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Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President during a time of national crisis. His election had prompted the secession of South Carolina and six other states, and Federal troops were surrounded at Fort Sumter. In his inaugural address, Lincoln sought [...]
The battle of Gettysburg, which took place in July, 1863, was the deadliest in the Civil War. After three sweltering days, Union forces were victorious but 51,000 soldiers were dead, wounded, or missing; 28,000 of them were Confederates. In [...]
In this activity students compare and contrast a political cartoon and a letter to the editor from 1862 that describe ordinary soldiers who fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
In this activity students examine sheet music and letters from draft rioters to examine Union attitudes about the military draft during the Civil War.
This letter was written by an African-American soldier of the Massachusetts 55th Regiment in the midst of a heated battle to take the Confederate fortifications on Folly Island, South Carolina. It conveys the determination of black soldiers in the [...]
In this letter to the editor, a Georgia soldier condemns the so-called "Twenty Negro Law" exempting large slaveholders from service in the Confederate Army. The anonymous soldier articulates the feelings of many poor Southern whites, most of whom [...]
In 1863, Congress issued a Conscription Act to draft more people into the army to fight the Civil War. The draft law also included a provision that allowed wealthy men to pay $300 to a substitute, thus avoiding military service. In response, in New [...]
In this 1863 editorial, Frederick Douglass calls all able-bodied African Americans to take up arms in defense of the Union. He encourages them to travel to Boston in order to join one of the first regiments of black soldiers forming there.
On July 20, four days after federal troops put down the 1863 Draft Riot, a group of Wall Street businessmen formed a committee to aid New York's devastated black community. The Committee of Merchants for the Relief of Colored People Suffering from [...]
In 1862, American painter Eastman Johnson (1824-1906) made trips to Union encampments to witness and sketch the war's events. Throughout the war, African-American men, women, and children escaped slavery by fleeing to Union encampments. Union [...]