“I was reading the Gettysburg Address – that big, long speech by Abraham Lincoln. It was amazing.” ~ my 2nd grader
This homeschool year we’ve been studying the Civil War as part of our Tapestry of Grace studies. It just so happens that 2014 is the 150th anniversary of the Civil War here on Georgia soil. There are several commemorative events and activities that will enrich learning about this part of our American history.
Though we are officially putting the finishing touches on our homeschool year, we will continue our Civil War learning through the summer. We will be attending reenactments, visiting local sites and learning more.
To start with, here is the official Georgia State Parks Civil War 150th website with a listing of parks and historic sites. And how about a list? The Essential To-Do List for the 150th Anniversary of the Civil War. And you can also read about This Day in the Civil War.
* I will update my entries with more thoughts and photos as we visit each Civil War historical site.*
Atlanta, Georgia Civil War History
Enjoy this brief tour of the Atlanta History Center via video! You should also follow Atlanta History Center on instagram to enjoy some wonderful images of Atlanta’s history!
Atlanta History Center – there are several homeschool days throughout the year at this wonderful spot!
~Photo courtesy Atlanta History Center
- Like Homeschool Day featuring the Battle of Atlanta on Friday, May 9th from 1-4 p.m. “The battle that was the beginning of the end of the Civil War began 150 years ago this summer. This month, learn why the Battle of Atlanta was so pivotal, and how it affected the city and its citizens.”
- In addition, there are many Civil War related activities and exhibits:
- In exhibitions: Turning Point: The American Civil War and Confederate Odyssey: The George W. Wray Jr. Civil War Collection (opening July 18th).
~Photo courtesy Atlanta History Center
- In family programs: Juneteenth: The First Day of Freedom (June 21-22, a celebration of the Emancipation Proclamation); A Sweet Strangeness Thrills My Heart (July 18th, an evening museum theatre performance about a young girl living in Alabama at the outbreak of the war); The Battle of Peachtree Creek (July 19th, family program commemorating the heroism and heartache of those on the battlefield as well as on the home front); Civil War After Dark (July 19th, an evening program where visitors meet Civil War reenactors from both sides of the war)
- Battle of Peachtree Creek Live Blog (July 20th, posts with real-time updates, personal accounts, images, and artifacts from the battle)
~courtesy Atlanta History Center
- Summer Camp: The Battle of Atlanta (July 21-25).
- Ongoing, and continuously updated, authors programs that feature Civil War historians.
- Plus the signature exhibits offered always.
Atlanta Cyclorama and Civil War Museum – Civil War museum, diorama, reenactors and more! The Battle of Atlanta of the American Civil War, depicted in the world’s largest oil painting c. 1885 “When you visit the Cyclorama in Atlanta’s Historic Grant Park you can also see artifacts of the war displayed in the Civil War Museum and a steam locomotive known as the Texas, made famous by the Great Locomotive Chase of 1862.”
- Civil War 150 Anniversary – Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites – “One hundred and fifty years after it was contested, the sesquicentennial of the American Civil War offers an unparalleled opportunity to discover, discuss, and commemorate America’s greatest national crisis, and explore its enduring relevance in the 21st century.”
- See the Commemorative Events List for more details.
- Kennesaw Mountain – Yes you can learn more each time you visit! I grew up going to Kennesaw Mountain and learning about the important Civil War battle that took place here. But during this, my second education as a homeschooler, I am all about continuing education.
The Kennesaw Mountain visitor center is updated. (Notice this awesome Civil War timeline!) We had the best time talking to such a helpful ranger there! There is a new, half-hour movie. And having read aloud so much about the events of those four years of war just in the last weeks, watching the movie was even more poignant.
Cannons and earthworks, pictured above, at the top of the mountain. There are several hiking trails or you can drive to the top of the mountain.
At the top of Kennesaw Mountain, pictured above. You can plan your visit for the 150th anniversary of the Atlanta Campaign and the Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.
- nearby Cheatham Hill – where the historical ‘dead angle’ resulted in a huge loss for the Union army. Learn more about trench design.
Civil War special Jr Ranger badge – We discovered this version of the Jr. Ranger program when we visited Sweetwater Creek State Park. A limited edition Civil War badge!
Here are a few views of the inside of the Jr. Ranger pamphlet – click over to view the full pdf online!
- Marietta’s Civil War – (a wonderful site full of resources, including those below where I found the following descriptions. I have been to many of these places when I was growing up but it’s time to take the children!)
- Marietta National Cemetery – “The Marietta National Cemetery is the site of over 10,000 Union graves. Henry Green Cole donated the land as a joint Confederate & Union cemetery, hoping to heal ill feelings between the north and south. However, Marietta officials did not want Confederate dead buried near Yankee dead, so they formed a separate Confederate Cemetery.”
- Marietta Confederate Cemetery – “The Marietta Confederate Cemetery is the final resting place for 3,000 Confederate soldiers from nearby hospitals and military operations including the Battle of Kolb’s Farm and The Battle of Kennesaw Mountain.”
- Marietta Museum of History – “Located on the second floor of the historic Kennesaw House, the Marietta Museum of History tells a rich account of the area. It houses the city’s extensive historical collections of photographs, artifacts and documentary information of Marietta in particular, and North Georgia in general.”
- Gone with the Wind Museum – “The Marietta Gone with the Wind Museum: Scarlett on the Square has been a mainstay in downtown Marietta since April 2003 when it opened in the historic Old Thomas Warehouse Building.”
- The Southern Museum of Civil Warn & Locomotive History – We can’t wait to go here and see the famous General locomotive. Learn about the museum history, book a field trip, buy tickets and more. There’s also a wonderful schedule of events to match the 150 anniversary this summer.
- The Root House Museum – “Step Back in Time and Experience a Merchant’s Home in Marietta, Georgia… 150 Years Ago”
- Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site – We watched the video on this site and attended the 150th Commemoration – Battle of Pickett’s Mill. Please note this historic site is only open Thursday through Saturday. Check the site for admission fees. “Pickett’s Mill is one of the best preserved Civil War battlefields in the nation. Visitors can travel roads used by Federal and Confederate troops, see earthworks constructed by these men, and walk through the same ravine where hundreds died. An authentic 1800s pioneer cabin is furnished and open for tours during certain events.”
Sweetwater Creek State Park – Besides the history, this was simply a gorgeous spot. We had been to Sweetwater Creek for picnics and walks several times before. This time we made time for the visitor center and the walk to the mill. Guess what? More Civil War history! There were Civil War rifles preserved in water, an entire display on what happened when Sherman’s soldiers marched up to the mill that day. Letters, period clothing, old photos and more. This park is also where I found the Jr. Ranger 150 anniversary program – complete with a checklist for visiting all the other spots that were already on our list!
“While there were many tragedies, there were also mercies. Many soldiers in both Union and Confederate armies were won to Christ as the Great Revival swept through both camps, mainly during the last, horrific year of 1864. As we read about the close of the war this week, be looking for the hand of God, whose ways are always altogether good and righteous, and who in in the course of this war revealed both His judgment and His mercy.” ~ Tapestry of Grace introduction to week 24, Year 3
Southeastern Civil War Sites – North of Atlanta
- Red Top Mountain – “Visit Allatoona Pass Battlefield and read the interpretive panels that describe the battle that occurred here in October 1864. After the fall of Atlanta, Confederate troops tried to gain control of the Allatoona railroad depot and break the Federal army’s supply line.” The Battle of Allatoona Pass will be remembered with special events on October 4th – rifle and cannon demonstrations, tent city plus tour of hillside and railroad cut through the pass.
- Robert Toombs House
- Chief Vann House
- Chickamauga and Chattanooga – resources for a teacher planned field trip
Civil War Sites South of Atlanta
Back when I was in an AP History class in high school, we took a wonderful tour of Civil War sites in Georgia. I remember these are some of the spots we explored:
- Andersonville National Historic Site (Prisoner of War Camp)
- Magnolia Springs
- Wormsloe State Historic Site
- Ft. McAllister State Historic Park
- Ft. Pulaski National Monument
- Jefferson Davis State Historic Site
More Civil War Resources
- History markers throughout Georgia – there’s even an app to map out the markers along your trip!
- Learning about the origins of Confederate Memorial Day “April 26 marks the anniversary of the end of the Civil War for Georgia, for it was on this day in 1865 that Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston’s surrender to General William T. Sherman at Durham Station, North Carolina became official. Johnston had been in charge of Georgia’s defense, so this day marked the end of the war for Georgia.“
A wonderful book we picked up on the bargain books aisle of Barnes & Noble for just $14.49 (originally $45!) – Civil War: A Visual History. An instagram account to follow with details of each day’s happenings during the Civil War – @americancivilwardaybyday. I am very impressed with both of these resources. And of course, Gone with the Wind. Both the book and the movie.
- President Lincoln – all the many books! We especially like Lincoln: A Photobiography by Russell Freedman. We also listened to a series of HSLDA’s Homeschool Heartbeat online audio sessions by Mike Smith entitled The Humble Beginnings of Honest Abe.
- The Great Locomotive Chase movie (links to the movie trailer) – we watched this in preparation for going to The Southern Museum and seeing the famous locomotive, The General.
More Georgia and Atlanta Area Resources
- Free Homeschooling in Georgia ebook by me and Jamie Worley – links to field trip ideas and more
- Ultimate Atlanta Summer Staycation Guide: Free and Frugal Family Fun
- Our Tapestry of Grace history studies
- More local field trips
As I said, I will update the above listings with photos and more information as we visit them. We hope to be able to get to many in the near future.
What are YOUR favorites?