Lesson Plan

The Battle of Stones River: A Contrast in Leadership Styles (Classroom Activities)

General Braxton Bragg and General William Rosecrans


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Grade Level:
Eighth Grade-College Undergraduate Level
Civil War, Leadership, Military and Wartime History, Political Science, Psychology
3 Days
Group Size:
Up to 36
National/State Standards:
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1, 12.2, 12.4, 12.7 & 12.9 / CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.1 & 12.1a / TN US Gov 6.0 (LE 6.1 & 6.2) / TN Sociology 4.0 (LE 4.2) / TN US History 4.0 / TN CTE-Ag. Leadership Communications 1.0 (LE 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 & 1.5)


Compare the leadership styles of Generals Braxton Bragg and William S. Rosecrans during their bloody confrontation at Stones River. Students will discover how to apply the seven habits of highly effective people to a historical event.


1.        Describe Leadership. (Day 1)


2.        Explain the major types and styles of leaders. (Day 1)


3.        Describe the Leadership types and styles of US Commanding General William S. Rosecrans and Confederate Commanding General Braxton Bragg at the Battle of Stones River. (Day 2)


4.         Apply by Comparing and Contrasting how these types and styles of leadership demonstrated by Rosecrans and Bragg at the Battle of Stones River made a difference in the outcome of the battle. (Day 3 & Day 4)


See Source Document Excerpts.




Formal: Assess – Chapter – EXAM with 80% Minimum Mastery.

Essential Question regarding: Which commanding general, William S. Rosecrans or Braxton Bragg, demonstrated better leadership qualities to impact the outcome of the Battle of Stones River? After reading selected excerpts from biographies of each general, excerpts from Stones River – Bloody Winter in Tennessee, additional primary source documents, as well as, summary information from Seven Habits of Highly Effective People by Steven Covey, write a newspaper or blog article that addresses the question and support your position with evidence from the text. This article/blog will be posted to a public source (Class Blog or Local Newspaper or School Student Newspaper) after grading; Student Portfolio /Notebook will be checked for minimum participation on this Section. 

Teacher will use the CCSS Argumentative Rubric for scoring the completed newspaper article/blog. The Argumentative Rubric may be found at: http://tncore.org/sites/www/Uploads/TNCORE/Rubrics/OpArgRubric-Gr9-12-Literacy.pdf 

Informal: Student Participation will be monitored throughout the lesson with the utmost prerogative being every skill being achieved by every learner every time.  

On-going: This lesson will be used as a "springboard" and an essential step to completing the Unit on Leadership. 

Unit Assessment: UNIT EXAM with 80% Minimum Mastery  

Additional Resources

Texts: Source Packet with Primary Source Excerpts from the following sources:


Edge of Gloryby William Lamers; Paperback: 520 pages; Publisher: Louisiana State University Press; Louisiana pbk. ed edition (May 1, 1999); Language: English; ISBN-10: 080712396X; ISBN-13: 978-0807123966.

General Braxton Bragg, C.S.A.by Samuel J. Martin; Hardback: 536 pages; Publisher: Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers Publication date: 4/26/2011 Language: English; ISBN-13:. ISBN-13: 9780786459346.


 Stones River – Bloody Winter in Tennessee by James Lee McDonough: Paperback: 286 pages; Publisher: University of Tennessee Press; 1 edition (January 31, 1983); Language: English; ISBN-10: 0870493736; ISBN-13: 978-0870493737.


Common Core State Standards – Argumentative Rubric

Classroom Presentation Computer with Dell Projector



Types of Leadership: http://education-portal.com/academy/lesson/leadership-styles-and-types-authoritarian-laissez-faire-democratic.html


Video Clip on Leadership during the Battle of Stones River: [TBD Video from Mike Browning.]


Video Clip on the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People:


The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Summary PowerPoint: http://www.slideshare.net/accountsdirect/leadership-and-7-habits-of-highly-effective-people

CCSS Argumentative Rubric for scoring the completed newspaper article/blog. The Argumentative Rubric may be found at: http://tncore.org/sites/www/Uploads/TNCORE/Rubrics/OpArgRubric-Gr9-12-Literacy.pdf


Leader: Someone who influences other people.

Leadership styles: Ways in which people express their leadership.

Authoritarian leader: A leader who leads by giving orders.

Democratic leader: An individual who leads by trying to reach a consensus.

Expressive leader: An individual who increases harmony and minimizes conflict in a group; also known as a socioemotional leader.

Instrumental leader: An individual who tries to keep the group moving toward its goals; also known as a task-oriented leader.

Laissez-faire leader: An individual who leads by being highly permissive.

Last updated: April 14, 2015