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If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War (If You)

What I Learned Section 1 -- Answer the Following Questions:
1. Which states seceded from the Union in 1860 and 1861?

South Carolina, Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Texas, Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

In November, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected President of the United States. At that time, there were 34 states in the Union. The South depended on farming and crops as its way of life, and southerners depended on slaves to work on their plantations. The North, on the other hand, depended on industry and did not have as many slaves. The southern states thought President Lincoln would end slavery and destroy the South's way of life.

On December 20, 1860, South Carolina became the first state to secede from (or leave) the Union. By February, 1861, six more states had seceded from the Union. They were Mississippi, Florida, Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, and Texas. These seven states formed the Confederate States of America and elected Jefferson Davis as President.

When Abraham Lincoln was sworn in as President in March, 1861, he faced a possible civil war. On April 12, 1861, Union-controlled Fort Sumter was attacked by Confederate forces, and the Civil War began.

Between April and June, 1861, four more states seceded and joined the Confederate States of America. They were Virginia, Arkansas, North Carolina, and Tennessee.

Twenty-three states remained in the Union. They were Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Delaware, Maryland, Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, California, and Oregon. In 1863, the western part of Virginia broke away from Virginia, and it became a new state in the Union. It was called West Virginia.

At the start of the Civil War, there were twenty-two million people living in the North and nine million people living in the South. Did you know three million of the nine million people living in the South were slaves?

The following is a list of the states and dates of their secession:
South Carolina: December 20, 1860
Mississippi: January 9, 1861
Florida: January 10, 1861
Alabama: January 11, 1861
Georgia: January 19, 1861
Louisiana: January 26, 1861
Texas: February 1, 1861
Virginia: April 17, 1861
Arkansas: May 6, 1861
North Carolina: May 20, 1861
Tennessee: June 8, 1861

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2. What happened on April 12, 1861?
The Civil War began at Fort Sumter, South Carolina.

On December 20, 1860, South Carolina seceded from the Union. Fort Sumter was a United States military fort located in Charleston Harbor, South Carolina, and therefore, it was under the control of Union forces.

On April 12, 1861, Confederate forces attacked Fort Sumter, and the Civil War began. This bombardment lasted 34 hours, until the Union forces surrendered on April 14.

The Civil War lasted four years. It ended on April 9, 1865, when Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at Appomattox Court House, Virginia.

Did you know the Civil War was known by different names? Southerners referred to it as The War Between the States.

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3. Was the Northern Army referred to as the Union Army or the Confederate Army?
Union Army. The Northern Army was also referred to as the Federal Army, and the northern soldiers were called Yankees. In general, Union soldiers wore blue uniforms.

When the Civil War began and states seceded from the Union, southern soldiers resigned from the U.S. Army and joined confederate units. Did you know Robert E. Lee was one of these soldiers? Lee was born in Virginia. When Virginia seceded on April 17, 1861, Lee resigned from the U.S. Army because of his loyalty to his home state. Read about Robert E. Lee.

The Union military consisted of men from the United States, Germany, Ireland, France, Spain, Great Britain, and Italy.

The Union army signed up 16,000 men for five years. On April 15, 1861, President Lincoln asked for 75,000 volunteers to serve for ninety days. As the war continued and the volunteers stopped joining the army, the government offered money to those who volunteered. In 1863, the Union began drafting men between the ages of twenty and forty five. However, a man could get out of the draft by either buying a substitute to fight in his place or paying $300.

Most Union soldiers were between sixteen and thirty years old. Many were not married. A private was paid thirteen dollars a month.

The Union flag was called the Stars and Stripes. It consisted of thirty-four stars to represent all the states, even the eleven which had seceded. In 1863, a star was added to the flag to represent the newest state, West Virginia.

Did you know the North and the South had different names for the same battles? The North named battles after rivers, and the South named them after towns. For example, the battle fought on September 17, 1862, was called Antietam by the North and Sharpsburg by the South. The battle fought from December 31, 1862, to January 2, 1863, was called Stones River by the North and Murfreesboro by the South.

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4. Was the Southern Army referred to as the Union Army or the Confederate Army?
Confederate Army. The Southern soldiers were called Rebels. In general, Confederate soldiers wore gray uniforms.

At the beginning of the Civil War, the southern forces were comprised of small state units. President Jefferson Davis called for 100,000 volunteers. In 1862, the southern government drafted men between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five. However, owners of twenty or more slaves did not have to fight.

Although privates earned eleven dollars per month, many of them were not paid until a year later.

The Confederate flag was called the Stars and Bars. Later, the Rebel Flag was adopted.

Did you know the South and the North had a different way to name their armies? The South named its armies after states (or parts of states), and the North named its armies after rivers. For example, Southern armies were called the Army of Northern Virginia or the Army of Tennessee, and Northern armies were called the Army of the Potomac and the Army of the Tennessee. Did you notice the Northern army was called the Army of THE Tennessee, and the Southern army was the Army of Tennessee (without a "the")? Why? Because the Northern Army was named after "The Tennessee" as in the Tennessee River, and the Confederate Army was named after "Tennessee" as in the state of Tennessee.

Did you know most of the fighting occurred in the South? The Battles of Antietam and Gettysburg were two famous battles which occurred in the North. Antietam was fought on September 17, 1862, in Maryland. Gettysburg was fought from July 1 - 3, 1863, in Pennsylvania.

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5. True or False: During the Civil War, children in the North had more opportunities to attend school than children in the South.
Children in the North continued to attend public schools during the war. A typical school day was from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. They read from a McGuffey Reader, did "sums," wrote on a slate, and memorized "pieces" to recite. If a schoolmaster was drafted into the army, women became teachers or the school closed. Some children did not go to school because they worked in factories for low wages to help their family. Some boys visited their fathers in the army rather than going to school.

Before the war, the South had less schools than the North, and these school were usually private schools. Wealthy parents would hire a tutor or governess to teach their children at home. Then the children attended private high schools.

During the war, it became more difficult for southern children to attend school. First, the tutors left to fight. Second, children had to help out on the farm or in the house which left less time to study. Third, many schools were used as hospitals or prisons.

African-American children in the South were not taught to read or write. One child, Frederick Douglass, knew it was important to learn in order to become free. He secretly learned from neighborhood white boys. Douglass escaped from slavery and spoke out against slavery as an adult. Some slaves who knew how to read and write taught others slaves in "pit schools." Pit schools were hidden holes in the ground so the slaves would not be caught.

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6. How was the news spread from the front lines?
Letters, Newspapers, and Magazines.

Before the war in the North, people picked up their letters from the post office or general store. During the war, two big changes occurred with the U.S. Mail. One, the mail was divided into classes. First class was used for letters, second class was used for newspapers, and third class was used for magazines. The price of postage depended on the class, rather than on how far the letter traveled. Two, home mail delivery began in large cities by "postmen." Later in the war, postal money orders were used so soldiers could send money safely through the mail.

In the South, it was more difficult to get the news from the front lines. Sometimes it could take months or years for the news to spread. Some mail never made it through the army lines. Often telegraph lines were cut by the Union Army. The Vicksburg Citizen and the Richmond Enquirer followed the battles and printed the names of the casualties. These newspapers were read aloud in a public place because many people could not read. When the newspapers ran out of newsprint, they used wallpaper or wrapping paper.

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What I Learned Section 2 -- Define the following words:
Secede: Leave

Plantation: Large farm

Confederacy: A group of states working together but allowing each state to keep its own laws

54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry: First African-American regiment

Underground Railroad: A secret route to travel from the South and slavery to the North and freedom

Emancipation Proclamation: Document signed by President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, which freed the slaves in the South

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Bonus Questions (Answer 1 of the Following Questions for Your FREE Bookmark):
a. Compare the life in the North and the South during the Civil War.
Life in the North during the Civil War
People who lived in the North generally continued the same kind of life during the Civil War. They were not directly affected by the fighting because most of the battles were fought in the South. Farming continued in the country, and business continued in the cities. Women entered the workplace to replace the men who became soldiers. Children often dressed up in soldiers' uniforms.

People who owned farms or businesses made more money because they sold their food or goods to the Union Army. Families who worked for someone else experienced a harder time because the cost of food and housing increased. Workers worked about ten to twelve hours a day and earned between $2.50 to $3.00 for the whole day.

At the same time, prices of food increased up to 75%. For example, a dozen eggs cost as much as $6. Some foods were difficult to find because they were grown in the South. These included rice, sweet potatoes, citrus fruits, and pecans. Most families ate meat and potatoes. Lunch was usually eaten at noon, and supper was eaten at 6 o'clock. During the war, canned food began so soldiers could carry their food while they marched. There was canned milk and canned fruit.

People who lived in the city went to the circus, attended vaudeville shows (shows with dancing, comedy, and singing), and watched parades as men marched off to battle. The Sanitary Commission featured exhibits of captured battle flags and military items to raise money for the soldiers. People who lived in the country attended farm fairs.

Popular songs in the North included the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "Battle Cry of Freedom."

Did you know baseball became a popular sport during and after the Civil War? Soldiers played in between battles to pass the time. When they returned home, they taught their children how to play.

Life in the South during the Civil War
Life changed dramatically for people living in the South. Most of the battles were fought in the South. Food and supplies were limited because the railroad lines were cut by the Union Army and the ports were blocked by the Union Navy. The people had to find new ways to make everyday necessities with what they had. For example, buttons were made out of dried persimmon seeds and hats were made out of corn husks or grass. Women and children (even very young children) had to do more chores while the men went off to fight.

As the war continued, food became more scarce. Southerners mostly ate what could be grown or gathered. Meat was difficult to get because it was hunted. Tea was made from dried berry leaves, coffee was made by boiling grain, and baking soda was made from corncob ashes. To make the food last, some families only ate one or two small meals a day.

Although there was little time to play games, children enjoyed pretending to play war. Boys played a flute, and girls played with a rag doll. Popular songs were "When Johnny Comes Marching Home" and "Bonnie Blue Flag."

Southerners supported the war by sharing food and clothing with Confederate soldiers. Homes were offered to the officers. Families helped the wounded soldiers in nearby hospitals.

Slave children were put to work by the time they were six years old. They would put the animals in the barn, clean the yard, or run errands. When they were older, they would work in the fields. They did not have much time to play. Popular songs among slaves were "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" and "Follow the Drinking Gourd."

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b. Compare the life in the North and the South after the Civil War.
Life in the North after the Civil War
During the Civil War, the North suffered about 360,000 casualties. After the war, there were more factories which led to more jobs. As former soldiers returned to work, many women left the work force. The women who continued to work were paid less than the men.

During the war, many workers had delayed going on strike because it was considered unpatriotic. After the war, as the companies grew larger, low paid workers fought for more money and the end to the fourteen-hour work day. Freed slaves moved to the North, and they were given low-paying jobs.

President Abraham Lincoln wanted to reunite the country quickly and peacefully. However, Lincoln was assassinated on April 15, 1865. This was just three days after the surrender at Appomattox Court House. Andrew Johnson succeeded Lincoln as President.

Life in the South after the Civil War
During the Civil War, the South suffered about 260,000 casualties. After the war, it took a long time for the South to recover from the devastation of the war. Cities and towns needed to be rebuilt. Railroad and telegraph lines needed to be reset. Farms needed to be replanted without the help of slaves because the Thirteenth Amendment (ratified in 1865) abolishes slavery.

Life was difficult for freed slaves who remained in the South. They had little education and money, and they were discriminated against. Some decided to move to the North.

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c. Describe ONE of the following people from the North:
Abraham Lincoln: He was the President of the United States during the Civil War.
Read about Abraham Lincoln.

Ulysses S. Grant: He was a Union general. He accepted Confederate General Robert E. Lee's surrendered at Appomattox Court House, Virginia, on April 9, 1865. Read about Ulysses S. Grant.

William T. Sherman: He was a Union general.

George B. McClellan: He was a Union general and fought at Antietam (September 17, 1862).

Ambrose Burnside: He was a Union general.

George Meade: He was a Union general and fought at Gettysburg (July 1-3, 1863).

Sojourner Truth: She escaped from slavery and spoke about ending slavery.

Frederick Douglass: He was born a slave in Baltimore. After learning how to read and write, he escaped from slavery. He became a well-known speaker against slavery.

Robert Gould Shaw: He was a Union colonel who led the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first African-American army regiment.

Harriet Beecher Stowe: She wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin, a book about the evils of slavery.

Mathew Brady: He was a photographer who followed the armies. His photographs allowed people far away from the fighting to see the battlefields upclose.

Thomas Nast: He was an artist who drew a fat, jolly Santa Claus in a sleigh filled with toys. This began the holiday tradition.

Dorothea Dix: She organized a group of nurses to treat wounded soldiers.

Clara Barton: She brought food and medicine to the battle lines, and she organized the American Red Cross in 1881.

Dr. Mary Walker: She became the first woman officer in the U.S. Army and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Harriet Tubman: She was an escaped slave from Maryland. She helped other slaves escape using the Underground Railroad. Did you know her nickname was Moses?

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d. Describe ONE of the following people from the South.
Jefferson Davis: He was the President of the Confederate States of America.

Robert E. Lee: He was a general for the Confederate Army. Did you know his horse's name was Traveller? Read about Robert E. Lee.

Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson: He was a general in the Confederate Army.

Jeb Stuart: He was a general in the Confederate Army and led the cavalry.

James Longstreet: He was a general in the Confederate Army.

A.P. Hill: He was a general in the Confederate Army.

John Mosby: He was a raider in the Confederate Army and a part of Jeb Stuart's cavalry. Did you know he was known as the "Grey Ghost" because he was hard to capture?

Nathan Bedford Forrest: He was a general in the Confederate Army.

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e. During and after the Civil War new words were used. Define the origin of ONE of the following words:
Sideburns: Northern origin. Bushy side whiskers modeled after General Ambrose Burnside.

Greenbacks: Northern origin. Money printed in 1861, named because it used green ink on the backside.

Bummers: Northern origin. Soldiers who took food and valuables from the countryside. Today, the name is shortened to bum.

Mailman: Northern origin. Name became common when home delivery of mail began.

Shampoo: Northern origin. Women began using this word when they washed their hair.

Chignon: Northern origin. Women's hair wrapped plainly into a knot in the back. It became a popular hair style for women to show support for the war.

Dixie: Southern origin. Nickname for the South before the Civil War. It may have started from the Mason-Dixon Line (line dividing Pennsylvania and Maryland) or from the ten-dollar bill marked Dix. The song "I Wish I Was in Dixie's Land" was played during Jefferson Davis' inauguration as President of the Confederate States of America. The song was a symbol for the South.

Mason-Dixon Line: Southern origin. Line dividing Pennsylvania and Maryland.

Dix: Southern origin. The ten-dollar bill was marked Dix which means ten in French.

Scalawags: Southern origin. Name used to describe southerners who worked in the new southern governments set up by the U.S. government.

Carpetbaggers: Southern origin. Name used to describe northerners who came to southern states to sell items at high prices or to control the votes of former slaves. The name came from their traveling bags made of carpet-like material.

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f. Use five of the words in Section 2 in a sentence.
Answers will vary. Here are sample sentences from our young readers:
South Carolina was the first state to secede from the United States.

I saw a plantation when I visited my uncle in Georgia.

The Confederate States of America was a confederacy.

Denzel Washington starred in a movie about the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry. It was called Glory.

Harriet Tubman helped slaves escape on the Underground Railroad.

The Emancipation Proclamation freed slaves during the Civil War.

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g. Have a parent or friend give you a spelling test with EACH of the words in Section 2.

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More Valuable Information about the American Civil War:
IMA Hero™ Civil War History
IMA Hero™ Abe Lincoln Hero History
IMA Hero™ Robert E. Lee Hero History
IMA Hero™ Ulysses S. Grant Hero History
IMA Hero™ Civil War Photos
IMA Hero™ Civil War Links
Antietam National Battlefield
Appomattox Court House National Historical Park
Fort Sumter National Monument
Gettysburg National Military Park
The Civil War Home Page

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