Lesson Plan

Civilian War Experience: The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain

Civilian at Kennesaw Mountain

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Grade Level:
Middle School: Sixth Grade through Eighth Grade
Literacy and Language Arts,Social Studies
Lesson Duration:
90 Minutes
Common Core Standards:
6-8.RH.1, 6-8.RH.2, 6-8.RH.4, 6-8.RH.10, 6-8.WHST.4, 6-8.WHST.7
State Standards:
Georgia Standard(s) of Excellence:
SS8H5 The student will analyze the impact of the Civil War on Georgia.
Additional Standards:
Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies:
L6-8RHSS1, L6-8RHSS2, L6-8RHSS4, L6-8RHSS10, L6-8WHST4, L6-8WHST7
Thinking Skills:
Understanding: Understand the main idea of material heard, viewed, or read. Interpret or summarize the ideas in own words. Applying: Apply an abstract idea in a concrete situation to solve a problem or relate it to a prior experience. Analyzing: Break down a concept or idea into parts and show the relationships among the parts. Creating: Bring together parts (elements, compounds) of knowledge to form a whole and build relationships for NEW situations. Evaluating: Make informed judgements about the value of ideas or materials. Use standards and criteria to support opinions and views.

Essential Question

How did the experience of the Civil War differ from multiple perspectives, including that of women, children, and other civilians?


Students will be using analysis of primary sources to investigate the question:

How did the experience of the Civil War differ from multiple perspectives, including that of women, children, and other civilians?


Kennesaw Mountain National Battlefield Park is a 2,923 acre site that saw some of the fiercest fighting of the Atlanta Campaign of the Civil War. While the site is best known for the battle that took place there, it is often forgotten that there was a thriving community surrounding the Mountain. The people who called this area home found themselves facing a difficult decision in the summer of 1864: Is it better to flee the danger you know is coming or stay and fight to protect and defend the home you've worked years to establish. As War came to Kennesaw Mountain, homes, barns, farms, livestock, schools, churches, mills, and life in general was caught up in the grind of battle - only to be left tattered, broken, and, in some cases, destroyed forever in its ugly aftermath.

For this lesson, it is encouraged that you complete the standard discussing the Atlanta Campaign before starting this lesson. While your students can complete this lesson without the other, the first lesson provides a context for the battle. 


*Make one copy per two students for each of the primary sources: Minerva McClatchey document and Miss Lucinda Hardage document. 

*Make two copies per student of the "Questions, Problems, or Concerns" worksheet. 

*Make one copy per group of four of the "Ranking the Problems" worksheet. 

*Decide whether you will allow students to determine their pairs to analyze primary sources or there will be teacher created pairs (Note: We suggest using heterogenous pairs to support content and vocabulary comprehension of all learners.) 


Use when the two pairs of students from different documents are working together to identify the problems and hardships of civilians in both documents.

Download Questions, Problems, or Concerns Worksheet

Provide to students in half of the initial pairs.

Download Miss Lucinda Hardage Document

Provide to students in half of the initial pairs.

Download Minerva McClatchey Document

Provide one copy to each group of four.

Download Ranking the Problems Worksheet

Lesson Hook/Preview

  • Ask your students, "What do you think happened to the people when a battle was fought in their town? Do you think people were hurt? What happened to the town after the battle was over?" 
  • Explain that there were hardships almost every time civilians found themselves in the path of large numbers of Civil War soldiers. 


Activity One: Primary Source Investigation

1.Provide half of your pairs with a copy of the Minerva McClatchey document. Provide the other half of your pairs with a copy of the Miss Lucinda Hardage document. 

2. Have all students read their documents with a partner using the vocabulary list and definitions if necessary. Tell students they should be prepared to explain who wrote the document and what it was about. 

3. Ask each pair of students to find another pair that read a diferent document. For example, One pair that read the McClatchey document should now be with a pair that read the Hardage document. Give students 5 minutes to tell their group mates what document they read, who wrote it, and what it was about. 

4. Hand out the “Questions, Problems, or Concerns” worksheet for the students to complete as a group of four. They should complete one worksheet for each document. 

5. Hand out the "Ranking the Problems" worksheet to each group of four. Ask the students to identify 5 problems civilians living in Marietta would have faced during and after the battle of Kennesaw Mountain. Ask students to rank these problems with #1 being the most serious and #5 being the least serious. Ask students to also identify 5 actions civilians took in response to these hardships. 

Activity Two: Problems, Problems

7. On the smart board, overhead, or bulletin board, place the words “Problem” and “Action.” 

8. Ask groups to share out the “problems” from members of each group. Facilitate a class discussion to come up with a ranked list for the class. 

9. Once the “problems” have been determined, conduct a class discussion about what actions the civilians took in response. 

10. Bring up the question: Do you think civilians in other locations or places may have had different challenges or problems? What problems might have been similar across the country? 


  • Anecdote - a short and amusing or interesting story about a real incident or person.
  • Avail - to use or take advantage of. 
  • Chivalry - the combination of qualities expected of an ideal knight, especially courage, honor, courtesy, justice, and a readiness to help the weak.
  • Cordially - with a warm and friendly tone.
  • Correspond - communicate by exchanging letters.
  • Corpulent - fat or overweight. 
  • En route - on the way or during the course of a journey. 
  • Entrench - establish an attitude, habit, or belief so firmly that change is very difficult or unlikely.
  • Inoffensive - not objectionable or harmful.
  • Laden - heavily loaded or weighed down.
  • Legion - a type of early combined arms unit, comprising a mix of infantry, cavalry, and artillery, though not necessarily all three.
  • Malaria - a fever caused by a parasite that invades the red blood cells. The parasite is transmitted by mosquitoes. 
  • Oath - a solemn promise. 
  • Pacify - to bring peace. 
  • Parlor - a sitting room in a private house. 
  • Perpetuate - to make something continue indefinitely. 
  • Provisions - an amount supplied or provided. 
  • Recollection - a memory. 
  • Refugee - a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war or persecution. 
  • Reprimand - an official rebuke or scolding. 
  • Slate - a flat piece of slate used for writing on, typically framed in wood, formerly used in schools.
  • Typhoid - an infectious bacterial fever with an eruption of red spots on the chest and abdomen and severe intestinal irritation.
  • Veranda - a roofed platform or porch along the outside of a house, level with the ground floor.
  • Wretch - an unfortunate or unhappy person.

Assessment Materials

Journaling as a Civil War Civilian

* Students will write a journal entry in which they envision that they are a civilian who lived through the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain and its aftermath. They will use their “Questions, Problems, or Concerns” worksheet in order to include at least three problems and the civilian reaction identified by their group or the class.

* Evaluate using Georgia Standard (s) of Excellence

Supports for Struggling Learners

*Pre-teach vocabulary or add images to vocabulary to support comprehension

*Before identifying problems, ask students to draw an image that would show the big ideas or experience of the civilian as described in the document. 

*Highlight or annotate primary source documents to support identification of problems or the big ideas of the text. 

*Provide a journal template or sentence starters 

Enrichment Activities

*Ask students to use their knowledge of the civilian experience during the Civil War to give advice to the President and military leaders on modern conflicts, such as in Syria, Iraq, or Afghanistan. Provide students with current events articles to provide context for their advice. 

*Using Google Maps, have each student research the battlefield location of each primary source. 

Additional Resources



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Last updated: April 26, 2020