Friday, May 22, 2015

Civil War and Reconstruction

published on: 2/28/2003

Subject Area: Social Studies/U.S. History

Grade Range: Middle Grades (6-8)

Materials Needed:

  • Internet access
  • Printed sources about Buffalo Soldiers
  • Examples of 19th Century American folk songs, preferably recordings
  • Index cards for note taking

Objective: The objective will be to have students understand the contributions of the Buffalo Soldiers in the Civil War and Reconstruction period and the struggles they faced during this era of United States history. Students analyze consequences of reconstruction. Identify movement of former slaves to the west and their differing experiences in those regions. Students will have a good understanding of the 9th and 10th Cavalry units and the impact of these units to the Western Frontier after the Civil War.

Process Standards:

  • Goal 1.2 conduct research to answer questions and evaluate information and ideas
  • Goal 1.4 use technological tools and other resources to locate, select and organize information

Content Standards:

  • Social Studies 2. Continuity and change in the history of Missouri, the United States and the world
  • Communication Arts 4. Writing formally (such as reports, narratives, essays) and informally (such as outlines, notes)

    Time Allowance: Four 50-minute periods

    Description: This lesson will help students understand the contributions of the Buffalo Soldiers and the struggles they faced during this era--African Americans, Calvary, western frontier

    Classroom Component:
    Students Will Understand the Following:

    1. African American soldiers played a major role in the American military in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They were known as Buffalo Soldiers.
    2. Researchers are bringing more and more information about Buffalo Soldiers to light. During the Civil war over 180,000 African Americans served in the Union Army. Unfortunately, about 33,000 were killed. After the Civil War in 1866, two Cavalry and four infantry regiments were established which were made up of African Americans. Most had served in the Civil War.
    1. ENGAGEMENT (Day 1)

      Introduce activities on Buffalo Soldiers by telling students it will be both an academic research and also a creative writing project. Students will have to gather facts about African Americans who served as Buffalo Soldiers, their backgrounds and contributions.

      1. Review the previous lessons on the Civil War to get a proper connection to the Buffalo Soldiers. Use keywords; e.g. Union, Confederate, Underground Railroad, slavery, bugler, drummer boy, reveille, Gettysburg, Rebels, Yankees, Abraham Lincoln, Emancipation Proclamation, Abolitionist, disease, secession, Fort Sumter, Fugitive Slave Law, "The battle Hymn of the Republic," "Dixie," General Grant, Robert E. Lee, Gettysburg Address, Stonewall Jackson, Fredrick Douglass

      2. Show (demonstrate) on the computer in the classroom to the students the key Web sites, and encourage them to track links to other sites and share with classmates:, "Anthony Powell's Portraits in Black—the Buffalo Soldiers," Bennie J. McRae, Jr., LWF Publications, "9th & 10th Calvary," Daviann Johnson, "Buffalo Soldiers & Indian Wars"

      3. Have a discussion in class on what kinds of facts and impressions to look for on the Web and what students should take notes on with index cards, so they have a collection of data. Encourage students to get facts on: where the Buffalo Soldiers came from, where they served, when they served, what their duties consisted of, who stood out (names of individual soldiers), who commanded them (whites or blacks), problems soldiers faced, contributions they made, symbols (What did Buffalo Soldiers suggest)?

      ENGAGEMENT (Day 2)

      Assign students to groups of five or less.

      1. Give students in groups a chance to use library and class computers to access Web sites since not all students have access to a computer at home.

      2. After students have taken notes from Web sites, give them a chance to go over their notes with other students in their group.

      3. Start to free write so that they can focus on a theme for an essay of creative writing. Try to answer some of the questions in #3 above (Day 1). Write a one-page essay on "The Buffalo Soldier had to overcome great obstacles, against great odds to gain recognition in the U.S. military." Explain why you agree of disagree with this statement.

    2. DEVELOPMENT (Day 3)

      1. Give out handouts on the 9th and 10th Regiments. Break into assigned groups and jigsaw the article and let each group present to class and exchange ideas. Make specific assignments for each group to present to the class.

        1. Where did the name Buffalo Soldier come from? It was a nickname from the Cheyenne and Comanche because they were so brave and courageous and the Indians respected a brave and powerful adversary, which related directly to their much-revered buffalo. It was also due to the similarity of the soldier's hair to that of the hair surrounding a buffalo's head.

        2. Who were some of the famous adversaries of the Buffalo Soldiers? They were Geronimo, Sitting Bull, Chief Victorio (Apache), Lone Wolf, Billy the Kid, and Poncho Villa.

        3. Why were the 9th and 10th Regiments assigned to the western frontier? There was still prejudice after the Civil War. Southerners and eastern populations did not want to see armed Negro soldiers near or in their communities. They were also afraid of the labor market being flooded with a new source of labor. General employment in these communities was not available to blacks; so many African-Americans took a long hard look at military service, which offered shelter, education, steady pay, medical attention and a pension. Some decided it was much better than frequent civilian unemployment.

        4. Was the desertion rate high in the 9th & 10th and did the Regiments get any awards? The 9th and 10th had the lowest desertion rate in the Army, though their army posts were often in the worst country in the west. Official reports show these soldiers were frequently subjected to the harshest of discipline, racist officers, and poor food, equipment and shelter. In spite of these deprivations, the morale or soldiers remained high. Some white commanding officers were proud to lead these men and publicly expressed their feelings. The 9th and 10th had 20 black soldiers given the Medal of Honor, the highest award the United States gives for the outstanding performance under enemy fire.

        5. When were the 9th and 10th Regiments formed and who were the commanding officers? On August 3, 1866, General Phillip Sheridan authorized the 9th Regiment under the command of Col. Edward Hatch. Most soldiers were from Louisiana and Kentucky. The unit was assigned to Texas and had to maintain order from El Paso to Brownsville. The area was full of outlaws, Mexican revolutionaries, and raiding Comanche, Cheyenne, Kiowa, and Apaches. About 1874, the 9th was transferred to Fort Riley, Kansas, and portions at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. The motto of the 9th: "We can, We Will."
          The 10th was formed at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, in 1866 under Col. Benjamin Grierson. This was called Kansas territory and the mission was to prevent Indian raids into Texas. In 1867 and 1868 the 10th participated in Gen. Sherman's winter campaigns against the Cheyenne, Arapahos, and Comanche. The motto of the 10th: "Ready and Forward."

      2. Give out a list of questions, keywords on major events (e.g. folklore, precarious, privation, reconstruction, and segregation) and meanings that students will be required to know. Review to insure understanding. Devote time in class for keywords and questions.

    3. APPLICATION (Day 2/Day3)

      Time permitting, have a short discussion on the hardships encountered by the Buffalo Soldiers and how it would be different today. Do Buffalo Soldiers meet your standards of heroism? Did they gain recognition in the U.S. Military?
    1. Short quiz on keywords and major events.
    2. Have students write a short essay on a theme that they select using their index cards of notes taken from the Web sites and class.
    3. Have students write a short reflection on the three-day lesson.
    1. Disc

      This lesson was added by SuccessLink.

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