Educator's Guide: Language Arts: Words of a Solider


The common soldier and sailor of the Civil War created a legacy of words. Through their letters home, diaries or books published after the war, the soldiers and sailors left behind vivid accounts of the Civil War.


Divide the class into small teams. Assign students one of the sources or other texts. Students will use these primary sources to gain an understanding of life and events during the Siege of Vicksburg and the Civil War. The small groups will present dramatic readings and interpretations of those readings to the class.


  • Diary of a Confederate Soldier, John Jackman
  • Diary of a Dead Man, J. P. Ray
  • My Cave Life, Mary Webster Loughborough
  • To Be A Slave, Julius Lester
  • Vicksburg: A City Under Siege, Emma Balfour
  • Vicksburg: 47 Days of Siege, A.A. Hoehling

Classroom Activities:

  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies


  • 7 -12


Students will gain insight into history and culture through the study of literature.


Books, magazines and journals that contain letters, diaries or text from the common soldier or sailor of the Civil War Era.

Last updated: April 14, 2015

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