The Civil War’s History in a Box

History in a BoxThe Civil War’s History in a Box loan kit project provides an innovative means of teaching Civil War history (social studies), geography, mathematics, art, and language contained in one package of material.  This educational loan kit project involves following a soldier and his unit throughout the war – from initial enlistment until he (or she) is killed in battle, wounded severely enough to be discharged, completely incapacitated due to one or more of the diseases so prevalent during the war or mustered out of service near (or at) the end of the War.

Letters to and from the soldier, his family and friends detail life during wartime – both on the homefront and the battlefront – and outline the difficulties faced on both fronts during the devastating war years.  These letters reveal the reality of war: loneliness, terror, boredom, misery, and homefront devastation.  A selection of letters representative of the soldier’s wartime experiences are included in each soldier’s box and are accompanied by letters from family and/or friends on the homefront.

Civil War History in a Box imageThe soldiers contained in The Civil War’s History in a Box represent both sides of the war.  Each soldier’s unit history is carefully researched as to battles fought, commanders, routes of march, and winter encampment areas.  A brief "history" of each soldier provides an overview of his/her lifestyle prior to entering upon their wartime service.  The crops grown, lifestyle, proximity to (or views) on slavery are included in these "histories."

Although most battles took place on Southern soil, all soldiers worried about the safety of their families. Throughout the war, Confederate soldiers remained concerned about their family’s ability to withstand Union occupation and destruction of much needed food supplies.  Union soldiers also worried about being so far away from their wives and children.  Both Union and Confederate soldiers faced the imminent possibility of death – and the desperate straits their family members would be forced to endure without a family breadwinner.  Soldiers in both armies and their families faced the danger of starvation.

Civil War History in a Box imageThe Civil War literally devastated the nation – over 600,000 deaths and thousands upon thousands of soldiers maimed for life. 

Almost three million men (and many women disguised as men) served in Union and/or Confederate Armies.  Many served hundreds of miles from their home:  some had never been further from home than the nearest small town.  So they wrote letters about what they saw, what they felt, their food (and lack of), battles, etc.  A soldier’s letter provides a personal view of an event that truly divided the country for four long years.

Lesson plans prepared by Lincoln Memorial University Education majors are included in each "Box."  Each Civil War History in a Box also contains a full complement of reproduction items used by soldiers during the Civil War.  For additional information or to reserve a loan kit for your classroom, please contact: carol.campbell@lmunet.edu or download the form from the website and mail to the address listed on the form.

History in a Box Loan Agreement