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A House Divided: The Civil War Homefront


Students work in small groups to analyze sets of Civil War-era primary sources, including photographs, manuscripts and sheet music. They make inferences about the short-term and long-term consequences of the Civil War for those on the homefront based on primary source evidence. Students synthesize and express their learning by writing a letter from the perspective of a civilian during the war.


After completing this learning activity, students will be able to:

  • Analyze primary sources in different formats
  • Draw conclusions using evidence from primary sources
  • Synthesize information to create a letter or diary entry from a civilian’s perspective about life during the Civil War

Time Required

Two 45-minute class periods.

Recommended Grade Range



Civil War, Homefront


U.S. History


Standards & Benchmarks

Language Arts

Standard 1. (Writing) Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process
Standard 2. (Writing) Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing

United States History

Standard 14. (Era 5—Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)) Understands the course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people


Adapted from “A House Divided: The Civil War Home Front in Tennessee,” a lesson plan created by Rebecca Byrd, New Center School, Sevier County, Tennessee

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