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Turning Points in the Civil War

September 11, 2013

Turning Points in the Civil War

Unit Lesson Plan

By Sharon Bramwell

Siege Web

 

 

 

Kurz and Allison's highly ideally view of the Siege of Vicksburg (Library of Congress)

 

 

 

 

 

Battle of Vicksburg

Historical Background Information for Lesson 1

In the spring of 1862, the importance of Vicksburg was realized by both the North and the South.  The South realized that as long as it held Vicksburg the Mississippi River would be useless to Union traffic on the river and the railroads which run east-west would still be able to hold both sides of the Confederacy intact. President Abraham Lincoln said, “See what a lot of land these fellows, hold, of which Vicksburg is the Key.”

Five attempts were made before finally capturing the “Gibraltar of the Confederacy.”  The first attempt was the Williams’ Canal, the route from Milliken’s Bend (Duckport Canal), the Lake Providence route, the Yazoo Pass, and the route by Steele’s Bayou.

Williams’ Canal  
In the front of Vicksburg, the Mississippi River made a sharp bend, forming a peninsula.  A canal cut across this land would give a more direct passage to the current of the river, and leave Vicksburg without any water defense.  This attempt was a failure because heat and disease reduced the available workforce.

Milliken’s Bend (Duckport Canal)
Another attempt was begun in Madison Parish, LA and its purpose was to connect the bayous that ran through the countryside.  This attempt was also a failure because of falling water levels.

The Yazoo Pass
Grant thought if he could obtain a firm hold north of Vicksburg that he could launch an attack, however, the Confederates were already aware of Union plans.  While the Union forces were opening one end of the Yazoo Pass, the Confederates were closing the other end of the desired route through construction of Fort Pemberton.  Construction of this powerful bastion blocked the Federal route to the Yazoo River. Grant ordered the troops to return to the Mississippi River.

http://ts1.mm.bing.net/th?id=H.4533356280351065&pid=1.9&w=300&h=300&p=0&url=http%3A%2F%2Fandythomas.com%2Fguns-of-vicksburg.aspxThe route by Steele’s Bayou
By traveling Steele’s Bayou, the Union forces could navigate through Black Bayou to Deer Creek.  From Deer Creek, they could reach Rolling Fork and then travel down the Big Sunflower into the Yazoo.  This would place Greenwood, MS between two Union forces and force the Confederates to give up Fort Pemberton.  The passages were blocked by trees that had been cut by Confederate forces.  Rain fall was almost constant and it became too difficult to proceed so the attempt was abandoned.  The failure of this route forced Grant to attack Vicksburg from the south.

The Siege                                                            
Grant positioned his artillery in a semicircle connecting the Northern, Eastern and Southern flanks of Vicksburg.  Meanwhile, David Porter’s Union gunboats continually shelled the city from the river.  Grant kept pressure on Pemberton by extending his lines and tightening his grip around Vicksburg in order to prevent the Confederates from getting supplies of food or information.  The Union soldiers began formal siege operations by digging trenches approaching Confederate lines forcing the Confederates to stay on the alert. 

In May and June of 1863, Maj. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant’s armies converged on Vicksburg, investing the city and entrapping a Confederate army under Lt. Gen. John Pemberton. On July 4, Vicksburg surrendered after prolonged siege operations. This was the culmination of one of the most brilliant military campaigns of the war. With the loss of Pemberton’s army and this vital stronghold on the Mississippi, the Confederacy was effectively split in half. Grant's successes in the West boosted his reputation, leading ultimately to his appointment as General-in-Chief of the Union armies.

 

After crossing the Mississippi River on April 30, 1863, General Ulysses S. Grant's Union Army of the Tennessee waged a fighting campaign of maneuver to isolate the city of Vicksburg and the Confederates defending it.  Defeats at Champion Hill and Big Black River gave Confederate commander General John C. Pemberton no choice but retreat to the defenses of Vicksburg and hold out until reinforcements could arrive.

On May 19 and 22, Grant launched a series of frontal assaults against Pemberton's fortifications, suffering heavy losses.  Finding it "desirable that no more loss of life shall be sustained," Grant lay siege to the city, ordering his men to dig a series of trenches, also called "approaches" to the Confederate works.  For 47 days, the Federal host bombarded the city while the Confederate soldiers and civilians alike suffered the hardships of siege warfare.

On July 4, Pemberton surrendered his army to Grant, ending the siege and placing control of the vital Mississippi firmly in Union hands, effectively cutting the Confederacy in half. Grant's success silenced many of his critics and increased his reputation with the Lincoln administration, ultimately leading to his appointment as General-in-Chief of the Union armies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Battle and Siege of Vicksburg
May 18 - July 4, 1863

Sharon Bramwell

Grade Level: Upper Elementary/Middle School

Resources: Battle Map from Civil War Trust, Vicksburg Campaign: Unvexing the Father of Waters The Fall of Vicksburg By TERRENCE J. WINSCHEL; originally published in Hallowed Ground Magazine, 2004, Grant's Vicksburg Supply Line Myth or Fact? BY PARKER HILLS, Under Siege by Andrea Warren

Lesson Summary:  The lesson will focus on the importance of this battle to the outcome of the war.  Emphasis will also be given to the families living in Vicksburg during the battle and how it impacted their lives. 

 Common Core Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3 Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.5 Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6 Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose

 

National Educational Standards

Era 5- Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)
Standard 2- The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.

Essential Question:

Why was the capturing of Vicksburg so vital to a Union victory?

Student Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate the importance of the Union victory at Vicksburg to winning the war.
  • List and identify the attempts that General Grant made trying to take Vicksburg.
  • Analyze specific artifacts to demonstrate an understanding of civilian life during

 the siege.

  • Analyze the affect Vicksburg had on final outcome of the war.

 

Key Terms:

 

Batteries- Placements of artillery (soldiers and weapons)
Entanglements- Obstacles placed before the parapet ditches consisting of strong vines or wires stretched between tree stumps or small pickets, in order to trip the leading ranks of attacking troops.
Flotilla -A smaller division of a naval fleet, consisting of two or more groups of boats.
Gibraltar-An unconquerable fortress
Maneuver- To carry out a military movement.
Minie Ball- A cone-shaped rifle bullet with a hollow base that expands when fired.
Mortar- Shells fired at short ranges that explode when they hit a target.
Siege- An attempt to capture a place by surrounding it and battering it until it surrenders.
Trench- A long, narrow, crooked ditch embanked with its own soil and used for concealment and protection in warfare.
Western Theater- Civil War battles fought mostly along the Mississippi River in what was then the western half of the United States.

Anticipatory Set:  Read Historical Background Information and discuss the impact that the Battle of Vicksburg had on the outcome of the Civil War.

Do Now Activity:  Letter Writing

(55 minutes)

Teachers will read letters from the museum collection to the students.  The students will take on roles of people during The Siege.  They are to write their own letters.  The girls will be writing letters to their “soldiers and family” portraying citizens of Vicksburg.  The boys will be writing letters to their “sweethearts and family” about the role they played during the siege.  The boys can pick whether they would like to be Confederate or Union soldiers.  After the students have completed their letters, they will present them to the class.

Procedures: Read all information, discuss the battle and the impact on soldiers and civilians, write a first person letter, read letters out loud to classmates.

Assessment: 

One Point

Two Points

Three Points

Correct letter format is used.

Correct letter format is used and first person perspective is continued throughout the letter.

Correct letter format is used, first person perspective is continued throughout the letter and at least 5 facts from the reading have been included.

 

Extensions/Challenges: Geography
Lesson
(55 minutes)

Teacher will provide students with a blank map of the United States and will label and color the following:

  • Label
    • Confederate States
    • Federal States
    • Vicksburg
    • Shiloh
    • Gettysburg
    • Fort Sumter
    • 1st Battle of Bull Run and additional battles.
  • Color
    • Confederate States Red
    •  
    • Federal States Blue

 

http://www.civilwar.org/battlefields/vicksburg/maps/vicksburg-may-19-22-1863-4.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAY 23, 1863.]                                             HARPER'S WEEKLY.

Vicksburg Battle Map

 

 
  Iron Brigade - Painting by Don Troiani

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Battle of Gettysburg

July 1-3, 1863

Estimated Casualties:51,000 total (US 23,000; CS 28,000)

Historical Background Information for Lesson 2

General Robert E. Lee served as military advisor to President Jefferson Davis until June 1862 when he was given command of the wounded General Joseph E. Johnston's embattled army on the Virginia peninsula. 

Lee renamed his command the Army of Northern Virginia, and under his direction it would become the most famous and successful of the Confederate armies.  This same organization also boasted some of the Confederacy's most inspiring military figures, including James Longstreet, Stonewall Jackson and the flamboyant cavalier J.E.B. Stuart.  With these trusted subordinates, Lee commanded troops that continually manhandled their blue-clad adversaries and embarrassed their generals no matter what the odds. 

Yet despite foiling several attempts to seize the Confederate capital, Lee recognized that the key to ultimate success was a victory on Northern soil.  In September 1862, he launched an invasion into Maryland with the hope of shifting the war's focus away from Virginia.  But when a misplaced dispatch outlining the invasion plan was discovered by Union commander George McClellan the element of surprise was lost, and the two armies faced off at the battle of Antietam.  Though his plans were no longer a secret, Lee nevertheless managed to fight McClellan to a stalemate on September 17, 1862.  Following the bloodiest one-day battle of the war, heavy casualties compelled Lee to withdraw under the cover of darkness.  The remainder of 1862 was spent on the defensive, parrying Union thrusts at Fredericksburg and, in May of the following year, Chancellorsville.  

The masterful victory at Chancellorsville gave Lee great confidence in his army, and the Rebel chief was inspired once again to take the fight to enemy soil.  In late June of 1863, he began another invasion of the North, meeting the Union host at the crossroads town of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.  For three days Lee assailed the Federal army under George G. Meade in what would become the most famous battle of the entire war.  Accustomed to seeing the Yankees run in the face of his aggressive troops, Lee attacked strong Union positions on high ground. 

 On July 1, Confederate forces converged on the town from west and north, driving Union defenders back through the streets to Cemetery Hill. During the night, reinforcements arrived for both sides. On July 2, Lee attempted to envelop the Federals, first striking the Union left flank at the Peach Orchard, Wheatfield, Devil’s Den, and the Round Tops with Longstreet’s and Hill’s divisions, and then attacking the Union right at Culp’s and East Cemetery Hills with Ewell’s divisions. By evening, the Federals retained Little Round Top and had repulsed most of Ewell’s men. During the morning of July 3, the Confederate infantry were driven from their last toe-hold on Culp’s Hill. In the afternoon, after a preliminary artillery bombardment, Lee attacked the Union center on Cemetery Ridge. The Pickett-Pettigrew assault (more popularly, Pickett’s Charge) momentarily pierced the Union line but was driven back with severe casualties.  This time, however, the Federals wouldn't budge.  The Confederate war effort reached its high water mark on July 3, 1863 when Lee ordered a massive frontal assault against Meade's center, spear-headed by Virginians under Maj. Gen. George E. Pickett.  The attack known as Pickett's charge was a failure and Lee, recognizing that the battle was lost, ordered his army to retreat. On July 4, Lee began withdrawing his army toward Williamsport on the Potomac River. His train of wounded stretched more than fourteen miles. Taking full responsibility for the defeat, he wrote Jefferson Davis offering his resignation, which Davis refused to accept.

The Aftermath

Gettysburg found itself surrounded by thousands of bloating corpses. Soon after the battle, torrential rain exposed the bodies lying in their hastily-prepared shallow graves. The arrival of summer's humid heat brought with it the nauseating stench of decaying flesh that attracted swarms of flies and marauding pigs to the former battlefield. Something had to be done. The bodies of the fallen had to be given a proper internment.

http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/images/gtsburgaddress1.jpg
The procession leaves Gettysburg
for the cemetery Nov. 19, 1863

Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin appointed David Wills, a prominent Gettysburg lawyer, to oversee the project. An interstate commission was formed, money was raised, and seventeen acres of land at the battle site purchased. The federal government provided the coffins. By November the cemetery was ready for dedication.

Lincoln was not the featured speaker of the day. This honor fell to Edward Everett, a noted orator from Massachusetts. The President had been invited to attend the ceremony at the last moment (November 2) with the expectation that his busy schedule would not allow him to attend. The organizers of the event were therefore surprised when Lincoln not only accepted their invitation but also indicated that he would like to say a few words at the ceremony.

Lincoln wanted desperately to speak at Gettysburg. It was an opportunity to boost the Union's war effort and to solidify political support in the state of Pennsylvania.

Lincoln arrived by train in Gettysburg the night before the dedication and stayed at the home of David Wills. At around 10 o'clock the next morning (November 19, 1863) the President joined the procession that ended at the cemetery just outside of town.

A crowd of fifteen to twenty thousand crowded around the speakers' platform. Everett spoke first, holding the audience spell-bound for almost two hours. Lincoln then rose and delivered his address in less than two minutes. The audience's response was muted, probably due to surprise at the brevity of the speech. Seeing his audience's reaction, Lincoln remarked to a companion: "It is a flat failure and the people are disappointed." However, the following day, Everett wrote the President praising his speech and pronouncing it one of the best he had heard. As the words Lincoln spoke that day were spread by the newspapers, public reaction concurred and Lincoln's few sentences have come to be regarded as one the best speeches in American history.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure.  We are met on a great battlefield of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.  But, in a larger sense, we cannot dedicate—we cannot consecrate—we cannot hallow—this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom

 

 

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Lesson 2

Sharon Bramwell

Grade Level: Upper Elementary/Middle School

Resources: http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/index.html, This Day in History at History Channel.com,

Lesson Summary:  The lesson will focus on the importance of this battle to the outcome of the war.  Emphasis will also be given to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, its importance then and prevalence today.

Common Core Standards: 

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.3 Identify key steps in a text’s description of a process related to history/social studies (e.g., how a bill becomes law, how interest rates are raised or lowered).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.5 Describe how a text presents information (e.g., sequentially, comparatively, causally).
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.6-8.6 Identify aspects of a text that reveal an author’s point of view or purpose

 

National Educational Standards

Era 5- Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)
Standard 2- The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.

Essential Question:

What made The Gettysburg Address one of America’s most famous documents?

Student Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate the importance of the Union victory at Gettysburg to winning the war.
  • List and identify the attempts that General Lee made trying to take Gettysburg.
  • Analyze the primary document to demonstrate an understanding of important timing the war 
  • Analyze the impact the Gettysburg Address had on final outcome of the war.

 

Key Terms:

  • Embattled
  • Invasion
  • Flamboyant
  • Invasion
  • Causalities
  • Resignation
  • Assault
  • Interment
  • Interstate commission
  • Prominent
  • Ceremony
  • Political
  • Solidarity

Goals:

  • Students will evaluate the role of Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address in the context of its place and time in history.
  • Students will examine how The Gettysburg Address is relevant in today’s society.

Objectives:

Students will be able to list at least two events that led up to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
2. Students will be able to present an argument as to why Lincoln gave The Gettysburg Address.
3. Students will be able to summarize portions of the Gettysburg Address in their own words or present an overall summary of the document.
 

Anticipatory Set:  Read Historical Background Information and discuss the impact that the Battle of Gettysburg had on the outcome of the Civil War and discuss why it is still relevant today.

Do Now Activity: Read the Gettysburg Address out loud. Write your own version of the Gettysburg Address using modern day language.

(55 minutes)

 

Procedures: Practice writing with speed ball or calligraphy pens in cursive style handwriting.  Re-write the Gettysburg Address using today’s terminology, replacing hard to understand words with ones easier to understand.

 

Assessment: 

One Point

Two Points

Three Points

Student re-writes the Gettysburg Address.

Correct word choice is used to re-write the Gettysburg Address. 

Correct word choice is used to re-write the Gettysburg Address.  Calligraphy is neat and legible.

 

Extensions/Challenges: 

  • Research the Emancipation Proclamation and discuss its importance to the outcome of the war.
  • Discuss the painting below and why General Lee is portrayed as larger than General Grant even though he was shorter in real life.

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_jro8pi11h1E/S66pnK1nbOI/AAAAAAAAAK4/oiYTaj-Piaw/s1600/lee+and+grant.jpg

The War’s End

After the simultaneous Union victories at Gettysburg and Vicksburg, Mississippi, Ulysses S. Grant assumed command of the Federal armies.  Rather than making Richmond the aim of his campaign, Grant chose to focus the myriad resources at his disposal on destroying Lee's Army of Northern Virginia.  In a relentless and bloody campaign, the Federal juggernaut bludgeoned the under-supplied Rebel band.  In spite of his ability to make Grant pay in blood for his aggressive tactics, Lee had been forced to yield the initiative to his adversary, and he recognized that the end of the Confederacy was only a matter of time.  By the summer of 1864, the Confederates had been forced into waging trench warfare outside of Petersburg.  Though President Davis named the Virginian General-in-Chief of all Confederate forces in February 1865, only two months later, on April 9, 1865, Lee was forced to surrender his weary and depleted army to Grant at Appomattox Court House, effectively ending the Civil War.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Turning Points in the Civil War

Pre/Post Test

 

  1. What two battles were discussed as major turning points in the Civil War? _______________ and _________________
  2. Name the northern general who led the siege on Vicksburg.
  3.  How long did the Battle of Vicksburg last?
  4. What did the citizens of Vicksburg do during the battle?
  5. Who was the President of the United States during the Civil War?
  6. Name the Confederate general that led the attack at Gettysburg.
  7. What was the name of the speech given by the President at Gettysburg?

 

 

 

  1. Why was the President at Gettysburg on November 19, 1863?

 

 

  1. In what state is Gettysburg located?
  2. 0. Who won the Civil War?

 

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