American Civil War - The War Between the 'Tates 1861 - 1865


I believe this government cannot endure, permanently half slave and half free...It will become all one thing, or all the other.

 "A House Divided" speech, June 16, 1858

Abraham Lincoln




I worked night and day for twelve years to prevent the war, but I could not. The North was mad and blind, would not let us govern ourselves, and so the war came. 

 Jefferson Davis






*If you're short on time, we wanted to explain to you how this page was laid out  so that you might peruse quickly.  If you have time to peruse, then enjoy from the top :o)

Overview to Civil War, Different Topics like Battles, Slavery, Underground Railroad, Cotton, Fashion, Music, Cooking and Famous People are first. The lapbook download is half-way down. Our co-op pictures are after that and at the very bottom are pictures from the newspapers Harpers Weekly and Frank Leslie's Illustrated that my family preserved and was passed down to  my siblings and me.

 The War Between the States is the name we used to learn about this war in American history. My family called it this name and I want to pass to my children what I learned from my "kin" as to their thinking and reasoning behind this war.

My family, as I can best tell never viewed this war with all the significant issues that have been written about it as anything other than a war to preserve their way of life. They truly felt it was about state's rights and protecting their economy (farming). This is how my grandmother explained it to me before she past on. 

I know it doesn't probably sound very eloquent or heroic to hear about how they felt one way or the other on slavery, but the southern way of living was all they really were wanting to pass on to their children. The War Between the States was not about political issues to them.

This does not mean in our studies we did not include issues about slavery, the events leading to secession by the Confederate States, economy, and the infamous Gettysburg address. We did include those issues.

Here is a picture of my great great grandfather, Elijah Burt, a Confederate Soldier who fought in the Mississippi 7th Infantry, Company D. Click on the side tab"Pvt. Burt and Bio" at their site to read about him. 












   He was a private and was shot twice. Once at the battle of Murfreesboro, Tennessee  and once at Resaca. He survived the war and came home to Mississippi. This unit study led beautifully into a mini-unit on family genealogy. By approaching it this way, my children could seem to make history their own by having a personal connection.~Tina~


About the Civil War

Once the cannons were fired over Fort Sumter in April, 1861, life as pre-Civil War America was changed forever. Thousands of homes and buildings were destroyed and more than half a million people had died.

However, at the end of the war the US would rebuild itself again despite the assassination of President Lincoln.

 What were the causes of the Civil War?

1. Slavery - Would it be permitted in the new western territories?

2. How about the south's sale of cotton and taxing?

3. Loyalty to the states (secession).



The South had rich fertile land that made farming crops like tobacco, coffee, sugar, rice and cotton very lucrative businesses. With large scale plantations, they obviously needed lots of workers. So plantation owners were very interested in keeping their steady supply of permanent labor.


However, the North never developed agriculture to the extent that the South did. Instead manufacturing and industry had boomed.


Eli Whitney's machine was the first to clean short-staple cotton. His cotton engine consisted of spiked teeth mounted on a boxed revolving cylinder which, when turned by a crank, pulled the cotton fiber through small slotted openings so as to separate the seeds from the lint -- a rotating brush, operated via a belt and pulleys, removed the fibrous lint from the projecting spikes.



Famous People of the Civil War 

Clara Barton - Biography 31 page pdf download. Very well done with facts, pre war, post war and a timeline as well as quotes and sayings by her and about her.

 Abraham Lincoln This has some facts about this life that fit nicely inside the mini book.

Coloring Pages of Lincoln- Apples 4 TheTeacher our kids love. They color online and then print off. A nice selction of "colorable" Abraham Lincoln pages.


Civil War Battles sometimes have two names. Southerners often named battles for nearby towns; Northerners named them for landmarks. Bull Run was the name of a creek near Washington. Manassas was a town along that creek.

(*Note we will name these as we study them again.)




 April 12 -14  Confederates under Gen. P.G.T. Beauregard bombard Fort Sumter in Charleston, S.C.  
 July 21Brig. Gen. Irvin McDowell is defeated at BULL RUN, the first major battle near Manassas, VA. Union forces retreat to Virginia Bull Run - aka known as the 1st Bull Run Battle of Manassas



 Feb. 6 - 16 Gen. Ulysses S. Grant captures Fort Henry and Fort Donnelson in Tennessee and famously demands an "unconditional surrender."  
 March 8-9In the war's first major naval battle, the Confederte ironclad Merrimack battles with the Union ironclad Monitor in he harbor at Hampton Roads, VA.  
  April 6 -7 Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston and his army surprise Grant's troops at Shiloh, Tenn. The Union forces prevail on the second day. In all there are 23,746 casualties (including Albert Johnston, who later dies from his wounds), making it one of the bloodiest battles of the war.  
 April 25 - May 1 17 Union Ships under the command of Flag Officer David Farragut take New Orleans, a key port.  
 May 31 - June 1 Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston's troops attack McClellan's troops at Seven Pines near Richmond. Joseph Johnston is badly wounded and Gen. Robert E. Lee takes command of Johnston's army, renaming it the Army of Northern Virginia.  
 June 15 - July 1 Lee attacks McClellan near Richmond in a series of bloody encounters . McClellan then abandons the campaign and withdraws toward Washington. Seven Days' Battles 
 Aug. 28 -30 Confederates under Gens. Stonewall Jackson and James Longstreet attack the Union army commanded by Maj. Gen. John Pope. The Union army suffers heavy casualties and is forced to retreat to Washington. President Lincoln relieves Pope of his command. 2nd Battle of Bull Run 
 Sept. 4 -9 Lee invades the North with 50,000 Confederate troops. McClellan's Union army with 90,000 troops moves to stop them.  
 Sept. 16 - 18 McClellan's army confronts Lee and the Confederate armies at Antietam in Maryland. At the end, over 23,000 men are dead, wounded, or missing. Lee retreats to Virginia.  
 Nov. 7 Lincoln, impatient with McClellan's slowness to follow up on the Union victory at Antietam, looks for a more aggresive general in chief. He replaces McClellan with Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside as the commander of the Army of the Potomac.  
 Dec. 11 - 15 At Fredericksburg, VA, in one of the most one-sided victories of the war, Rebel companies commanded by Longstreet repel repeated frontal assaults on Confederate positions by Burnside's Union soldiers and win the day. Confederate casualties are 4,575, with 13, 353  for the Union. (Lincoln replaces Burnside with Gen. Joseph Hooker)  




 April 30 - May 6 Lee defeats Hooker in a battle with heavy losses on both sides at Chancellorsville in Virginia.   
 July 1 - 3Union and Confederate armies under Meade (Union) and Lee meet by chance and engage at the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania. Though the Union Army is larger, each side suffers at least 23,000 casualties.  
  May 18 - July 4 After a six week siege, Grant's Army of the West captures Vicksburg, the last major Confederate position on the Mississippi River. The Union now controls the Mississippi and the Confederacy is cutoff off from it's western allies.  
 Sept. 18 -20 Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's Army of Tennessee defeats Union forces at Chickamauga, GA. Gen. William S. Rosencran's Union Army of the Cumberland is besieged in Chattanooga, Tenn.  
 Nov. 23 - 25 Grant's forces end the siege of Chattanooga by attacking Bragg's army. Union troops avenge their earlier defeat at Chickamauga by bodly retaking Missionary Ridge in Chattanooga.  



 May - June Union forces begin a coordinated campaign to wear down and destroy the Southern armies. Grant starts advancing toward Richmond to engage Lee's Army of Virginia, the Wilderness (May 5 -7), Spotsylvania (May 8 -21) and Cold Harbor (May 31 - June 12), both sides suffer huge losses and the outcome remains inconclusive.   
 June 15Grant forces begin a nine-month siege of Lee's army, which is dug in at Petersburg, VA.  
  July 9  Gen. Lew Wallace and a makeshift Union force offer stiff resistance o Gen. Jubal Early's invading army at Monocacy Junction in Maryland. The Confederates prevail during the battle but are prevented from reaching Washington before Union armies arrive to protect it.  
 July 20 At Atlanta, Sherman's forces battle Rebels now under the command of Gen. John B. Hood, who replaced Johnston.  
 Aug. 2 -23The Union Navy's victory under the command of Flag Officer David Farragut in Mobile Bay, Ala. earned it control of one of the last remaining Confederate ports.  
 Sept. 2 Sherman's army captures Atlanta. The victory, along with the naval win at Mobile, helps insure Lincoln's re-election.  
 Oct. 19 Union Calvary Gen. Philip H. Sheridan wins a decisive battle against Early's men, still weakened after their long march back to the Shenandoah Valley.  
 Nov. 15 - Dec. 21 After destroying Atlanta's railroad facilities and burning parts of the city, Sherman begins his destructive 300 mile March to the Sea though Georgia to Savannah.  
 Dec. 15 -16 In an important Union victory, Gen. George H. Thomas destroys Hood's army, the second largest Confederate force in the field at Nashville.  



 Feb 3. Lincoln meets with Confederate Vice-President Alexandar Stephens at Hampton Roads in Virginia in failed peace talks.  
 March 25

Lee's Army of Northern Virginia attacks the center of Grant's line at Petersburg in a last offense.

  April 1 -8  Grant's army defeats Confederate troops at Five Forks, VA and overwhelms the Confederate lines at Petersburg. Lee orders an evacuation of Petersburg and Richmond and retreats to the south, attempting to unite with the army of Joesph Johnston.  
 April 9 Lee surrenders to Grant at Appomattox Courthouse.  
 April 26Confederate Gen. Joseph E. Johnston surrenders to Union Gen. William T. Sherman near Durham, NC.  
 May - Dec Remaining Confederate troops and naval ships surrender.  


  (information from U.S.News)

The Terrible Cost of War

  • 25 percent of Southern white men of military age were killed.
  • 25 percent of all Southerners who fought were permanently injured.
  • At the Battle of Gettysburg alone, there were up to 51, 000 Confederate and Union casualties.
  • More than 25 percent of Union soldiers were killed or wounded.
  • 40,000 black soldiers died
  • 500,000 farms and plantations in the South were destroyed during the war or became bankrupt
  • By the end of the war, more than 60 percent of Southern-based railroad companies wre bankrupt.
  • The combined cost of the war for both the Union and the Confederacy was 81 billion dollars.

(information from Historical Times Encyclopedia of the Civil War)


Melrose House - Virtual Tour. This is a must see. The Melrose house in Natchez Mississsippi takes a tour through the house and grounds where the slaves worked. This was one of the wealthies towns in 19th century American and the town prided itself on it's high standards of culturea as mentioned at this site. The whole place reminds you of the palatial plantations shown by those in Gone With the Wind.

Slavery and the Making of America

Underground Railroad

It wasn't a railroad at all but a system of helping slaves to escape. Slaves traveling the Underground Railroad, usually on foot, depended on celestial navigation to find their way northward. They continually looked to the Big Dipper and the North Star for direction.

Polaris became a symbol of freedom to slaves as well as a guide star. As soon as they were old enough to understand, slave children were taught to locate Polaris by using the stars of the Big Dipper. (The two stars at the end of the bowl of the Big Dipper point over to Polaris, the North Star, which is the end of the handle of the Little Dipper.)

Slaves used a hollowed-out gourd to scoop water out of a bucket to get a drink. So they referred to the Big Dipper as the Drinking Gourd.

The Underground Railroad was described, at the time, in terminology borrowed from the ever expanding intercontinental railroad system. "Steel rail? terminology included such words as ?conductors,? the brave souls who put themselves at great risk by escorting slaves, and "stations," the safe havens to where slaves were directed. A station could be a house, a barn, a cave, a haystack, or any   place that could provide temporary, safe shelter.  


Various abolitionists, including members of certain religious groups, especially the Quakers, would assist the fugitives by being conductors. Freed slaves would sometimes assist, as well as fraternal organizations. Harriet Tubman, according to historians,  led numerous slaves to freedom.

Drinking Gourd

Sheet Music - Melody and lyrics (no guitar chords). Pdf Download


America's Quilting History

Books we read about quilting:

Hopkins, Deborah (1993). Sweet Clara and the Freedom Quilt. Knopf; ISBN: 0679823115

Townswick, Jane (1997). Quiltmaking Tips and Techniques. Rodale Pr; ISBN: 0875969585

Underground RailRoad Quilt Code


Fashion during the Civil War period

Despite this dramatic time in history, haute couture (french for "high dress making") was created for Washington's elite.

Who am I talking about? She is MaryTodd Lincoln's dress maker and confidant ~Elizabeth Keckly~. She was "radical" as one book put it in terms of her "entrepreneurial achievements" and a genius of fashion. She was a designer of gowns of that era and business owner when few woman were, let alone be a former slave.

She was born in Virginina in 1818, the daughter of a slave mother and the plantation owner, Col. Armistead Burwell. Keckly and her mother were considered "privileged" slaves assigned to household work instead of hard labor. So she learned to read and write and SEW!

In her adult life, she moved to Washington, D.C. and quickly made a name for herself as a "modiste"--a custom dressmaker.




Here is a picture of one of the gowns made by

 Madam Keckly for Mary Lincoln Todd


National Humanities Center - 5 page pdf download that talks about her road from slave to White House, with a few more pictures of gowns likely made by her. 

We have some more pictures at the bottom in our Civil War newspaper collection of fashion from that era.


Civil War Cooking

Mason-Dixon Lines' Civil War Recipes


Sheet Music/Music

Historic American Sheet Music From Duke Libraries, they provide access to all kinds of historic sheet music. Just click on the Civil War Period (1861 - 1865) to see the sheet music.

Civil War MusicLike the site says, music played an important part in the Civil War. It contains everything from fife and drum to song lyrics and photographs.


Civil War Game This is an online Question/answer type of game. This is good for those that don't like to write OR it really makes a nice end of unit review.

Tic Tac Toe Fun for the little ones, fun for the big ones

Square the Civil War Battle Game - instructions for making your own.

Homemade Toys 

Cornhusk dolls how to make cornhusk dolls

Whirligig  how to make a whirligig

Coloring Pages for the Civil War

Civil War Coloring Nice pictures from Heartland Shores to print off and color. They would make great front or back covers.

Virtual Tours/Field Trips

Jordan House Underground Railroad

National Geographic's Underground Railroad

Virtual Gettysburg Interactive Battlefield Tour



Keep in mind that is our second and third time to study the Civil War. So pictures of our first lapbook is at the bottom along with links, if we had them, of material we used. So combine part of this lapbook with your links or our links to make yours unique. Or just download this whole thing and enjoy.

Letter Size. Front flap is an overview of the war. Left flap is about the underground rail road and the right flap is about cotton.

Flap lifts up to Famous People of the War and Abraham Lincoln page.


Color or Black/White map              Causes of War


   Other Names for the  War                           Weapons



Famous People of the War Data Divider


     North and South Leaders

Clara Barton  




Harriet Beecher Stowe



Matthew Brady

Abraham Lincoln Logs Data Divider


        Honest Abe Top Hat                                  Lincoln's Cabin

Abraham Lincoln During the War


Gettsyburg pocket, address, and blank copy for copywork

Cotton Gin


 Cotton Boll Pocket  with life cycle cards



                                             Freedom Quilt - (based on Sweet Clara) 


 Underground Railroad Data Divider


Slavery and the Road to War


 Harriet Tubman



Pictures of our first--hmmmm what do you call this? Lapbook,file folder, scrapbook...hhmmmmmmm, I know  "scrappy lapbook" LOL 


For the front cover, the boys chose a picture they liked the best. I had left over scrapbook paper that went real well on this. Too, we had some wall paper books that were going to be thrown away from Sherwin Williams. The wall paper books have neat borders and various textures and best of all they are FREE. lol

The boys wrote an overview of the war and colored the states. We put a background on paper and wrote different names for the war on the top right side.

On the left we found a nice image that showed the occupation of most of those  in the war. Here is the link: Soldier's Occupation


On this two page spread, we just used images glue on minibooks to write about the Civil War Leaders and on the right side we use Evan Moore Technology page. We also learned about the morse code.Here is the morse code page that my sons have folded up in the blue book.

The events leading to secession are found here. We printed off a map of the slave route. On the right side, my little guy put the Big Dipper and a Gourd and my big guy wrote a paper on Harriet Tubman. Then he folded into a small book and glued a picture of her on the front. The background are my scrapbook pages left over.


The boys wrote about Johnny Clem, collected some recipes (link at Civil War Cooking on this page and then cut out some confederate money. Here is a link to some public domain pictures of confederate money at Wikipedia.


We had vocabulary words in the long red book and a timeline in the smaller one and collected information on the submarines.


 On the left side we did added a geography fie folder game we had of the different regions of the US. Since we had not done a state study, on the right side is an another "unit" in this one, but a Texas state study. (and yes, as soon as we get that lapbook formated we'll be sharing it too)


When the left side opens, the back of a game board has the different flags Texas was under and on the left side you get a glimpse of the file folder game board opened.


When the game board is unfolded, you see the back part of the file on Texas.

Back to the next two page spread. The boys wanted both the handwritten copy and the typed copy so they could read it. LOL. The handwritten copy was a free download from Teaching Learning who rotates their freebies.


On the next two page spread, the left side is a "family tree' on genealogy. Sorry but I had to crop has our personal family information on a tree. On the right side we put information about our great great grandfather that was a Confederate soldier.  (Side point: We did learn the correct way to spell "Genealogy" LOL. Here is the acronym to help:

Genealogists Examine Needed Evidence At Lots Of Grave Yards

Then the back page, we just blew up a picture of them at the Civil War Reenactment. 



 Co-op Pictures 

See what I mean - another talented homeschool mom!

De use to be involved in Civil War reinactments, so she was the natural choice to start off our co-op with. She came dressed up, "toting" her guns! LOL

(hmmm....we are trying to preserve our co-op members privacy, but don't know if we like this shadow over their mouth..LOL...You might think we don't want them to speak..)


Reenactments--- if you have one near you are the best way to discover this  time period. The next pictures are from an Reenactment that takes place at the Liendo Plantation in Hempstead, Texas each year in November.

Battle is getting ready.........

and ready....


 Musicians playing Civil War music


Links We like

Dioramas - This is a site worth mentioning. The dioramas are not free, but a really fun project. Their site says "they specialize in the creation of miniature three dimensional models."

 Abraham Lincoln -  "Abraham Lincoln | Quotes, Fact, Biography, Pictures & More"


Harper's Weekly and Frank Leslies Illustrated Newspaper

*Note please feel free to right click and save all these images. They are here for you. I just want to share what I have. We know how hard it is find good pics (not that these are superior quality as we are professionals) for lapbooks without asking permission, giving attribution,etc. So if we need to give you permission, you have it..and yada yada yada...LOL. It is more important that our children get an understanding of this from primary sources, than to worry about giving us attribution. I will eventually get a professional to take pictures of our family collection.

We are gradually taking more pics of the inside and adding notations where it might be hard to read.

 Saturday January 5, 1861 Frank Leslie's Illustrated NewsPaper .

 (Makes us wonder what was going on before the war started in April, 1861)


The Great Secession Convention was going on (pic coming)


But ......the two page spread was on on fashion..LOL It reads:

"Prevailing Fashions for the Winter Season - Morning, Evening and Out-Door Costumes"

Saturday January 5, 1861 ~ Harper's Weekly

It reads: The Georgia Delegation in Congress.

Saturday January 19, 1861 ~ Harper's Weekly

 Top left: Hon. Francis W. Pickens, Governor of South Carolina Bottom Left: Rev. Dr. Bachman, who asked a blessing on the secession ordinance. Top right: Hon. Judge Magrath, Secretary of State of North Carolina Bottom Right: The Charleston Zouaves

Better pic of The Charleston Zouaves

 Fort Johnson, opposite Fort Sumter, Harbor of Charleston, South Carolina


 hmmmm, our husbands would be long gone by  the time we finished all these measurements...ROFL.

 It reads:

The measures are

A. the distance round the neck

B to B the yoke. C to C. the sleeve. D. to D. the distance around the body under the armpits. E to E the length of the shirt





 January 5, 1861 Frank Leslie's Illustrated NewsPaper

 Saturday February 9, 1861 ~ Harper's Weekly

The Seceding Alabama Delegation in Congress


February 9, 1861 Frank Leslie's Illustrated NewsPaper






 Yes we agree!! JOY TO THE WORLD if clothes can be washed in one minute!! ROFL

It says "A child can operate it. Washes every spot"



 Saturday, April 27, 1861 Frank Leslie's Illustrated NewsPaper

 Saturday, February 2, 1861 ~ Harper's Weekly

Saturday, March 18, 1865 ~ Harper's Weekly

(pics coming)


 Saturday, April 29, 1865 ~ Harper's Weekly


  It reads "The Murder of the President"

J. Wilkes Booth



  Top left reads:The assassination of President Lincolnat Ford's Theatre on the Night of April 14, 1865.

Bottom left reads: The assassination of President Lincoln at Ford's Theatre-after the act.

Top right reads: The Eve of War. The seal in the center of the page is a Fort Sumter seal 1861- 1865

Bottom right reads: The Dawn of Peace


The next two page spread is one picture and it says "Lincoln" on the casket. 


 I thought this was a beautiful poem in the back of this same issue and would make some nice memory and copywork.  












 And oh yes in this same issue, let's not forget fashion...LOL. The caption reads Paris Fashions for April, 1865

There is a section in the back of every paper that says "Humors of the Day". I guess that is like what we call the "funnies" or "comics" uh?Here are some funnies.

A purse without money is like the comb without honey.

The New York ladies are dyeing at a fearful rate. Red hair is the object.

Geese, dull as they are, imitate men. Notice, that if one of the flock drinks, the rest follow.

For Small Housekeepers-Life without a groan is like meat without a bone.

A blind man like a newspaper needs a leading article.