Monday, March 24, 2014

Women in the Civil War

When most people think of the Civil War, they think of the men that fought in it. However, many women also played significant roles in the Civil War. These roles both had some women stay within their traditional gender roles and require others to act outside the “Sphere of Domesticity”.

One traditional role that many women played was as nurses for the army. Some nurses included Dorothea Dix, Clara Barton, and Louisa May Alcott. Another traditional role done by women was organizing charity. Alice Chapin was one of these people. She sent gifts to soldiers and cared for victims. Many other women worked in soldiers aid societies. They went around their towns and gathered donations of food and clothing to send to the front line. They also made their own stuff to send to the soldiers. This aid was an intrical part of the war.

Martha Coston was one woman who acted outside the “Sphere of Domesticity”. After her husband died, she continued his work of developing a flare for the navy. She then sold it to them and her flares were used for decades after. Other women who played nontraditional roles were Belle Boyd and Rose O’Neal Greenhow. Both women served as spies for the confederate army. They left their homes and went undercover in the north stealing secrets. They even killed union soldiers. Other nontraditional roles included women who left their families to become nurses and women who disguised themselves as men to fight in the war. All of these roles in the war were performed by women who acted outside the traditional “Sphere of Domesticity”.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Fight: For Your Country or Your Survival?

An 18 year old store clerk in 1861 debating whether to join the Civil War. His friends are all joining the Union, but he isn’t sure if he would rather fight for his country or save his own life. This was a common scenario in the Civil War. Many young men were unsure whether to join the army and fight. They were faced with the dilemma of whether service to their country or self preservation was more important. This dilemma was made harder because of the influx of new war technology and tactics that made the fighting more brutal.

There was a lot of patriotism and pride on both sides of the Civil War. The Confederates saw the war as not only defending their land, but defending their morals and lifestyle. For this reason they were determined to win the war. They also needed to defend themselves from the Union. The Union also felt like fighting in the war was very important. They felt like they were fighting for their beliefs on slavery. All of these reasons meant there was a lot of pride on both sides. This pride for their country made young men eager to join the war effort on both sides and made the dilemma much worse.

Fighting in the Civil War was not easy and was very bloods. The weapons developed at that time were far ahead of any defensive measures, so there were a lot of bad wounds. MiniĆ© balls were much better than previous bullets and they destroyed bone and anything else they hit in a soldier’s body. Other new weapons included landmines, railroad artillery, and early machine guns. On top of this was the naval invention of ironclads. Ironclads were almost invincible to other ships because of their armor and could annihilate an entire old fleet. All of these brutal weapons caused all sorts of injuries and while many soldiers died, some were saved by, now crude, advancements in surgery. Anesthetics were just starting to be used and a popular choice was chloroform. Amputation and resections of limbs improved greatly and saved the lives of many soldiers. However, it was still largely chance that a soldier would survive the surgery and avoid infection.

Despite all of the gruesome risks of war, many young men in the era still decided to join the war. They were drawn in by the chance for adventure and to leave home. They also felt a lot of pride for their country and felt obligated to defend it. However, the brutal reality of war was not so glamorous. Many people were hurt or killed and people had to weigh that against other factors. They had to personally answer the moral question of whether to fight for their country or themselves.

Civil War Battles Scavenger Hunt

Instead of doing a normal unit on the important battles of the Civil War, we did a different, more interactive method. We made a scavenger hunt out of it. Everyone in the class was assigned an important Civil War battle that they had to research. They were given a little description with the date and a few other pieces of information and had to find the name. We then had to find some other basic information about the battle including the victor and theater of war. We put all of this into an open google doc and added an image. We then had to make a QR code linked to the document and put it on a sign. The signs were hung up around the school, so people would go to a sign, scan it to get information, and receive a clue to where the next battle was located. We spent three days running around the school completing the scavenger hunt. After the scavenger hunt, our class made two padlets to answer the essential questions of the unit.

Battle Google Doc:

Reasons for results padlet:

Theaters and victors padlet:

The ultimate victor of the Civil War varied between the theaters. In the east theater the confederates were the winners. They won seven out of the twelve eastern battles studied including the Battle of Chancellorsville, Battle of Cold Harbor, Battle of Fort Sumter, and Battle of Fredericksburg. Most victories were at the beginning of the war, though, and the Union started to win eastern battles after Ulysses Grant became in charge. The Union was the clear victor of Naval battles. The first major one, the Battle of Hampton was a draw and the south sustained damage on their only ironclad. The union won every other naval battle we studied including the Battle of Baton Rouge and the Battle of Fort Henry. The Union was also the victor in the West theater. Victories included the Battle of Shiloh and the Battle of Gettysburg. Some reasons for the confederate victories include that they had good leaders and good tactics. For example, the Battle of Chancellorsville was won because Lee decided to split up his troops. Some confederate victory could also be attributed to the union underestimating them. One major reason for Union success is that they had a lot more resources. They had more soldiers and more weapon and had more advanced technology. Another reason for Union victories was the union had some very smart generals, especially Ulysses S Grant. Grant was a very good general and was responsible for many union victories and the victory of the war itself as well. For these reasons, the Union was the overall victor of the Civil War.  

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Civil War Statistics

The different statistics were chosen to represent a variety of different important factors of war. The statistics about population were important to determining the size of the armies and available labor forces. The information about the amount of railway was important because railway had an effect on war strategy. The value of manufactured goods was an important indicator of economic standing and money is necessary to war. The corn is an indicator to the amount of food available which is an important supply.

This process was very important in helping to understand the Northern and Southern situations. It provided a way to visualize a unit that was largely statistics. It also forced me to analyze the statistics so I could organize and prioritize them in order to make the infographic. Overall, I had a much better understanding of the unit and the essential question after I made the infographic than before.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Causes of the Civil War Research Project

The Causes of the Civil War Project was a long term group research project. Each group was given an event that led up to the Civil War and had to explain how it was a compromise and a conflict. My group had the Compromise of 1850. We had to write a one page essay on it and create a virtual scrapbook of both written and visual primary sources related to the topic. Here is the project below. My group did ours in the form of a prezi.

We also viewed other groups projects and used the information to compile a timeline of the events that led up to the Civil War. The timeline is below.