Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Domination in the Civil War

Picking Battles

A depicition of the battle I chose; The Battle of Fort Henry.
To start the Battles Scavenger Hunt lesson, the third lesson in our Civil War unit, we first got two essential questions that needed to be answered by the end of the activity. The two questions are; "Who was the ultimate victor in each of the theaters of war: East, West, Naval?" and "What are some commonalities you can identify in the reasons for the results of the battles?". To start off, each student had to choose a battle from this list of battle descriptions. Most battles were assigned to one person, but there were a few pairs of students who worked together on one battle due to the ratio of kids to battles. After submitting our choice for the battle, solely based on the description, we had to research the description to find information on it, and most importantly to find out what the battle was called. We created a document using Google Docs with the Battle name, location, date, victor, theater (east, west, naval) and two bullets explaining the reasons for the results. I got the Battle of Fort Henry, and my Google Doc can be viewed here. After making the documents, we generated a QR code using this generator that linked to the document with the information. On a separate sheet of paper, we placed the QR code with the shortened link (using bit.ly) that students could use if the code did not work. At the top of the new document was the station number that the battle corresponded with. So, what was all of this for? The class organized a scavenger hunt around the school. I am going to use my battle station number as an example. Since I was station 3, I told the student with battle station 2 where I was going to place my QR code. Brian had this battle so he wrote at the bottom of his original Google Doc where to go in the school for my sign. So, someone would go to his sign, scan the code, copy the information into their Evernote app, and look at the bottom of the document to see where to go for my sign. There were twenty battles in all. Katie had station 5, so I wrote where she was putting her sign at the bottom of my document. It may sound confusing, but it worked out and was stress free. The idea of this was to obtain this information in a quicker way, instead of sitting in class listening to a teacher talk about twenty different Civil War battles. I really enjoyed this and thought it was something unique and creative.
The QR code to my Scavenger Hunt Google Doc.

Who Dominated Each Theater?

Since the idea of the scavenger hunt was to find the answers to the questions I previously stated, we all got back together and went on Padlet to help gather ideas as a class. The Padlet my class created is below. We were asked which side, the Union or Confederacy, dominated each theater - the Western, Eastern & Naval Theaters. We all looked back in our notes to find out the answer to the first essential question; Who was the ultimate victor in each of the theaters of war: East, West, Naval?  The class agreed that the Union clearly dominated the Western Theater. Two example battles of this are the Battle of Shiloh and The Siege of Vicksburg. Even though the South had more soldiers in the Battle of Shiloh, the Union came out victorious. At the Siege of Vicksburg, the Union won because the Confederacy ran out of supplies. Next, the Eastern Theater. My take on this theater was that the battles definitely seemed to be more even than the Western ones. The Confederate soldiers won battles like the Battle of Cold Harbor, due to the Union having half the number of soldiers than the South, and having a worse defense line. The Union lacked leadership at the beginning of the Eastern Theater battles, yet they ended up winning more battles as time went along, like Sherman's March to Sea and the Battle of Gettysburg. The Union also seemed to dominate the remaining theater: Naval. They won the Baton Rouge Battle due to having resources and capturing the city New Orleans, which was close to a large naval base. Another battle in the Naval theater was the Battle of Hampton Roads. Even though it was a 'draw', the Confederates were short on ammunition and fled. While running, they actually blew up their own ship so it wouldn't fall into Union hands. I think it can be argued that the Union won this battle, and dominated this theater.

Similarities In the Reasons for Results

The other essential question regards commonalities, or similarities, in the reasons for the results of the battles. A commonality I noticed was concerning the number of soldiers involved in the battles. A few examples of this are the Battle of Fort Sumter, the Surrender of Fort Donelson, the Battle of Shiloh & the Battle of Cold Harbor. A majority of the time, one side didn't have enough soldiers to keep up with the opposing side. Another similarity is supplies. For example, the Confederacy had to surrender in the Siege of Vicksburg because they ran out of supplies, and in the Battle of Fort Sumter the Union troops did not have enough supplies to defend themselves against a siege. It is pretty clear to me that the Union dominated the battles of the Civil War, with a few exceptions. 

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