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Unit 6 - The Civil War (War or Rebellion)

  • Unit Question - What is power and how is it gained, used, and justified?
  • Historical Context – Civil War, Abraham Lincoln, Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee
  • Final Assessment – Unit Exam - Civil War Test

Start of The Civil War

Though Fort Sumter was the official start of a war in which the federal armies suffered more than 630,000 casualties and the Confederates some 483,000 (including 359,000 dead on the federal side and 258,000 dead on the Confederate), it was not the first unofficial battle of the war. When the framers of the Constitution gathered in Philadelphia, they generally punted the slavery question to future generations, agreeing to both the three-fifth compromise (in which slaves were counted as three-fifths of a person for representation, thereby increasing the political clout of the slaveholding South) and prohibiting Congress from prohibiting the slave trade for 20 years; further compromises—the Missouri Compromise of 1820, the Compromise of 1850, and the Kansas-Nebraska Act—all attempted to bridge the gap between North and South and forestall the possibility of Civil War.  Read more: Encyclopedia Britannica: Fort Sumter and the “Start” of the American Civil War

Read p.17-22 in your War, Terrible War mini-book and answer the Start of the Civil War questions in your COMP books: 

  1. Why did people from the North and South believe the war would be short?
  2. What advantages did the North have over the South?
  3. Where was the first shots fired in the Civil War?  Why this location?
  4. Where was the first official battle of the Civil War?
  5. How did the Confederate General T.J. "Stonewall" Jackson get that cool nickname?
  6. It didn't take long for the Union (North) and Confederate (South) armies to realize that this war was going to be different.  How was this war going to be different from the Revolutionary War (almost 90 years earlier) and the recent wars in Europe?

The Two Harriets

Harriet Beecher Stowe's most famous introduction took place on or around Thanksgiving Day, 1862, when she was introduced to President Abraham Lincoln, who allegedly greeted her with these memorable words,
"So you're the little woman who wrote the book that made this great war!'"


Read p. 23-33 in your War, Terrible War mini-book and refer to the Slavery Renewed / Beginning of the Abolitionists Movement section (from the 7th Grade Unit 5 tab) to answer The Two Harriets questions in your COMP books:

  1. What was the name of Harriet Beecher Stowe's famous book that changed the course of history?
  2. Describe the first images of slavery Harriet Beecher Stowe saw as young lady.
  3. Where did Harriet Beecher Stowe get her stories from that become part of Uncle Tom's Cabin?
  4. Why was Harriet Tubman commonly referred to as Moses?
  5. What was Harriet Tubman's childhood like?
  6. How did Harriet Tubman became an educated young adult without an education?
  7. How many slaves is Harriet Tubman said to have saved using the Underground Railroad?
  8. How did the actions of Harriet Tubman help destroy the myths of slavery?
  9. What did Harriet Tubman do during the Civil War?

BONUS:  Looking for additional resources, including a free version of Uncle Tom's Cabin?  See Slavery Renewed / Beginning of the Abolitionists Movement section (from the 7th Grade Unit 5 tab).

Civil War Presidents: Abraham Lincoln & Jefferson Davis

Confederate President 

Jefferson Davis

"The war began in my front yard and ended in my front parlor."
- Wilmer Mclean  NOTE:  True story! 


Read p. 34-47 & 59-63 in your War, Terrible War mini-book and answer the Civil War Presidents: Abraham Lincoln & Jefferson Davis questions in your COMP books: 

  1. Where was Abraham Lincoln born?  What was his childhood and education like growing up?
  2. How large was the town of Chicago around the time of Abraham Lincoln's move to Illinois?
  3. Who taught Abraham Lincoln while in New Salem, IL?
  4. What was Abraham Lincoln's experience in the Army?
  5. Abraham Lincoln's first political office was as an IL State Representative in the IL General Assembly.  What was the IL vote on supporting slavery?  What did Lincoln mean by, "The institution of slavery is founded on both injustice and bad policy"?
  6. Abraham Lincoln's political opponent was a Jeffersonian Democrat, Stephen A. Douglas.  What was Stephan A. Douglas' stance on the issue of slavery?
  7. How did the Lincoln-Douglas debates propel Lincoln to the office of the President of the United States?
  8. What was President Lincoln policy on slavery at the start of his presidency?
  9. What did the two Civil War Presidents have in common?
  10. What did, then President Zachary Taylor, mean by Senator Jefferson Davis was the "chief conspirator"?
  11. Before Abraham Lincoln could take the office of the President, which states seceded from the Union?
  12. With the secession of several southern states, who was elected or given the job of Confederate President?
  13. The first Confederate capital as Montgomery, Alabama, but it quickly moved to Richmond, Virginia.  So, why Richmond, Virginia?
  14. How did West Virginia become the 35th state?  
  15. What were the four border states the remained undecided? NOTE:  For an idea of how bad the situation got in the border states, try this: Civil War Trust: Guerrilla Warfare HOMETOWN HEROES AND VILLAINS
  16. What happened on December 20, 1860 in South Carolina?  HINT: The Civil War has begun!  

BONUS:  Abraham Lincoln is often called the "Great Emancipator" for his Emancipation Proclamation and his freeing of the slaves, but is it accurate?  To help you decide try this: BBC: Abraham Lincoln: Saint or Sinner? (Full Documentary)
The Generals:
Ulysses S. Grant & Robert E. Lee 
By the end of the Civil War, most Americans considered either Robert E. Lee or Ulysses S. Grant to be a hero. The reputations of these two generals, however, would wax and wane over the next 150 years. The time has come for a reassessment of these two men, on whom fell the greatest responsibility for the survival or disintegration of the United States.  Read more: Virginia Historical Society: Lee & Grant

Read p. 63-75 in your War, Terrible War mini-book and answer The Generals: Ulysses S. Grant & Robert E. Lee questions in your COMP book: 

  1. Who was given command of the Union Army at the start of the Civil War?  Unlike most from this era, in fact many laughed at him, but why did this general believe the war would take at least 2-3 years to defeat the South (Confederacy)? 
  2. What was the name of General Winfield Scott's plan to "squeeze" the Confederate Army?  How did the plan work?
  3. Why did President Lincoln say, "If General McClellan isn't going to use his army, I'd like to borrow it for a time"?  
  4. President Lincoln's patience with Generals like McClellan, Fremont, Burnside, Halleck, Hooker, Pope and Meade was almost completely diminished before a General from the Mexican War reappeared.  Who was he?  What was he doing before the Civil War?
  5. Who was Ulysses S. Grant's West Point friend and also the type of General, President Lincoln was looking for?
  6. Who was "Stonewall" Jackson?  Why was he so beloved by his Confederate soldiers and a hero to Southern civilians (excluding African Americans)?  HINT:  Refer to the Start of Civil War section (above) for further reference. 
  7. What was Confederate General Robert E. Lee's connection to founding fathers George Washington and Patrick Henry?
  8. Why did the South have better Generals than the North?  None more highly recommended than General Robert E. Lee and President Lincoln knew it and offered General Lee command of the Union Army, General Lee turned down the Union President and led the Confederate Army.  Why did General Lee choice the Confederacy over the Union?  How might the war have been different if General Lee would have chosen the Union?  HINT:  Try this HNN: What If Robert E. Lee Accepted Command of the Union Army?
  9. What was the impact of West Point as military training for the Civil War?  Who was the most notable of West Point graduates?  Explain. HINT:  Try this West Point Classmates – Civil War Enemies PDF
  10. Compare and contrast Ulysses S. Grant and Robert E. Lee.  NOTE:  List at least five facts about Grant and Lee.  HINT:  Try this Mr.Kash: Grant & Lee
  11. As discussed in number 8, the South had superb generals, but what did the South lack that eventually will prove to be too much to overcome?  HINT:  Start reading p. 73
  12. Why did the Confederate leaders believe England would help their cause of independence?  When did Great Britain abolish slavery?
  13. What other problems did Confederate President Jefferson Davis have?  HINT:  Remember the Articles of Confederation?  Refer to the Constitution Test Prep section (Unit 4) for further reference.  

Life During Wartime & The Emancipation Proclamation

The life of a soldier in the 1860's was difficult and for the thousands of young Americans who left home to fight for their cause, it was an experience none of them would ever forget. Military service meant many months away from home and loved ones, long hours of drill, often inadequate food or shelter, disease, and many days spent marching on hot, dusty roads or in a driving rainstorm burdened with everything a man needed to be a soldier as well as baggage enough to make his life as comfortable as possible. There were long stretches of boredom in camp interspersed with moments of sheer terror experienced on the battlefield. For these civilians turned soldiers, it was very difficult to get used to the rigors and demands of army life.

Read p.80-116 in your War, Terrible War mini-book and answer the Life During Wartime & Emancipation Proclamation questions in your COMP books:

  1. What was the median (close to average) age of soldiers during the Civil War?  Why did soldiers under 18 years old want or feel the need to join the conflict?  How did they do it?
  2. Why did volunteers diminish as the war progressed on both sides of the war?  Why did some people call it, "a rich man's war and poor man's fight"?
  3. What sport evolves into a national sport and later the national pastime?  HINT: Try this Civil War Trials: Baseball and the Civil War
  4. How did new military technology evolve and create a modern warfare and death on a scale never seen before?  NOTE: Give two examples. 
  5. Life during wartime for President Lincoln must have been stressful beyond comparison, but there was another side of President Lincoln.  What was Abraham Lincoln like as a father?  HINT:  To measure President Lincoln's stress, try this:  Longecity: Abraham Lincoln aging stress
  6. What did General McClellan of the Union decide to name his army?  What made General McLellan's army unsuccessful? 
  7. What happened to General "Stonewall" Jackson in May of 1863 in Chancellorsville, Virginia?  What was the response for civilians in the South?
  8. Why did President Lincoln order the Union navy to blockade of Southern ports?  How did the Confederacy respond?
  9. McClellan's timid nature, say very little military success as the Union General of the Army of the Potomac, but he did win the battle of Antietam.  How did he do it?  Why did McClellan watch the Confederate rebels retreat?  HINT: Luck!  
  10. What famous speech in September of 1862 changed the Civil War from a fight to save the Union to a battle to end slavery?  Was it legal?  If so, why?  If not, please explain.  HINT: Try this Civil War Talk: Was the Emancipation Proclamation legal?
  11. What did Abolitionist, Frederick Douglas, mean by, "lift the war into the dignity of a war for progress and civilization"?
  12. During the first few years of the Civil War, why weren't African Americans allowed to fight for the North and the South?  Why did African Americans want or feel the need to join the war?  What are contrabands?
  13. Eventually both sides will allow for African Americans to join the war.  What did General Howell Cobbunder General Robert E. Lee's command, mean by, "If slaves will make good soldiers, then our whole theory of slavery is wrong"?
  14. What was life like for civilians who encountered a marching army?
  15. Why did General Robert E. Lee decide to invade the North?  What was the result?
  16. What was Pickett's charge?  Who won the battle of Gettysburg?

Gettysburg Address & Sherman's March to the Sea


Sherman’s March to the Sea is the name commonly given to the Savannah Campaign by Maj. Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman taking place from November 15, 1864 to December 21, 1864, which followed the successful Atlanta Campaign. After leaving the decimated city of Atlanta on November 16, Sherman led his troops on a destructive campaign which concluded with the capture of the port city of Savannah on December 21. It is known for its boldness as well as the sheer destruction inflicted on the south, both to its industry as well as military targets, effectively destroying the Confederate’s capacity to wage war.  Read more:  History.net: Sherman's March to the Sea


Read p.117-129 in your War, Terrible War mini-book and answer the Gettysburg & Sherman's March to the Sea questions in your COMP books: 

  1. Why didn't the battle of Gettysburg put an end to the Civil War?
  2. What major battle did General U.S. Grant win along the Mississippi countryside?
  3. How does U.S. Grant get the awesome nickname "Unconditional Surrender"?  HINT: Try this Civil War Trust-Ulysses S. Grant: The Myth
  4. What was the scene like when President Lincoln returned to Gettysburg to deliver the Gettysburg Address?
  5. Why was favor for the war diminishing in the North in 1863?  How does this prolong the Civil War?
  6. Why did President Lincoln believe his speech was a failure?
  7. How did what General U.S. Grant learned during the battle of Vicksburg, eventually help bring an end to the Civil War?
  8. Why did so many Confederate soldiers desert the Confederate army?
  9. Why did Union soldiers under the command of General William Tecumseh Sherman call him "Uncle Billy?
  10. What is Sherman's March to the Sea?  What was life like for Southern citizens along General Sherman's "total war"?  How did the former slaves in South greet General Sherman?  HINT: Try this PBS: The Truth Behind ’40 Acres and a Mule’

End of the Civil War 

Assassination of President Lincoln


At 7:22 a.m., Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the United States, dies from a bullet wound inflicted the night before by John Wilkes Booth, an actor and Confederate sympathizer. The president's death came only six days after Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered his massive army at Appomattox, effectively ending the American Civil War.  Read more: History.com: President Lincoln dies


Read p.130-149 in your War, Terrible War mini-book and answer the End of the Civil War & Assassination of President Lincoln questions in your COMP books: 

  1. At the time of President Lincoln's re-election what was the situation regarding the Civil War?
  2. What was President Lincoln's plans for "Reconstruction"?  NOTE: If you look closely to the picture on p.132 you can find, President Lincoln's assassin, John Wilkes Booth, in the balcony.  Can't find him?  Try this: President Lincoln on Pinterest
  3. Did Union Generals Grant and Sherman agree with President Lincoln's views of Reconstruction?  How do you know?
  4. Why did Confederate General Robert E. Lee suggest to Confederate President Jefferson Davis that is was time to leave the Confederate capitol of Richmond, Virginia?  What was the reaction to fall of Richmond for those living in the North?
  5. What did President Lincoln do upon entering the recently conquered Confederate capitol of Richmond, Virginia? 
  6. Although, Richmond had fallen (see image below), President Lincoln and General Grant were afraid that the Confederate Rebels would head for the Appalachian Mountains to retreat and start a guerilla warfare.  In fact, that is precisely what Confederate President Jefferson Davis had suggested to his generals.  Robert E. Lee knew better, knowing the war was effectively over.  Where does Robert E. Lee surrender his army to U.S. Grant?  HINT: See Wilmer Mclean's quote found in the Civil War Presidents: Abraham Lincoln & Jefferson Davis section (above).  
  7. What was the symbolism of Ulysses S. Grant allowing Robert E. Lee to keep his sword?
  8. What three Constitutional amendments were passed as a result of the Civil War?
  9. You have learned about Lincoln, Grant, and Sherman's views of Reconstruction, but what did Lincoln's cabinet and members of Congress think about Reconstruction of the South?
  10. What did the Abolitionists do following the end of the Civil War?
  11. President' Lincoln's assassin was the famous actor John Wilkes Booth. Legend has it that John Wilkes Booth said, "Sic semper tyrannis".  What does it mean?  What were the motives of John Wilkes Booth?  HINT: Try this Teaching History: Booth's Reason for Assassination
  12. Who became President after Lincoln's assassination?  Why did former Confederate General George Pickett say, "The South has lost her best friend and protector in this her direst hour of need"?  Was he right?
  13. Where and how was John Wilkes Booth captured?  HINT: Try this History.com: Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth dies