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The Main Four of the Civil War

September 11, 2013

Title:                                        The Big Four and More

Authors: Lisa Hicks and Donna Root

Grade Levels: 4th and 5th Grades


http://ethemes.missouri.edu/  - search Civil War

http://www.cicerohistory.com/  – Unit 8 Civil War

The Civil War in Four Minutes(DVD) Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum


Battle of Wilson’s Creek (DVD found at Wilson’s Creek)

The Civil War: A Film by Ken Burns – PBS series

Lesson Summary:

In this lesson students will learn about the four main leaders in the Civil War.  They will learn about them by an historical method called “Haunted History.”  When they are done, they will have written their own haunted history of an historical Civil War soldier.


 3a. Knowledge of continuity and change in the history of Missouri and the United States - I.

Understanding the causes and consequences of the Civil War

Historical Background: Civil War Chronology (Cicero)

 Anticipatory Set:

Think about one of the videos that have been shown in class (Civil War in Four Minutes; Civil War by Ken Burns; Gettysburg; Battle of Wilson’s Creek).  Discuss with a partner what are some of the details you remember about one (or more) of these movies. 

Do Now Activity/Procedures:

Haunted History #1 will be shared with the class.  As a whole group, the class will work together to figure out who is the person being discussed (Abraham Lincoln).  What clues helped the students to figure out who the person was?  Show the illustration of the tombstone.  Fill in the tombstone of Abraham Lincoln on the Promethean/Smartboard with the information discussed.  Explain that now they will be getting one of three Haunted Histories to work in small groups.  They will need to look for clues in the Haunted History as to who this person is.  The students will then fill in the information in one of the tombstones they are given.  The three are Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and U.S. Grant.  The students will then share with the class who they had and what historical facts helped them to figure out who their person was. 


The students can now be paired up or work individually to write their own Haunted History.  Give the students a new tombstone worksheet.  The students will fill in the historical facts that they find about their Civil War leader.  With those facts, the students will create their own.

Teachers may choose:

Gettysburg Notables: James Longstreet; George Pickett; JEB Stuart; Joshua Chamberlain;  George Meade

Wilson’s Creek Notables: Sterling Price, Nathaniel Lyon, Ben McCulloch, Franz Sigel

Pea Ridge Notables: Earl Van Dorn, Sterling Price, Ben McCulloch, Samuel Curtis, Franz Sigel

Other Civil War Generals and Leaders: Stonewall Jackson, William Tecumseh Sherman, Nathan Bedford Forrest, Joseph Johnston, George McClellan, David Farragut



  1. Who is known as “The Great Emancipator”?
  2. Abraham Lincoln
  3. JEB Stuart
  4. U.S. Grant
  5. David Farragut


  1. Who is the general that accepted the Confederate surrender at Appomattox Courthouse?
  2. Abraham Lincoln
  3. JEB Stuart
  4. U.S. Grant
  5. Joshua Chamberlain


  1. Who is known as Commander-in-Chief of the Confederacy?
  2. William Tecumseh Sherman
  3. JEB Stuart
  4. U.S. Grant
  5. Jefferson Davis


  1. Who is the general known as “The Gray Fox”?
  2. George McClellan
  3. Robert E. Lee
  4. George Pickett
  5. Stonewall Jackson

Answer Key

  1. A
  2. C
  3. D
  4. B


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