Student Activity

On the Eve of War: Civil War Commanders

Screen capture of Meet the Army Commanders interactive
Photo caption

Meet The Army Commanders! is an interactive that introduces the principal generals on both sides of the American Civil War. This activity is incorporated into the lesson plan "On the Eve of War: North vs. South" that is included within the curriculum unit: Civil War: A "Terrible Swift Sword."

Guiding Questions

  • Which conflicts provided most commanders with their prior military experience?
    • Other than providing both Union and Confederate commanders with experience in war, how was the Mexican-American war connected to the issues at stake in the Civil War?
  • Find a commander whose background surprises you for one reason or another: perhaps he did not have any military experience, or fought for a different side of the war than you might assume based on his home state. Research the commander and be prepared to explain the paradox you noted.