The Civil War in American History I

January 25, 2013


The American History I class has been studying the Civil War this month and one of the resources that we have been utilizing is the website  This website animates the major battles of the eastern & western theaters of the war. Each animation shows how each division or brigade moved on the battlefield to the sounds of fighting during the attack.  Information boxes appear as the timeline progresses that provide details of the military officers in charge as well as the decisions they made during the battle.  In addition, their movements are superimposed onto a map of the battlefield & they show the terrain, roads, railroads & towns of the region so you get a full picture of how the battle played out.  To further explain each battle, there are introductory segments that review how the war had progressed as well as reviewing those leaders making the decisions for both the Union & Confederacy.

The website is being used in conjunction with reading primary resources from the Library of Congress to give students a true first hand picture of how the war was experienced by soldiers, slaves & those on the home fronts.  By using the site in chronological order, students have learned how the war, and how it was fought, influenced the political decisions of President Lincoln.  Students read the Emancipation Proclamation & how Lincoln arrived at the decision so we could discuss how the war influenced its necessity.  In addition, students have had access to the Smithsonian's online exhibit, 'The Price of Freedom', that allows students to view & read about many primary artifacts from the era.  Video clips from as well as scenes from the movie Gettysburg have also provided visual reinforcement of how the soldiers had to fight the war.  Next week, we will be looking at the battles of the year 1864 & how the war impacted the presidential election of 1864.  Political cartoons from the era will be analyzed to examine what the issues were during the campaign & how the election impacted the decisions of the Union generals.  We will be able to see how the military strategy played out when viewing the animations of the last major campaigns of the war.

If you are a Civil War buff, or just interested in history,  I encourage you to log on and click on any of the twenty battles that they have animated at