Field Trips, Student Activities

Care of the Wounded

Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Social Studies
Common Core Standards:
6.L.4, 6.L.5, 7.L.4, 7.L.4.a, 7.L.4.d, 7.L.5, 7.L.5.a, 8.L.4, 8.L.4.a, 8.L.4.c, 8.L.4.d, 8.L.5, 6-8.RH.7, 6-8.RH.4, 6-8.RH.5, 6.RI.2, 6.RI.3, 6.RI.7, 7.RI.2, 7.RI.3, 7.RI.4, 8.RI.1, 8.RI.2, 8.RI.4, 6.SL.1, 6.SL.1.a, 6.SL.1.b, 6.SL.1.c, 6.SL.1.d, 6.SL.2, 7.SL.1, 7.SL.1.a, 7.SL.1.b, 7.SL.1.c, 7.SL.1.d, 7.SL.4, 6.SL.4, 8.SL.1, 8.SL.1.a, 8.SL.1.b, 8.SL.1.c, 8.SL.1.d, 8.SL.4
State Standards:
Pennsylvania CC.1.2.6. A-C, F, J; CC.1.2.7 A-C, E-F, J; CC.1.2.8 A-C, F, J; CC.1.5.6A-D; CC.1.5.7A-D; CC.1.5.8A-D; CC8.5.6-8A-C, G


The Battle of Gettysburg is well known for its stories of courage and bravery on the battlefield. Lesser known is the story of the medical personnel, Union and Confederate, who had by 1863 greatly improved their bases of knowledge and organization to save lives and improve living conditions for the sick and wounded of the war.


This student program seeks to personalize the battle by having each student focus on one individual, whether it be a sick or wounded soldier, a nurse, steward or surgeon. By role-playing these individuals, students will gain a greater understanding of the organization and dedication of army medical personnel, and will be able to place Civil War medicine in the context of medical progress. Another goal is to have the students begin to think about Civil War battles and all battles in the context of their aftermaths and consequences.


After completing the pre-visit and on-site activities for the program, students will be able to:
--Articulate the role of a Civil War doctor as well as the roles of other medical personnel including nurses, stewards, stretcher bearers and ambulance drivers
--Identify three common diseases of Civil War soldiers from their symptoms
--Determine the triage category and "diagnose" first-aid treatment for three types of wounds/injuries
--Explain and describe the typical treatment and recovery path of a Civil War soldier, from wound to first aid to field hospital to general hospital
--Place the caring for the wounded at Gettysburg within the context of Civil War medicine
--Explain three improvements made during the course of the war.

A Note To Teachers

The Care of the Wounded Teachers' Guide below contains four sections of material:
1). Background includes general background readings for your class, including inset boxes called "What's Your Diagnosis?" with opportunities for you to facilitate higher-level thinking discussions in your classroom. These readings and activities will serve as the "internship," preparing your students for "army medical service."

2). Before Your Field Trip includes a medical personnel identity for each student, study materials and illustrations, and one-act plays. These plays serve to solidify their field trip roles, and provide an opportunity for each small group of students to share their knowledge with the whole class. These preparations are essential to the success of the program! Proceed as follows: 1.) Have everyone take the Oath of Allegiance and the Hippocratic Oath (page 18). 2.) Divide your class into three groups (squads) and assign the Field Trip Identities. 3.) Have students complete their squad's activities, including rehearsal of their plays. 4.) Make sure Squad Leaders bring along the Camp, Battlefield, and Hospital Reports (pages 26, 32, and 42) from their one-act plays.

3). Your Field Trip Day is a section that includes a handout for the students about their field trip location and activities. There is also a sample diagram for you and your students to create nametags for your field trip, enabling your program ranger to better communicate with the class. Trip Day Directions for you and your bus driver can also be found in this section.

4). After Your Field Trip contains explanations of possible follow up activities for when you return to the classroom, as well as a Reading List to further explore the role of the medical corps at Gettysburg and throughout the Civil War.


This teachers' guide contains required and necessary pre-visit activities as well as suggested post-visit activities for your students, following their field trip student education program at Gettysburg National Military Park.

Download Teachers' Guide for Care of the Wounded Field Trip Program

Last updated: March 12, 2021