Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute Home

Common Threads Weave Together the Lives of Civil War Women

Nancy Taylor Skolozdra

Contents of Curriculum Unit 97.03.08:

To Guide Entry

This unit is designed to illuminate the remarkable strength and dedication of women during the years of the Civil War. This study provides the background information necessary to allow students in the middle and upper elementary grades to view a tapestry woven with the remarkable, vivid, lives of slaves, spies, abolitionists, nurses, soldiers, mothers, daughters, teachers, and protectors of home and ideals, during a turbulent period in American history.

This study reveals the way women have influenced and even changed the course of society by their experiences, as documented in diaries, letters, and children’s literature. A strong evidence of commonality is disclosed in the written expressions and feelings of these women. This written evidence discloses a solidarity which alters the value of women in the American Culture. No longer were women seen as the weaker sex. They defied this Victorian image, demonstrating a strength to be reckoned with. Women began their organized move toward equality as the Civil War offered them opportunities to display courage and resourcefulness.

To provide an organized approach to the vastness of the data discovered and provided as part of this unit of study I have structured my research and subsequent student lessons and activities into three interwoven categories. I. The lives of Euro American women. II. The lives of African American Women. III. The times as seen through the eyes of the female child.

At the center of each group the limelight will be on a limited number of documented lives which parallel the uncounted experiences of many. An educator facilitating this unit will be equipped with opportunities in each section for widening personal perspectives as well as expanding the hearts and minds of his or her students. A final culminating section will weave the individual threads, in their three hues, into a strong, beautiful, interwoven fabric.

to top

Section I. The Lives of Euro-American Women

The EuroAmerican women, whether they made their home in the north or the south contributed greatly to the advancement of their respective causes, joining the war effort by taking on unheard of functions. The war opened up challenging opportunities for women in vocations that before were only accessible to men. Women went into nursing, spying, and even soldiering. These unusual roles allowed women to demonstrate their strengths and abilities by moving outside the boundaries of cultural expectations for females.

Women during the Civil War also carried on the daily responsibilities of the farm or plantation. They maintained their homes and families while husbands and sons fought and died for their beliefs. Women faced life-style changes which they never dreamed they would have to endure to accomplish the minimum levels of survival for themselves and their families.

EuroAmerican women contributed and sacrificed for the respective sides they were devoted to. They fought the war just as strongly as their male partners; however for them a clear cut victory or defeat was blurred by the many newly adopted responsibilities which gave their image in the American culture a new look.

Elementary children regardless of gender love action. They sit engaged while reading a story where they must always predict what might happen to the main characters. Suspense and adventure are always an asset to any unit of study. Euro-American women took great risks to pass along very accurate and detailed information to the Union and the Confederate armies. The stories of such women will certainly aid in bringing the Civil War into the classroom and in making it real and personally intriguing for the students.

An inquiry by students into the lives of female spies will lead them to Sarah Emma Edmonds. Young historians will be able to connect with Sarah, a Canadian, who ran away from home at sixteen to escape a marriage her father had arranged. A skilled horsewoman who grew up hunting and fishing with her brothers, she will draw even the most restless male student into a study of the Civil War.

The children will learn tales of how Sarah became Franklin Thompson. They will learn of her involvement as a soldier and spy for the Union Army. They will discover how, disguised as a black slave, she helped to build a fort for the Confederates, all the while taking notes on the layout of the fort and all its guns. Pictures of Sarah as Franklin Thompson and pictures of her after the war, married and the mother of three children provide an interesting way to illustrate a woman moving out of society’s boundaries for her to forge new pathways for her gender.

To balance the heroic life of Sarah Emma Edmonds the Confederate forces had their Rose O’Neal Greenhow. With her life students will have another opportunity to witness women reaching beyond their traditional roles to help promote the success of their convictions.

The life of Rose O’Neal Greenhow can be explored using both written and electronic media. This gives students experiences in research and discovery through several pathways. Thanks to the on-line Archival Collection at Duke University the children can learn about her experiences and feelings through her first hand correspondences. They can actually view the letters she wrote to Alexander Boteler, Francis P. Corbin, and Jefferson Davis relating to her activities on behalf of the Confederate States of America. They can read actual newspaper clippings about Greenhow’s imprisonment in 1861 and death in 1864. The on-line information will serve as a catalyst for further reading and research about her life through use of the list of titles of other books about “Wild Rose’s” life supplied by the special Collections Library, Duke University.

A letter dated July 16, 1863 to Jefferson Davis shows how important a place Rose took in the society of Washington D.C. and the Confederacy. The children can witness in Greenhow’s own writing information about her meeting with General Robert E. Lee in Richmond. They can gain an understanding of a country divided, of a people struggling to hang on to a way of life by reading Rose’s description of a city booming with gun fire. One can feel the panic in her words as she relates to Jefferson Davis about the cars laden with cotton being sent to the interior to protect them from the hands of the Yankees. Feel the distress in General Beauregard as Greenhow writes about the Yankee’s position of Morris Island and the lack of slaves and man power to fortify Charleston against the union forces. One can feel the tension as Rose describes the finger pointing of the Confederates as to who was to blame for the current state of affairs in the battle tallies. This letter and other pieces in the Duke Collection are utilized in this unit to engage all children, making history come alive for them. They show how strong a role women played in connecting together the pieces of war always stretching their positions in the community to support their own beliefs. The students experiencing these diaries and letters will gain an appreciation for the importance of using writing as a way of documenting and informing.

This study will include lessons and activities to complement and enhance the writing skills of the children. What better way to teach the personal narrative writing genre objective of the third grade then through examples and experimenting with the creation of personal diaries and letters.

Having taken time to focus attention on the exciting lives of women who became fulfilled as they altered their daily purposes to actively participate in the war we now must introduce into our study the large group of Euro-Americans who stayed at home and endured great hardship and grief trying to maintain some semblance of a normal life. These women fought the battle on the homefront with devotion and fortitude while praying for the safe return of loved ones.

With a large percentage of the men away in the service the work load became realigned out of necessity. Women took on jobs in factories, and the physical labor of running farms or managing plantations. They also entered the traditionally male-dominated field of teaching. These women receiving less pay for the same jobs as the men had were caused to alter their lifestyles in order to cope with the high prices and shortages produced by the war. Women’s standard of living went down drastically as every day was a challenge to get through using old methods of doing daily activities and substituting one thing for another.

It is these day-to-day routines of women that will be brought into view for the children as they are given a chance to experience diaries of four women who were part of a project in the late 1930’s where WPA explored rural America interviewing people about their lives and history. These four women survivors of the Civil War period in South Carolina, in their own words, give accounts of the life of women during the war. These accounts are part of the Library of Congress American Memory Project and can be explored by students learning to use the on-line computer in the multi-media center of the school.

Mrs. Mary Lipscomb tells of living in Charleston while it was being shelled by Yankees. She shares how her hotel room was shot through. She relates the difficulty she had in leaving her husband fighting while she left the city by train. One can’t help but feel the stress and pain in her voice as she relates to her interviewer her experiences with Yankee soldiers who came to her plantation, killing the animals,and taking away her favorite beautiful young mare. The children will hopefully be able to gain a personal value for peace over war. This study will hopefully give children a better understanding of the fact that war affects all people not just the men fighting but permanently scars the hearts and minds of all it touches no matter which side of the fence you are defending or where you are placed around the fence.

During the war Union was as gay on the surface as ever. When the soldiers came home on furlough, wounded, maimed, and filthy, the women took them and cleaned them up, patched their ragged clothes and had parties and dances for them. The women of Union could and did dance and sing and make merry with aching and bleeding hearts to keep up the spirits and courage of their men folks who came home so discouraged and blue in the face of defeat. The Union soldiers outnumbered ours four to one toward the last. Women in Union did everything. They never gave up and they never stopped making much with nothing.(Library of Congress, American Memory Project)

These words of Mrs. Ida Baker who was interviewed by Caldwell Simms, Union, S.C. say it all! The strength, the pain, the dedication, the sacrifice and passing of the only way of life that many women had known; how very heavy were these times for all people of the United States of America. This interview included in this study will help the children understand the commonality of all people.

Ms. Baker talks of Christmas without the usual presents. There was no merchandise in the stores or very little money to purchase goods if there was. What child can not relate to the feelings and experiences of Christmas? A comparison of Christmas during the Civil War and Christmas customs of the late twentieth century will be a part of this unit accomplished through the interview, children’s books and field trips. The objective, activity and project will be attached in the section designed specifically for that purpose at the end of this section.

Spelling bees were a part of the social life of the Civil War era. Mrs. Bowers in her interview explains the events in detail. She talks of “how the poorest speller had to put a wreath on the hand of the best speller.”(American Memory Project) Students will design and participate in a spelling bee patterned after what they discover when they read about Mrs. Bower’s experiences attending and participating in these happenings.

Mrs. Bowers talks about sewing contests, candy pullings and other ways that women used to gain relief from the stresses and losses of war. She talks about how at six years she sat on the lap of a Union Captain begging him not to burn her house down. Children will be able to relate to the feelings of Mrs. Bowers and again the Civil War will not be just a piece of history that they are connected to only during Black History Month.

The fourth southern women whose interview will be located and explored will be Mrs. Devereux, the Mistress of Magnolia Hall. Her interview is very detailed and contains a great deal of family history. This piece will round out the look at Euro-American women’s daily lives as illustrated by the on-line Library of Congress American Memory Project. The students will be able to gain a southern perspective of the day -to-day operations of a cotton plantation and the extremes of activities between the white plantation owner’s family and the black slave and free black workers’ families.

The last area of this section of the unit will be based on Godey’s Magazine and Lady’s Book. Actual copies of the book are available and will be a great tool to use to show children what a magazine similar to today’s Good Housekeeping or Ladies Home Journal looked like during the mid 1800’s. The children will be able to see actual pictures of houses and the plans to build them. They will be able to see patterns to make clothing and the styles and methods of the day. They will be able to read stories, both fiction and nonfiction written for and by women of that period. Period poetry and music will be a part of this look into the past for today’s children through the use of this authentic piece of history. Detailed lessons in ways to use this book will be located with the other activities for the exploration of this section.

to top

Section II. The Lives of African-American Women

This unit has developed a vivid picture of strong white women stretching their traditional roles and forging new pathways for women which have altered society permanently . It is now time to focus in on the women who experienced a pain which pierced so deeply that the heart of a nation was dissected and its’ people forced into action. These women were the African slaves whose strength is paralleled by none; women whose families were torn apart, women who were abused and tortured, women who only had their dignity, pride, love, and faith to assure them the strength to survive. They have been passing this strength on from generation to generation with the hope that some day black women will be recognized with the celebration that is theirs to claim.

This study will be enhanced by the actual accounts of slaves writing and telling their experiences. These testimonies will be witnessed through selected readings in the book edited by John Blassingame entitled, Slave Testimony, and by various children’s titles which will be read and digested through small group projects to be found in the activity section of this unit.

One such account is the narrative of James Curry, a slave born in North Carolina. He tells of the day-to-day, life of his mother, who was the only woman in the master’s house bringing up his children and the slave children as well. He tells of the endless day-to-day, hour by hour, minute by minute, jobs she had to perform and how at 9 or 10 o’clock at night she, tired and weary, came to her own house and began taking care of her own family’s needs He tells of how she raised her master’s children only to have them grow up and whip her for not pleasing their every whim.

Another example of the strength of black slave women comes from Lavina Bell, washer woman, enslaved in Kentucky. Her testimony comes to us as part of the American Freedmen’s Inquiry Commission interviews of 1863 found in Blassingme’s book. She tells of her children being slaves because she was a slave. She hadn’t seen her little girl for ten months. She points to a bright nine or ten year old boy and tells that he is about big enough to go also. Imagine the pain of bringing up a child with the uncertainty about whether he or she may be taken away from you.

A children’s non-fiction piece of literature used in this study as a tool to further focus on the experiences of slave women is Stitching Stars by Mary E. Lyons. This combines the story quilts and story of Harriet Powers born into slavery in 1837. This book has many excellent pictures showing slave women at work. The children can gain an awareness of the hardworking lives of plantation slave women through a reading and experiencing of this book through activities and projects detailed at the end of this unit.

Many black women were excellent needle-workers making use of scraps of leftover cloth from sewing for their mistresses to sew clothes and blankets for their own families. Quilts were essential for survival. This book helps children grasp the difficult living circumstances of being a slave. Children can learn how quilts provided beauty, fun, and even romance to ease the hard times of slavery. The book talks about Quilting Bees that slave women attended. The children have already seen this as a Euro-American form of entertainment and way to social communication and now will see it connected to black women also.

Children are always interested in the ceremonies and celebrations of different cultures and marriage traditions are high on the list of the ones children can relate to their own lives. Students are able to experience the wedding of Harriet and Armstead in this book giving children a very clear picture of the ceremony. The broomstick wedding held in the slave quarters can be performed with the children in the classroom. The rules and formalities of slave women and men marrying related in this book are something children will find interesting and engaging as they try to find their own clear picture of life as a slave.

The time line showing Harriet Powers’ life and difficult poverty continues after the Emancipation Proclamation declares slaves free on New Years Day 1863. Children will be a witness to the ability of one traveling into a different world through the use of quilting. Exemplified by Harriet Powers and her quilts, children can see how creativity can set you free.

to top

Section III. The Times as Seen Through the Eyes of The Female Child

This study of the lives of Civil War Women surveys the female child by using a popular collection of children’s fiction. The American Girls Collection-The Addy Series. This study also views the lives of two southern girls through their diaries researched as part of the on-line Special Collections Library, Duke University. Also a reading of three other children’s books will be included.(When Will This Cruel War Be Over? by Barry Denenberg, Nettie’s Trip South by Ronald Himler and Who Comes With Cannons? by Patricia Beatty)

The diary of Alice Williamson of Gallatin, Tennessee and the diary of Carrie Berry of Atlanta, Georgia give insight into the concerns and experiences of female children during this time. The students again, as earlier in this unit can actually read the diaries in the handwriting of the authors.

Alice Williamson paints a very disturbing picture of the Union occupation of Gallatin and the very unwarranted killings and general unfair treatment of the southern males in that community. Alice writes of a town trying to go about its customary tasks while harassed and tormented by an over-powerful union captain and his soldiers.

The children get some idea of the rules and procedures of schools during this time as they read about dunce caps, benches, studying and examinations. They will be able to discover schools being set up to educate the freed black slaves and the opposition to this effort by the people of the south.

Carry Berry, the second diarist, is only 10 years old and tells of a frightening life in Atlanta. The children can imagine what it would feel like to have shells passing through your house causing you to spend a great deal of time in the cellar. Carrie writes on the day of her birthday how she can’t have a cake but she celebrates with ironing “I hope by my next birthday we will have peace in our land so that I can have a nice dinner”(Special Collections Library of Duke University)

Carrie writes of moving to get closer to the center of the city where it is safer. She writes of being bored with no school or church because of the war. She writes of helping her mother, visiting her aunt, and playing with her dolls. Christmas is the center of Carrie’s writing as the days of December move on in her diary. This gives the children a very clear picture of feeling poor, making presents, and the excitement of going out in the cold and getting a Christmas Tree. Carrie’s Christmas activities are written vividly and will bring the times of the child’s life into the circle of the students lives.

Carrie writes about starting school. She writes about studying her six “line” of the multiplication table. She relates having a contest with her friends to see who can learn the most arithmetic, spelling, reading, and geography. Again a child’s daily activities connect the children of today with the children of the past, helping to join together the study of history with the children’s current experiences.

The thread woven throughout this study constant and steady is the whole class reading of the Addy Books. These six books will be read, discussed, written about, and lessons developed and implemented to give students hands-on history.

These six books, which are historical fiction, tell the story of Addy Walker, a nine year old girl born into slavery, who escapes during the Civil War to freedom in Philadelphia. The children will follow two inseparable themes throughout the six books. The drive for freedom and the importance of family will be at the center of the lessons which help the children connect themselves to this difficult period in history. The author, Connie Porter, writes to the children that she hopes that her writing gives a voice to people who might otherwise be voiceless. The Addy Books, with related projects and lessons include at the end of this unit will allow students to discover throughout the character and adventures of Addy the country during the Civil and post Civil War. The children will be engaged in reading while integrating history with the other objectives designated by the Curriculum Frameworks of the New Haven Public Schools

to top

Lessons and Activities

Section I

Language Arts / Written Activities

Write a letter/ Keep a Journal

1. After having done research and discovered through reading selected pieces related to the women of this section and needed background information on related Civil War history the children will be ready to use their imagination and creativity to write letters and draft journals relating experiences and feelings of this period in history from the perspective of the EuroAmerican woman. The children need to be aware of the emotions and points of view of both the Northern and Southern women. The students may pretend they are spies, or soldiers writing letters to family members or relating discoveries to the armies to help them defeat their enemies. They should include effects of the war on themselves and their daily lives. They need to include their feelings as well as vivid descriptions using their five senses (sight, sound, smell, touch, taste).

Books and Readings to Include: (see bibliography)

A Separate Battle , by Ina Chang
Civil War Heroines,Bellerophon Books
Daughters of The Cause:Women of the Civil War, by Robert P. Broadwater
Behind Rebel Lines. by Reit
Special Collections Library, Duke University On-Line Collection
Library of Congress American Memory Project On-Line Website

Create an Autobiography

2. Students research and read about a Euro-American woman living during the Civil War era. They will write an autobiography on the woman they read about based on the information that they have discovered. They are writing as if they are their researched woman and therefore should be encouraged to use their imagination to enhance their books by including things that they make up about themselves (such as family, feelings, effects on their personal lives).
The Children can create their own journals or books for publishing their writings and displaying in the showcase outside the room. Using brown construction paper with a scrolled design border and the titles of their works folded and cut to fit the paper used, then stapled or tied with yarn or ribbon will make authentic looking creations.

note: If children need direction for their journals have them write from the perspective of a woman soldier or spy example: You’ve witnessed a lot of death and destruction on this trip. How does this make you feel about war? Explain your feelings in your writings.

Social Studies /Cooperative Learning

Godey’s Lady’s Book—January, 1851 Issue
Objective of this activity is for the children to explore an authentic ladies magazine of the Civil War era to discover the personal lives of Euro-American women during this period. The children will work in small groups each given a task to complete which will feature one area of the book. Together the groups will share their specific discoveries and create a display for the showcase outside of the classroom.

The following will be the projects to be completed cooperatively:(each group to choose one)

1. Look through the book and locate the set of plans for building and the drawing of the style cottage you might have wished to live in.. How is this house similar to yours? How is this house different? Using the materials provided build your cottage. Be sure you include all the rooms shown. Write a short description of each room and its purpose using the information you have gathered.

Materials provided:
Various size cardboard boxes

Pieces of fabric

Glue,tape,staples,clips etc.

Paint, markers etc.

Construction paper

Pieces of cardboard and foam core.

2. Look through the book and locate the patterns for embroidering a pattern on a piece of clothing or quilting designs to create a quilt. Choose one of the patterns or designs that you would like to recreate. You may use paper and markers to make your quilt squares and then glue together on the foam core board provided or you may embroder your pattern on a piece of white muslin provided (drawing first the pattern on the material in pencil). You may duplicate this pattern using paper and markers if you do not choose to learn the art of embroidery. This finished art will be part of the display in the case outside of the room.

Materials Provided:
Pieces of muslin

Embroidery thread, and needles

Frame for stretching fabric

Markers and paper

Foam core Board

Various pieces of colored construction paper


to top

Lessons and Activities

Section II

Children’s book used:

Stitching Stars The Story Quilts of Harriet Powers by Mary E. Lyons

Children will hear an oral reading of the book. The beautiful illustrations of her quilts and pictures depicting the daily lives of African slaves in the south will be looked at with a very close eye accompanied by whole class discussions.

Class quilting project
The children will each design a square of the quilt. The square will tell the story of their own lives. Teacher will demonstrate by creating a square of her or his life and talking about it with the class. After each child has completed his or her square an oral presentation of each square by the children will take place. As each child completes the oral explanation of his or her piece it will be pinned by the child onto a foam core board representing the finished quilt. A border around the quilt will be created by using the handprints of each child using fabric paint and white muslin. The quilt will then be sewed together by the teacher. The completed quilt will hang in the classroom for the rest of the year to remind the children that each individual with his or her special , unique self create, with others, one whole beautiful world.

Basic materials and equipment

1. prewashed cotton fabric
2. permanent fabric paint in several colors: include colorless extender for pastel shades
3. Newspaper, roll of heavy plastic or old vinyl tablecloth, masking tape, old towel
4. rubber gloves, waterproof apron, old clothes
5. styrofoam meat trays for mixing colors
6. spray bottle of water to dilute paints
7. paint brushes
8. permanent marking pens

General Directions

Wear old clothes

Lay fabric on plastic surface

Tape fabric to plastic to hold it smooth

Use styrofoam meat tray as a palette

Set out small amounts of several colors, and keep water jar close by.

Use soft artist’s brushes and paint as you would on paper. It helps to outline an area with a fine tipped brush, then fill design with a larger brush

Keep the paint fairly thin on the fabric. You can thin paint slightly with a water dipped brush

When you have finished painting allow the fabric to dry and then heat-set

Hint; have children plan out their square on paper before working with the fabric.

Note: This method was adapted from a book entitled: Flavor Quilts For Kids to Make

Jennifer Amor (See Bibliography for details)

Language Arts/Written Activity

Write A Play
Using the information about the life of Harret Powers as a key into the lives of southern slave women the class will write a play dramatizing the daily activities, feelings, and hardships of being an African slave on a southern cotton plantation during the mid nineteenth century.

The class will work together to write, and then produce their play for the rest of the school. Children will learn the different components of a play for example; character development, setting, plot, problems and solutions, stage cues, scenery and props. They will also learn how to write dialog and scenes or acts to tell a story and develop a feeling.

note: this can become a great activity to involve the parents in the learning process.

to top

Lessons and Activities

Section III

This section of lessons and activities will be utilized throughout the entire study as the students will be reading portions of these books daily and actively using them as a jumping off point to their further study of the Civil War Era and the development of their language arts skills. This will with the inclusion of these children’s books at their reading level become an integrated curriculum, cooperative learning , classroom.

Addy Books (1-6) , Connie Porter

Who Comes With Cannons, Patricia Beatty

When Will This Cruel War be Over? Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson

Nettie’s Trip South, by Ann Turner

to top


Meet Addy ( This volume will be read by the whole class individually as each child will have his or her own copy.)

Vocabulary suggestions:
pallet ; frantic; bitterly, eerie, soothing, spurred

Vocabulary activity:
work in small groups having each group work with one word. They write several sentences to explain why the word is important to the story. Groups must relate their word to book’s plot, character’s, setting, and main idea.

Look at the title and cover. Look at the illustrations. Read the inside front cover. Read the A Peek Into The Past at the back of the book. In small groups answer the following set of questions. Present answers to the class while teacher records answers given on a chart to hang in the classroom while the book is being read. This way children can follow their preview discoveries and predictions.

1. What would you like to learn about the Civil War by reading about Addy’s life?
2. By looking at the pictures what do you think Addy’s life was like?
3. What can you tell me about the setting, problem, characters by looking at the pictures.?
4. After reading A Peek Into The Past write ten things you learned about slavery or African slaves during your reading. How do you feel about the things you chose to include in your list.

Critical Thinking Writing Activity After Reading

Chose one topic and write about your feelings.

1. Addy feels safe surrounded by her family. Write about a place where you feel safe. Tell what it is about this place that makes you feel as you do.
2. What is your opinion about whether or not Addy’s family should try escaping? Write why you have that opinion.
3. Choose something you find very disturbing or that gives you a very strong feeling about the situation or life of Addy and her family. Write about your feelings.
4. If you could talk to a slave owner what would you say to him?
The five other titles in the Addy Series will be read to the class at approximately one chapter each day. Discussions will follow each reading and daily writing activities will be taken from the results of the class discussions.

Addy Learns A Lesson Addy’s Surprise Happy Birthday Addy Addy Saves The Day

Changes For Addy
Whole Class Activity After Reading of All Six Books To Summarize Addy’s Experiences.

Teacher to hand each child an index card with one of Addy’s experiences written on it.

Each child is to illustrate and write one main idea sentence about the experience.

Having a prepared line already taped along the hallway outside of the room the children will stand with their card holding their illustration and card in the proper sequence of events. When this task has been accomplished students will tack up their work in the proper place on the timeline. The finished timeline will be a visible review and summary of the Civil War Era using Connie Porter’s fictional character, Addy,

to top

Who Comes With Cannons?

This will be a book that is used for daily oral reading to the class after lunch.

This book will focus on character traits .

After completion of the reading with daily discussions focusing on the characters class to be divided into four groups. Honesty-Trustworthiness-Courage-Pacifism

List events in the story when Tabitha stayed true to her nickname and told the truth.

Describe a time when you told the truth even though you knew that it would be easier to lie about it.

Describe a time when you didn’t tell the truth but later wished you had.

How does Truth respond to Robert’s distrust of her? How would you have responded if you had been Truth?

Who is someone you trust? How has that person proven his/her trustworthiness?

Name three incidents in the book when a character showed courage. Why do you think as you do?

What do you wish you had the courage to do?

If the Bardwells lived today, how do you think they would respond to the violence on T.V.?

What can you do to promote peace in your classroom and neighborhood?

After each group has completed its work and written its responses neatly give each group a large piece of construction paper. Have the groups cut magazine pictures, words, letters, to illustrate their work. They should then arrange all their work and glue it onto the construction paper. These will be displayed in the classroom.

to top

When Will This Cruel War Be Over? & Nettie’s Trip South

These two books will be read orally to the class during oral reading time.

Nettie is a northern child giving a personal narrative about her trip south. Emma Simpson is a girl from Virginia whose life we get a peek at through her diary.

After the reading and discussion of these two books a compare and contrast discussion will take place. The responses should include the feelings and experiences of both girls. These responses will be recorded on charts in two columns so the children can see the comparisons.

to top


Children’s Reading List

Civil War Heroines compiled by Bellerophon Books, Santa Barbara, CA 1996

A Separate Battle by Ina Chang, Lodestar Books, Penquin Books USA Inc., N.Y. ,N.Y. 1991

Stitching Stars by Mary E. Lyons,Charles Scribner’s Sons N.Y. 1993.

The story quilts of Harriet Powers. The life of Harriet Powers.

When Will This Cruel War Be Over? The Civil War Diary of Emma Simpson by Barry Denenberg Scholastic Inc. New York 1996

Nettie’s Trip South by Ann Turner Scholastic Inc. N.Y. 1987 Fictional personal narrative of a northern girl traveling to the South.

Addy an American Girl Series by Connie Porter, Pleasant Company ,1993.

Six books of historical fiction tell the story of Addy Walker, a nine year old girl born into slavery who escapes during the Civil War to freedom in Philadelphia.

to top

Additional Children’s Reading List

Christmas In The Big House, Christmas in the Quarters by Patricia C. McKissack and Fredrick L. McKissack, Scholastic Inc., 1994. Contrasts Christmas in the big plantation house and Christmas in the slave quarters.

Barbara Frietchie by John Greenleaf Whittier , Greenwillow Books, 1992.

Poem offering insight into the fever pitch of patriotism.

to top

Adult Reading Resource List

The Other Civil War: American Women in the 19th Century by Catherine Clinton, Hilland Wang N.Y. 1984. Women’s lives during the Civil War.

Within the Plantation Household Black & White Women of the South by Elizabeth Fox-Genovese University of North Carolina Press, 1988. Contrasting lives.

The Daughters of the Cause: Women of the Civil War, by Robert, P. Broadwater , Daisy Publishing, Martinsburg, PA. 1993. Biographies of women during the Civil War.

Slave Testimony, edited by John W. Blassingame,Louisiana State University Press, 1977. Presents black testimony on the slave condition.

Godey’s Lady’s Book, Philadelphia, January, 1851 issue.

to top

Manuscript, Diaries

Library of Congress American Memory Project; On-line accounts of the life of women in South Carolina during Civil War in their own words.

Mrs. Lula Bowers, and Life History , Mistress of Magnolia Hall included.

Women and the Civil War, Manuscript Sources in the Special Collections Library at Duke University.

Included: Alice Williamson Diary ( schoolgirl in Gallatin, Tennessee), Rose O’Neal Greenhow Papers and the Diary of Carrie Berry 10 year old resident of Atlanta first hand account of war through the eyes of a child (Aug.1, 1864- Jan. 4, 1865.).

to top

Additional Resources

Flavor Quilts, by Jennifer Amor American Quilter’s Society Paducah, KY,1991.

Complete instructions for Teaching Children to dye, decorate, and sew quilts.

to top

Contents of 1997 Volume III | Directory of Volumes | Index | Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute

© 2016 by the Yale-New Haven Teachers Institute
Terms of Use Contact YNHTI