best history websites, civil war

Special contributions from Kevin M. Levin
Kevin is an educator and historian in Boston. Between 2000-11 he taught courses in American history at the St. Anne’s – Belfield School in Charlottesville, Virginia. You can find him online at Civil War Memory (http://cwmemory.com).

Civil War in the News

“As Confederate Statues Come Down, It’s Worth Remembering That the Civil War wasn’t the Only American Conflict Involving Slavery” Time, June 22, 2020 – The Confederate monuments that are coming down across the United States have once again ignited a generations-old American argument. Though the idea that the war was really about the “noble cause” of states’ rights retains its mystique for some, historians agree that the root cause of the Civil War was slavery. The worst American war in the nation’s history—from the standpoint of casualties, direct costs and indirect consequences—was fought in a vain attempt by the Confederate States to preserve that “peculiar institution.” Now, 155 years later, not only are statues of Confederate leaders being removed in cities from Richmond to New Orleans, Confederate battle flags are being banned at public events and U.S. military bases named after Confederate military leaders face possible name changes. But the Civil War did not occur in a vacuum. . . Read more>>>

“American Oligarchy: How the South Won the Civil War” History News Network, June 23, 2020 – The year 2020 has raised a number of existential questions for our country. The pandemic is exposing cracks in our health-care and economic systems as COVID-19 disproportionately takes the lives of Black Americans. Protesters march in the streets in every major American city to demand an end to racism in our system of policing. Amid these national debates about injustice in some of our biggest institutions, we ask ourselves: What kind of country are we, and what kind of country should we be? In her new book How the South Won the Civil War: Oligarchy, Democracy, and the Continuing Fight for the Soul of America, Heather Cox Richardson contends that the United States was founded on a “paradox”. . . Read more >>>

General Resources

The Valley of the Shadows ★★★★☆
The Valley of the Shadow depicts two communities, one Northern and one Southern, through the experience of the American Civil War. The project focuses on Augusta County, Virginia and Franklin County, Pennsylvania, and creates a social history of the coming, fighting, and aftermath of the Civil War. The project is a hypermedia archive of thousands of sources for the period before, during, and after the Civil War for Augusta County, Virginia, and Franklin County, Pennsylvania. Those sources include newspapers, letters, diaries, photographs, maps, church records, population census, agricultural census, and military records. Students can explore the conflict and write their own histories, or reconstruct the life stories of women, African Americans, farmers, politicians, soldiers, and families. The project is intended for secondary schools, community colleges, libraries, and universities.

The Civil War Homepage ★★★★☆
The Civil War Home Page is a well organized gateway to thousands of pages of Civil War material including Photos, Images, Battles, Documents, Southern Historical Papers, Troops Furnished, Death Stats, Associations, Letters & Diaries, and more. The photo database has over 1,100 of Civil War related pictures and official reports include battle reports from the official records of the Union and Confederate Armies written by the commanding generals.

American Civil War Museum ★★★★☆
The American Civil War Museum offers a wide variety of resources focused on both the military campaigns as well as the Confederate home front. Lesson plans that focus on the history of women and slavery are particularly strong. The lesson plans can be purchased at a reasonable cost and resource packets are available for rental at $5. The Museum of the Confederacy also offers a selection of free lesson plans and maintains its own YouTube page, which offers a glimpse into their rich archival and artifact collection.

Civil War.com ★★★★☆
CivilWar.com is divided into 11 sections and the overview section offers causes of the war, a summary of the war, a look at the life of a soldier and the timeline of events. Other sections include Battles, Resources, Weapons, Travel, News, For Teachers, Forum, People, and Slavery. Content is as deep as some other sites, but Resources section is for more in-depth study provides access to books, recorded histories, the Official Record, photographs, letters, diaries, links, genealogical information, statistics and government records.

Selected Civil War Photographs ★★★★☆
This Library of Congress collection includes over 1100 photographs of Civil War military personnel, battle sites and theaters, and more.The site has a brief overview of photography during the war and a timeline of the war with hyperlinks to corresponding images. A special section entitled “Does the Camera Ever Lie?” offers an interesting investigation into the way photographers communicate with the audience. While limited in content, the Library of Congress site contains the most visually stunning shots of the war.

Faces of the Civil War ★★★★☆
The Library of Congress has acquired a rare collection of nearly 700 Civil War-era photographs. The collection includes photographs of Union and Confederate soldiers, as well as the women and children they left behind. The collection is available on Flickr, which facilitates the help of viewers in assisting in identifying individuals and objects.

Railroads and the Making of Modern America ★★★★☆
Railroads and the Making of Modern America is at the cutting edge of digital history. This site spans the period between the 1850s and the end of the century. The website tracks the rise of the railroads in both the North and South as well as the key role it played in shaping military policy during the Civil War. Of particular interest is the role that slaves played in the building of southern lines as well as how the development of the railroad shaped a growing national belief in American Exceptionalism. Students have access to a large selection of primary sources, including maps, political cartoons, and speeches. The site includes ideas on how to use digital sources in the classroom.

The Civil War from Harper’s Weekly ★★★★☆
Want primary source news accounts of the war between the states? Look no further than this amazing digitized collection of Harper’s Weekly. The site has a hyperlinked overview of the Civil War, indexes of each year, major battles, and generals, and specific sections on slavery, the Lincoln assassination, medicine in the war, and Robert E. Lee. The true beauty of the site is the beautiful digital renditions of the periodical, including firsthand accounts and ink illustrations. The papers are searchable and hyperlinked, and students and teachers will find them to be informative and fascinating. You can lose track of time very easily as you browse the 7,000 pages of Civil War content!

Civil War Preservation Trust ★★★★☆
The CWPT site is dedicated to the preservation of America’s hallowed grounds, and the most endangered sites are identified and described in great detail. The site is also a treasure trove for Civil War enthusiasts and teachers, as most of the battlefields are given specific sites with historical information, statistics, maps, images, and links. The History Center sections has articles on a variety of Civil War topics, including biographies, battles, warfare and logistics, and the homefront. Hallowed Ground, the organizations excellent periodical, is available in digital form as well.

The Civil War: 150 Years ★★★★☆
The National Park Service offers this portal to their various Civil War sites on the Web. The site also includes an interactive timeline, a Twitter feed from a fictional Civil War reporter, as well as the ability to search for specific soldiers and sailors by name.

Civil War @ Smithsonian ★★★★☆
If you are looking for online artifacts related to the Civil War, search no further than the Smithsonian’s Civil War site. The Institution provides a variety of annotated artifacts about the war, from clothing to uniforms and weapons to ephemera like almanacs, stamps, and patriotic covers. Images from the National Portrait Gallery are included as well, and the artifacts are grouped into categories for easy browsing.

The Price of Freedom: Americans at War ★★★★☆
This Smithsonian website skillfully integrates Flash video and text to examine armed conflicts involving the U.S. from the Revolutionary War to the war in Iraq. Each conflict contains a brief video clip, statistical information, and a set of artifacts. There is also a Civil War mystery, an exhibition self-guide, and a teacher’s guide. The Civil War section contains an introductory movie and short essay on the conflict as well as historic images and artifacts.

Civil War Resources from the VMI Archives ★★★★☆
This site highlights collections of the Virginia Military Institute, including manuscripts and battle resource guides. Special topics include VMI’s Civil War generals, Stonewall Jackson’s resources, a war chronology, Robert E. Lee’s funeral, and more.

Great American History ★★★★☆
This is a diverse site on the Civil War that provides educational materials and research services. Some of the unconventional topics covered are religious revivalism in the armies, unsung heroes, and Lincoln’s belief in God.

Digital Library of Georgia ★★★★☆
This American Civil War offering by the Digital Library of Georgias collection includes variety of important documents and artifacts from the held by the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Selections include: Confederate Constitution and transcription, Ordinance of Secession, an engraving of the last meeting of General Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, images of Andersonville prison, and selections from diaries of Civil War soldiers.

Civil War Tech ★★★★☆
This 12-minute History Channel video outlines major technological innovations during the Civil War era.

The History Place – U.S. Civil War 1861-1865 ★★★☆☆
Here you’ll find a Lincoln timeline, biographies, resumes of famous battles and events, photos, and a chronology.

Index of Civil War Information Available on the Internet ★★★☆☆
The layout is simple and sparse, but if you’re studying the U.S. Civil War a fine way to begin is to explore the Index of Civil War Information available on the Internet by Dick Weeks. There are dozens of categories to choose from that will lead you to a bevy of web resources on Civil War topics.

Civil War Librarian ★★★☆☆
The Civil War Librarian blog helps Civil War enthusiasts and academics stay current on Civil War news. of Congress has acquired a rare collection of nearly 700 Civil War-era photographs. The author is a Professor at Waynesburg University, Director of Eberly Library, and an adjunct instructor in U.S. history.

Civil War Memory ★★★☆☆
This site, from page editor Kevin Levin, features a blog of Civil War news as well as a great list of Civil War links. The library page provides a reading list of books with links to Amazon to purchase them.

Racial Satire and the Civil War ★★★☆☆
Presented by the University of Virginia, this site is a case study that explores racial caricature in editorial cartoons at the time of Lincoln.

Civil War Women ★★★☆☆
The Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library at Duke University offers an impressive collection on women’s experiences in the Civil War. For instance, it uses diaries and papers to profile three Civil War era women: Rose O’Neal, Alice Williamson, and Sarah E. Thompson. Primary Sources on the Internet provides links to manuscript collections at Duke which have been scanned and transcribed as well as links to other Civil War women’s archival documents which are available in cyberspace. This web site was rated among the top humanities websites by the National Endowment for the Humanities, and is featured on their EDSITEment web site. Diaries, Letters, and other Documents, and Photographs and Prints.

American Civil War Magazine Articles ★★★☆☆
Part of OldMagazineArticles.com, these free articles cover a range of Civil War topics and are available in PDF format. There are also sub-sections of articles on Gettysburg and Lincoln.OldMagazineArticles.com is a growing archive of historic magazine articles that address a broad number of topics such as the American Civil War, art, Prohibition, WW I, WW II, immigration, literature, music and a good deal more.

The Iron Road (PBS) ★★★☆☆
Part of PBS’s American Experience series, this site is the story of the building of the first east-west railroad link. There is a teacher’s guide, a bibliography, photos, and recommended readings.

Abraham Lincoln & Emancipation

Freedmen and Southern Society Project ★★★★☆
The Freedmen and Southern Society Project offers an exhaustive collection of primary sources that tell the story of emancipation. The project is noteworthy for its emphasis on the role that the slaves themselves played in the emancipation story as opposed to the top-down story that is often assumed in textbooks that places Abraham Lincoln at the center of the narrative.

Abraham Lincoln Papers ★★★★☆
The complete Abraham Lincoln Papers at the Library of Congress consists of approximately 20,000 documents. The collection is organized into three “General Correspondence” series which include incoming and outgoing correspondence and enclosures, drafts of speeches, and notes and printed material. Most of the 20,000 items are from the 1850s through Lincoln’s presidential years. Excellent site for a research projectT There are two special presentations

  • Emancipation Proclamation
    Provides a brief introduction to the Emancipation Proclamation as well as a timeline and four related primary sources.
  • Assassination of President Lincoln
    Provides an introduction, timeline, and photo gallery that documents the assassination of the nation’s 16th President 1860-65.

Abraham Lincoln’s Crossroads ★★★★☆
The National Constitution Center developed this interactive game in conjunction with their travelling exhibition highlighting major “crossroads” that Lincoln faced during the Civil War era. Beginning and extending to peace meetings near the end of the war, the simulation covers thirteen major decisions of Honest Abe. At each crossroad, Lincoln himself introduces the historical content, presents two possible solutions, and asks the user for help in making a decision. The site includes a transcript of the dialogue and pertinent links for each decision. Middle school and high school students will enjoy comparing their decisions to those of Lincoln and be exposed to excellent historical content in the process.

The Lincoln Assassination ★★★★☆
This 45-minute online video from the History Channel attempts to “to untangle the myths and misconceptions” surrounding the Lincoln assassination.

James McPherson on Abraham Lincoln as Commander-in-Chief ★★★★☆
This is a two-part lecture series that runs about an hour and thirty minutes in total. Offers expert insight and skillful delivery. Part one and part two.

Harper’s Weekly Reports, 1857-1874 ★★★★☆
For over a quarter of a century, Harper’s Weekly captured the lion’s share of the national newspaper audience. Materials from the magazine are presented in order to give a true historical picture of the leading 19th-century newspaper’s view of black Americans.

Lincoln/Net ★★★★☆
Lincoln/Net provides historical materials from Abraham Lincoln’s Illinois years, including Lincoln’s writings and speeches, as well as other materials illuminating antebellum Illinois. This site includes interpretive materials, featuring a brief Lincoln biography and discussions of eight major historical themes. Lincoln/Net provides over fifteen million words of primary source materials, over 1500 images, video commentary on various aspects of Lincoln’s life by historians and, and even a sound archive. Lincoln/Net also offers lesson plans that utilize the primary source documents found in the Lincoln/Net database.

Hidden Treasures: Abraham Lincoln ★★★★☆
History.com presents a series of interesting two-minute videos on various aspects of Abraham Lincoln. Visitors virtually examine some of the Library of Congress’ most historically meaningful and culturally relevant artifacts.

The Time of the Lincolns ★★★☆☆
This is a companion site to the PBS video Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided that weaves together the lives of Abraham and Mary Lincoln. Major sections include Partisan Politics, Slavery and Freedom, A Rising Nation, Americans at War, and A Woman’s World. Special features include a Flash-generated map of America on the eve of war, a Technology Gallery, and virtual tour of a slave cabin. The web site also includes a six-hour program transcript, letters and first-hand accounts from soldiers, nurses, abolitionists, and others, a list of related books, articles, and Web sites.

Abraham Lincoln Online ★★★☆☆
Abraham Lincoln Online brings you news about Lincoln books, speeches and writings, historic places, and events. Sections include This Week in History, Today in Lincoln’s Life, Lincoln News Highlights, and Photo Tours of Lincoln Places. Find out about Lincoln events, new books about Lincoln, and more.

Mr. Lincoln’s White House (and affiliated sites) ★★★☆☆
This Lincoln Institute site describes the White House and nearby Washington, and profiles Lincoln family members, Cabinet officers and Vice Presidents, members of Congress, generals, and others. Mr. Lincoln and Friends, a related site, reviews the many men and a few women whose friendships helped determine Mr. Lincoln’s political progress and success in the state capital in Springfield, Illinois and the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.

Abraham Lincoln Institute ★★★☆☆
The Abraham Lincoln Institute provides free, ongoing education on the life, career, and legacy of President Abraham Lincoln. It offers various resources through videos and symposiums.

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library & Museum ★★★☆☆
The official Web site of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.

Battles & Campaigns

Animated Battle Maps of U.S. History ★★★★★
These narrated, well-polished, and professionally-animated maps cover the entirety of the Revolutionary War and Civil War, with detailed spinoff videos for the most important battles. The maps are interspersed with live historical re-enactments of the battles, making these videos a must-see resource for any student of military history.

The Battle of Antietam on the Web ★★★★☆
Antietam on the Web offers a wide selection of primary sources related to this crucial 1862 battle that led Lincoln to issue his Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation. The battle maps are especially helpful as they break down the battle into manageable sections that allow students to more easily piece together the ebb and flow of the battle during its three phases. The After-Action Reports are particularly helpful in providing the perspective of the commanders on the ground. Students can also search for individual regiments as well as participants.

The Battle of Antietam ★★★★☆
This NPR audio clip features the views of renowned historian James McPherson who argues that Antietam was a turning point in the war.

National Archives Civil War Photographs ★★★★☆
Over 200 photographs covering every aspect of the war, from battle sites and POW camps to civilian portraits and travelling news reporters.

Sherman’s March – Interactive Map ★★★★☆
This interactive map allows students to track the progress of Sherman’s march on a day-to-day basis, recording the experiences of soldiers, civilians, slaves, and even fictional characters such as those from the movie Gone With the Wind.

The Confederacy’s Last Stand ★★★★☆
This 4-minute video clip from “Sherman’s March: The Last Stand” explains why Confederate hope for victory in 1865 was snuffed out.

The Confederacy Made its Last Stand in Brazil ★★★★☆
This article covers the Confederate flight to Brazil in the closing months of the war and the lasting influence of these confederados on Brazil even today.

Home Front: North

The Civil War in New York City Archive ★★★★☆
The Civil War in New York City can be used to explore one of the most dynamic and violent cities during the war. The site includes a rich collection of primary sources, including newspaper articles and photographs. Students can explore the famous New York City Draft Riot of 1863 as well as the strong “copperhead” presence that led the opposition movement against the Lincoln administration. Lesson plans can be utilized to help steer discussion and research.

Brooklyn in the Civil War ★★★★☆
This interactive, educational website from Brooklyn Public Library’s Brooklyn Collection presents primary source documents — photographs, letters, newspaper articles, illustrations, and more — to help visitors understand what life was like in Brooklyn during the Civil War. The site is divided into four primary themes — soldiers, women, slavery, and daily life — an includes interactive maps, a glossary, and timeline. An interesting feature is an interactive map which details the experiences of James W. Vanderhoef, a Union soldier who wrote letters to his sister in Brooklyn during the war.

New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War Online Exhibit ★★★★☆
New York Divided: Slavery and the Civil War explores the city’s complex economic ties to slavery as well as the rise of a vibrant abolitionist movement. The content of the site is based on a recent exhibit sponsored by the New York Historical Society so students have access to a wonderful collection of artifacts and documents that can be explored in class. Website developers offer a number of interactive opportunities for students as they navigate through the years leading up to the war. Lesson plans focus on racial attitudes during the war, legal struggles over runaway slaves, and the writings of black physician and abolitionist James McCune Smith.

Home Front: South

Hidden Patterns of the Civil War: Richmond’s Slave Market ★★★★☆
Mapping Richmond’s Slave Market is a 3D model of a portion of the city’s commercial district as it stood in 1853. It particularly focuses upon what was the most economically significant—and to many, even slavery’s apologists, morally unsavory—sector of the local economy: the slave trade where men, women, and children were auctioned as pieces of property. Richmond’s slave trading market was among the largest in the United States between the 1830s and 1860s. Students can explore individual buildings as well as the stories contained therein. The visual map gives students a way to explore just how central the slave trade was to the city as well as a sense of how it affected the lives of thousands of bondsmen.

The Southern Homefront 1861-1865 ★★★☆☆
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s Documenting the American South includes a rich collection of diaries, letters, and photographs that depict life on the home front during the war. Topics include religion, business and industry, slavery as well as the state’s connection to the Confederacy. Given its roots in North Carolina it should come as no surprise that the collection reflects a wide cross section of life in the Tar Heel State. Lesson Plans are broken down between, NC history, US history, and African American.

Civil War Richmond ★★★☆☆
Civil War Richmond is an online research project designed to collect documents, photographs, and maps pertaining to Richmond, Virginia during the Civil War. The “other sites” section deals with other important topics, including: battery defenses, cemeteries, industry, and civilian activity. There is much information regarding the hospitals and prisons in Richmond, so these have been given their own sections.

Key Figures of the Civil War

Grant and Sherman: Unlikely Leaders ★★★★☆
This 4-minute video clip from “Sherman’s March: The Last Stand” explains why Grant and Sherman were considered an unlikely team.

Robert E. Lee ★★★★☆
This 2-minute video gives a very general overview of Robert E. Lee, his tactics, and his eventual deification as a symbol of the Lost Cause.

Massachusetts 54th Regiment ★★★★☆
This 2-minute History Channel video portrays one of the first official black units in the United States armed forces during the American Civil War.

Lesson Plans, Teacher Guides, Activities, and more

American Battlefield Trust
This site is a treasure trove for Civil War enthusiasts and teachers, as most of the battlefields are given specific sites with historical information, statistics, maps, images, and links. Teachers must visit the site to download the lesson plans, including an excellent two-week Civil War curriculum full of activities based on primary resources. Sponsors a series of professionally-made animated map videos that cover key battles and tactics throughout the entire war.

American Battlefield Trust Virtual Tours
360-degree panoramas allows students to immerse themselves in 20 Civil War Battlefields, such as Antietam, Fredericksburg, and Gettysburg. Interactive objects in the environment can be clicked for brief historical context as well as still images of what the site would have looked like in the 1860’s. With the proper VR equipment, the tours can be enjoyed in full virtual reality using Google Poly.

The Civil War
PBS developed this comprehensive site in conjunction with the DVD release of the highly acclaimed documentary by Ken Burns. The site serves partially as a companion to the documentary and proves quite helpful for teachers that incorporate the film (or clips of the film) in class. The “In the Classroom” sections includes detailed episode descriptions, lesson ideas and plans, hints for researching local Civil War history, and annotated links. Students can use the site as a source of maps, biographies, and images. One of the highlights is an interactive section in which users can “tell a story” by creating their own mini-documentary with images, transitions, and audio. Students can become an amateur Ken Burns!

How Southern Socialites Rewrote Civil War History (Video)
This 7-minute video by Vox explains the creation and propagation of the “Lost Cause” myth by the Daughters of the Confederacy and the lasting damage this caused in impeding Civil Rights progress in the South. Includes an interview with Dr. Karen Cox, a prominent historian of women’s history in the South.

Teaching with Documents (Lesson Plan)
The NARA has compiled many Civil War primary sources, including several sound files of interviews with the last surviving confederate veteran. Lesson plans and activity worksheets are at the bottom of the page and can be applied to any visual document.

The Matthew Brady Bunch – Lesson Plan
Designed for use toward the end of a unit on the Civil War, this lesson allows students to analyze photographs and evaluate how they can influence understanding of and attitudes about the war. Much of the lesson is spent discussing how to use photographic primary sources; students learn that photographers often manipulated the scenes they were capturing and discuss how these sources should therefore be utilized. Materials are from the Library of Congress’ American Memory collections. Designed for grade 7, but adaptable to high school.

Photojournalism – Lesson Plan
By close analysis of photographs from several wars, including the Civil War, students consider how and why photographers covered war and how pictures can reflect their biases. Students also learn to differentiate between observations and conclusions. The lesson includes a thorough procedure with instructional tips for teachers to follow, pre-selected photographs from the Library of Congress’ American Memory collections and worksheets for students. Designed for grades 5 to 8.

The Crisis at Fort Sumter
Crisis at Fort Sumter is an interactive historical simulation and decision making program. Using text, images, and sound, it reconstructs the dilemmas of policy formation and decision making in the period between Abraham Lincoln’s election in in November 1860 and the battle of Fort Sumter in April 1861.

Lincoln’s First Inaugural Address
This Civil War.com lesson plan helps students understand the historical context and significance of Lincoln’s inaugural address through archival documents such as campaign posters, sheet music, vintage photographs and documents. Features EDSITEment-reviewed sites and six suggested activities.

Lesson Plan: The Civil War
This Civil War lesson plan includes many topics of discussion. It also encourages students to build their background knowledge of the Civil War through research and a suggested reading list.

Time of the Lincolns: A Teachers Guide
The PBS film Abraham and Mary Lincoln: A House Divided and this companion Web site, The Time of the Lincolns, offer insights into topics in American history including women’s rights, slavery, abolition, politics and partisanship, the growth of the industrial economy, and the Civil War. You can use part or all of the film, or delve into the rich resources available on this Web site to learn more, either in a classroom or on your own. PBS provides a lesson plan that encourages debate and discussion among students.

The Civil War Through a Child’s Eye – Lesson Plan
This lesson uses primary sources such as photos and daguerreotypes as well as historical fiction to encourage students to view the Civil War from a different perspective, that of a child. The plan culminates in each student using Readers Theater and writing a literary first-person account of one of the photographed children. Pre-selected photos and daguerreotypes from the Library of Congress’s American Memory collections are provided, as well as instructional material on use of the primary sources and links to a variety of other Civil War Web sites. Designed for grades 6 to 8.

Ladies, Contraband, and Spies: Women in the Civil War – Lesson Plan
In this concise lesson, students use primary sources from the Library of Congress’ American Memory collections to research and understand the impact of the Civil War on women. By studying women who had different roles in and perspectives on the war, ranging from plantation mistresses to slave women and spies, students have to consider how the war affected women based on their position in society. In addition to advancing skills in using primary sources, the lesson also has students present their results visually with PowerPoint and in writing with a short textbook entry. Designed for grades 10 to 11.

Teacher Lesson Plan: What Do You See?
In this LOC lesson plan, students will examine one Civil War photograph from the selected catalog in extreme detail. This lesson plan includes all the necessary handouts and class materials for convenience. Suitable for grades 5-12

Lesson Plan: Lincoln Goes to War
In this lesson plan, students examine Abraham Lincoln’s decision to mobilize the Union Army against the South. Particular attention is paid to external factors that influenced the President’s decision. Recommended for grades 9-12

Lesson Plan – We Must Not be Enemies: Lincolns First Inaugural Address
Students will gain a greater knowledge of Lincoln’s presidency in this lesson plan. A copy of the first inaugural address is included, along with many other documents and six complete lesson plans. Written for students in grades 6-8

Lesson Plan – Eve of the Civil War: People and Places of the North and South
This lesson plan is intended to provide students with a knowledge of the social climate immediately before the Civil War. It comes with 6 different lessons and a good selection of online resources. Recommended for grades 6-8

Teaching with Documents Lesson Plan: The Fight For Equal Rights: Black Soldiers on the Battlefield
This NARA lesson plan contains a lot of good background information and many online resources, as well as Teacher activities and Student assignments.

September 11 & The Gettysburg Address
Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address was read at the September 11 anniversary ceremony. Read the Gettysburg Address and discuss with your partner(s) its main themes. Why do you think the Gettysburg Address is appropriate now?

The Meaning of Memorials
Inspired by AMERICAN VISIONS’ online content, middle school students will explore the historical and cultural meaning of memorials, our country’s “organs of social memory,” with a focus on works and structures eulogizing the American Civil War. Using a variety of online, multimedia, and community resources, students will also investigate how the Civil War impacted their community and how the War and its veterans are remembered locally. This lesson is especially appropriate as part of a unit on the Civil War, or as an excellent way to honor and give meaning to the Memorial Day holiday in May. Doing field research, students will learn about the lives of local Civil War soldiers firsthand and will gain confidence in their ability to discover the past for themselves.

Interpreting Primary Sources 
Digital History provides brief excerpts from primary sources and statistics, as well as questions to think about the topics of: Sectional Conflict, Secession and the Civil War, and Civil War

Digital History Resource Guides
The Digital Resource Guides provide links to American history web sites by period, historical overviews, readings (online textbook chapter, Reader’s Companion), primary source documents (documents, maps, cartoons), teaching resources (chronologies, maps, quizzes), audio-visual resources, and additional resources. They are an excellent and comprehensive teaching resource.

HistoryTeacher.net: AP United States History Quizzes 
A New York teacher has produced a great general site for history teachers that offers AP-level United States history quizzes on many different periods and topics.

AP United States History DBQs: 1810-1860
These student-created DBQs are part of the excellent Historyteacher.net site

Women in the American Civil War
These lesson plans and analysis questions use online primary sources from the Digital Public Library of America.

Junior General: 19th Century
This site, aimed at middle school students, attempts to illustrate military history through the use of tabletop simulations of historical battles. Ranging in time from ancient Egypt to the American Civil War, to the Vietnam war, these simulations will be applicable to many history classes. Each simulation requires rulers, dice, and maps and paper soldiers printed out from the website. These complex simulations will require considerable amounts of class time, as well as preparation time by the instructor. However, they have the potential to create a unique and engaging experience. As well as providing extensive information about the simulations themselves, the website also lists books and other sites with more historical information about many of the conflicts.

Civil War: Blank Map

Customizable Map Quiz 
In this interactive map quiz, students must locate key cities and battlefields of the Civil War. The game is customizable, allowing teachers to add new locations to the list of sites to identify.