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Civil War (1830-1865)


Students analyze the multiple causes, key events, and complex consequences of the Civil War.


Confederate States Map
Confederate States Map

Lloyd's map of the southern states showing all the railroads, their stations & distances, also the counties, towns, villages, harbors, rivers, and forts. It was taken in 1861. "Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1861 by J. T. Lloyd."

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Battle of Wilson's Creek
Battle of Wilson's Creek

Battle of Wilson's Creek, Aug. 10, 186, Union (Gen. Lyon), Conf. (Gen. McCulloch), 1893. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. This battle took place southwest of Springfield, Missouri. About 5,500 Union troops fought about 12,000 Confederates. Each side lost well over a thousand men killed, wounded, or missing. The two armies were literally decimated.

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Map of American Civil War in 1864
Map of American Civil War in 1864

Map of American Civil War in 1864. Attribution: Andrei nacu at en.wikipedia

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Confederate States Map
Confederate States Map

Lloyd's map of the southern states showing all the railroads, their stations & distances, also the counties, towns, villages, harbors, rivers, and forts. It was taken in 1861. "Entered according to act of Congress in the year 1861 by J. T. Lloyd."

press to zoom




  • Was the Civil War worth its costs?

  • Was it possible to have a peace of reconciliation after the Civil War?

  • Should the South have been treated as a defeated nation or as rebellious states? (a comparison of the presidential and congressional reconstruction programs)




"There is many a boy here today who looks on war as all glory, but, boys, it is all hell."

~General Sherman 1820 - 1891

August 11, 1880 




  • When government is destructive of the natural rights of men, the people have the right and duty to overthrow that government.

  • Failure to find a compromise leads to conflict.

  • Students will understand how the differences in resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war and Union victory.


From April 1861 to April 1865, a brutal civil war was fought between the Confederate States of America and the United States of America. The American Civil War is one of the most researched conflicts in modern history, yet many people still desire more knowledge about it.

The roots of this tragic conflict go back to the birth of the country. The founding fathers, for all their wisdom, could not solve all the differences between the original thirteen states.


The products of their labors, the Declaration of Independence and the U.S. Constitution, failed to totally define the relationship between the Federal Government and the States. The slavery question received no more than a partial and temporary solution.  Read more....


The civil War, Part 1:  Crash course...

In which John Green ACTUALLY teaches about the Civil War. In part one of our two part look at the US Civil War, John looks into the causes of the war, and the motivations of the individuals who went to war. The overarching causes and the individual motivations were not always the same, you see. John also looks into why the North won, and whether that outcome was inevitable.


The North's industrial and population advantages are examined, as are the problems of the Confederacy, including its need to build a nation at the same time it was fighting a war. As usual, John doesn't get much into the actual battle by battle breakdown. He does talk a little about the overarching strategy that won the war, and Grant's plan to just overwhelm the South with numbers. Grant took a lot of losses in the latter days of the war, but in the end, it did lead to the surrender of the South. 

8.72 Identify on a map the boundaries constituting the North and the South and delineate and evaluate the geographical differences between the two regions, including the differences between agrarians and industrialists.


The civil War, Part 2:  Crash course...

In which John Green teaches you how the Civil War played a large part in making the United States the country that it is today. He covers some of the key ways in which Abraham Lincoln influenced the outcome of the war, and how the lack of foreign intervention also helped the Union win the war.


John also covers the technology that made the Civil War different than previous wars. New weapons helped to influence the outcomes of battles, but photography influenced how the public at large perceived the war. In addition, John gets into the long term effects of the war, including the federalization and unification of the United States. All this plus homesteading, land grant universities, railroads, federal currency, and taxes.

8.73 Describe the influence of industrialization and technological developments of the regions, including human modification of the landscape and how physical geography shaped human actions-growth of cities, deforestation, farming and mineral extraction.


The election of 1860 & the Road to Disunion:  Crash Course...

In which John Green teaches you about the election of 1860. As you may remember from last week, things were not great at this time in US history. The tensions between the North and South were rising, ultimately due to the single issue of slavery. The North wanted to abolish slavery, and the South wanted to continue on with it. It seemed like a war was inevitable, and it turns out that it was. But first the nation had to get through this election.


You'll learn how the bloodshed in Kansas, and the truly awful Kansas-Nebraska Act led directly to the decrease in popularity of Stephen Douglas, the splitting of the Democratic party, and the unlikely victory of a relatively inexperienced politician from Illinois, Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln's election would lead directly to the secession of several southern states, and thus to the Civil War. John will teach you about all this, plus Dred Scott, Roger Taney, and John Brown.

8.74 Evaluate each candidate and the election of 1860 and analyze how that campaign reflected the sectional turmoil in the country.


Lincoln House Divided Speech, June 16, 1858...
8.76 Describe Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and his significant writings and speeches, including his House Divided speech in 1858, Gettysburg Address in 1863, Emancipation Proclamation in 1863 and inaugural addresses in 1861 and 1865.




Interactive:  Abraham Lincoln:  A Man of His Time, A Man for All Times

Comparison between Abraham Lincoln and Jefferson Davis

8.75 Explain the geographical division of Tennessee over the issue of slavery and secession, including Governor Harris, the secession convention vote of 1861, anti-secession efforts, and Scott County.



The Civil War in Four Minutes:  Union Leaders...
8.77 Explain the roles of leaders during the Civil War, including Ulysses S. Grant, Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and soldiers on both sides of the war, including Tennesseans David Farragut, Nathan Bedford Forrest and William Brownlow.



The Civil War in Four Minutes:  Soldier Life...
8.79 Cite textual evidence analyzing the life of the common soldier in the Civil War, including Sam Watkins and Sam Davis.







The news of Lee's surrender at Appomattox on April 9 spread quickly through the North. The impact of the announcement on a small town in upstate New York was typical - a mixture of unbridled joy and sorrow for those who lost their lives in the conflict




New Abraham Lincoln Quotes, Biography, Facts, Pictures, Speeches...



William Russell was a reporter for the London Times and kept a diary of his impressions as he covered the war in both the North and South. We join his account three weeks after Lincoln's inauguration. The Southern states have seceded and established the Confederacy but open warfare would not commence until April 12 when the Confederates bombard Fort Sumter in Charleston harbor. 

8.78 Describe African-American involvement in the Union army, including the Massachusetts 54th Regiment and the 13th U.S. Colored Troops in the Battle of Nashville.





The Valley Project details life in two American communities, one Northern and one Southern, from the time of John Brown's Raid through the era of Reconstruction.

Enslavement to Emancipation...

Tune in for this unprecedented television event tracing freedom's first steps in the Nation's Capital. "Enslavement to Emancipation" is an informative and compelling television documentary chronicling the history of the Compensated Emancipation Act of April 16, 1862, freeing the enslaved people of Washington, DC. Featured historians and experts describe the creation and history of the city's annual Emancipation Day celebration and our continuing struggle for full democracy in DC. The documentary also highlights the single largest attempted slave escape in U.S. history -- the daring and dramatic bid for freedom aboard a schooner called the Pearl. "Enslavement to Emancipation" recounts the heroic war-time contributions of what was then called the U.S. First Colored Troops, African American slaves-turned-soldiers fighting for the Union during the Civil War. 

Abraham Lincoln - African American Soldiers...

Watch a video biography of Abraham Lincoln and relying on African American Soldiers to fight for the Union during the Civil War.



Think about all of the decisions Abraham Lincoln had to make...would you have chosen differently?



Think about all of the decisions Abraham Lincoln had to make...would you have chosen differently?




Become a Historical Scene Investigator on this case...



A History Mystery...Select a character to learn more about each one.



An interactive exploration what it was like to be a  Civil War Soldier.




Take an opportunity to explore our nations' history.  Select from images and find out more details concerning it.  


Enjoy this interactive animated map showing troop movements and battles from the Civil War.


"Gone to Shiloh" by Elton John, Leon Russell and Neil Young...

Gone To Shiloh 

Gone to Shiloh is a song written by Elton John and Bernie Taupin about the American Civil War - Battle of Shiloh. It is written from the perspective of the Union and Confederate soldiers, (some of whom were under the age of 18), who fought in the battle and their sorrow of having to leave their families, homes and farms. The soldiers faced the uncertainty of whether or not they would ever return home to their loved ones again.  This cut; Gone to Shiloh also features vocals by Neil Young along with Leon Russell and Elton John.

The Battle of Shiloh was a major battle of the American Civil War. The battle was fought April 6-7, 1862 in southwestern Tennessee. The two-day battle of Shiloh was the costliest in American history up to that point in time. The Union casualties were 13,047, (1,754 killed, 8,408 wounded and 2,885 missing). The Confederate casualties were 10,699, (1,728 killed, 8,012 wounded, and 959 missing or captured). Both the Union and Confederate sides were shocked at the carnage at Shiloh. At the time, no one suspected that three more years of such bloodshed remained in the American Civil War and that eight larger and bloodier battles were yet to come.

Most of the photographs of the young Civil War soldiers in uniform are from the Liljenquist Family Collection within the United States Library of Congress.

8.81 Assess the impact of the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln on both the North and the South.




Gettysburg Address, 1863...

Abraham Lincoln presenter John Mansfield gives impromptu talk at the monument in Gettysburg, Pennylvania, and recites the Gettysburg Address. John Mansfield is a Nashville-based LIncoln presenter who appears in the 2008 film "Being Lincoln: Men With Hats", an interesting look at Lincoln and the men today that present "his story" to people of all ages.


An interactive Battlefield Tour!


An 1861 cartoon map illustrating Gen. Winfield Scott’s Anaconda Plan.

Library of Congress Geography and Map Division Washington, D.C. (Digital File Number: g3701s cw0011000)

8.80 Trace the critical developments and events in the war, including geographical advantages and economic advantages of both sides, technological advances and the location and significance of the following battles:





Humorous skit on the legend of General Jackson.

Abraham Lincoln: "Everybody Loves Abraham Lincoln" | SUNG HISTORY

He might be the most beloved President in US history, but that doesn't mean he had it easy.

Primary Documents and Supporting Texts to Read: excerpts from the “House Divided” speech in 1858, Gettysburg Address in 1863, Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, and Inaugural Addresses in 1861 and 1865, Abraham Lincoln; The Respective of Co. Aytch, Sam Watkins
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