Will provide two reasons why soldiers from both the Union and the Confederate armies might be prisoners of the city.
Will create a cartoon editorial about soldier life in the trenches, with the theme "Prisoners of Petersburg."
Political or editorial cartoon examples
Paper and pencil
Involvement of the Learners:
Civil War Journal of a Maine Volunteer
Transition to Explanation:
Many soldiers would use abatis (felled trees) to further protect them in the trenches? Why would soldiers cut down trees and place them in front of their trenches?
Soldiers also used chevaux-de-frise to protect their earthworks. These structures were made by sharpening the ends of trees and connecting them together to form a defense system. How would chevaux-de-frise protect the soldiers behind the trenches? Do you think they were an effective defense?
While soldiers would often sleep under the stars, canvas shelter halfs and tent flies were used to create a shelter from the weather. How have these soldiers used their shelters inside the trenches? Do you think this photograph represents a temporary or a more permanent camp? Explain.
Soldiers from both armies spent much of their time behind walls such as these. When a battle was not raging and shots were not being fired, what would the soldiers do behind these earthen walls to pass the time? Do you think that they could move freely behind these walls?
Soldiers took advantage of the landscape around them, when they constructed their fortifications. What did they use to build these trenches? After viewing these photographs, and the amount of wood it took to create these trenches, how do you imagine the landscape around them looked after nine-and-a-half months of the siege?
Students will use these photographs to discuss why the soldiers might have been called "Prisoners of Petersburg." The class can discuss how the soldiers lived, where they lived, and finally, why fighiting in the trenches may have drawn out the length of the siege.
Students will receive drawing paper. They will be asked to create a cartoon illustrating soldier life in the trenches of Petersburg. The theme for their drawing will be "Prisoners of Petersburg." Encourage students to be creative in their drawings, providing a strong viewpoint of trench life. Their cartoon can be serious or comical in nature.
Last updated: February 26, 2015