Students learn Civil War history

Jul 11, 2011

How easy is it to fit six Civil War soldiers and their equipment into a six-by-eight-foot tent? What happens when a soldieris wounded? How does a pontoon bridgework? What did a soldier eat? How did armies communicate? What was life like for those leftbehind? 

More than 1,600 students inConnecticut and Rhode Island have investigated the answers to these and otherquestions through Rally‘Round the Flag, a program that immersesstudents in Civil War history. Students participate in interactive, hands-on activities to better understand the people and events that shaped the war. Each unit pairs primary source information with an activity. 

In The EngineeringCorps, students learn about the large numbers of men, animals, and suppliesin each army; the logistics of movement across distances; and the effects uponthe countryside. Then, in a water tank, they build aone-quarter-scale pontoon bridge that is strong enough to support studentswalking across it. In another unit theyinterview a soldier, try on a reproduction uniform, and learn to march anddrill. Other activities include signalwig wag, a system of communicating using flags to spell out words; codes and ciphers; creating journals; dancing; and Civil War medicine.