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Putting It All Together

The following activities engage students in a number of ways that let them explore the impact of the Civil War on the people who lived through it. Students will also have an opportunity to examine the past military experience of people in their community, state, or region and be able to compare it with the events at Glorieta Pass, New Mexico.

Activity 1: Considering Life as a Soldier
Soldiers on both sides of the western conflict in the Civil War proved themselves brave in battle and strong-willed in their respective causes. Have students assume the identity of a Civil War soldier and write a diary entry about an episode or experience the soldier thought worthy of recording in the diary. Remind students to consider all aspects of a soldier's life, and then pick one in particular they think is important. Some students might believe that food, clothing, or a warm bed to sleep in at night would be important; others may want to explore in their writing the adventure, companionship with fellow soldiers, or why this cause was worth risking their lives for.

Activity 2: Impact of the Confederate Invasion
Have the class examine Peticolas' diary entry in Reading 2 and discuss the following questions:
1. What evidence does he include about a local residence?
2. Why do you think there were no people at the house?
3. When the people who lived at the house returned to their home after the battle how do you think they might have felt when they discovered that soldiers had broken into their home and slept there using the woman's clothes like a blanket?
4. How do you think the residents might have felt if they returned to their ranch to find bodies of dead or wounded soldiers or fresh graves?
5. Do you think that individuals holding either strong Union or Confederate views would react differently than those who held to the frontier tradition of helping out those in need? Why or why not?

Activity 3: War Memorials in the Local Community
Explain to students that the National Park Service and other state and local organizations preserve the history of many of the country's Civil War battlefields. Monuments, military artifacts, historical markers, park interpreters, and cemeteries all help to tell the story of what happened. Ask students to research whether there was a Civil War or other historical battle that took place in their community, region, or state, locate it on a map, and determine if there are any markers, memorials, or parks commemorating the location. Have students report the information they learn in class presentations and debate the value of commemorating events from our past and preserving the places where these events occurred. For any of the battles students identified that are not commemorated by memorials or interpretive markers, have students write letters to local community officials to encourage them to commemorate this location. In the letters, the students could also suggest the appropriate text and/or design the commemorative markers.

 

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