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Cumberland Landing, Va. Group of “contrabands” at Foller's house

[Detail] Group of "contrabands" at Foller's house

Lesson Overview

This lesson uses primary sources - diaries, letters, and photographs - to explore the experiences of women in the Civil War. By looking at a series of document galleries, the perspectives of slave women, plantation mistresses, female spies, and Union women emerge. Ultimately, students will understand the human consequences of this war for women.


Students will be able to:

  • develop skills in seeing and understanding visual and print sources;
  • learn to analyze and to draw inferences from sources;
  • develop understanding of how the Civil War affected the lives of women.


Time Required

  • One week

Recommended Grade Level

  • 6-8
  • 9-12


  • Women's History
  • Civil War


  • Civil War and Reconstruction, 1861-1877


Susan Allen & Mary Rockwell