slave labor to support it. Which economic structure would
be replicated in the West?
Georgia began as a colony in which slavery was banned by Trustees concerned that it would
encourage the growth of the wealthy elite class and discourage small farmers from settling. By
1750 the evidence of profitable plantations based on enslaved labor just across the river in South
Carolina supported the arguments of Georgians to change that policy. Slaves were allowed in
Georgia and, by the outbreak of the American Revolution, made up half the population. Slavery
supported labor intensive rice farming on the coast and built the homes and businesses of the
city merchants. Georgia‘s delegates to the Continental Congress joined with other southern
colonies to erase criticisms of slavery in our country‘s founding document; the new state‘s
delegates to the Constitutional Convention in 1789 expressly encouraged protections for slavery
in the Constitution.
As Georgians moved into the frontier, slavery moved with them. Former Creek and Cherokee
lands were cleared for agriculture. Cash crops such as cotton began to dominate the economy.
From felling the trees, to plowing the land, from planting seeds to harvesting cotton, much of
Georgia‘s agriculture based prosperity depended on slave labor. Georgians were deeply
engaged in the slavery debate that preceded the Civil War. A decade before the war Congress
proposed legislation to limit the geographical boundaries of slavery and determine the method
by which a new state could be designated ―free‖ of slavery or open to its use. Georgians actively
participated in this debate. As farmlands were exhausted, they thought about moving to Texas
or one of the western territories. Would they be able to take their slaves? Fugitive slaves were
another polarizing issue with Southerners arguing that laws were too weak.
The Compromise of 1850 proposed answers that most Americans could accept. In return for
allowing California into the Union as a free state, the South got a strong Fugitive Slave Act,
mandating the return of runaways. Acceptance of the compromise was conditional among
some Americans. Southern states were home to several firebrands, politicians named for redhot embers that were used to start a fire. Firebrands held radical beliefs about the division of
power between states and national government. Secession was an option that they proposed to
end Federal impositions on the spread of slavery. Georgia had its share of firebrands but in
1850 more moderate voices kept them from spreading flames.
Northeast Georgia History Center
page 6
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
After the vote on the 1850 Compromise, Georgia‘s congressmen joined with delegates from
every county of the state to frame a collective response to the legislation. Spokesmen for
secession were outvoted by the majority who supported the moderate Georgia Platform.
Even though the state-wide convention represented only the white males of the state who were
at least twenty-one years old, the message was clear. Georgians could live with the 1850
compromise as long as the Northern states followed the letter of the laws forcing the return of
runaway slaves. The South would also rely on northern legislators to leave the question of
slavery within the territories in the hands of the people who lived there. There was both flint
and steel in the wording of the Georgia Platform however. If Northern states refused to honor
those conditions, the dampened spark of secession would grow again. For the moment the
Unionists (supporters of the federal government) in Georgia held the upper hand. The Georgia
Platform was credited with holding the union together, at least for another ten years.
In the 1860 census, there were 460,000 slaves listed in Georgia, 44% of the state‘s population.
Even in the northern mountain counties hundreds of slaves were listed though the great
majority lived and worked on Piedmont plantations. Owners of slaves in large numbers were
part of the planter elite. In middle and South Georgia that class made up about 5% of the state‘s
population. A third of the white families in Georgia owned at least one slave. These families
would have followed the national debate over the geographical limits on slavery; they would
have heard of the abolitionists who were advocating an end to slavery in the United States.
Even Georgians who did not own slaves were still supporting the institution indirectly. They
might hire slaves from a plantation owner to work on their farm. Slaves would bale their cotton
at a local gin. Travelers to urban centers might patronize a tavern that employed enslaved
domestics or keep their horse in a livery stable staffed with slaves. It would be difficult to live in
mid-19th century Georgia without finding yourself connected to slavery in some way. The
institution dominated both the economy and politics of Georgia and the wealthy slave owners
dominated both spheres. Two thirds of the state legislature was made up of slave owners, voted
into office by a population that might not own slaves but saw their prosperity tied to a culture
that supported it.
The entire population of Georgia therefore, enslaved and free, moderate and firebrand, was
affected by decisions made in Washington and on the western frontier. In 1854 when Illinois
senator Stephen Douglas proposed ending restrictions on slavery in Kansas, Georgians followed
the subsequent floor fight in Congress. Georgia‘s own congressman Alexander Stephens of
Crawfordville was in charge of bringing the bill that enabled the Kansas-Nebraska Act to a vote.
Stephens knocked down fourteen attempts to adjourn and pushed the vote through. Comparing
himself to a cracker teamster, Stephens reported that he took the reins in his hand, applied the
whip and spur and ―brought the wagon out‖.
The Kansas-Nebraska Act overturned earlier compromises and opened the door to years of
dissention between ‗Free-Soil‘ and pro-slavery forces. Georgians were part of the conflict as
Americans lit a fuse that burned through Bleeding Kansas, to the birth of the Republican Party,
the attack on Harpers Ferry and the election of Abraham Lincoln.
Northeast Georgia History Center
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Georgia’s two futures
In 1803 acres of land west of the Oconee River was opened up for settlers. Muscogee Creeks
ceded the land to the state to settle debts. Hundreds of families moved into the newest part of
Georgia and began to shape farms and communities. One of these towns was planned at the
center of Baldwin County. It would be named to honor John Milledge, then the governor of
Georgia. In 1804 it became the capital of Georgia, marking the movement of the state‘s
population north and west. The new statehouse would be built at the edge of the frontier.
The new capitol building (now a museum)
served the state‘s legislators for over sixty
years. The city of Milledgeville began as a
cluster of wooden buildings, many of them
inns for the seasonal migration of the
legislature to town from the country.
Gambling, dueling and political feuds filled
the days. As the surrounding area was
swept up in the cotton boom of the 1840s,
the city began to mature.
Planters from the rural areas surrounding
Milledgeville enlisted slave labor to build
elegant large homes there. Warehouses
stored cotton that was shipped down the
Oconee River to Darien until the river was
choked with silt and no longer navigable.
Capitol Building, Milledgeville c.1860 Source: Georgia Info
In 1837 the state legislature chartered a railroad intended to bring Milledgeville into the state‘s
growing web of modern transportation technology. It
was not until 1852 that the line opened for business. At
the outbreak of the Civil War Milledgeville was served by
a single railroad connection, a spur track that ran from
Gordon, a stop on the Georgia Railroad, to Eatonton.
Milledgeville was the capitol of Georgia but in many
ways it was also the center of the agricultural, plantation
based portion of the state‘s population. The Baldwin
County census of 1860 listed only a handful of residents
with occupations that were not directly tied to the cotton
fortunes that fueled the economy.
Northwest of Milledgeville however an upstart railroad
junction was growing at a rate that would soon make it
the most important city in the state.
Northeast Georgia History Center
page 8
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
At the trailing end of the Appalachian Mountains, at the first point in north Georgia where a line
could be drawn from west to east without hitting a rock outcrop, a surveyor named Lemuel
Grant hammered a stake into the ground. It was 1837 and all around him was forest and
footpaths. He had finally finished the job that the state legislators in Milledgeville had assigned
him. The wooden stake in the ground marked the spot where the Western and Atlantic Railroad
would build its depot.
The Western and Atlantic did not own a single piece of track in 1837. It was a speculative move
on the part of the legislature and investors who believed that railroads were the best way to
move people and cotton through the state. Rivers had served the state since the first colonists
arrived at the mouth of the Savannah. Now the state had grown to incorporate western lands far
north of the Fall Line. Where rivers didn‘t run flat and slow, Georgia would build another kind
of road.
The plan, on paper, was straightforward. A railroad line would start construction in Augusta,
with its access to the Savannah River, and run to a point somewhere west. Another line would
begin in Chattanooga, on the Tennessee River, and run south. They would meet at a location
that had been Cherokee land until very recently, the Zero Mile Post. With the surveyor‘s work
done, the project began. All the lines would meet, one day, at a cluster of shacks that grew up
around the storage sheds and offices of the Western and Atlantic. The settlement became
known as Terminus, the Latin word for ―end‖. As more people moved there to work on the
railroad, they changed the name of the town to honor a governor‘s daughter, Martha Lumpkin.
―Marthasville‖ had a nice sound to it but it sounded too provincial for what was now a growing
market town. The town needed a name that no-one else had claimed, a name that sounded
dynamic and modern. Why not ―Atlanta‖?
By 1860 four railroad lines met at what
had been a forest thirty years before.
Atlanta‘s streets had been built to face the
different tracks, leaving a tangle of alleys
and avenues that met, ended and crossed
at angles still baffling drivers today.
Wooden buildings held cotton,
manufactured goods for sale in general
stores, food for grocers, horses and mules
for sale.
The city was dedicated to the proposition
that there was money to be made
somewhere and you could get there by way
of the railroad. Atlanta was a very
different city from Milledgeville.
Northeast Georgia History Center
Atlanta, Georgia as it appeared in 1856. Early 20th century postcard.
page 9
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Secession 1861
At the heart of the dispute over the path that the United States would take into the future was
the growing differences between the two regions. Southern politicians saw the individual states
as the source of the nation‘s strength; Northern politicians favored a strong federal government
capable of shaping national policies for taxation and tariffs, transportation and western
settlement. Historians have also observed that Northerners saw the Constitution as a shield of
protection and the source of the nation‘s social order. Southerners increasingly viewed the
constitution as a powerful tool that, in the hands of the wrong people, could tear their region to
ribbons. Two competing versions of our nation, with two separate agendas for legislation, were
in constant friction through the 1850s. In the end the question was which one would have the
power to make the rules, the slave-owning south or the ―free-labor‖ north?
Many Americans decided that the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 was a sign that the
Northern ‗free soil‖ contingent had won. Lincoln was seen in the south as the man most likely to
bring about restrictions on slavery in the west, if not outright abolition. Lincoln won the
election without appearing on the ballot of several southern states, Georgia included. Lincoln‘s
election focused Southern states on what was seen as a challenge to their political power. South
Carolina called a secession convention and declared itself to be a free agent in December 1860.
Politicians from the Palmetto State began travelling through the south to rally support for their
break with the union.
In January 1861 Georgians chose delegates to a state wide Secession Convention at which a
decision would be made. The meeting was held in the state capital of Milledgeville. Attending
the convocation were representatives of every county in the state. Some supported secession.
Robert Toombs told his fellow Georgians that secession was the proper response to abolitionists
who encouraged slave insurrections. Lincoln‘s election could mean only one thing – the
abolition of slavery. Secession would be a defensive
action to preserve the security and tranquility of the
South and head off the ―direst evil‖ that would follow
slavery‘s end. Some delegates believed secession itself
was the greatest threat. Many from northeast Georgia
supported the Union and believed that that the state
should remain loyal. They continued to look for a
solution that would keep Georgia secure.
Governor Brown believed the south could prosper on its
own, using slave labor to produce cash crops that the
world economy demanded. Moderate voices argued
Secession Demonstration in Savannah, November 1860
that Lincoln did not yet inhabit the White House as his
inauguration was still months away. Could Georgians not be patient, gather their strength and
wait to see what the new President intended? Alexander Stephens argued for caution and
reminded Georgians of the terrible mathematics of war. Lives, property and prosperity were at
stake. Could it be that the south was inviting destruction in order to defend what it held to be its
liberty? Fears of what the future might hold won out over moderate voices. The convention
voted for secession on January 19, 1861.
Northeast Georgia History Center
page 10
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
The Debate over Secession in Georgia: Sources
The Secessionist Argument: Governor Joe Brown‘s message to Georgia
Governor Joe Brown led Georgia through the Civil War with an eye on the state’s interests in the
conflict. Raised in the north Georgia mountains, Brown sparred with the planter elite yet
remained a popular leader supported by farmers and merchants. He became a vocal supporter of
secession, fearing that the abolition of slavery would bring racial equality.
This letter was written to the members of the Georgia legislature in reply to an invitation from
South Carolina to hold a regional secession convention in 1860.
The Confederate records of the State of Georgia, Volume 1
Compiled by Allen Daniel Candler
Governor‘s Office, Milledgeville
November 7, 1860
To the Senate and House of Representatives,
… In my opinion, the constitutional rights of the people of Georgia, and of the other slaveholding
states, have been violated by some of the non-slaveholding states to an extent which would
justify them, in the judgment of all civilized nations, in adopting any measures against such
offending states, which… may be necessary for the
restoration and future protection of all their rights.
…If the madness and folly of the people of the Northern
States shall drive us of the South to a separation from
them, we have within ourselves, all the elements of
wealth, power and national greatness, to an extent
possessed probably by no other people on the face of the
With a vast and fertile territory, possessed of every
natural advantage, bestowed by a kind Providence upon
the most favored land, and with almost monopoly of the
cotton culture of the world, if we were true to ourselves,
our power would be invincible and our prosperity
Statue of Governor Joseph Brown and his
wife, Elizabeth, on the grounds of the Georgia
State Capitol, Atlanta, GA Photo: Ed Jackson
Northeast Georgia History Center
page 11
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
The Debate over Secession in Georgia: Sources
The Case for Cooperation: Alexander H. Stephens
Source: The Rebellion Record, ed. Frank Moore. Available as a Google e-Book
In a speech to the Secession convention, US Congressman and slave-owner Stephens urged
Georgians to give Lincoln a chance.
The first question that presents itself is shall the people of Georgia secede from the Union in
consequence of the election of Mr. Lincoln to the Presidency of the United States? My
countrymen, I tell you frankly, candidly and earnestly that I do not think that they ought. In my
judgment, the election of no man, constitutionally chosen to that high office, is sufficient cause
to justify any State to separate from the Union. It ought to stand by and aid still in maintaining
the Constitution of the country. To make a point of resistance to the Government, to withdraw
from it because any man has been elected, would put us in the wrong. We are pledged to
maintain the Constitution.
… I look upon this country, with our institutions,
as the Eden of the World, the Paradise of the
Universe. If may be that out of it we may
become greater and more prosperous, but I am
candid and sincere in telling you that I fear if we
yield to passion, and without sufficient cause
shall that that step, that instead of becoming
greater or more peaceful, prosperous and happy
-- instead of Gods we will become demons and at
no distant day commence cutting one another‘s
throats. This is my apprehension… The greatest
curse that can befall a free people is civil war.
Right: Statue of Alexander Stephens given in 1927 by
the state of Georgia to the National Statuary Hall
Collection in the United States Capitol, Washington DC.
The statue was created by Gutzon Borglum who later
supervised the carving of Mt. Rushmore.
Northeast Georgia History Center
page 12
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Declaration of Causes
of Seceding States
The people of Georgia having dissolved their political connection with the Government of the
United States of America present to their confederates and the world the causes which have led
to the separation. For the last ten years we have had numerous and serious causes of complaint
against our non-slave-holding confederate States with reference to the subject of African
They have endeavored to weaken our security, to disturb our domestic peace and tranquility, and
persistently refused to comply with their express constitutional obligations to us in reference to
that property, and by the use of their power in the Federal Government have striven to deprive
us of an equal enjoyment of the common Territories of the Republic….
Our people, still attached to the Union from habit and national traditions, and averse to change,
hoped that time, reason, and argument would bring, if not redress, at least exemption from
further insults, injuries, and dangers. Recent events have fully dissipated all such hopes and
demonstrated the necessity of separation.
Our Northern confederates, after a full and calm hearing of all the facts, after a fair warning of
our purpose not to submit to the rule of the authors of all these wrongs and injuries, have by a
large majority committed the Government of the United States into their hands. The people of
Georgia, after an equally full and fair and deliberate hearing of the case, have declared with
equal firmness that they shall not rule over them.
The party of Lincoln, called the Republican Party, under its present name and organization, is of
recent origin. It is admitted to be an anti-slavery party…. The prohibition of slavery in the
Territories, hostility to it everywhere, the equality of the black and white races, disregard of all
constitutional guarantees in its favor, were boldly proclaimed by its leaders and applauded by its
followers. With these principles on their banners and these utterances on their lips the majority
of the people of the North demand that we shall receive them as our rulers. …
A provision of the Constitution requires them to surrender fugitives from labor. Yet it stands today a dead letter for all practicable purposes in every non-slave-holding State in the Union. We
… have their oaths to keep and observe it, but the unfortunate claimant, even accompanied by a
Federal officer with the mandate of the highest judicial authority in his hands, is everywhere met
with fraud, with force, and with legislative enactments to elude, to resist, and defeat him.
Northeast Georgia History Center
page 13
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Claimants are murdered with impunity; officers of the law are beaten by frantic mobs instigated
by inflammatory appeals from persons holding the highest public employment in these States,
and supported by legislation in conflict with the clearest provisions of the Constitution, and
even the ordinary principles of humanity. In several of our confederate States a citizen cannot
travel the highway with his servant who may voluntarily accompany him, without being declared
by law a felon and being subjected to infamous punishments. It is difficult to perceive how we
could suffer more by the hostility... of such brethren.
The public law of civilized nations requires every State to restrain its citizens or subjects from
committing acts injurious to the peace and security of any other State and from attempting to
excite insurrection, or to lessen the security, or to disturb the tranquility of their neighbors, and
our Constitution wisely gives Congress the power to punish all offenses against the laws of
These are sound and just principles which have received the approbation of just men in all
countries and all centuries; but they are wholly disregarded by the people of the Northern States,
and the Federal Government is impotent to maintain them. For twenty years past the abolitionists
and their allies in the Northern States have been engaged in constant efforts to subvert our
institutions and to excite insurrection and servile war among us. They have sent emissaries
among us for the accomplishment of these purposes. Some of these efforts have received the
public sanction of a majority of the leading men of the Republican Party in the national councils,
the same men who are now proposed as our rulers. These efforts have in one instance led to the
actual invasion of one of the slave-holding States, and those of the murderers and incendiaries
who escaped public justice by flight have found fraternal protection among our Northern
These are the same men who say the Union shall be preserved. We know their treachery; we
know the shallow pretenses under which they daily disregard its plainest obligations. If we
submit to them it will be our fault and not theirs. The people of Georgia have ever been willing
to stand by this bargain, this contract; they have never sought to evade any of its obligations;
they have never hitherto sought to establish any new government; they have struggled to
maintain the ancient right of themselves and the human race through and by that Constitution.
But they know the value of parchment rights in treacherous hands, and therefore they refuse to
commit their own to the rulers whom the North offers us. … [T]heir avowed purpose is to
subvert our society and subject us not only to the loss of our property but the destruction of
ourselves, our wives, and our children, and the desolation of our homes, our altars, and our
firesides. To avoid these evils we resume the powers which our fathers delegated to the
Government of the United States, and henceforth will seek new safeguards for our liberty,
equality, security, and tranquility.
[Approved, Tuesday, January 29, 1861]
Northeast Georgia History Center
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
One of the first signs of secession was the
wholesale impoundment of Federal installations
by the states. It is easy to imagine the
consequences now in the early 21st century if a
group of armed citizens stormed the local post
office or federal courthouse with the intention of
reclaiming the property for a breakaway nation.
On January 3, 1861 however a group of Georgia
militia with orders from Governor Joseph Brown
took a steamboat down the river from Savannah
to the most prominent local symbol of the Union government, Fort Pulaski, and captured it without
a fight.
Fort Pulaski, whose first construction engineer was a West Point graduate named Robert E. Lee,
was a symbolic target for a state government asserting its independence. The federal government
made rare appearances in most American‘s lives in the 1860s. There were few Federal office
buildings outside Washington, DC. Post offices offered the only federal services that most people
needed. Forts, and the weapons and ammunition stored in them, were quickly captured by the
southern states. By March of 1861 only one fort on the Atlantic coastline remained in federal hands
– Fort Sumter, in Charleston, South Carolina. It would be the target of a two day attack by
southern artillery in April 1861, the opening shots of the Civil War.
In February of 1861, delegates from the seceded states had gathered in Montgomery, Alabama, to
draw up an agreement forming the Confederacy. By March they had written a constitution almost
identical to the federal document except that slavery was protected in the Confederate version. The
first, and only, president of the Confederate States of America was elected – Jefferson Davis of
Mississippi, former United States senator. During the spring of 1861, the Confederate government
moved to Richmond, Virginia. Hundreds of Georgians formed into military companies to protect
their state or attack the North, whatever came first.
Southern militias, made up of neighbors and relatives from the
same area, had been part of Georgia‘s home defense system since
colonial times. Now these groups were authorized by Governor
Brown to form into a provisional army with state support. Most
were convinced that the war would be short lived. After a show of
force by the South, most Georgians believed, the North would
agree to negotiation and compromise. Ten thousand Georgians
were mobilized by March 1861 when they became part of the
Confederate Army under the new constitution. They gave
themselves company monikers, generally incorporating their
elected captain‘s name, their county or their ambitions: Cobb‘s
Legion (led by General TRR Cobb), Coffee‘s Revengers, the
Etowah Iron Works Artillery, and the Hall Light Guards.
Northeast Georgia History Center
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By the end of the war, which did
not turn out to be short, about
125,000 Georgians would join the
Confederate Army. With 300,000
men of military age reported in the
1860 census, which meant two out
of every three men in the state
would end up fighting. A few men,
mostly from north Georgia, joined
Union companies. After 1863,
black Georgians joined the Federal
army as soldiers and served on the
coast and around Atlanta.
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Women and Children on the Home-front
After the attack on Fort Sumter, things began to change very quickly for families in Georgia.
Abraham Lincoln, who never believed that secession was constitutional, called on the North to
provide him with 75,000 volunteers to put down a ―domestic rebellion‖. In the South, the talk
was all about the war that had now begun. Fathers, brothers, college students and farmers
volunteered to join the army in Georgia. Some of them went to the coast to protect the port of
Savannah. Many more headed north toward Virginia where people expected the first battle to
happen soon, somewhere between the two capitols of Washington DC and Richmond.
Women in Georgia found themselves volunteering as well. They sewed uniforms for soldiers
and provided food for them. Women organized committees to gather medical supplies to send
north to Virginia. Over the next four years women in Georgia would do jobs they had never
thought they would need to do. They raised money for hospitals by putting on shows with music
and drama at a time when most women would never dream of stepping onto a stage. The money
that women raised was spent under their direction for medical supplies, blankets and food. In
the 1860s, women had to let their husbands and fathers control the household budget. Now
they were making financial decisions and running relief organizations.
Many women went to work for the first time outside of their homes. When fathers and
husbands left to join the army, they did not get paid a lot of money. To keep their families from
going hungry, women took jobs in the industries that were now supplying the war effort. In
Atlanta, hundreds of women got jobs in a factory that manufactured gun cartridges.
In the country, women ran farms
and plantations as best they could
as men began to leave to join the
army. Enslaved workers
sometimes stayed on the farms
where they lived and continued to
plant and harvest crops. On other
farms, especially the ones close to
where Union troops were stationed
on the coast of Georgia, slaves
claimed their freedom and left.
The effect of all these changes on
Cartridge-rolling factory in Atlanta
kids was dramatic. Some schools
closed when the teachers left to join the army. The army needed food and clothing so people
had to work on the farms and in the factories. Children worked at the textile mill in Roswell,
Georgia, where they helped keep the looms going to weave blankets for the army. They helped
plant corn and cotton, raise hogs and milk cows. And when the first reports of the battles in
Virginia began to show up in newspapers, they would have read about people from their town
who were not going to come home from the war.
Northeast Georgia History Center
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
1862: Battles and Blockade
A year after the war began, in the summer of 1862, people in Georgia may have been wondering
what had happened to the short war they had imagined after the attack on Fort Sumter. Georgia
soldiers had fought, and died, at the first Battle of Bull Run, the opening land battle of the war.
General Francis Bartow was the first commanding officer from Georgia to die in the war. He
had led the troops that took control of Fort Pulaski and then organized a company of soldiers
from Savannah that joined the Confederate Army. Bartow had already fought one battle, with
Governor Joe Brown, about allowing Georgia soldiers to leave the state and fight. Brown
wanted all Georgia troops to be stationed nearby for the state‘s defense. Bartow went to Virginia
where he was killed on the 21st of July, 1861, leading Georgia infantrymen. Bartow County was
named for him soon after his death.
Back in Georgia, the blockade of Confederate ports was having an effect on the goods that people
could buy. Imported cloth and medicines, coffee and tea were becoming more expensive. Many
importers chose to bring weapons from England and France instead of consumer products since
there was a huge demand for guns. In response, people in Georgia adapted to the changed
circumstances. Women brought old spinning wheels out of storage and began to spin cotton
thread. Weavers turned it into ‗homespun‘ cloth. Tea and coffee substitutes, such as wild mint,
chicory and other herbs, became popular.
Southern manufacturers tried to supply the weapons that the Confederacy needed now that the
guns manufactured in the North were no longer accessible. In 1862 near Macon, a Connecticut
native named Samuel Griswold converted his cotton-gin manufacturing operation into a pistol
factory. The ―Griswold Repeating Revolver‖ was made under contract to the Confederate
government at the rate of five pistols a day. The factory turned out around 3,500 revolvers
before it was burned during Sherman‘s March to the Sea.
Around Georgia other factories went into the business of supplying the war effort. Georgia was
ideally suited to become the arsenal of the Civil War. It was far away from the fighting in
Virginia and had an extensive internal railroad system to carry finished goods to army depots.
All along the fall line where water-powered textile mills were running, the government ordered
production of grey woolen cloth for uniforms. In Columbus and Atlanta, the Confederate
Quartermaster established depots for manufacturing jackets and boots for soldiers.
Existing ironworks and small machine shops could be converted to wartime industry making
bullets, percussion caps, knapsacks and saddles. In Augusta a massive gun-powder plant was
built by the Savannah River to supply the Confederate Army. The Columbus Naval Iron works
forged the cannons used on southern gunboats; in Macon there were cannon factories and the
McElroy sword works. Atlanta, rapidly growing as people moved toward the jobs offered by the
government contracts, was a center for both manufacturing and shipping weapons to the
Confederate army. Women worked in textile mills and slaves supplied at least half of the labor
needed in the rolling mills and cannon forges. In 1862 the Confederate government established
a draft to bring more soldiers into the army. The workforce on the home-front shrank again.
Northeast Georgia History Center
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Antietam and Emancipation
From far away in Georgia, people waited for news from the battlefront as the war went on in 1862.
The Confederacy was one year old now and still had not earned recognition as a real country from
the European powers that might have supported it with loans and guns. During the early spring it
looked as though the southern government would never get the chance to prove it could win a war.
The Union army captured one fort after another on the Ohio River, blocking any Confederate
attempts to capture Kentucky. Then the port of New Orleans, the most important access to the
Mississippi River, surrendered to the Union. A massive Union concentration of forces was heading
for Richmond, the Confederate capital, in April.
Then the seesaw went in the other direction. Confederate general Stonewall Jackson and his troops
threatened to invade Washington. Lincoln ordered Federal troops back to defend the capitol. On
the same battlefield that they had fought over in 1861, Southern troops defeated the Union army
again at Bull Run. Battle by battle, Southern forces marched closer to Washington.
General Robert E Lee looked at the situation
and decided that he needed more supplies for
his soldiers before they could try to march on
Washington. He planned an invasion route
into Maryland instead. Lee hoped that a
Southern victory there against the Union
would convince the world that the South was a
serious contender. More practically, he hoped
to capture cannons and boots in the Union
supply depot at Harpers Ferry. He ordered
his soldiers toward a town named Sharpsburg,
on the banks of Antietam Creek. The Union
army was not far behind.
Battle of Antietam, Kurz and Allen 1888. Source: Library of Congress
The result was the first major battle of the American Civil War on Union soil. The Battle of
Antietam on September 17, 1862 was the bloodiest single-day fighting American history, with
23,000 casualties on both sides (4,000 killed, over 18,000 wounded). Georgia troops fought at
Antietam marching as infantrymen, on
“Rifles are shot to pieces in the hands of the
horseback as cavalry and setting up cannon
soldiers, canteens and haversacks are riddled by
attacks with the artillery. Hundreds of Georgia
bullets, the dead and wounded go down in scores..
soldiers die at Antietam. More died in
The next day, the burial parties put up a board in
hospitals after battle, from infections and the
front of the position …with the following inscription:
shock of amputation.
‘In this trench lie buried the colonel, the major, six
line officers, and one hundred and forty men of the
The battle was not the victory that both sides
[13th] Georgia Regiment.”
had hoped for as a decisive end to the war. It
was enough of a victory for Abraham Lincoln
however. He had been waiting for the right
moment to make a proclamation.
Northeast Georgia History Center
page 18
Benjamin F. Cook, a soldier in the 12th
Massachusetts Infantry describing the advance
of the 13th Georgia through the cornfield at
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
The Emancipation Proclamation
President Lincoln read the first draft of the Emancipation Proclamation to his cabinet in July of
1862, as Confederate troops were nearing Washington, DC. His advisors agreed the president had
a good idea. One of the reasons for Southern resilience in the face of their losses earlier in the year
was that they could count on the captive labor of four million slaves in the South. Enslaved
workers dug fortifications around southern cities like Atlanta. Slaves worked in the factories that
made munitions for the Confederate army, enslaved nurses worked in hospitals, and food for the
army was raised by hundreds of thousands of slaves on plantations.
Lincoln believed that one sure blow to the Confederacy would be to remove the support of slavery
from the southern army. He proposed an Emancipation Proclamation that would free slaves in any
territory that was in rebellion against the Union. The president‘s proclamation would not free
slaves in Delaware, Missouri, Maryland or Kentucky since those states remained in the Union. It
would also be difficult to enforce the proclamation in parts of the South that were far from the
Union army. The Proclamation did however make it clear that the Union was willing to make the
issue of slavery part of the meaning of the war. Not every Union soldier was fighting for the
abolition of slavery however; many were fighting to prove that the United States was an
unbreakable entity and the South was wrong to threaten the Union. The war was now also about
ending slavery. Some people were going to be surprised and angry about that.
Lincoln‘s cabinet asked him to hold off on
publishing the proclamation until there was
some good news from the war. They did not
want it to look like the Union was making a
statement about ending slavery because it had
run out of any other ideas for winning the war.
Lincoln agreed and waited for a Union victory.
He didn‘t get anything that looked like one
until Antietam. It wasn‘t the stunning defeat of
Confederate forces Lincoln had hoped for but it
would do. The Union army had at least turned
back a threatened invasion by the Confederacy.
That was enough.
Lincoln made the Emancipation Proclamation
public in September, 1862. It was timed to go
into effect on New Year‘s Day 1863. Any slave
holding state that chose to remain in the
Confederacy after that date was informed that emancipation would now be the law of the land.
Slavery remained legal until the Thirteenth Amendment was passed in 1865 but Americans now
saw the war‘s goals clearly. As Commander in Chief, Lincoln ordered that the Union Army could
1 Source: Library of Congress
enlist black soldiers. Those recruits, many of whom were formerly enslaved, helped keep the
balance of power with the Union Army on the battlefield. As they escaped to join the army,
across the South, there were fewer slaves to work for the Confederacy. The Emancipation
Proclamation was a first step on the path toward the abolition of slavery in America.
Northeast Georgia History Center
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Home-front Georgia 1863
People in Georgia may have still thought that the war was something going on far away from
their homes and towns in early 1863. Events that occurred miles from Georgia had a direct
effect on how people lived there however. Georgians were connected to the war first by the
soldiers that had left that state to fight at Gettysburg or in Vicksburg. The Confederacy lost both
those battles in July, 1863. Georgians were killed and wounded, leaving families grief-stricken.
Georgians were also connected to the war by way of the
cotton economy that had supported them for so long.
Planters were asked by the Confederate government to
start growing food so that the army and the civilians
would not starve. But planters ignored the government‘s
requests. It was still worth growing cotton in Georgia
during the war even with the blockade. Some of the
cotton could be sold to local mills and used to weave cloth.
If a planter could find a speculator willing to run the
blockade with the cotton and sell it in France or England,
he could make tremendous profits. Georgia planters kept
putting cotton seed into the ground therefore.
Even as food shortages were reported in the paper, acres
of Georgia farmland were planted with cotton instead of
corn, wheat, peas and beans. In 1863 there were riots in
several cities in Georgia because of high food prices
caused by shortages. Women broke into stores and took
flour, cornmeal, and any food they could find. Some of
the women told the storekeepers that they were the
widows of fallen soldiers who were now trying to feed
their children.
A Georgia soldier writes home
from Vicksburg, MS.
"...I aint well not hast bin for a week
but hope these lines will come safe to
hand and find you all well. …The
health in the army here is bad. The
men die here fast if you call eight
hundred deaths in Vicksburg a lot. All
day they are sent to the hospital. We
cant live on what we draw. The meat
we draw is spoilt and the beef is so
pore we cant eat it. ... Our men look
so pore and bad... Tell Mama that I
dont feel like I will ever see her face
again. There is no chance to come
home from here. The men dies right
and left in front and rear.
Source: “Care of Yellow River”:
The Complete Civil War Letters of
Pvt. Eli Pinson Landers to His
Georgians were getting closer to war in 1863 even though
they were staying close to their farms and homes. In the mountains north of Atlanta, two armies
were fighting across Tennessee. The Union army wanted to gain control of the state and its
railroads, most of which passed through Chattanooga. The Confederate Army fought to hold
onto Chattanooga so that they could continue to supply themselves from the factories, railroads
and riverboats that were there. In September of 1863 the Confederate general in charge of
defending Chattanooga, Braxton Bragg, retreated to LaFayette, Georgia. Union General John
Rosencrans followed in an attempt to defeat the Confederate army and claim Chattanooga. The
fight for Tennessee spilled south over the state boundary into a mountainous region of small
farms. Rosencrans and his army headed over Lookout Mountain toward Ringgold and Rossville.
For the first time in the war, an entire Union army marched into Georgia. It would not be the
last time that happened.
Northeast Georgia History Center
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Chickamauga 1863
If you visit the Chickamauga National Battlefield Park in north Georgia, you can tell that
something important happened there. There are monuments everywhere, scattered across fields
and standing in forests. The monuments started to appear in the 1880s when veterans of the
deadliest single battle that occurred in the South during the Civil War decided that people
should remember what happened on that land. Chickamauga was the first national battlefield
park established by the United States government.
In the fall of 1863 the area was a farming community with a
handful of small mills that used water power to grind corn and
saw lumber. Chickamauga Creek flowed through the community,
toward the Tennessee River and Chattanooga. A few miles to the
east the town of Ringgold had bragging rights as the closest
whistle stop for the Western and Atlantic Railroad. The county‘s
representatives had voted against secession in 1861 but young
men from the valley had enlisted to fight for the south. In
September 1863 the area turned into battlefield between two
armies with very different ideas about who should win.
Neither of the commanding generals wanted to fight a decisive
battle in a small valley with dusty, narrow roads that wound over
steep mountain passes. The battle at Chickamauga was the result
of two armies trying to wipe each other out in very difficult
terrain. Confederate General Braxton Bragg had planned to
defeat sections of the Union Army as it moved south toward
Georgia Monument - Chickamauga Battlefield
Atlanta. Union General John Rosencrans had pulled those parts
together without Bragg‘s knowledge. When Bragg‘s forward scouts ran into Union soldiers on
the banks of the creek on morning in September, what started out as a skirmish over the
possession of a bridge snowballed into a battle that ran for miles up the road to Chattanooga.
For two days the armies poured cannon shot and bullets into the fields and forests of
Chickamauga. The battle saw the first use of Spencer repeating rifles in combat. Union colonel
John Wilder had borrowed money to purchase them for his unit, the ―Lightning Brigade‖, when
the Federal quartermaster refused to issue them. On the Confederate side as well modern
technology affected the outcome of the battle. General James Longstreet put hundreds of his
soldiers onto a train in Virginia and headed south to Georgia. He arrived at the battle in time to
stage a dramatic charge that dislodged Union forces and sent them in retreat to Tennessee.
Without the determination of Federal General George Thomas, afterward known as the ―rock of
Chickamauga‖, the northern army might have been forced to surrender then and there.
The Confederate Army succeeded in keeping Union forces out of Georgia in September 1863.
When the new year began however those Union soldiers in Tennessee had a new commander in
chief, Ulysses S. Grant. General Grant had a plan to end the war by crushing the support that
the Confederacy got from Georgia. He asked his right hand man, William Tecumseh Sherman,
to put the plan into action. The war had arrived at Georgia‘s front door.
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The Atlanta Campaign 1864
Confederate soldiers defending Georgia also got a new general in 1864, Joseph E. Johnston.
Johnston made sure that his army rested over the winter to be ready for the job ahead of them.
Johnston knew that General Sherman would start south to Atlanta as soon as the dirt roads were
dry after the spring rains. Sherman‘s 110,000 soldiers outnumbered Johnston‘s 54,000 and
there were more Union soldiers arriving every day. Johnston was running out of soldiers and
there were not many men left in Georgia and the rest of the south to fight.
In early May Union soldiers started crossing over the Tennessee boundary into Georgia. They
skirmished with Confederate soldiers as they moved along the Western and Atlantic railroad
track that led to Atlanta from Tunnel Hill. General Johnston knew he could not overwhelm
Sherman‘s army. It was bigger and better supplied than the southern forces. But if Johnston
could hold Sherman away from Atlanta until November there was a chance that Lincoln might
not be re-elected. The northern voters were tired of the long, destructive fight. They might vote
for a candidate that would end the war if their army had not won any decisive victories.
General Johnston‘s strategy was to stay along the railroad to
Atlanta so that he would not lose access to ammunition and
food. When Union soldiers moved south after the battle of
Resaca, Johnston had no choice but to move south even faster
to stay between the enemy soldiers and Atlanta. When
Sherman troops approached Atlanta from the West, General
Johnston sent Confederate forces to stop them at Picketts Mill.
Finally, in June 1864, General Johnston came to the biggest
obstacle in Sherman‘s path – Kennesaw Mountain. The Union
soldiers tried to attack Confederate soldiers there with
General Sherman at Fort #7 in Atlanta
disastrous results. General Sherman sent his friend General
McPherson far around the mountain instead. General Johnston saw that the Union soldiers
were getting nearer to Atlanta. He sent his troops over the Chattahoochee River to line of forts
that had been prepared just in case the Union troops made it that far. Confederate soldiers
destroyed all the bridges over the river and waited in their forts to attack. The Union troops
rode through Roswell and gathered their forces at the river. Johnston waited for the right
moment to attack the Federal forces. Confederate leaders knew that Union forces were now at
the gates of Atlanta with an army and supplies to support a decisive battle.
Jefferson Davis decided to fire Johnston and find a more aggressive general to lead an attack
against Sherman. There were not many candidates left. Davis settled on a general named John
Bell Hood. General Sherman, now just north of the city, found an Atlanta newspaper and read
about the change of command on the Confederate side. He knew Hood would try to attack.
Northeast Georgia History Center
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
1864: The Battles for Atlanta
General Sherman‘s soldiers crossed the river, and then moved south and east to begin the battle
for Atlanta. Troops led by General Thomas moved south through the rough, forested landscape
and arrived at the banks of Peachtree Creek mid-day on July 20th. General Hood‘s troops were
late to greet them. The result was a defeat for the Confederate forces who found themselves
outnumbered and fighting an uphill battle.
To the east, General McPherson led Federal soldiers on a mission to tear up the railroad that
connected Atlanta to Augusta. Soldiers lifted the iron tracks up in pieces and put them on
bonfires made out of the wooden crossties. As the iron heated up in the fire it could be wrapped
around a tree or a telegraph pole and left there to cool off. Twisted in knots, the tracks were
useless for the railroad. Soldiers called these wrecked tracks ―Sherman neckties‖. With the
railroad tracks destroyed, General Hood could no longer get supplies from east Georgia.
General Sherman watched the
battle from his headquarters on a
hill that is now the location of the
Carter Center and Presidential
Library. Nearby a group of
artillery men set up their cannons
and began firing shells into
Atlanta. Civilians were hit and
killed by the cannon fire. Houses
were hit and damaged.
Watching from his headquarters,
General Sherman was certain that
the city would be evacuated and
that Hood‘s soldiers would
All at once in the early forenoon of July 20, 1864 the expected storm broke
over us. Within one mile of where we stood, trees as big as a man’s body were
mowed down. Mount Zion Baptist Church, school houses and numerous
dwellings, slave quarters, and farms were demolished. The reports of the
cannon sounded like thunder claps and the musketry was like hail on the roof
in the time of a summer flurry squall.
During the battle the bullets fell thickly in the yard of the Atlanta Medical
College where Dr. D'Alvignywas operating. His daughter, Pauline, who was
assisting her father, narrowly escaped being hit several times, since on
account of the intense heat the operating table had been carried out into the
shade of several nearby trees.
Sara Huff, My 80 Years in Atlanta
Instead he found that thousands of Confederate soldiers had marched through the night of July
21st to attack the Federal forces on the east side of Atlanta. This battle is the one depicted in the
Cyclorama painting housed in Atlanta. Fighting occurred along the railroad track and in the
area now known as East Atlanta, near the Atlanta Zoo. The lines shifted quickly and soldiers
found themselves suddenly outnumbered. One of Sherman‘s commanders, General James
McPherson, was killed when he accidentally rode into a group of Confederate soldiers. Nearby
a Confederate general, H.T. Walker, was shot when he rode too close to Federal lines.
Thousands of wounded were taken into downtown Atlanta.
Over the next weeks, the city was under siege with enemy soldiers on every side. One by one the
escape routes were destroyed as Federal soldiers captured railroads both to the west and to the
south. General Hood realized that he could no longer defend Atlanta and ordered his soldiers to
leave. On September 2, the mayor rode out Marietta Road and surrendered the city. General
Northeast Georgia History Center
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Sherman sent a telegram to President Lincoln that said ―Atlanta is ours and fairly won.‖
From: General
Sherman’s Special Field
Orders #190:
March to the Sea, 1864
Civil War historians look at General Sherman‘s march as an early example of
a 20th century military tactic, the practice of waging total war on a country
and its population, civilian and military. Sherman knew that the North
could only win the war by destroying the South‘s ability to support its
armies. He would leave Atlanta and work his way through Georgia‘s central
heartland, targeting its farm harvests, its cotton warehouses, its factories
and infrastructure of bridges and railroads. Destroying any one of these
elements would slow the southern war effort; reducing them to all rubble
would bring the war to a halt.
Sherman looked at census maps from 1860 that showed where the greatest
numbers of plantations were located, the ones that used slave labor to grow
food and cotton. He sent his armies on a route through this area. Sherman
knew it was just as important to remove the support of slave labor from the
Confederacy. Union commanders were issued copies of the Emancipation
Proclamation that were to be read at every stop along the army‘s path. As
Georgia was in rebellion, its slave population was now declared free.
IV. The army will forage
liberally on the country
during the march. To
this end, each brigade
commander will
organize a good and
sufficient foraging
party, under the
command of one or
more discreet officers,
who will gather, near
the route traveled, corn
or forage of any kind,
meat of any kind,
vegetables, corn-meal,
or whatever is needed
by the command …
General Sherman left Atlanta on November 15, 1864. Behind him the city‘s
central business district was smoking ruins. Spreading out on the roads heading southeast,
Sherman‘s troops were in Milledgeville eight days later. They held a parody of a legislative
session in the deserted state capitol building. Nearby, at the site of the Griswold Pistol Factory,
Federal troops fought Georgia state militia drawn from the remaining recruits – very young and
old men, outnumbered and outgunned by the Union forces.
As the army moved toward Savannah, soldiers destroyed railroad tracks, burned cotton gins and
foraged liberally on the farms they passed. Civilians lost their horses, cattle, hogs, hams and
cornmeal to Federal troops. The estimated damage to Georgia was, in 1865 terms, about one
million dollars. Even greater was the psychological damage to the Confederacy. Georgia, its
largest supplier of food and livestock for the army, could be reduced to ribbons by a group of
Federal soldiers moving almost unchallenged through the countryside. The belief that the
south could prevail became more difficult to support.
In December 1864, Sherman sent another telegram to Washington, DC. In it he presented
President Lincoln with a gift of ―the port of Savannah, Georgia, with some 2,000 bales of
cotton.‖ From Savannah, General Sherman‘s army marched into South Carolina. Federal forces
destroyed the capitol, Columbia. Charleston, the city where the first shots had been fired, was
burned. To the north, the federal army under General Grant‘s forces captured Richmond, the
Confederate capitol. On April 12th Grant accepted General Lee‘s surrender of his army. A few
days later, General Sherman met General Johnston again and accepted the Confederate
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
general‘s surrender at a small town named Bennett‘s Farm in North Carolina. Jefferson Davis,
attempting to escape and find refuge in a foreign country, fled through South Georgia and was
captured by Federal troops near Ocilla. The war was over. The fight for liberty and justice went
on for another decade, during an era of change and stubborn resistance called Reconstruction.
Defeat and Reconstruction in Georgia, 1865
In May 1865 Governor Joe Brown surrendered to federal authorities. Former Confederate
soldiers began to return to their homes. They found their families and communities were very
different. Forty thousand Georgians had died in the war; thousands returned home with
physical disabilities because of the war. Formerly enslaved Georgians made difficult decisions
whether to stay on the farms they had once worked or leave to move somewhere else, to the city,
to the North, or out west. The population of Georgia was in motion, relocating and rebuilding
families of survivors of the war.
Reconstruction efforts began with the economy of the state. Someone had to plant crops. The
state had depended on a food supply supported by slave labor and the profits realized from the
sale of cash crops. Who was going to plant the crops and bring in the harvest now? In 1865 only
a fraction of the pre-war tons of corn and cotton made it to market. In many communities, the
army distributed food to civilians who were going hungry.
The United States government established the Freedmen‘s Bureau in 1865. It was led by
General O.O. Howard, a Union soldier who had marched through Georgia. Atlanta was the
headquarters for the Freedmens‘ Bureau in Georgia. Officers of the Bureau investigated
disputes as the state‘s citizens adjusted to a new order of things. Bureau agents went into the
fields to write contracts between plantation owners and their former slaves, ensuring that
workers were paid for their labor as they began to rebuild Georgia‘s agricultural economy.
The Freedmen‘s Bureau also supported the efforts of Georgians to establish schools for former
slaves who had been barred from gaining an education. In the years after the Civil War,
schools established by local teachers and missionaries were a magnet drawing black families to
Atlanta and its educational opportunities. Churches began to grow, led by black clergymen,
which provided social services and centers for community organization.
Reconstruction changed the political system of Georgia as well. The constitutional convention
called in 1868 wrote new laws that allowed black males to vote and moved the state capital to
Atlanta. The legislature ratified the 14th amendment ensuring that new citizens were protected
in the exercise of their civil rights. Two years later the state legislature ratified the 15 th
amendment. Georgia was re-admitted to the Union in 1870. Reconstruction ended in the state.
Some historians have argued that Georgia‘s leaders spent the next two decades trying to undo
the progress made in the five years after the Civil War. In some ways that is true. The voting
rights of African-Americans were systematically curtailed by white politicians who referred to
themselves as ―Redeemers‖ hoping to reclaim the vanished past. Extra-legal activities by the Ku
Klux Klan made political protests by the black community both difficult and dangerous. The
plantation system vanished in Georgia, replaced by a system that put land ownership into the
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
hands of landowners who then bartered for labor in a ‗share-cropping‘ system that impoverished
both blacks and whites.
Even in the face of post-war difficulties however, Georgians sought out better educations, better
jobs, and opportunities for better lives. Georgia was reconstructed into the state that, with
another war and another civil rights movement, became the place where we now live.
The online Georgia Encyclopedia is the source for many facts found in our Database: Civil
War, including definitions of ―the Georgia Platform‖ and the biography of Governor Joe Brown.
A key resource for learning about the course and consequences of the Civil War as it was
experienced in Georgia is the collection of primary resources compiled by a veteran who went on
to become governor of the state:
The Confederate records of the State of Georgia, Volume 1
By Allen Daniel Candler
Available as a Google eBook
Collected primary sources from Civil War era Georgia, laced together with blazing ―Lost Cause‖ rhetoric
by the state‘s first official archivist. Confederate veteran and later governor, Mercer University Class of
1859graduate, Alan Candler fought through the Civil War with the Army of Tennessee until Lee‘s
surrender. Badly wounded at the Battle of Jonesboro, Candler pointed out that he was he was more
fortunate than many—he still had one wife, one baby, one dollar, and one eye. He went into politics
beginning with his election as mayor of Gainesville in 1872.
These papers are invaluable resources for identifying the causes of Georgia‘s secession even in the face of
opposition from counties with little slave ownership. Another layer of comprehension emerges from
reading the text as an expression of Candler‘s uncompromising belief in the moral righteousness of the
Southern cause. Candler‘s version of the Confederacy‘s defeat supported decades of Southern revision of
the Civil War story into a failed crusade. White politicians‘ attempts to retain power and political control
shaped the post-war years and drew strength from the Lost Cause mythology. The practical results were
measurable. Candler‘s four years as governor (1898-1902) saw increased reports of lynching and
attempts to establish white-only primaries.
Another excellent resource for primary documents from the state‘s past is:
Cornerstones of Georgia History: Documents that Formed the State
Edited by Thomas A Scott (Mercer University Press, 1995) ISBN-10: 0820317438
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The Georgia Information site of the state‘s official webpage is a rich resource of primary
documents, suggestions for further reading and a ―This Day in Georgia‖ feature.
Example: Civil War Secession Fever
University of Georgia professor F.N. Boney‘s 1997 book Rebel Georgia is a readable single
volume introduction to life in Georgia during the Civil War. (Mercer University Press,
2000.)ISBN-10: 0865545510
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Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk
Contents Checklist
Civil War for Kids
DK Eyewitness: Civil War
DK Visual Dictionary of the Civil War
Civil War Vault
Fields of Fury: The American Civil War
Mr. Lincoln‘s High Tech War
A Soldier‘s Life in the Civil War
Behind the Blue and Gray
Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Civil War
Great Maps of the Civil War
If You Had Lived at the Time of the Civil War
If You Had Lived When There Was Slavery in America
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Civil War In Georgia
Travel Trunk
Contents Checklist
Girls petticoat
Boys blue wool Union shell jacket
Blue Wool Pants
Boys butternut grey ―Columbus Depot‖ jacket
Grey Wool Pants
Black waterproofed canvas Haversack
Girls cotton work dress
Girls apron for work dress
Haversack contents:
Boar bristle toothbrush
Metal plate
Sewing kit
Tin cup
Coffee beans
Soldier Boot with Heel Plates
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk
Contents Checklist
Received Returned
The Civil War in 3D
with built in viewer
Music CD
Reproduction Harper‘s Weekly Newspaper
Reproduction Currency
Canteen (2)
Cartridge Box
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Why does a hands-on history trunk have so many books in it?
There‘s a short answer: content literacy
Teaching social studies content is an opportunity to craft lessons that support effective reading
comprehension strategies and critical reading skills. The books in this trunk can help you teach
across the curriculum and promote a multi-resource, multi-genre learning environment.
There is a common language for talking about things and texts. What kids learn from talking
about books can transfer to talking about artifacts and primary resource documents. The
materials in this trunk helps kids see different points of view, ask good questions, and create
reflective responses. Students will learn from the trunk materials as they apply the
understanding they construct from textbooks and trade books.
The trunk materials include several picture books that work well for interactive read-alouds.
Reading one of the ―If you lived‖ books out loud to a class is an entry point for reluctant and ELL
students. This is an opportunity to pull items from the travel trunk to use as props and to
illustrate challenging vocabulary. Well written narratives keep student interest high while
building background knowledge about the past. Kids can generally listen at a higher
comprehension level than they can gain by reading themselves. Consider adding read alouds to
your content instruction and illustrating your presentation with trunk objects.
This teacher guide will suggest other strategies such as concept mapping, constructing a
timeline, and F/Q/R (Fact/Question/Response) charting. Each of these techniques will
support your students as they internalize the skills of summarizing, synthesizing, evaluating and
creating. That‘s why all these books are in the travel trunk; they‘re a scaffold to help your
students grow!
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Civil War in Georgia: Resource Books
The Civil War for Kids: A History with 21 Activities
Janis Herbert
ISBN 1556523556
Clearly written, well organized workbook for constructive
learning. It‘s hands on, rich in content and encourages kids to
build comprehension with well designed activities: learning to use
signal flags, make hardtack, and re-enact a battle.
Civil War
 John Stanchak
 ISBN 0756672678
From the indispensable DK Eyewitness series, this book includes
high quality photographs of artifacts and documents with plenty of
supplementary information. Arranged thematically for use as a
reference or in a concept map activity.
DK Visual Encyclopedia of the Civil War
 John Stanchak
 ISBN 0756610591
Currently out of print but worth searching out. Arranged as a
dictionary of terms, this book is a vocabulary builder and go-to
resource for enriching background knowledge about the war and its
Civil War Vault
 LLC Whitman Publishing
 ISBN: 079483293-8
This book recounts some of the most memorable moments of the
war, from the first shot fired at Fort Sumter to Gen. Robert E.
Lee‘s surrender at Appomattox. Included are replicas of map,
diaries, letters, and old daguerreotypes.
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Civil War in Georgia: Resource Books
Fields of Fury: The American Civil War
 James McPherson
 ISBN 0689848331
This stirring account of the greatest conflict to happen on our nation's soil brings to life the
tragic struggle that divided not only a nation, but also friends and family. Fields of
Fury details the war that helped shape us as a nation with personal anecdotes from the
soldiers at the battlefront and the civilians at home, as well as profiles of historical
luminaries such as Robert E. Lee, Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, and Ulysses S. Grant.
Also included are explorations of the varied roles that women played during the war,
healthcare on the battlefield, and the demise of slavery.
Mr. Lincoln’s High Tech War
 Thomas Allen and Roger McBride Allen
 ISBN 1426303793
Lincoln, a classic early adapter of innovations, was a champion of the weapons,
communication tools and information gathering schemes that defeated the Confederacy.
The Allens, a father-son writing team, look at the Civil War through the lens of the
technological changes that affected the outcome, supporting their thesis with images and
eyewitness anecdotes.
A Soldier’s Life in the Civil War
 Peter Copeland
 ISBN 0486415449
An excellent text for building vocabulary and encouraging visualization of
content. Forty-five pages each give a short narrative of life in the army -- food,
uniforms, drill – and feature a detailed drawing. For a modeled writing activity,
have students draw their own illustration and write an explanatory paragraph.
Behind the Blue and Gray: The Soldier’s Life in the Civil War
 Delia Ray
 ISBN: 0-525-67333-4
Whether they wore Union blue or C0nfederate gray, the untrained recruits of
the Civil War quickly learned to endure the hardships of army life. They
experienced the horrors of battle, rampant disease, makeshift hospitals and
prison camps, and even boredom. This book explores the lives of soldiers
from all walks of life.
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Civil War in Georgia: Resource Books
Scholastic Encyclopedia of the Civil War
 Catherine Clinton
 ISBN: 0-590-37227-0
This work traces the course of the Civil War, year by year,
using profiles of important people, eyewitness accounts, and
period art.
Great Maps of the Civil War: Pivotal Battles and Campaigns
Featuring 32 Removable Maps
 William J. Miller
 ISBN: 978-1-55853-999-0
The maps in Great Maps of the Civil War are the ones the commanders
actually used or were likely to have been available to them.
If You Had Lived at the Time of the Civil War
 Kay Moore
 ISBN: 0-590-45422-6
This book tells you what it was like to live at the time of the Civil
War from 1861 to 1865. Would you have seen a battle? Did you
continue to go to school? Was it hard to get food?
If You Had Lived When There Was Slavery in America
 Anne Kamma
 ISBN: 0-439-56706-8
This book tells about the hard life that a slave faced, and how
slaves found ways to overcome some of the hardships. It tells how
the cruel system of slavery began- and how it ended.
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
in the TRUNK
Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects that were
created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or
interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience.
Examining primary sources gives students a powerful sense of history and the complexity of
the past. Helping students analyze primary sources can also guide them toward higher-order
thinking and better critical and analysis skills.
Library of Congress, “Using Primary Sources”
Handling 3-D objects and reading historic documents encourages both the development
of critical thinking skills and the retention of content knowledge. Travel trunks can help
your students build vocabulary and encourage respect for diverse points of view and
Travel trunks give students a chance to practice their critical thinking skills: analysis,
inquiry and synthesis. Asking questions about an object is one way to learn historical
literacy, one of the many strategies for comprehension that our students will need in the
Looking for cause and effect, identifying turning points in the past, understanding
change and continuity, looking at the world through the eyes of people who lived then –
these are all skills developed by interaction with primary sources.
In the next section we‘ve put photographs of the materials in the travel trunk along with
some inquiry questions. If you‘re unpacking the trunk with students, questions like
these to get them thinking past the ‗wow, this is cool‘ first reaction. They ARE cool.
They are also clues about the past that you can touch, a structure for understanding how
the past was very much like and very much different from our time in history. After the
catalogue of trunk items, you‘ll find the lesson plans. The first one is an all grades
introduction to working with artifacts. We‘ll walk you through it step by step and
suggest ways of using these resources.
On to the stuff in the trunk!
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk Clothing
Girls Cotton Work Dress
with Petticoat and Apron
Girls who lived at the time of the Civil War did not wear hoopskirts every day. Most girls lived
on farms and had to work in the garden, around the barn and in the kitchen. Hoop skirts would
be dangerous and inconvenient. Even girls who lived in urban centers had chores to do and
spent part of the day sitting at school as well. Most girls in the 19th century, whether they lived
in the north or the south, wore a cotton or wool dress over a petticoat every day. Dresses
buttoned up the back or fastened up the front with buttons or hooks and eyes. There were no
zippers, no Velcro, and no elastic in dresses. Dresses were covered with aprons so that you
could keep the dress clean as long as possible. There were no automatic washing machines, dry
cleaners or dryers either.
1) How many dresses do you think a girl might have had? Remember that only a few
people owned sewing machines at home before the Civil War started. Most of your
clothing would have been sewn by hand. You could buy imported cloth from England
and France in Georgia before the war started; after the war began it was harder to find
nice factory made calico and cotton prints.
2) Girls petticoats were soaked in starch and ironed flat to
make them crisp and neat looking. What is different about
this iron and the one you might have at home? No electrical
cord, no temperature control. You heated it up in the
fireplace or on your stove.
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Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk: Clothing
“Columbus Depot”
Grey wool with blue
Factories in Georgia produced thousands of jackets like these for Confederate soldiers.
Some were made in Athens and more were made in Atlanta but most of them were sewn
and distributed from Columbus. Many Civil War historians call this jacket ―Columbus
depot‖ style. The jacket was made out of grey or grey-brown wool (a color called
‗butternut‘ during the Civil War). Grey dye was inexpensive, made from tree bark and
nut husks. The collar and cuff were made out of wool dyed blue with imported indigo.
We are used to seeing movies that show all Confederate soldiers wearing identical grey
uniforms. The Confederate government issued an order in 1861 that all officers and
enlisted men should wear ―tunics of grey cloth‖ but providing them was another matter.
If you go to a museum that has real uniforms from the Civil War you will see that some
were made out of homespun brown wool, some were tailored out of expensive grey wool,
and some were made of whatever fabric was at home when a soldier enlisted.
Photographs from the war tell the same story. Some soldiers fighting in Virginia were
wearing uniform jackets that were made in England and smuggled through the blockade.
Soldiers wore the uniforms that they brought from home, pieces that they scavenged on
the battlefield or the new uniforms that they were lucky enough to be issued.
1) Why did soldiers want uniforms that were made out of wool?
Wool was the first choice of soldiers for uniforms. We think of it as hot and itchy;
they thought of it as long-wearing and practical. Wool didn‘t get torn as often as
cotton did. (Think about the knees of your jeans!) Wool protected you from wind
and rain and if it got muddy you just waited until it dried and brushed the dirt off.
2) Did Civil War uniforms come in sizes like our clothes?
Soldiers joked during the war that the uniforms they were issued came in two sizes:
too big or too small. For most of the war officers had to purchase their own uniforms
so theirs were tailored to fit.
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Georgia in the Civil War
Travel Trunk Clothing
Union jacket
Blue Wool
Union uniforms were also made out of wool. In the northern states, factory made woolen cloth
was easy to find. Textile mills in the north had been running since early in the nation‘s history
and they provided cloth for blankets, clothing and every other item a soldier might need. Blue
dye made from the indigo plant was imported into the north to use in the factories as well.
When President Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers for the Union army after the attack on Fort
Sumter, the capitol filled with soldiers from northern and border states. Many of these soldiers
wore uniforms they had used when they served in local militias back home. Some units showed
up in showy dress uniforms that they agreed among themselves were just the thing for a war. At
the first Battle of Manassas some Union soldiers were wearing grey, some Confederate soldiers
wore blue and one group from Louisiana, Wheat‘s Tigers, had on red shirts, baggy blue pants
and instead of hats they wore fezzes. (Their commander however wore a blue jacket that looked
exactly like a field grade Union army officer‘s uniform.) The confusion caused by the mash up of
costumes on the battlefield sent both armies back to the drawing board to come up with
uniforms that were ―uniform‖.
By the time of the Battle of Second Manassas in 1862, there were still Zouave units on the field
but the tactical downside of wearing bright red was more widely recognized. The majority of
Federal soldiers wore the standard issue blue coat and trousers made a lighter sky blue
Q: Did Civil War soldiers wear camo?
A: No. The idea of camouflage –wearing uniforms that blended into the soldier‘s surroundings
– was just beginning in the Civil War as soldiers began to understand the power of accurate
long range rifle fire . One group of Union soldiers did wear an early form of camo however – the
sharpshooters. These highly skilled marksmen were often found perched in trees with powerful,
scoped rifles. Their uniforms were forest green, a good choice for soldiers who did not want to
be seen as they waited for their targets to come into the range of their rifles.
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Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk: Soldier Gear
Confederate “Tin
Drum” style
Description: Reproduction metal canteen with cork stopper. Cotton web sling attached for
carrying the canteen. Metal canteens were made in factories by tinsmiths. Soldiers also carried
canteens that they made themselves out of metal or wood.
Water was a necessity for soldiers who marched for hours a day. Army camps were set up at
places where water was available for both humans and horses. Before setting out on a march
soldiers filled their canteens at any available water source – a pond, a creek or river, a well.
During the Battle of Chickamauga in 1863, soldiers filled canteens at Crawfish Springs and
dipped them into Chickamauga Creek.
At meals soldiers boiled water to make coffee or tea but most of the time they drank what they
could find when they were thirsty. Medical records from the war show that the water soldiers
needed for hydration often made them sick. Water that had not been boiled could carry bacteria
that caused dysentery and typhoid.
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Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk: Soldier Gear
haversack and
Description: Reproduction cotton
haversack (C&D Jarnigan Co.)
containing soap, toothbrush, metal
plate, spoon, candle, tin cup and
sewing kit, called a ‗housewife‘.
Haversacks held the personal gear
that soldiers needed every day. While
a backpack could hold clothing and a
blanket, the soldier‘s haversack held
food rations, coffee beans, salt, soap,
candles, matches (or ―lucifers‖) and
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Reproduction 'housewife' sewing kit
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk: Soldier Gear
Used reproduction
soldier boots
with heel plates
After food and water, boots were the next greatest need for a Civil War soldier. Most soldiers
were in the infantry and the infantry walked wherever they needed to go. Only rarely were
infantrymen given horses or the chance to ride on the railroad. As a result, soldiers wore
through boots with every step. This example has been used by a modern re-enactor and it shows
some of the same wear that soldiers would have put on their boots in the Civil War.
In the early years of the war soldiers from both the north and south might have worn shoes that
were ‗straight-lasted‘ – identical for both the right and left foot. These were made in an oldfashioned style that got pressed into service when the need outstripped the supply of right and
left footed boots. Shoes were made entirely out of leather, both the uppers and the soles. Most
factories used sewing machines to construct the boots but some less-expensive boots were
―pegged‖ with small pieces of wood. Soldiers could nail metal heel plates onto the heels of their
boots to help them last longer. Hobnailed boots had additional, short nails driven into the sole
to give the boots more grip in mud.
One boot like this one can tell several stories about the Civil War. The north had more factories
that could make boots. Northern soldiers had access to supplies that were sent from factories to
the army while Southern soldiers struggled to get supplies over the inefficient railroad system in
their region. Distinctions between the north and south were reflected in the supplies they
provided to their troops. Manufacturing and shipping shoes to soldiers was just one piece in the
huge mosaic that is the Civil War but to soldiers it was one of the most important.
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Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk
Photography in the Civil War
Stereoviewer and stereo
images -- packet with built
in 3D viewers
Modern presentation of 19th century
stereroview cards and holder.
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Stereoviewer and stereocard
Many images taken during the Civil War were formatted for the
popular stereo card viewer or stereoscope. Photographs for this
device were made with a camera that had two lenses placed next
to each other at about the distance between human eyes. Two
images were taken simultaneously by the camera and then
printed on a sturdy card. When viewed through the eyepiece of
a stereoviewer the photographs together produced a three
dimensional image.
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk
Flag – Union 34 star
Flag – Union 35 star
Soldiers and civilians on both sides of the Civil War used flags as a visible symbol of their
allegiance. At the beginning of the war, the flag of the United States displayed thirty four stars,
one for each state. The Union flag continued to show a star for each Southern state even after
secession. With the admission of West Virginia to the Union in 1863, the flag changed to
incorporate thirty five stars. The canton (blue square in the upper corner) changed as well to
show five rows of seven stars.
The Confederate States continued to fly a flag with
the colors of red, white and blue during the war. Two
Confederate flags are still referenced today in many
permutations. The ―Stars and Bars‖ was the national
flag of the confederacy. It showed three large
horizontal bars (red, white, red) and a blue canton
with a circle of seven stars representing the states
that seceded before April 1861. The current Georgia
flag uses a similar design with a canton showing the
state seal in a circle of stars.
Confederate First National Flag
On the battlefield, Confederate forces carried a square red flag with a blue X and thirteen stars
(an optimistic statement that Kentucky and Missouri would secede). This flag, the ―Southern
Cross‖ or ‗battle flag‘ was part of the official Georgia flag from 1956 to 2001.
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk
Reproduction leather
Cartridge Box with tin
1858 Type II model
cartridge box held 40
rounds of ammunition,
packed into the
waterproof metal
The Civil War infantryman‘s weapon was his rifle. Every piece of equipment he carried, besides
personal items stored in a haversack and backpack, was there to keep his rifle working. The
cartridge box carried forty paper tubes, each filled with gunpowder and a bullet. The tubes,
called, were made in factories and shipped to the battlefront where they were issued to troops.
The cartridges had to be kept dry so that the gunpowder would ignite. They couldn‘t be carried
in uniform pockets because they would unroll and spill open. The army gave infantrymen a
cartridge box in which these essential items could be stored and transported safely .
The bullet inside most cartridges made by the army‘s
factories was called a Minie ball. The Minie ball was
made to expand at the base when it was fired. The
resulting rim of metal fit into spiral grooves that had
been etched into the rifle barrel. The bullet spiraled
as well, much like a football thrown down the field.
These bullets, and the simplified loading process of
the cartridge, represented a new technology that gave
weapons more accuracy and more power. Soldiers
could now hit targets hundreds of yards away with
bone shattering force.
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Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk
Cartridge Rolling Kit:
Black sand
(substituting for
The standard muzzle loading rifle that most Civil War soldiers carried used pre-made
cartridges that were assembled in factories. Workers at the Atlanta Arsenal made thousands
of these cartridges by hand, shipping them out in wooden crates to Confederate forces. The
same process was used in the north to supply Federal troops. Workers, usually women and
children, were expected to roll at least 800 cartridges a day. The cartridge factory gave many
families an income when male wage-earners joined the army. The average pay for a woman
rolling cartridges was often more than a man earned in military service.
The process was tedious and repetitive. A pointed piece of paper was placed on the work
table, rolled around a dowel, and placed in a tray. Empty cartridges were carried to a
second assembly line where they were filled with a single bullet and a charge of powder, tied
tightly and packed.
Work at a cartridge factory could be dangerous. In March of 1863 the cartridge factory in
Richmond, Virginia, exploded. On the same day as the Battle of Antietam, September 17,
1862, sparks from a horse‘s hoof set spilled gunpowder alight at the Pittsburgh Arsenal. The
resulting explosion killed seventy-eight workers on the same day that Federal soldiers miles
away in Maryland were using cartridges they had made.
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk
Reproduction Currency
Paper money became very popular during the Civil War. Before the war, most people
used gold and silver coins for shopping and saving. The war changed that. The Union
government had to find a way to pay factory workers and office workers, soldiers and
suppliers of military goods. The solution was paper currency that was backed by the
government’s credit. The federal treasury decided to print paper money that showed portratis of
politicians, symbols of the United States and the denomination, often in green ink. Many of the
federal notes showed the value on only one side; the other side was printed entirely in green ink
to help defeat counterfeiters. These notes quickly became known as “green backs”.
The Confederate government faced the same problem of paying for the materials that would be
used in the war. The southern government however added another piece to the puzzle. The
Confederate constitution allowed states to print their own money. (That responsibility had been
given to the Federal government after the American Revolution.) In the south, therefore, you
could have state printed money and Confederate printed money circulating at the same time. The
variety of notes was staggering. One university archive of Confederate currency has 72 different
designs issued by the central government of the south in only four years.
The choices that a state or country makes about what goes on their money is a good way to
investigate what that government believes is valuable. What would have been in your pocket
during the Civil War?
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Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk
Reproduction Harper‘s
Weekly Newspapers
Harper‘s Weekly, modestly described as ―A Journal of Civilization‖ was more of a magazine than
a newspaper. It included news (foreign and domestic), essays, political opinion, cartoons,
humor, encyclopedic features of life around the world, advertisements and serialized novels
(including several by Charles Dickens). Harper‘s was published in New York City through the
Civil War and is an important primary resource for the conflict.
Harper‘s had the largest circulation of any such magazine in the United States and employed
dozens of artists to illustrate the news in a time before photographic reproduction. Winslow
Homer, among others, sketched battlefield scenes and sent them to New York to be rendered as
black and white engravings. A single issue of Harpers could include a double page centerfold of
a battle with maps of the area. Full portraits of the commanders of the army units involved
might share a page with notes from Paris about the most recent fashion trends for ladies. The
back page usually offered a single page comic, often drawn by Thomas Nast, and ads for
necessities of nineteenth century life.
During the centennial of the Civil War, reproductions of original Harpers were printed in the
thousands for collectors. These are still available and we‘ve included several in the trunk. In
addition, Harpers Weekly is available online through several sites including a subscription
service called HarpWeek. Compare and contrast: Take a daily newspaper and a Harpers reprint
and have students look for what has changed and what has remained the same. What parts of
the newspaper are still around today (headlines, banners)? What has changed? (Length of
articles, use of color and photography).
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What do we ask of the past?
A timeline can be the basis for several activities centering on
higher order thinking skills. Looking for evidence of change over
time gives students the experience of „thinking like historians‟.
These five questions form the basis of historical inquiry:
1) Cause and effect – what were the causes of past events?
What were the effects of these events in their time and now?
2) Change and continuity – what has changed? What has stayed
Thinking Like a
the same from past times to the present?
Historian: Rethinking
3) Turning points – what decisions in the past changed the
History Instructionby
kinds of choices people would have later?
Nikki Mandell and
4) Using the past – how does learning about the past help us
Bobbie Malone
understand the present?
5) Through their eyes - How did people in the past view their world?
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Civil War in Georgia
Travel Trunk
Working with Primary Sources
Why use primary sources?
Content: Primary source materials focus on the actions of individuals, groups and institutions
in the words of their time. Civil War era letters, newspapers, diaries and images bring a timeline
of the conflict to life. Participants in the Civil War did not know how it would end. From
Abraham Lincoln to children in war-torn Atlanta, people made decisions and confronted
obstacles to meet the goals they held. Primary sources illustrate the conflicts inherent in the
United States during this time and show the changes that came about as a result of the war.
Purpose: Primary sources answer essential questions.
Did geography affect the course of the Civil War? Would you have been an abolitionist in the
1850s? Was John Brown a hero or a terrorist? Does Abraham Lincoln deserve to be called the
Great Emancipator? Was the Civil War worth its costs? What was the effect of the Civil War on
the home front in the South? Does racial equality depend on government action? These
questions require higher order thinking to answer and analytical skills to decipher. They are
the questions we want students to judge by using primary sources, developing their opinions. At
the end of the class, students should have a viewpoint.
Relevancy: Primary sources enliven discussions of the connections between
historic eras and the application of lessons to the present.
What is the point? Every lesson has a goal, something to discover rather than to just
―cover.‖ Teachers can look to primary sources for vivid examples of history‘s recurring
themes. Laws and letters, art and artifacts can bring students to understand that the
past is reflected in the present.
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Q: Where Do You Find Primary Resources?
A: In the Archives – actual or virtual!
An archive is a storage place for primary resources – newspapers, diaries, letters, unpublished
manuscripts, photographs and other visual resources, interviews and other audio materials.
Here is an example of a primary source available in an archive.
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The Cornelius C. Platter Civil War Diary, 1864 - 1865 is the Civil War diary of Lt.
(later Capt.) Cornelius C. Platter, of the 81st Ohio Infantry Volunteers, from November,
1864 - April 27, 1865. Platter's diary details Sherman's march through Georgia from
Rome to Savannah and the march north through the Carolinas. He gives dates, times,
and lengths of marches and describes the weather, locale, scenery, and food as well as
orders, rumors, positions, troop morale, and administrative duties. The diary also
includes a description of the burning of Columbia, South Carolina, the news of the
Confederate surrender, and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln.
Where is it? The diary is safely stored at the Hargrett Rare Book room in the main library at the
University of Georgia in Athens. To see it you would have to make an appointment with the
librarian. Fortunately the university has put a transcript of the diary on the library‘s website:
Diary of Cornelius Platter
November 15, 1864
We left Atlanta at 4. P.M. on the "East Point road‖ and by the time we were two mile
from town it was dark and we beheld a grand sight - The burning of the "Gate City". All the principal
buildings were on fire and the sight was indeed grand.. This has indeed been a strange day - In the
morning we passed over the ground where so many of our "brothers in arms" spilt their life blood and
during the day seen the destruction of Atlanta. Such a day as this one seldom sees and it will not soon be
forgotten but this wanton destruction of property would soon demoralize any army -- I think Sherman
intends to devaste[devastate] the whole country as he goes.
Thursday Nov 17th 1864
We took the McDonough road and passed through a country never plouted[polluted] by the foot of a
"Yankee". The country is more open today than it was yesterday and the marching much easier than
heretofore. We passed through McDonaugh. the county seat of Henry Co [County] which is a village of not
much importance.. Being in the advance we obtained plenty of Forage of every description - such as Pork
Sweet potatoes Honey & c [et cetera]& c [et cetera] - We went into camp 3 mile from Jackson the county
seat of Butts Co [County] in an oak grove. - Distance marched 19 mile - It is still a mystery where we are
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An artifact is any object made by humans to fill a need. Artifacts are representatives of
the culture in which they were made and the resources that were available.
As you examine artifacts, you can learn about the time and place in which they were
made. Working with the materials in this travel trunk is a teaching strategy for
structuring real encounters with the past that support further learning.
Unpacking a haversack can introduce a rich vocabulary lesson, add depth to
comprehension of soldier life during the Civil War and reinforce ‗then and now‘
understandings of how cultures express themselves in material objects. (Students look
at a reproduction 19th century toothbrush made from bone and boar bristle and realize
how plastic changed our world on a personal level.)
How do we learn from artifacts?
We READ them. The best analogy for working with artifacts is the process of gaining
literacy. Understanding artifacts mirrors many of the skills that students use to read
and comprehend text. Students use diverse learning styles to investigate these
materials, led by their natural curiosity and supported by background knowledge about
the subject matter and content area vocabulary.
Framing questions and developing answers are part of interpreting an object, a
document or a song. As they investigate an artifact, students can use strategies they
have learned from reading such as directed inquiry and composing summative
reflections. These skills are flexible and fluid, reinforcing each other across the
How to handle artifacts
Just as we ask students to handle books carefully,
we ask them to handle artifacts respectfully.
Learning to handle artifacts for learning is a
metacognitive skill supported by this trunk. Before
starting the artifact inquiry activity, work with your
students to brainstorm a list of appropriate ways to
handle an artifact and post the list: ―We will hand
each object carefully and respectfully; We will not
grab any artifact out of somebody‘s hands; We won‘t
eat any of the things in the trunk‖
Our hardtack is made by the George Bent
Company, in Milton, Massachusetts. The
company has been in business since 1801 and
made hardtack during the Civil War.
(There‘s hardtack in the trunk so this bears repeating.)
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Teaching in Time: Lesson Plan for
Directed Artifact Inquiry
―Reading‖ is a familiar activity and a useful analogy for discovering the use and
significance of an object. Just as students learn to deal with differences in texts, they will
see that some objects are easier to identify than others. Some artifacts need more careful
examination to determine what they are and how they were used. In this lesson,
students learn to analyze an object and summarize their opinion about it.
When students examine an object, they become detectives, piecing together clues from
what they observe. They use their background knowledge to compare and contrast,
intuit, deduce, and assess the historical significance of an artifact. The lesson plan
includes a graphic organizer so that students can record their observations, ―leaving
tracks‖ toward comprehension.
GOAL: Students will gain a richer understanding for and appreciation of history by
analyzing and describing objects from the travel trunk.
Method: Begin with a whole class discussion and a teacher-led inquiry
1. Anticipation! Build some interest in the concept of artifact. What do we mean when
we say artifact? Set up an anticipation guide to support student inquiry. Here are
four short statements about artifacts to present to the class.
i. Artifacts can be old but do not have to be.
ii. Artifacts are made by humans to fill a need in their lives.
iii. Artifacts are manufactured from the resources available to the people who made
iv. Artifacts can tell you about the people who made them – when, how, and why.
Ask students to respond to each statement. True? What do they think about this
statement? Kids often think of artifacts as dusty objects from an ancient tomb or
obsolete items from the attic. Have they ever thought about how their own possessions
tell other people about them?
2. Model an artifact inquiry with a think out loud.
Choose one artifact from the trunk. Handle it carefully while talking about its shape and
dimensions, the materials from which it is made, your guess as to who might have made
it and why. Thinking out loud gives students a model for generating their own
Master teacher Jane Young compares her artifact inquiry strategy to a magician pulling a rabbit out
of a hat. She opens the travel trunk box and examines it, building suspense. She reaches in for one
item and as it emerges, begins her questioning:
“Hmmm. I wonder what this IS? What is it made out of? [Taps the object] It’s metal. It’s round.
There’s a cork here – it fits just exactly into the spout. Now WHY would anyone need something like
this? To hold water? Where would you need that? If you were marching in the army! What do we
have now? Water bottles are what we use now.”
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3. Transition to directed artifact inquiry. (Two options – stationery or mobile)
a. Divide the class into table groups or pairs and distribute the artifacts, one per group
or pair. Ask each to examine the artifact and work together to prepare a verbal report for
the class on what they have concluded about the artifacts. Refer to the information on
each artifact from the teacher guide to review the group‘s identification and support the
discussion. Encourage questions about production and consumption processes, the
place of trade and bartering, the use of natural resources and the work of artisans in
manufacturing each object. Trade objects between tables once each group has finished
with an object and add more as needed. As time permits, ask for verbal reports.
b. Set up stations around the classroom so that artifacts from the trunk are placed into
functional clusters: clothing, things from a house, printed documents, things that were
traded. Divide the class into groups and send each to a table, rotating them around the
class until each group has visited each table.
On the following pages you will find guidelines for asking questions about artifacts. There are
two reproducible artifact discovery worksheets with guided questions for fact-finding.
Worksheet #1 scaffolds students through identification and compare/contrast questions. The
second page of the worksheet is a graphic organizer for the transition to evaluative questions
and writing a summary statement. Worksheet #2 can be used to encourage research about the
artifact. It includes a Fact/Question/Response chart that includes space for student
investigations to answer questions that are generated during the activity.
The worksheets can also be used as outlines for written reflections with an opening statement,
supporting facts and a concluding statement. Using these prompts, students can construct a
statement summarizing their inquiry process and their discoveries.
How does this work in real life? What if you have never modeled an artifact inquiry before?
Just ask good questions that can’t be answered with a simple ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
The haversack is a good choice for this activity
Candle: Why did soldiers need candles? What would they be doing at night? Writing
letters home? Writing in their diaries? Reading the newspaper?
Reproduction Harper’s Weekly newspapers: What do you think these are? Do they
look like newspapers we get now? What is the same? What is different?
Hardtack: Why would soldiers want to have these crackers in their haversacks? Did
Civil War soldiers eat meals like the ones our soldiers get now? What else would you
need to add to hardtack to get a balanced meal? This is just carbohydrates. You’d
need some protein – bacon, beans. Probably some peanuts in the south!
And, for any object, ask the important question: What can we learn from this? What can
this object tell us about the way people lived long ago?
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Teacher’s Guide to Artifact Inquiry
Sample questions to ask while modeling artifact “reading”
1. What kind of item do you have? Pick it up and feel it. Is it heavy or light?
2. What kind of material is it made of? Be specific. Artifacts may be made of several
materials. Try to list them all.
3. Does it have anything written on it? English? Other language? Read what you can on the
artifact to learn more about it.
4. Was it manufactured? Was it made by hand? Can you tell? How?
5. How was it used? Who was it used by? Where would it have been used?
8. Do we have or use anything similar today? If so, how is this object the same and how is it
9. Note those things that are different or strange or that you cannot identify or do not
And, perhaps, the most important question:
10. What can we learn from this object?
This last question is important because it helps us understand history, the story of human
life over time. There are many ways to research and analyze history. Reading books and
watching documentaries are great ways to learn history. But being able to handle actual
pieces of history (primary sources) gives students a unique opportunity to interact with
history in a physical, hands-on way.
When students reach a conclusion or gain an insight about history from studying
an artifact, they gain not just knowledge, but a material connection to the past
and the experience of discovery they cannot get from text books,
documentaries, or other secondary sources.
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With summary organizer
NAME: ___________________________
Write a few words about the artifact’s shape or color. What about texture? Is it rough
or smooth? Heavy or light? Look for any movable parts, anything printed, stamped or
written on the object. Record what you find out here:
A: What do you think it could be used for?
B: Who do you think used it?
C: Where do you think they were?
D: When do you think someone used this?
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Think about what you’ve noticed already about the artifact. Now put it together.
Answer these three questions and summarize what you have learned.
What does this object tell us
about technology of the time in
which it was made and used?
What does it tell us about the
life and times of the people who
made this and used it?
Do we have anything like
this now? Look around and
see if you can find
something similar.
A summary is a short paragraph telling the most important
things you have learned about this artifact:
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Northeast Georgia History Center Travel Trunk
Worksheet for Artifact Study with Fact/Question/Response
What IS this object? Do you know? Can you guess?
Write a sentence or phrase about what you think:
1) What materials were used to create this artifact? What went into it?
2) Are there any markings or writing on the artifact? List them here:
3) How do you think this artifact was used? ? Why would anyone need something like
4) Is this artifact one of a kind or do you think many were made just like this one?
5) Who would have used this artifact?
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6) What does the artifact tell you about the time in which it was made?
7) Can you think of anything you use now that is like this artifact?
8) What is your conclusion about this artifact? Write a sentence or phrase that would help
someone understand why this artifact is interesting:
This object is a:
I wonder if
I found out that:
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Whole class “now and then” synthesis
A. On the white board or chart paper, write: If you lived during the Civil War,
you would know….
Ask for some phrases to fill in the blank:
Some people who were fighting in the war
What battlefields looked like because you had seen pictures of them in a
All about railroads and wagons
People who got sick with bad diseases
B. Ask: If you lived during the Civil War, you would NOT know:
Think about all the things that kids didn‘t have then and all the things that
happened after the war was over:
I wouldn‘t know about cars and planes.
I wouldn‘t know about germs.
C. Ask: What do you think is the biggest difference between your life and the
lives of kids in the 1860s? Why?
 Pair and share for a few minutes to generate answers!
This type of open ended discussion can generate dozens of questions. Record them for future miniArtifact Analysis Worksheet
research projects using a Fact/Question/Response graphic organizer.
you think this object
is soldiers
made out
It was What
hard todo
How did
Look it up! They used signal
on theIsbattlefield.
during the
but new
it bone, pottery, metal, wood, stone, leather, glass, paper, flags
couriers carrying messages got
inventions like the telegraph
lost or lost the message.
let soldiers talk over long
distances when they couldn’t
I think it is made out of
see each other.
 During read alouds or sustained silent reading, kids can keep F/Q/R logs on their own and return
to their questions during the discussion.
 Post students’ completed F/Q/R organizers as a reference for other students
 Use F/Q/R logs to generate research questions.
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Lesson Plan: Timeline
― An essential understanding in the social studies, particularly history, is
chronology… In order for students to understand issues of continuity, change,
and cause and effect, they must know what events occurred and the order in
which these events occurred. … Significant events can be examined through
revolutions, progress, cause and effect.‖
 50 Social Studies Strategies for K-8 Classrooms
o Obenchain and Morris (2011)
This lesson plan is adapted from Chapter 46: Timelines.
One of the best ways to utilize the travel trunk materials is in the construction of a
student generated timeline. A timeline demonstrates student comprehension of an
essential understanding of social studies and is open to differentiation and elaboration.
This project produces a visible record of class work and can also serve as an anchor for
subsequent instruction.
Timelines are essentially graphic organizers. They can be written on a white board or
acted out with students. Timelines can be written onto index cards and placed in order
on a string or posted around the classroom as an ongoing year-long project. Trunk
materials can be used to research timeline events and to prompt entries on the timeline.
What do you need to make a timeline?
A starting point and ending point
Dates to investigate – think of them as hooks to hang history on
Vocabulary words: sequence, cause, effect, earlier, later, consequence
Essential Questions:
How does a timeline help us understand what happened in the past?
What events and people are essential on a timeline of the Civil War ?
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Students will create a correctly sequenced timeline of significant events during the years of the
Civil War. Students will be able to make inferences about
Cause and effect in the course of the war
The effect of the war on the lives of people, both civilians and soldiers
Teacher Preparation:
Decide on the form that the timeline will take:
o Poster style: Students, singly or in groups, report on an event or person and post
their research on a timeline that becomes a part of the classroom wall display.
o Digital: To incorporate technology, a digital timeline can include music and
o Single presentation: A ―living timeline‖ is made up of students holding artifacts
to illustrate the timeline element they are representing. They can ―wear‖ a year
or identifying information and answer questions about their choice.
Teaching Procedures:
o Determine the students‘ understanding of ―timeline‖. Review the school year
or a contemporary event such as a political campaign, in context as part of a
o Focus on the EQ: History is a line of many days. We can put them in order
just as you do your day at school. A timeline can tell us a lot about the past: what
came first, what one event did to affect another event, how people refine their
technologies over time, what happens when people make decisions to adapt,
change or resist.
o Relevance: Timelines are handy organizational tools for remembering key
events in the order that they happened. This is a skill that students will use when
recalling important terms and events, when writing DBQs and analyzing
information for research papers.
Method: Display the beginning and end dates of the timeline and assign or suggest
years/subjects/people that would be essential to the timeline. Review resources that describe
and illustrate the outbreak of the Civil War, the course of the war (major battles, events such as
the Emancipation Proclamation) and the effects on the homefront.
o Clarify the necessary elements of a timeline, including:
o Correct Dates
o Description of the document/image used in the timeline.
o Break into mixed ability groups or pairs.
o Explain that students will create contributions to the timeline.
o Check the dates/events for coverage.
o Encourage the use of items from the travel trunk, photographs, newspaper
headlines, examples of technological advances in the era. There should be both
primary source documents and illustrations incorporated into the timeline.
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Presentation and Closing
The timeline activity can be completed over the time spent on the Civil
War/Reconstruction unit in the classroom. It does not have to be completed in a single
class period! Every installation of the timeline should have its own presentation moment
however so that each group can show their work, answer questions and discuss their choices.
Groups display their contribution to the timeline (poster page, costumed tableau, entry
in a digital timeline).
o Each group should be able to explain how the students came to their conclusions.
Display the contribution in chronological order on the timeline.
o Each group must turn in a written or illustrated page about their conclusions.
Review and ask for feedback: How does a timeline help you answer the EQ?
o Did you see connections that you had not seen before?
Check for understanding before, during and after the lesson
o If you end the day with structured journal writing, ask students to summarize
what they observed while constructing the timeline. What do they know now that
they did not know when they began the activity?
o Some key characteristics of a successful timeline are: accurately reported events
(years, name of community), student‘s ability to narrate events on the timeline
and explain their importance and reason for inclusion.
The next ten pages show suggested formats for timeline pages.
Show them as examples for student groups who need a model for investigation
Post these suggestions on the timeline in chronological order, leaving space for student
Pre-teach the primary sources (photographs, newspaper headlines, diaries and journals)
by referring to the examples
Ask ―who is missing from this timeline who should be in it?‖ and ―do you think we need a
map to explain where these battles happened?‖ in order to spark student group work
Practice linking dates and events in ‗cause and effect‘ relationships:
o What did the secession of the states in the Deep South have to do with the attack
on Fort Sumter? [The states that seceded wanted to take control of Federal
arsenals and forts for their own purposes. Most of them were quickly subdued but
the commander of Fort Sumter refused to surrender.]
o What is the connection between the Battle of Antietam and the Emancipation
o What should be the FIRST event on the timeline? John Brown‘s raid on Harper‘s
Ferry? Abraham Lincoln‘s election?
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Civil War Timeline
Front page of Harper’s Weekly:
Headline --- The Georgia Delegation In Congress
January 1861
Why are these men
important in the
They will all leave
Washington DC
and join the
Confederacy. Some
will fight during the
Civil War in the
Confederate Army.
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Civil War Timeline
March 1861
Excerpt from ―The Cornerstone Speech‖ by Alexander Stephens
Alexander Stephens was born in Georgia and was elected to the United States Congress and
Senate before the Civil War. During the Civil War, he was the Vice President of the Confederate
States. He gave this speech in March, 1861, before the Confederate Army started firing on Fort
Sumter. He wanted to explain what was different about the Confederacy. He said for one thing
that the Confederacy believed in slavery and wanted to keep it going. He said that the Founding
Fathers had all been wrong when they believed that all men were created equal.
We are passing through one of the greatest revolutions in the annals of the world. Seven States
have within the last three months thrown off an old government and formed a new…
This new constitution or form of government constitutes the subject to which your attention will
be partly invited.…. The new constitution has put at rest, forever, all the agitating questions
relating to our peculiar institution African slavery as it exists amongst us... This was the
immediate cause of the late rupture and present revolution.
The prevailing ideas entertained by … most of the leading statesmen at the time of the formation
of the old constitution, were that the enslavement of the African was in violation of the laws of
nature; that it was wrong in principle, socially, morally, and politically. It was an evil they knew
not well how to deal with, but the general opinion of the men of that day was that, somehow or
other in the order of Providence, the institution would be evanescent and pass away….Those
ideas, however, were fundamentally wrong. They rested upon the assumption of the equality of
races. This was an error. It was a sandy foundation, and the government built upon it fell when
the "storm came and the wind blew."
Our new government is founded upon exactly the opposite idea; its foundations
are laid, its cornerstone rests, upon the great truth that the negro is not equal to
the white man; that slavery subordination to the superior race is his natural and
normal condition. This, our new government, is the first, in the history of the world, based
upon this great physical, philosophical, and moral truth.
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Civil War Timeline
April 1861
Bombardment of Fort Sumter, Charleston, SC
Telegram sent by Major Robert
Anderson, US Army describing the
bombardment of the fort and his
eventual surrender
Source: National Archives
Major Robert Anderson was the commander of an important piece of Federal property one mile
from Charleston, SC, in the city‘s harbor. The state had left the Union and claimed possession of
Fort Sumter and its cannon. Anderson was determined to hold the fort. Anderson‘s former
student at West Point, General Pierre Beauregard, commanded one of the artillery emplacements
that bombarded Fort Sumter for 36 hours before surrender. Anderson‘s response to the
Confederate siege of the fort is in this telegram. In 1865 Major Anderson would return to Fort
Sumter with the flag he had taken with him from the fort in the first days of the war. Four years
after he had left, he helped raise the flag of the restored Union above Fort Sumter again.
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APRIL 1861
The Albany (New York) Evening Journal,
April 11, 1861
Sumter Summoned to Surrender.
Refusal of Major Anderson to Comply.
Charleston, Thursday, April 11, 1861
A collision is hourly expected. Northern dispatches state than an attempt
will be made today to reinforce Fort Sumter in small boats, protected by sand
bags, the war vessels in the meantime to protect the landing party on Morris
Island. It is reported that Gen. Beauregard has demanded the evacuation of
Fort Sumter.
An opening on Fort Sumter is expected every moment. The Battery is crowded
with people in expectancy, and troops are pouring in. Business is suspended.
The Citadel Cadets are guarding the Battery with heavy cannon. Thousands are
waiting to see the attack commence. One thousand mounted men and two thousand
patrols, heavily armed, are guarding the city.
Major Anderson has refused to surrender. His reply is to the effect that to
do so would be inconsistent with the duty he owes to his Government.
The Macon Telegraph and News
War! War!! War!!!
We have undoubted reason to believe that firing has commenced on Fort Sumter.
The Charleston batteries opened on the Fort at 4 ½ o’clock, this morning.
Charleston, April 12—A brisk fire has been kept up all day, Anderson fires as if he
had more men than we gave him credit for. None of our troops seriously hurt. We
are making a breach in the fort. It must be ours.
Source: News in History website
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September 17, 1862
The Battle of Antietam was the result of General Robert E. Lee‘s first attempt to invade the
North. At the end of the day over 23,000 soldiers had been killed, wounded, captured or gone
missing. Photographers arrived at the site and began to record the destruction visible on the
landscape and the evidence of death in the field. For the first time Americans could see the
consequences of civil war in detail.
The battle was a setback for the South. Jefferson Davis had hoped that a significant Southern
victory would give the Confederacy international recognition. Instead the Federal victory at
Antietam gave President Abraham Lincoln an opportunity to claim a political victory. He had
been waiting for a significant Federal advance in order to issue the Emancipation Proclamation.
Soldiers Stand on the Burnside Bridge, September 1862
“The ability to capture a moment in time has fascinated us ever since an image was first
produced in 1839. First a novelty, then a powerful medium of information and emotion,
photography and photojournalism came of age during the American Civil War. No other
conflict had ever been recorded in such detail. Nowhere else is this truer than at
Antietam, the first battlefield photographed before the dead were buried.
It started with just a few, but by 1865 dozens of photographers were hauling glass plates
and volatile chemicals across the war-torn countryside. Today, because of their work, we
can still look into the faces of soldiers and visit the locations of tragic events.”
Source for text and image: Antietam National Battlefield website
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Emancipation Proclamation: Thomas Nast, Harpers Weekly, January 24, 1863
Thomas Nast‘s family immigrated to the United States from German in 1846 when he was six
years old. He grew up in New York City, home to large numbers of European immigrants,
political ferment and opportunity. In the 1850s New York was the American center for
newspapers, literary journals and book publication. All of these required illustrations and,
before photographic reproduction was technically feasible, employed large numbers of artists to
provide them. Thomas Nast created, in his career at Harpers Weekly (―Journal of Civilization‖),
the first popular images of Santa Claus, the Republican elephant and the Democratic donkey.
Just as important in the years of the Civil War were his sympathetic depictions of black
Americans moving from slavery to freedom and dramatic accounts of the cost of the war.
Ulysses S. Grant is supposed to have said, when asked who was the
foremost figure in civic life to have emerged in the course of the War: “I
think, Thomas Nast. He did as much as any one man to preserve the
Union and bring the war to an end.” His work conveyed both the
pathos and the meaning of the War to a large middle class Northern
audience, and struck a chord with them that words—other than those of
Abraham Lincoln—were not better able to do.
Morton Keller, The World of Thomas Nast
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1863 Resources of Southern Fields and Forests published
Francis Peyre Porcher, MD, an army surgeon during the Civil War, prepared a guide to botanical medicines
for his fellow practitioners and civilians struggling to cope with wartime shortages. Resources of the
Southern Fields and Forests was written in the hope that doctors could use substitutes for the medications
that had previously been imported into the American South. Porcher combed through the medical
literature in his library, consulted with fellow physicians and collected anecdotal information from
newspaper correspondents. He included hundreds of plants in his guide, most of which were native to the
South or naturalized to the region.
Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests was filled with knowledge gathered from a long tradition of
using botanical preparations to treat disease. For thousands of years people had turned to the green
wealth of the woods and garden to collect trusted remedies. Physicians in the 19th century learned botany
in medical school or at the side of their mentor; home medical practitioners used time honored recipes
collected and preserved in popular manuals for domestic use. By 1863, the discovery of practical
substitutes for silk, opium, Panama hats, coffee, China tea, indigo and mahogany (among hundreds of items
in short supply) was a matter of patriotic pride and dire necessity. With a blockade of ports and a slow
moving effort to establish southern laboratories, substitutes for drugs and medicines were desperately
needed by military and domestic patients during the war.
From Resources of the Southern Fields and Forests
Brief Notice of Easily Procurable Medicinal Plants to be Collected by Soldiers While in Service in any Part
of the Confederate States (excerpted):
Sassafras: Whenever a soldier suffered from measles, pneumonia, bronchitis, or cold his
nurse was directed to procure the roots and leaves of the Sassafras and a tea be made
with this.
Bene (Sesame): The planters and farmers should save and cure all the leaves to be used
in dysentery, colds and coughs among our soldiers.
Dogwood: Since the war, the bark has been employed with great advantage in place of
quinine in fevers. It is given as a substitute for Peruvian bark.
Bone-set: Drunk hot during the cold stage of fever and cold as a tonic. It is quite
sufficient in the management of malarial fevers that prevail among our troops.
Tulip Bearing Poplar and Willow: Supply a remedy for the fevers met with in camp.
Sweet Gum: The inner bark contains an astringent, gummy substance which if boiled in
milk will easily check dysentery or be used in tanning leather.
Blackberry Root: A decoction of the root will check profuse diarrhea of any kind. The root
of the Chinquapin is also useful.
Gentian, Pipsissewa: Our native tonics. Both aromatic and a diuretic, and therefore
selected in the convalescence from low fevers and dropsy.
Holly: The bark of the holly chewed, or a tea made from it, yields an excellent bitter
demulcent, very useful in coughs and colds
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1864 Primary Source: Stereoview Card showing General Ulysses Grant
Massaponax Church, Va. "Council of War": Gen. Ulysses S. Grant examining map held by Gen.
George G. Meade, May 21, 1864 (during Grant’s Wilderness Campaign)
Photograph by Timothy O’Sullivan (1840-1882), working with Matthew Brady
SOURCE: This photograph was taken during the Civil War. We think that it was important
enough to keep after the war because it is now in the Library of Congress.
OCCASION: The picture was created in 1864 when General Grant was trying to defeat the
Confederate Army in Virginia, near Washington DC. Grant is the man who is leaning over the
bench pointing at a map. Those are the other generals who are fighting with him and they have
parked the horses nearby. At the same time, in Georgia, General Sherman was fighting his way
to Atlanta. Things were getting hot in the Civil War.
AUDIENCE: We think this picture was sold to people on the homefront who wanted to know
what the war effort looked like and what General Grant was like. He was famous by then
because he was “Unconditional Surrender” Grant.
PURPOSE: This is a picture that tells people in the north not to worry because they have the best
generals fighting for them. They have a LOT of generals and they look like they are working
together to win the war. A picture like this would be good for someone to see that wanted to
see what the leaders of the army were doing to end the war.
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1864Primary Source: Soldier Journal
A View from the Ranks: The Civil War Diaries of Charles E. Smith, 32nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry
June - July 1864
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Stereoview of the Atlanta “car shed” – a building at the railroad station in the middle of town. This image
was produced by George Barnard, an army photographer who was part of General Sherman’s occupying
forces in Georgia. Barnard took the photograph in November 1864 as the army left Atlanta for Savannah.
Source: Library of Congress
Photographic evidence from the siege and surrender of Atlanta does much to counter popular myths about
General Sherman’s time in the city. When they arrived at the outskirts of Atlanta in July 1864, Federal artillery
units fired shells into the city center. Some buildings were damaged during the Battle for Atlanta but the
greatest destruction was done by the retreating Confederate forces. Under orders of John Bell Hood, departing
defenders burned anything that the incoming Union forces could use, including 80 box cars filled with
ammunition. The light of the burning supplies could be seen from Jonesboro on the night of September 1, 1864.
This photograph shows the railroad station in November, two months later. Many buildings are still standing,
evidence that General Sherman did not give orders to torch Atlanta immediately after he accepted the mayor’s
surrender. This building was demolished using a battering ram that broke the brick walls and dropped the roof
onto the floor below. Union forces had already destroyed several city landmarks to build defensive trenches
around the city during the two months they stayed in Atlanta. Civilians had been ordered to leave the town as
it was now a military outpost. Many homes and commercial buildings survived the army’s occupation.
Before leaving on the march south however, General Sherman did give orders to burn any Federal military
stores left in Atlanta. Eyewitnesses reported that fires got out of control, accidentally or intentionally, in the
central business district. As he looked back at Atlanta on the first morning of the march, Sherman could see
smoke rising from the city had captured.
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Source: Artist’s depiction of the March to the Sea
Engraving by Alexander Ritchie (1822–
1895) depicting Sherman's March
through Georgia. Ritchie based his
engraving on a painting by Felix Darley
(1822-1888). An engraving is made by
etching lines etched into a metal
plate. When the engraver puts ink
into the lines and presses the plate
onto paper, the lines form an image.
The engraver can then add color to
the engraving. This method allowed
artists to make many copies of their
Source: Library of Congress
WHO is in the picture? Federal soldiers are destroying railroad track. A woman
carrying a bundle is crossing the track and watching the soldiers. The officers are riding
on horses. One of them is using a telescope to see what is going on.
WHAT is in the picture? There is a burning building near the soldiers. In the front of
the picture there are rifles stacked on a barrel and knapsacks that the soldiers have put
down while the wreck the railroad. There is a farmhouse in the distance where more
soldiers are marching.
WHERE is this picture set? The scene is set in Georgia, south of Atlanta on the way
to the coast. There are mountains in the background and what looks like a cliff. Did the
artist ever visit Georgia?
WHEN was the image made? The artist was alive during the Civil War so he may
have heard about what soldiers saw on the March to the Sea and read newspaper stories
about the march. The engraver made the image about 1868, soon after the war ended.
WHY would someone make a picture of the March to the Sea? It would have
been very difficult to take photographs during the March to the Sea since the soldiers
were on the move. Artists could do a better job of producing ‗action scenes‘. People
wanted to know what this famous event was like so the artists were probably responding
to customers asking for this picture. Artists could make images like this and sell them to
former soldiers and people who were curious about the March to the Sea.
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Primary Source: Freedmen‘s Bureau Records
The federal Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and
AbandonedLands was established in 1865 and
placed under the direction of General O.O.
Howard to assist the newly freed slaves and
displaced people in the postwar South.
Branches of the agency were established in
major Southern towns to serve surrounding
counties; the Atlanta office covered Fulton,
Campbell and Milton (now part of Fulton),
Cobb, Fayette and Henry counties.
The agency was the first Federal organization to
offer social services. As former slaves sought
employment and shelter, tried to rebuild
families, and establish schools, they often
applied to the Freedman‘s Bureau for
assistance. Records kept by the Bureau show
the day-to-day challenges of life in the post-war
South as the devastated post-war states came to
terms with the effects of defeat.
Ordinary’s Office
The records of the Freedmen‘s Bureau
Labor Contracts between freedmen and
Gainesville, Hall County, GA
white planters
April 13, 1868
Applications for Food Rations and
Cochran, AM Ordinary
Reports of Clothing and Medicine
Reports from Freedmen‘s Schools
States that he instructed Mr. Turner to deliver up
the freed child to the parents of said child,
agreeable to instructions from my office and that
Turner has complied with my instructions.
Arrest and Court Trial Records
Hospital Records
Complaints Registered of Crimes
committed by and against freedmen
Northeast Georgia History Center
In Georgia, a Court of Ordinary handles questions
about wills and estates. The Freedmens’ Bureau
was involved in gaining custody of a formerly
enslaved child and returning the child to the
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PRIMARY SOURCE: Freedmen’s Bureau Records 1865
Work Contract recorded at the Freedmens Bureau – DeKalb County, GA 1865
Article of agreement made and entered into between James B. Robertson of the first part the former
owner of Freedmen of the other parts: Braselton, aged about 45 years, his children Malinda aged 12
years, Letta aged 9 years and Fanny aged 4; Fillis aged 33 and her three children, Jane 8, Marnie 4 and
Deek 1 year; Kitty about 60 years and Easter about 55 years and her children Charlie aged 20 and
Hannah aged 15 (very infirm); David aged 20 years, Austin aged 30. Wherefore I agree to give unto the
Freedmen named above…forty percent of the current crop of corn, wheat, peas and syrup and we the
Freedmen named above agree to stay on the farm and behave ourselves and work on as usual until the
crop is gathered and safely taken care of.
Lithonia, Georgia, August 13, 1865
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TIMELINE RECONSTRUCTION Primary Source: Loyalty Oaths
A Constitutional Convention meets in Atlanta to
establish a state government that recognizes civil
rights for former slaves as expressed in the 14th
amendment. Thirty-seven African-American
delegates are elected to serve in the convention.
Georgians wishing to vote for delegates the 1867
state constitutional convention were required to
swear that they were not former Confederates
before they could register to vote. Many former
slaves voted in Georgia for this first time during
this election.
Northeast Georgia History Center
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As directed by Congress, General
Pope registered Georgia's eligible
white and black voters, 95,214 and
93,457 respectively. An election
was held for delegates to another
constitutional convention, which
would meet from December 1867
into March 1868. General Pope
directed the convention to meet at
the Atlanta City Hall, which was
convenient to his headquarters,
since Milledgeville was considered
less accessible, and its press was
thoroughly anti-Republican.
Source: New Georgia Encyclopedia
Civil War in Georgia Travel Trunk
The State Capitol
moves from
Milledgeville to
Atlanta. The legislature
met in the unfinished
Kimball Opera
Building on Marietta
Street. It would
remain the state
capitol until the
current building was
completed in 1889.
Who Was Hannibal Kimball?
He was the man who renovated an old opera house to become Georgia’s first
capitol building in Atlanta. He was born in Maine and came to Atlanta after the
war to work with the Pullman railroad car company. While he lived in Atlanta
he built the city’s largest hotel, the Kimball House, and organized the first big
agricultural exposition in the city after the Civil War. People said businessmen
like Kimball were “carpetbaggers” who showed up in Atlanta just a suitcase in
order to make money as the city rebuilt. In Kimball’s case, he was part of the
rebuilding that brought conventions, visitors and even the legislature to town.
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July 15, 1870
Georgia is readmitted to the Union, last of the
Confederate states to acknowledge all of the
reconstruction amendments.
Based on the best available evidence, the above flag is a reconstruction of the pre-1879 Georgia state
flag as it would have appeared using the coat of arms from the 1799 state seal.
Office of the Secretary of State
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Lesson Plan:
Reading Civil War Photographs
Goal: Use primary resources to describe the forces engaged in the war (North and South) and
to recognize significant participants.
Materials: Civil War Photographs. Use copies of photographs from the trunk or
the Library of Congress website: and search in the index for Civil War
photographs . You can also go directly to
or the National Archives (NARA) photograph resources (see below)
The Selected Civil War Photographs Collection at the Library of Congress contains 1,118
photographs. Most of the images were made under the supervision of Matthew Brady, and
include scenes of military personnel, preparations for battle, and battle after-effects. The
collection also includes portraits of both Confederate and Union officers, and a selection of
enlisted men.
Each picture can tell a story or answer a question.
Example: This is downtown Atlanta in September, 1864. The building is the railroad station.
Q: Why was Atlanta a target for Federal
forces in the Civil War?
A: The railroads which met in the center of
the city made it an important shipping and
manufacturing location. Troops under
General Sherman had the goal of destroying
the railroad‘s ability to ship material to
Confederate forces and therefore defeat the
southern states. the Battle of Atlanta is a
turning point in the Civil War. The
Confederacy lost the resources of this
manufacturing center and the use of the
railroad systems which communicated at its
terminal station. The Federal victory in
Atlanta gave Abraham Lincoln‘s re-election
campaign a signal that the war could be won
by US armies, perhaps in a matter of months.
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Suggested Photograph Reading Process: For each photograph ask students
to follow the guidelines below. Students may work individually or in
groups, sharing the photographs.
Look closely at the photograph.
Describe the scene in the picture. Describe the people in the picture.
What expression is on the face of that person? (For younger students, ask ‗Are
they sad, mad, glad, or angry? Are they funny or serious?‘)
If you could step into the photograph, what would you be seeing, smelling,
If you could step
into the photograph, what
would you ask the person?
Write a caption for the photograph.
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Sources for Lesson Plans: National Archives
The NARA site is a gold mine of resources for working with primary
Start here for an introduction to the NARA collection for educators.
You can find lesson plans for reading photographs from the Civil War here:
Curated collection of NARA images from the Civil War here:
A NARA lesson plan on Matthew Brady photographs
Digitized images of Georgia during the Federal occupation made by George
Barnard and held at the Jonesboro branch of NARA:
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Photo Analysis Worksheet
Step 1. Observation
Study the photograph for 2 minutes. Form an overall
impression of the photograph and then examine individual
items. Next, divide the photo into quadrants (with a ruler or
another piece of paper) and study each section to see what
new details become visible. It’s important to take some time
to develop a good mental image of the photograph and
identify any objects, signs, buildings, transportation or other
Use the chart below to list people, objects, and activities
that you see in the photograph.
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Step 2. Inference
Based on what you have observed above, list three things
you might infer from this photograph.
Step 3. Questions
What questions does this photograph raise in your mind?
Where could you find answers to them?
Adapted from a worksheet designed and developed by the
Education Staff, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC
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3 National Archives Lesson Plan
Teaching With Documents:
Letters, Telegrams, and Photographs Illustrating Factors that Affected the Civil War
Trunk resources: Harpers Weekly newspapers
NARA documents available online
Robert E. Lee‘s letter resigning from the US Army
Message of Abraham Lincoln nominating US Grant
Sherman‘s telegram from Savannah, Dec 1864
Telegram from AL to Grant – ―hold on‖ August 1864
Brainstorming Activity
Direct students to list the factors that would be important in winning a battle or a war. These might include
leadership, resources, strategy, and social conditions. Assign students to rank their factors from most to least
important. Discuss with students the factors they identified, why they chose certain factors, and what
reasons prompted them to assign their ranks.
Document Analysis
Divide students into groups, and provide a copy of one of the documents to each group. Direct student
groups to analyze their documents using the Document Analysis Worksheet. Ask each group to decide how
the factors listed in Activity 1 are reflected in the document they analyzed. Ask a volunteer from each group
to describe their document to the class and explain which factor it illustrates.
Research and Presentation Activity
Refer students back to the list of factors they created in Activity 1 and discussed in Activity 2. Direct each
student to select one factor and do additional research on the effects of that factor on the course of the Civil
War. For example, if the student selected leadership, their research would focus on the leaders of the Civil
War. Direct students to report their findings to the class in a five minute oral presentation.
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Written Document Analysis Worksheet
___ Newspaper
___ Letter
___ Patent
___ Memorandum
___ Map
___ Telegram
___ Press release
___ Report
___ Advertisement
___ Congressional record
___ Census report
___ Other
___ Interesting letterhead
___ Handwritten
___ Typed
___ Seals
___ Notations
___ "RECEIVED" stamp
___ Other
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A. List three things the author said that you think are important:
B. Why do you think this document was written?
C. What evidence in the document helps you know why it was written? Quote from the document.
D. List at least two things the document tells you about life in the United States at the time it was written:
Designed and developed by the
Education Staff, National Archives and Records Administration, Washington, DC20408.
Northeast Georgia History Center
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Make a Museum!
Civil War Edition
Materials in the Civil War travel trunk can be displayed in the classroom
with museum-style labels written by students.
Supplement the trunk materials with student-constructed dioramas,
interpretive timelines, photographs of artifacts, maps and portraits.
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1) Begin with the vocabulary of museum work. Write on the board or post
the bold faced terms on a word wall and derive definitions for them in
the context of the travel trunk:
What is a museum?
o In a museum, people collect, organize, identify and take care of
things (also known as artifacts).
o The objects in a museum are on display so you can see them and
learn from them.
o Artifacts displayed in a museum are identified with some form of
text: a written label, an entry on a podcast, or an audio guide to
the museum.
Museums are not just cases full of stuff. Objects in a museum need
contexts and connections to tell their story.
o Museums use technology to interpret the artifacts on display.
Some museum include videos that show the context an object
might have been used in or record a curator (expert) talking
about the artifact.
o Exhibits include audio recordings of text so that visitors to a
museum can hear the label text as well as (or instead of) hearing
it. Museums can place an iPad or tablet in the exhibit with
detailed information about the objects in an exhibit.
The goal of a museum exhibit is to let the objects speak. In order to do
that, exhibit designers have to think about how to display an object,
how to protect it and how to help visitors make personal connections to
Do your students collect anything? The methods they use to assemble,
organize and protect their personal collections can give them an insight
into museum responsibilities.
What do you collect?
How do you organize your collection?
How do you take care of your collection? Do you leave your card
collection on the floor or do you put your cards in a box to protect them?
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Make a Museum Exhibit:
Creating a museum display will require your
students to summarize information and ask
evaluative questions about the artifacts they
A student generated museum exhibit is also a
meaningful form of assessment, connecting
your students’ learning with a ‘real world’
presentation of their comprehension.
If your museum display is in a high
traffic area, you might need this sign!
This museum was set up in the hallway
near the classroom door.
A: Brainstorm the THEME of the exhibit with the whole class
Ask: what story will the objects tell us?
Here are some suggestions:
o Chronological - year by year through the Civil War, highlighting
significant events and people
o Compare and contrast – what did the North and the South have in
common? What was different?
o What happened in Georgia during the war? What kind of primary
evidence do we have to tell us the story?
B: Working in groups, match artifacts to the theme of the exhibit.
o Every museum artifact should help tell the story of the exhibit.
o If the organization is chronological, for example, each artifact chosen
for “1861” should propel the story of that crucial year: Georgia’s
secession debate, the bombardment of Fort Sumter, first battles of
the war, homefront testimonies.
o List the objects the group has chosen and present it to the whole
class for constructive feedback: Explain what the item is, who would
have made it, written it, and used it during the war. How does this
artifact or document support other stories in the exhibit?
o Each group should present a collaborative summary statement for
the part of the exhibit for which they are responsible. This can
become part of the exhibit label text.
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C: Find a safe place to display the artifacts.
o How much room do you need to tell the story of the Civil War in a
comprehensive way? Look around the classroom for space.
Pushing tables against a wall gives you more display area.
Grouping desks into theme areas gives you a ‘museum in the
round’ experience.
o Clear table space; place the objects in order according to the
4: Organize the artifacts.
What do you need to help your visitors understand the significance of the
At the very least you need a label near each artifact, clearly stating what
the artifact is, what it is made out of, and how it was used.
5: Write labels for the exhibit.
Reproduction sewing kit for soldiers
Civil War soldiers were often marching or
staying in tent camps near the battlefield.
They were far away from any place to get
new uniforms. They carried sewing kits so
that they could fix rips and tears in their
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Label writing exercise adapted from the
Smithsonian Museum activity:
“Creating a Classroom Museum”
Comprehensive labels –Students, working in groups or individually, write
labels for the objects. In museums, the word "label" refers to the printed
information in an exhibition. The labels should include all the essential
information about the object and indicate why it was chosen for the exhibit.
IDENTIFY the object.
Explain what it's MADE OUT of. Animal, mineral, vegetable?
TELL WHO would have owned or used the object.
TELL WHY someone would want or need this object.
Point out any particular parts that the viewer should pay attention to
and explain why they matter.
Keep your label short. (Remember that exhibition visitors don't want to
spend all their time reading. Also keep in mind that exhibition space is
limited.) Three expanded points may be enough to cover all the prompts
listed above.
Place the label – on a folded card, laminated or otherwise displayed for
viewing – on your exhibit space and place the object with its label.
You’re ready to give a tour of the museum!
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Want to Learn More?
About Georgia’s Civil War Battles
27 Civil War battles were fought in Georgia. The following have information
about these battles:
Georgia in the American Civil War in Wikipedia has a list of battles with links to
other pages about each battle.
National Park Service site has brief summaries of the battles that are interpreted
in Georgia and the Andersonville Prisoner of War Memorial.
Civil War Album site is a commercial crowd sourced resource that archives
modern photographs of battlesites. Timeline
From the website: ―The Georgia Tourism division is proud to partner with the Georgia
Civil War Commission, Georgia Humanities Council, Georgia Historical Society, the TriState Civil War 150th Association‖. The site is a work in progress.
About 3-D photographs on Civil War Battlefields
The Civil War Battlefield Trust has a feature site – grab your red/blue 3D glasses
and see the sights:
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