Massachusetts Towns in the Civil War, ca 1861-1865
Wayland, MA as a Case Study
A Unit for middle and high school students
The Civil War between the North and the South was so costly in terms of lives lost, dollars spent and lands destroyed, that it remains a painful topic to study. Because there is so much information available, students can become overwhelmed. A local perspective can provide a needed focus. The Local Studies Center (LSC) of the Wayland Historical Society decided to provide local schools with curriculum materials to help students look at the war from a community point of view. By locating the soldiers’ neighborhoods and gravesites, and their letters from battlefields and hospitals, as well as townspeople’s activities related to the home front, the war becomes more meaningful and relevant to student lives. The proposed unit brings the war home by asking such questions as:
How did the Civil War affect daily lives?
Š How did the commitment to fight against the South begin? What did townspeople think the war was about?
Š Did Mass. towns have a say about quotas of troops to supply to the war? Were there people opposed to sending troops?
Š How did townspeople get war news? Did their views change during the four bloody years of battles and deaths?
Š What evidence is there for pro- or anti-slavery views? Was there ever slavery in the town?
Š Who served in the Union armed forces and what happened to these men?
Š What did the people at home do to support the war effort and what sacrifices did they make?
Š What did townspeople do for the returning soldiers and families who lost relatives?
Š What were the after-effects of the war?
In a partnership with the public schools (upper elementary), the Local Studies Center (LSC) of the Wayland Historical Society developed a Civil War Unit with study materials for the classroom, a local Civil War bus tour and a culminating event at Society headquarters—a Reunion Celebration for the men who served in the war. For several years the success of this Unit was dependent on the leadership of Nancy Ashkar, who organized the study materials, provided teacher training in their use, and supervised the classroom and field trip activities. With her untimely death in 2004, this program has been halted and the valuable curriculum materials she created remain in boxes.
The Massachusetts Studies Project at the University of Massachusetts Boston suggested that the Unit could be made more useful, not just to Wayland teachers but to any interested educators, by providing a model to be accessed online. This is now being offered as a model aimed at middle and high school students rather than elementary, but the materials can be adapted for younger ages.
How can this Unit be used by any Community?
If you localize the Unit with information on your own community, this curriculum makes suggestions as the lessons proceed. Wayland is extremely lucky to have a historical society ready and willing to provide basic research materials for the classroom and to invite classes to the Society house museum, and this may be unusual. At the least you will be able to locate a representative of the community, versed in the town's history, who can share knowledge about Civil War involvement and research references. Community historical commissions are another good place to seek local history specialists, and many local libraries have excellent local history collections and well-informed librarians. A more detailed summary of sources is contained in the Bibliography at the end of the Unit.
Selection of Civil War Characters for Research/Role Play
The LSC chose a post-war Reunion Party as a vehicle for role playing Civil War “Town Characters”— the service men and the townspeople who represented different aspects of the community involvement. The selection of specific characters depended on the quantity and quality of information available through town histories and Society archives on local families and events. Basic documents from the period that relate to all characters were sought as well as specific documents and artifacts that help flesh out the selected character. Wayland was also fortunate in having a superb reference on the men who served in the War, Town of Wayland in the Civil War of 1861-1865, (hereafter called Memorial). This Unit includes the Wayland list of Civil War Characters and a brief summary of their role during the Civil War, and the contents of the Character’s Role Play packet, If your local history society is not available to help assemble character packets, start on a small scale. With the assistance of student research, the number of characters and quality of research will grow. Students can initiate the project to uncover the characters and scenes that make the role of their town in the Civil War come to life, and community partners will respond to their call.
The Unit is dedicated to the memory of Nancy Ashkar, a true local hero, shown below working on Unit slides. What follows is a revision of her work and that of the Wayland LSC by Bobby Robinson, former director of the Massachusetts Studies Project. It is subject to further revision by teachers as the lessons are used and evaluated. Thanks go to members of the Wayland Historical Society who reviewed the Unit and assisted in locating resources: Jo Goeselt, Lois Davis, Joanne Davis, Marnie Ives, Jane Sciacca, and Molly Faulkner. Technical skills of Larry Nilsen in preparing several slides and Andy Robinson, in preparing the Unit for website presentation, were invaluable.
The Unit consists of the following lessons (7 class periods and 3 field experiences): You can link to each lesson below but there is a Unit sequence. You will note that Standards and Assessment procedures are suggested with each lesson.
1. Introduction to the Civil War (2 class periods)
2. Setting the local scene (1 class period)
3. Selecting Town Characters & Preparing Biographies (3 class periods)
4. Field Trip to see local Civil War sites (1/2 day trip)
5. Preparation for Role Play (1/2 day field trip)
6. Final Preparation for Reunion Party (1 class period)
7. Culminating Event: Reunion Party at Historical Society house (2 hr party)
Appendix I: Massachusetts Standards for Unit
Appendix II: Bibliography and Curriculum Resources
WAYLAND IN THE CIVIL WAR
Essential Question: What events led to the Civil War between the North and South?
Š Students will consider events leading up to and during the Civil War, using the Internet to search Civil War websites (period 1)
Š Students will enter notes in a Civil War Journal (period 1)
Š Students will report on their research (period 2)
Š Students will develop a timeline for the Civil War (period 2)
Standards: (See Appendix I for the text of the curriculum standards listed below:
(HSS standards USI.31, 35, 36, 37) (HSS concepts 8-12.3)
(Technology competency skills)
1. The first class is web search and note taking to provide background on the Civil War. After an introduction to the Unit by the classroom teacher, students work as a team of two or three on a selected or assigned topic* In cooperation with the Media/Technology teacher, students search the Internet in the Computer lab and find three facts to share and one date to put on the class timeline. Students begin a Civil War Journal** with written response to research on selected topic online.
2. Second class: each team has 3-5 minutes to report on findings and website source and to put one date on a class timeline. Students note in Journal useful websites from other student reports.
*15 topics for teams of two; (or combine several topics for larger teams)
See Appendix II on Resources/Bibliography for suggested Internet sites for research on topics and timeline
Participation in second class: reporting results of research and addition of Timeline dates on selected Civil War event.
Journals handed in after Class 2 for initial review by teacher.
**Criteria for Journal notes:
Student lists name and other member of team
Civil War topic
Notes taken on topic
Select three facts from notes for class presentation
Date(s) for class timeline
Use three facts from Journal for presentation on topic and timeline dates.
Notes of most useful Civil War websites from other team reports.
Essential Question: What was Wayland (your community) like on the eve of the Civil War and how did it become involved?
Standards: HSS standard USI.35, 36)
(HSS concepts 8-12.3, 8)
A guest speaker from Wayland Historical Society provides information on Wayland on the eve of the Civil War, ca 1860, using slides and other visuals to relate to familiar scenes (shown above, haystacks and shoefactory) . Background information is also contained in the handouts briefly reviewed by speaker and provided to students for further research in developing a Town Character. Wayland’s population was then 1188. It was mainly a farming community in the north, with small-scale manufacturing and a changing population as industry changed the south of town (Cochituate village), The local response to larger issues of the day such as slavery is relevant. Wayland voted in Presidential election for Lincoln, and for Andrews as Governor which represented a pro-Union and anti-slavery attitude).*
A large 1875 map available from the Engineers Office is displayed and students work on a 8 ½ x 11 copy of this map (see link below) to locate major areas, landmarks during the Civil War period discussed by the speaker (full page image wayland1875map.pdf) 15 Local Town Characters will be introduced who will be researched under Lesson #3.
Materials Handed out for lesson # 2, for class review and homework for lesson #3
Š “Life in Wayland During the War Years”
Š Wayland background information
Š Wm. Shouler, Adjutant General, Massachusetts in the Civil War, notes on cities and towns.
Š List of Town Characters (see lesson 3)
Lesson 1. Notes from discussion in Civil War Journal.
Lesson 2. Notes on handouts as homework reading before next class
Locating Wayland landmarks on Civil War era map
*It may be difficult to determine slavery attitudes in your town, other than for a few individuals. Look for petitions, sermons, anti-slavery society memberships, and personal letters that may reveal such attitudes and values. Wayland information is sketchy and inferences have been made based on the vote for President and Governor, letters from abolitionist Lydia Maria Child, sermons by the Unitarian minister and earlier 1837 petitions initiated by the Trinitarian Congregational minister. To extend the study of slavery and abolition in Massachusetts, see Suggested Extension Activities in Lesson 8.
Essential Questions: What contributions did local men make in the Union armed services and local townspeople make on the home front?
How do primary sources help students understand the roles of these local men and women?
Š Students will use writing skills to prepare a biography on a Town Character during the Civil War period
Š Students will understand the local context in order to prepare for role play of selected characters
Š Students will be able to distinguish between primary and secondary sources and view them critically in preparing a biography, script and readings for a final Reunion Party.
Standards: (HSS Concepts 3.3. 3.7, 8-12.3, 7, 8)
(ELA standards 8, 13, 18, 23)
1. In the first lesson 15 Town
Characters will be assigned to teams of two students* with packets about each
character prepared by the LSC/teacher. Before students begin work in teams, the
whole class goes over the background materials from Lesson #2 which students
reviewed in their Journal as homework, including local chronological record and
report on war activities. Ask students to put local dates on the class timeline
and to discuss information that relates to their characters. Review the
questions to be asked of these characters from the “Guide to Writing
Biographies of Wayland Characters in the Civil War”. Pass out the Guide, the
summary about each character prepared by the LSC/teacher and the census
page for each character which they include in their packet. Have teams go over
contents together and begin writing notes in their Journal on their character.
Pass out the packets for each character and have teams go over contents together and begin writing notes in their Journal on their character.
2. In class #2, teams select a primary source(s) for readings at the Reunion Ceremony. (See listings of sources below) The teacher reviews differences between primary and secondary sources and the importance of considering the source for its particular point of view, including bias. Teams review all materials in their packet and consider which example would be most appropriate to accompany the role play of their Character. For the purpose of the readings at the Reunion, it is possible to select a paragraph or parts of a longer text. These readings will be mounted on reading cards in a later lesson. Students go over background materials, notes and readings as homework and continue writing their biography in their Journal.
3. In lesson #3, teams spend 15 minutes going over their Journal biographical notes together, then use remaining class time completing notes on their character, to be handed in at the end of the class. (At this point two separate biographies for each team character are produced, which they will later combine and refine for Reunion Party role play script.)
Wayland Characters Include:
Seven of the Wayland servicemen who went to War were selected
as Town Characters:
Eight Wayland citizens were selected as Town Characters
Materials for each team:
• Guide to Writing Biographies of Wayland Characters in the Civil War
Each Wayland Character will have the following personal materials if available:**
• Vital Statistics
• Home location
• Picture of person, and related photos
• Civil war activities: if in service, what regiment etc. and any records of service; chapter from
• Personal letters, diaries, anecdotal information from this period
• Evidence of occupation before, during & after war
• List of
College graduates from Wayland (if applicable)
*15 characters are based on a class size of 30, with teams of two members each. If your class is smaller, select a smaller number of Town Characters. If you do not use the Wayland materials and develop your own Characters, the number in each group can be revised depending on how many characters you are able to research. Even one family can be a good start. For example, in Wayland, the Draper family left papers behind about its men who went to war and family members who were active in the community at that time. Suggestions for other approaches that may fit your schedule or materials available are contained in Lesson 8.
**Personal Information from Character packets summarized in biography links above.
Lesson 1: Add ideas, information from review of background information not already in your notes
Begin Town Character biography notes
Lesson 2: Include selected reading(s) in Journal. As homework, begin writing biography based on notes and readings.
Lesson 3: Biography completed in class and handed in.
Written Biography on Town Character
Invitations are sent home to invite families to final event to take place in the following week(s)
Primary/Secondary Sources: (See Appendix II)
II. The War Front: Because several of the Wayland men served in the 35th Regiment (including Campbell, Draper and Morse who are Town Characters) and there is an excellent written history of that regiment, excerpts about the 35th are reproduced online. A regimental flag recounts some of its battles. Although the 39th also included some Wayland men (Butterworth) and 45th (Dean), their regimental histories weren’t found. However, except for specific battles, much of the 35th information can be used by others.
Lynnfield Training: The call for troops and the organizing of the 35th and departure for the war front. Sets the stage for all that follows and includes references to support from the home town.
Antietam: The complete chapter is transcribed which is long, but memorably written and worthy of student study. The 35th went into battle almost immediately as a green regiment. Antietam was only their second battle after service began, the first at South Mtn, MD which was a quick victory. They were not prepared for Antietam, a deadly confrontation that left over 10,000 dead for the Union and 12,000 dead for the Confederacy. Some of the bloom of patriotism wore off as the realities of war set in.
Petersburg battle: This letter from Frank Draper gives insight into the role of blacks fighting for the North in the war.
Medicine, Hospitals: Charles Campbell shared his experience as a hospital assistant. Frank Draper of the 35th was assigned to hospital work (later became a successful surgeon). His Memorial descriptions reveal the horrors of war casualties and scathingly criticizes his surgeon superior.
Prison Pens: Several of the Wayland men were prisoners of war and reported on conditions (Butterworth, e.g.) The report from the 35th was not from a Wayland serviceman, but accurately reflects conditions they all shared.
Wayland in the Civil War Memorial Excerpts: The Memorial provides testimonials about the men from Wayland who served in the Civil War, and includes stories and quotes from interviews with many of the 69 men covered, as well as a chronological listing of Civil War battles in which Wayland soldiers participated. This may be the only memorial of its kind in MA to come out of the post-war celebrations for returning veterans. Most cities and towns chose to erect a statue. Sections on the men selected as Town Characters were Xeroxed for the student study packets and some quotes are included in character links above. The Memorial also included information on the Wayland role during the war (home front below).
Vol. II of Adjutant General Wm. Shouler, Massachusetts in the Civil War, on the Cities and Towns, informs about federal-state-local relationships, recruitment quotas, bounties, responses of the communities (Wayland), names of local selectmen.
Rev. Sears sermon on slavery (1856)
Petition against slavery (1837)
Alfred Wayland Cutting quotes: Old-time Wayland is a later view of the center because Cutting was just a boy during Civil War, but it is still a good description. Childhood Memories about the Child family.
The 4th of July celebration 1965 welcomed home the men. The program included:
Introduction by James Sumner Draper, excerpts
Rev. Edmund H. Sears address, excerpts
Poem by R. F. Fuller, Esq.
Essential Question: What did my Town look like in Civil War times and what evidence remains today?
(HSS concepts 7.1, 8-12.8)
1. A Civil War bus tour is undertaken in cooperation with Wayland LSC and teacher(s). The LSC has developed the route with annotated stops that relate to Town Characters and town structures still standing from the 1860s. Building on the previous lesson using town maps and the Town Character packet that listed home location, teams learn where their Character lived, and they mark it on a modern town map. If Character was buried in Wayland, they locate gravesite at either of two cemeteries and mark it on the map. The LSC or teachers will scout out gravesites in advance and provide sketches or put in markers for clues. On this same modern Wayland map students place other Civil War landmarks. Team members continue to take notes in their Civil War Journal to flesh out their character.
*In the Wayland program the bus tour ends at the Historical Society house where students eat their box lunch before starting the second half of the tour working on their role play script and characterization. (Lesson 5).
Materials: Wayland Bus Tour Route and Annotations * along with tour map with house sites. (If you develop your own tour, this can serve as a model but can be simplified.
Summaries developed on Town Characters may help to determine house locations.
Cemetery records will be invaluable. Your engineer's office will have a map for the Civil War period which will help you locate major local landmarks of period. (If not available, use Beers Atlas of 1875)
Notes that relate to Town Character and major sites of the period.
Final event will have rubric that includes preparation (including bus tour) and performance of character and readings.
*If local field trips are not allowed, plan a “virtual tour” at school with slides of houses and landmarks. Local historical organization’s involvement will be helpful. An interrelationship between the schools and the town's cultural institutions can still be encouraged and lead to future collaboration.
Objective: Students will use language arts skills for script preparation and creative arts for costume & character identification through artifacts, props.
(HSS concepts 3.3, 8-12.8)
Following the bus trip there is a lunch stop at the Wayland Historical Society house. If you are not able to take a full-day field trip, alternate arrangements can be made for a separate half-day
1. Preparation for final event follows. This activity builds on biographical work from lesson 3 and the field trip tour, using Journal notes to write a script for what Town Characters will say at the Reunion Party. In addition to role play script, slides, artifacts and costumes will be needed to enhance performance. Working with the teacher and Local Studies Center and Historical Society helpers, work can be divided as follows:
2. Teamwork— Possible division: Each team can decide among themselves who will perform as a Character at the Reunion event and who will serve as the “production manager” who also has a reading. One student works with the teacher or assistant on script and selects slides relating to Town Character with Historical Society assistant. The second student works with Historical Society helper on developing ideas for an appropriate costume and identifying an artifact or prop that relates to team’s Town Character (slide or reproduction for performance). Second team members will also have a section of reading for the event. Since the two partners in each team work separately, they will combine their efforts at the end of the session. The notes from both are included in the written script. Team members get together for last 1/2 hr. to compare notes to get ready for next class and follow-up preparation at home on costumes, props.*
Character artifacts and general props: The Wayland Historical Society has family artifacts relating to this period, such as photographs, a Civil War cane, rifle, bullets, memorabilia picked up in the South (slave bill of sale e.g.), gun cap, hats, freeman’s badge, etc. They have costumes for students to look at and make notes about and websites also are helpful. Civil War Roundtables in your area are often involved in reenactments and have artifacts and props as well. Website listings with useful visuals are included in the Bibliography Appendix II.
3. Order of Final Program: Sample of Wayland program attached. The characters spoke in groups under a topic (Soldiers in the 35th, Others who served in the War, Homefront Organizers, the Business of the Community during the War, etc.) Readings are selected to be interspersed on the program. This is flexible according to emphasis.
Resources/Bibliography listing of website information on Civil War costumes, music, uniforms, guns, drums. etc. (A complete costume or uniform may not be possible but hats, wigs and other distinguishing aspects of Character’s clothing can be created.)
Script on Town Character, including selection of slides for the program (team member #1)
List of props, artifacts, selection of reading (team member #2)
(shared by both)
Final event will have rubric of performance and production elements (slides, props) related to combined effort and teamwork.
Each Journal should reflect combined efforts as well.
Essential Question: What were my Town Character and the world he/she lived in really like?
Standards: (HSS Concept 8-12.8)
(ELA standards19, 23, 24)
Technology competency skills
This lesson takes place in the Media/Technology lab. Teacher reviews plans for Reunion event (how organized, order of readings and characters, music selected etc.) Technology teacher assists with instruction for computer processing and printing of scripts developed at Historical Society from biography notes, bus tour, Journal. Team member who is role playing a Character word processes final script. Printing should be large enough for easy reading at Reunion event. Team member assigned a reading makes copies of text and visuals of costumes and props (if not Wayland originals and visuals).* Those without a reading help reproduce the Program handouts. Teacher reviews final script, costumes, props etc. with each team.
The Reunion Program is word processed and printed. The Wayland program has already been discussed as a model in the previous lesson. If you develop your own program, the class can agree on the groupings for role-play and where to include your readings. The MSP suggests a grouping that schedules the service men in sections with the war readings and town characters with local readings, perhaps alternating between the two groups.
Materials completed at end of class:
Copy of printed script and printed reading for practice before event
Copy of program to remind where each team takes part (Characters and readings)
Reminder notes of each teammate's task at the Reunion party
Final event will have rubric of performance and production elements (slides, props) related to combined effort and teamwork.
*Home Front image from Civil War Cover: http://www.chs.org/cwc/cwimages/cwc72.html from digital collection of Connecticut Historical Society. Wayland has several of these covers on U.S. mail envelopes.
Essential Question: How can students demonstrate their abilities to see a pivotal event in American history, the Civil War, through local eyes?
Standards: (HSS Concepts 3.3, 3.7, 8-12.7, 8-12.8)
(HSS standard USI.40
(ELA standards 3, 18)
1. In Wayland the final event takes place at the Historical Society headquarters, the Grout-Heard House, (see variations) with parents invited. The Society provides hosts to welcome the teacher(s), students and their families, and offers refreshments. Parents are formally welcomed by a costumed character (Sarah Heard) who lived in the Historical Society house (Grout-Heard House) during the Civil War. She provides the introduction to the local Civil War and post-war setting and introduces the first Characters.*
2. Students perform their roles and readings in a finished production. Artifacts are on display (including LM Child’s bonnet on table, L). The Reunion takes place 10 or more years after the end of the Civil War*, and Town Characters reflect on their wartime participation and their life after the war’s end. Students role-play their Characters who are grouped under a topic (“Soldiers in the 35th”, “Others who served in the Military”, “Homefront Organizers”, “Economic Activities during the War”, “Neighborhood perspectives” etc.) Other students take part with readings that deal with quotes from military and local history sources. Music is played at intervals during the program.* All of the same activities can take place at the school or neutral site if the historical setting is not available, but students might need to be more creative in finding props, designing scenery. (Help from Art Dept.? and website search)
*In Wayland the reunion date chosen was 1880 which reflected certain events in the town. The MSP selects the date of 1876 which is the centennial of the nation and a time when many local histories have been written and Civil War memories are still being revealed in letters and articles. Fewer townspeople have died. Civil War veterans are beginning to organize reunions of their own. The introduction by a historical character makes friendly note of those present and reviews the after effects of the war.
Welcome by Sarah Heard Reunion Introduction
Sample of Wayland program
Music: Tapes are readily available; see Resources in Appendix.
*Wayland used “Civil War Songs” and “Homespun Songs of the Union Army”, and ”Homespun Songs of the C.S.A.”
Sample Rubric attached that covers objectives for Lessons 4-7 above
If the suggested culminating activities are not possible, consider these community-based alternatives:
a Community Newspaper and have students cover several dates important in the town’s
and the nation’s Civil War experience.
Š Research the slavery question as it relates to the war and also to the local/state scene. See sample lessons and resources in Bibliography. Many Mass. Blacks served in the war and their deeds and treatment are recorded. Wayland had a local connection to the 54th Colored Regiment through Robert Gould Shaw’s family (property in Wayland and friend of L.M. Child) and to the 39th Colored Regiment through Frank Draper.
Š Produce a Panel Discussion among soldiers, using information on regiments served in by members of the community. Local men fought at Antietam. Research this battle online.
Š Produce a self-guiding trail guide to Civil War sites in the community.
Š Study educational conditions in the North during the war. Alfred W. Cutting was a young boy during the war and a teenager by the time of the reunion. Although he probably attended a private academy in Boston, there are references to what it was like in the Wayland district school in those days. Patriotism was stressed in Massachusetts. The South didn’t fare as well with educational opportunities. See Bibliography.
Š Provide a program of Civil War music and explanations of their meaning, importance, etc., bringing in local references.
Š Investigate Civil War news and images: the impact of photography; how the local folks got the news and reacted to it. One place in Wayland where the newspapers arrived was at the Red Store of Newell Heard. Many lessons have been developed around Matthew Brady & Civil War photographers. See Joy Hakim reference, e.g.
Š Critically study cartoons that reflect, explain Civil War attitudes, South & North which have been published. Students can draw their own based on examples and readings. See sample lessons that help develop this activity. Find out what newspapers, magazines local people could read.
Š Status of Medicine in the Civil War. At least two Wayland men (Charles Campbell and Frank Draper) worked in the hospitals and their letters reveal much about conditions and causes of death. Wayland women rolled bandages at home for the hospitals Find out about the Sanitary Commission work and the role of women at the front as nurses (Clara Barton, Louisa Alcott, e.g.), Walt Whitman wrote about his nursing duties at the front. See Resource listings.
More ideas can be found from suggested lessons in the bibliography that develop alternative activities. Many are not specifically related to communities but can be localized.