Slavery and the Civil War
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How was he/she involved with slavery and the Civil War? What were his/her opinions about slavery? Select this Topic to record his/her important experiences from this period.
Was he/she a slave in the mid-19th century?
- At what age did he/she begin working as a slave? Was he/she born into slavery in the United States or elsewhere? Was he/she taken and sold into slavery when he/she was older?
- Where did he/she work? What kind of tasks did he/she perform?
- What were his/her living conditions like? What did he/she eat and wear? Where did he/she sleep? Was he/she able to live with his/her family?
- Was he/she freed at any point in his/her life? How did it come about? Did he/she buy his/her freedom? Was he/she allowed to leave? Where did he/she go and what did he/she do?
How was he/she involved with slavery and the Civil War?
- In what capacity was he/she involved with slavery? Was he/she a slave owner? Did he/she protect slaves or work for the abolition of slavery?
- What were his/her ideas about slavery? Why did he/she believe that it was right or wrong?
- Where did he/she live? In general how did people in this area feel about slavery? Were they strongly for or against it?
Was he/she interested in the events leading up to and during the Civil War, other than combat?
- What did he/she think about the issue of slavery in the United States? Should it have been allowed? Should it have been abolished completely? What were his/her opinions on the several acts that were passed to control slavery and to limit where it could be practiced?
- The Dred Scott case was a landmark decision in the history of slavery, declaring that slaves were not citizens and therefore couldn't sue for their freedom. What was his/her opinion on it? What influenced his/her thoughts?
- After Lincoln's election in 1860, several states seceded, because, among other reasons, they feared his/her intentions towards slavery. Did he/she live in one of those states? Was he/she opposed to or for secession? Why? Did war seem inevitable at this point?
- The Civil War began with the attack on Fort Sumter in April of 1861. What was his/her reaction to this attack? Did he/she believe that the issues could be resolved quickly and that the war would soon be over? Did it seem necessary to preserve the union?
- The Battle of Bull Run was fought outside of Washington--spectators attended, believing that the Union Army would crush the Confederates. However, the Union suffered a defeat, and spectators and soldiers alike fled. Was he/she a witness to this? What happened to him that day?
- The Emancipation Proclamation freed African-Americans from their enslaved state. It was made public in January of 1863. What did he/she think of it? Was it for the best? Did he/she have any worries about political or social problems that it might cause?
- Thousands of people died or suffered casualties during the war. What did he/she think about this? In his/her opinion, was saving the union worth the lost lives? Why or why not?
- Lincoln gave his/her Gettysburg address after a particularly bloody battle. Many people found this to be an inspirational speech. What did he/she think of it?
- There were riots because of the Union Army draft. People felt it was unfair because those who had money could buy their way out of serving. Was he/she involved in these riots? If so, what happened to him?
- What did he/she think about African-Americans serving in the army? Many felt they would not make good soldiers, while others felt they were courageous. What did he/she think before the war? Did his/her opinions change afterwards? Did it change his/her ideas about slavery?
- The Union Army marched through the South, leaving a path of destruction behind them. What were his/her feelings on this? Was so much destruction needed? Why or why not?
- The Confederate Army's surrender took place at Appomattox, Virginia in April, 1865. What did this represent to him? What did he/she feel had been accomplished?
Did he/she serve in the military during all or part of the Civil War?
- Did he/she fight for the North or the South? Under which commanding officer did he/she serve?
- Many families found that they were split on the issues involved with the Civil War, and had members in each army. Did this happen to his/her family?
- How did he/she keep in touch with his/her friends and family back home during this time? Did he/she save any letters he/she or they might have written?
- Describe basic training. Who was his/her commanding officer? Who were his/her peers? Where and for how long was he/she trained, if at all?
- Which weapons was he/she trained to use? How did he/she feel about using weapons?
- What were conditions like on the battlefield and in the army camps? Were there times when there wasn't enough food or clothing to go around?
- Which battles did he/she fight in? Describe the time, place, number of participants, and what happened. How did these battles affect the war as a whole? What role did his/her unit play in this battle?
- Was he/she injured in any way? Describe what happened. What kind of treatment did he/she receive?
- Did he/she heal quickly and return to battle, or was he/she sent home? How did it change him in ways that he/she still noticed years later?
- If he/she was an African-American, how was he/she treated in the army? Were conditions worse for him than for the other soldiers? If so, in what ways?
- When did he/she hear of the surrender at Appomattox? What did he/she feel at this time? Was this what he/she wanted? Had his/her fighting efforts served a purpose?
- After all was said and done, what did he/she learn from his/her experiences in the military? Why were these lessons valuable to him? How did they change him and his/her ideas or values?
- What sort of memorabilia did he/she save from this time? What did it symbolize to him? What memories and images did it bring back to him and his/her family in later years?
Was he/she at home during all or part of the Civil War?
- Why was he/she home? Was he/she not called up? Was his/her time of service shorter than the war? Was he/she too young or too old? Did he/she wish that he/she could have gone to fight?
- Was he/she in the North or the South? How was he/she affected by the war? How was life at home different? What sacrifices did he/she have to make, if any?
- Did he/she ever fear for his/her life because of the war? Was his/her home or town destroyed? Did armies take his/her food or other supplies?
- Did friends or family leave to fight in the war? How did he/she feel when they left? Did he/she think that he/she would never see them again or did he/she feel that they would return? What actually happened?
- Did any of these people die because of the war? Who? Did he/she know how they died? How did he/she find out about his/her or her death?
- Did he/she do anything to help the war effort? Did he/she collect funds or make garments for the soldiers? Did he/she supply the armies with food?
- How did he/she keep in touch with his/her loved ones who were away during this time? Did he/she save any letters he/she wrote or received?
- What did the surrender at Appottomax represent to him? Had the fighting served its purpose?