Saturday, October 15, 2016

Reading Through the Civil War

Do your duty in all things. You cannot do more, you should never wish to do less.
General Robert E. Lee

The Civil War or War Between the States or War of Northern Aggression (depending on who you are talking to) is a war that we are still feeling the effects of today. The reasons for the war are much debated and discussed and many books today are biased toward the North, show the North as absolutely right and good and the South as the ones who were wrong. I personally feel it isn't that simple. One thing for certain slavery wasn't the cause of the war and only became an issue as the war continued on. The North needed support for their cause and slavery was an issue that they could win people to their side on. I believe the war had more to do with how big Federal government wanted to be and would become. If you listen to the songs and testimonies of the South they believed they were fighting for their state rights. The South saw this war the same as the colonists saw the American Revolution (my booklist here), they were fighting against a too powerful and intrusive governement.

Today we are so accustomed to big Federal government I don't think we realize how these people saw their state. It was more like it was their country and the Federal government needed to stick to the basic things that would benefit all of the states and keep their nose out of the rest. While I believe that slavery needed to be eliminated this could have been done with an Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. A war was not necessary. I encourage you to watch get and watch The Great Civil War Debate early in your reading journey!

A Nation Torn is a good starting point. It discusses many of the events that were going on in the years prior to the war and helps you to see that it was not as simple as abolishing slavery. Many things were going on that divided people and this book does a good job of presenting them.

We read many bio
graphies for this unit study but as a family read aloud we read Stonewall Jackson: Loved in the South Admired in the North (A Sower Biography). I personally enjoyed reading about this Godly man and you might find it appropriate to watch Gods and Generals after finishing. I believe this movie does a wonderful job portraying General Jackson and his love for God and his country (Virginia).
Another family read aloud was The Boy's War: Confederate and Union Soldiers Talk About the War. I'll be honest I almost didn't get this book but I am so glad I did. It turned out to be such a enlightening series of first hand accounts from boys (under 18) who fought in the war. It has a lot of wonderful photos from the time and you learn about all aspects of what these boys did and went through in this war. Don't miss this one!

As Texans we enjoyed Texans in the Confederate Calvary by Anne J. Bailey. If you wonder why Texans think they are the biggest, baddest and boldest you just need to read this book. Texas has a long history (booklist here) of men who were men. These guys carried multiple knives (including a Bowie knife) and multiple guns while fighting the Civil War. They chased nothern troops miles and miles back to their own states. They were bigger than life!

Three favorite picture books (upper elementary but all ages will enjoy) were Duel of the Ironclads: The Monitor vs. the Virginia by Patrick O'Brien, The Story of the H.L. Hunley and Queenie's Coin by Fran Hawk and Runaway Balloon: The Last Flight of Confederate Air Force One by Burke Davis. All three of these are unique stories about military craft. Duel of the Ironclads tells about the first ironclad battleship, H.L. Hunley was a Civil War submarine and Runaway Balloon was about a reconnaissance hot air balloon made from the dresses of Southern ladies.

These are just some highlights from the list below. I waded through a lot of books to select these and feel like they were some great choices for this homeschool unit study! Let me know your favorites!

P.S. My 10 yod son said he really liked Iron Scouts of the Confederacy and Amos Fortune Free Man.


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