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Famous Civil War Women Overview

September 11, 2013

Famous Civil War Women Overview

By Janet Parker

3rd Grade



Harriet Tubman


Women Spies in the Civil War





Frances Clayton


Women Soldiers of the Civil War



Clara Barton, 1821-1912 Civil War Nurse Founder American Red Cross





Mary Lincoln Todd 1818- 1882





Belle Boyd





Lesson Summary: There are many heroes of the Civil War and women are part of them. This lesson focuses on their part in the war. They were caretakers, soldiers, spies, and leaders of their time. Each woman is highlighted and celebrated for their part in the Civil War and the lasting impact that they play in the Civil War. Students will research one of the famous Civil War women above and create a trading card that they can pass around to others when they come to their station. Their station can include a Powerpoint presentation, poster, or a pamphlet about their woman.


Common Core Standards: RI 3.1, RI 3.2, RI3.10


Key Terms:

Spy- :to watch secretly usually for hostile purposes


Underground Railroad: a system of cooperation among active antislavery people in the United States before 1863 by which fugitive slaves were secretly helped to reach the North or Canada


Refugees: one that flees; especially : a person who flees to a foreign country or power to escape danger or persecution



Historical Background: Women were not allowed to be soldiers in the Civil War. Yet, there were other women who had a different idea in mind. For example, Harriet Tubman was a nurse, scout, and spy. She made sure that slaves who were seeking freedom were able to do it through the Underground Railroad. Frances Clayton was a woman who wanted to be in the army so much that she dressed up as a man so she could  participate in the Missouri artillery and cavalry units. Clara Baton was a brave woman who gave a lot of herself to make soldiers feel better and started the American Red Cross, which is still used today. Mary Lincoln Todd was the First Lady during the Civil War and coordinated fundraisers to raise money for the refugees and the homeless in Washington. She once visited a hospital after a bunch of men had their legs  amputated to serve them food and help them to recovery. Finally, Belle Boyd was a Confederate spy who was arrested several times for attempts to  give valuable information to the Confederates. She was very beautiful and could use her charm to pry information out of Union soldiers.



Anticipatory Set: Teacher will start off with some spy music like “Mission Impossible” and then introduce the Famous Women of the Civil war by showing their pictures. Ask the students, “What do all of these women have in common?” Write down possible predictions to see if they are correct at the end of lesson.



  1. Break students into five groups. Each group will receive a person as their topic and their websites for research.
  2. Students will need to come up with some form of presentation like Powerpoint, pamphlet, poster, etc for their person. It should include a short biography, their role in the Civil War, and their lasting impact on American history.
  3. After they complete the presentation they will need to make a trading card, like the one that they would receive at a National Park site. This trading card has one cool fact and a short summary about the individual.


Assessment: The teacher will grade the presentation. The  rubric is found on http://www.bie.org/images/uploads/useful_stuff/Upper_ES_Presentation_Rubric_for_PBL_FINAL2013.pdf and follows Common Core Standards.


Extension: Students can write to the park to see if they can receive a trading card or they can work on the website http://www.nps.gov/apco/forkids/parkfun.htm




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