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Research Guide: History 115 (Washburn) - Civil War Documentary Project

Photostory Software

Photostory Software: click on this link to download this program.

Tutorial for Photostory [PDF]: Step-by-step directions with screenshots on how to build your photo story.

Find Images & Music

Note: It is important to respect copyright when you include images and music in your documentary. These sources provide images that are in the public domain, which you are free to use without copyright infringement. Also, please note that you may use any image that comes from a .gov website (including the many National Park websites that are provided on this page. Government websites are all in the public domain - there is no copyright.

Library of Congress: Prints and Photographs Online Catalog - Civil War

Library of Congress: American Memory - Selected Civil War Photographs

Wikimedia Commons: a media file repository making available public domain and freely-licensed educational media content (images, sound and video clips). Note: you need to give credit to the source (not wikimedia commons, but the original source listed) when you use this images (example: "Image provided by Virginia State Library").

Free Play Music: download free background music for your documentary here. Note: be sure to give this site credit for the music at the beginning or end of your documentary.  Simply include "Music provided by freeplaymusic.com" somewhere in your presentation.

Northern Unionists

Assault on Battery Wagner

Topics: The Assault on Battery Wagner and the involvement of the 54th Massachusetts-what was the reaction of the North to the use of an African American Regiment in battle. What was the public's reaction to the outcome of the battle?

Brief Battle Summary: one paragraph summary from the National Park Services.

"Fort Wagner": chapter on the battle, including black soldiers' involvement. From the National Park Service's online book, The Civil War's Black Soldiers, [you may also use pictures from this page].

"Test of Combat": chapter on how Northerners felt about black soldiers. From the National Park Service's online book, The Civil War's Black Soldiers, [you may also use pictures from this page].

"Blacks in the Civil War": section "Northern Blacks Want to Join the Fight" discusses the policy on black soldiers at the start of war.

Emancipation Proclamation

Topics: The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and the Emancipation Proclamation: How did Northerners react to Lincoln's Proclamation? Did they feel he had gone too far or not far enough? Were there any public outbursts in reaction: i.e.: riots, rebellions?

"Opposition to the War": see the sections on "Slavery and Emancipation" and "Politics and Race" for a few mentions of how Northerners felt about the Emancipation Proclamation.

"Support for the War": see the section on "Northern Support."

"Slavery and Race": in particular, see the section on "The Northern Response to Slavery and Race."

"New York City Draft Riots": describes violence aimed at African Americans as a result of emancipation.

The Battle of the Crater & Gen. Meade

Topic: The siege of Petersburg, Va. was an example of poor leadership. General George Meade replaced black troops with ill-supplied and poorly trained white troops. The Union was trounced in this battle. Why did Meade choose to use white troops? Create a point/counterpoint style debate on why Meade replaced the troops. Would the outcome of the battle have been different if the troops originally assigned to lead the attack had remained? Who was to blame for the outcome of the battle?

"African Americans at Petersburg": chapter from the National Park Service's online book, The Siege of Petersburg [you may also use pictures from this page].

Battle Summary: brief battle summary from The Greenhaven Encyclopedia of the Civil War.

"Battle of the Crater": mentions the substitution of black troops; entry from Encyclopedia Virginia. Hint: be sure to hit "more" to see full entry.

"Battle of the Crater, July 30, 1864": details the battle, including the decision to substitute troops; from Petersburg National Battlefield [you may also use pictures from this page].

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Southern Confederates

Fort Pillow Massacre

Topics: What was the Confederacy's reaction to the Union's use of black troops? Did they view them as soldiers? How were they treated if they were caught? What was the Union's reaction to the Confederacy's actions?

"Prisoners of War": has paragraph or two on Fort Pillow and black POW policies. From the National Park Service's online book, The Civil War's Black Soldiers, [you may also use pictures from this page].

"And the War Came": discusses Northern and Southern views of blacks in the military at the beginning of the war. From the National Park Service's online book, The Civil War's Black Soldiers, [you may also use pictures from this page].

Emancipation Proclamation

Topics: The Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and the Emancipation Proclamation: How did Southerners react to Lincoln's Proclamation? Did they feel he had gone too far or not far enough? Were there any public outbursts in reaction: i.e.: riots, rebellions?

"Support for the War": see the section "Support in the South" that mentions Southerners reaction to emancipation.

"Slavery and Race": see section "Southern Ideology and American Culture" for mentions of Southerners reactions.

"Blacks in the Civil War": section "Word of Emancipation Spreads in the South" mentions slaves finding out they were free.

Robert Smalls

Topics: Smalls was a slave, but a skilled pilot in Charleston, who knew the harbor well. In May of 1862, Smalls and fifteen others escaped on his master's ship, The Planter. What is the whole story on the escape? What was the South's reaction to this mastermind plan? What is the rest of Smalls' story? Create a short biography of Smalls. Look for primary source material, i.e.: personal letters, news articles, etc. from the era.

"Robert Smalls": biography from Dictionary of American Biography.

"Robert Smalls": biography from Encyclopedia of World Biography.

"Robert Smalls: biography from Notable Black American Men.

Newspaper Stories: On page 8 and 9 of this PDF file are excerpts from The Charleston Daily Courier and The New York Herald presenting two different views of Smalls' escape. From the Smithsonian.

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Lincoln's Government

Fort Pillow Massacre and the First South Carolina Volunteers

Topics: What was the government's policy on allowing blacks to serve in the Union Army? How did this change throughout the war? What was the government's reaction to the Fort Pillow Massacre?

"And the War Came": mentions Lincoln's feelings on black soldiers at the beginning of the war. From the National Park Service's online book, The Civil War's Black Soldiers, [you may also use pictures from this page].

"Lincoln's Decision for Emancipation": mentions the Fort Pillow Massacre and black POWs, and outlines some of the government's changing policies on black soldiers. From the National Park Service's online book, The Civil War's Black Soldiers, [you may also use pictures from this page].

"Prisoners of War": has paragraph or two on Fort Pillow and black POW policies. From the National Park Service's online book, The Civil War's Black Soldiers, [you may also use pictures from this page].

"Blacks in the Civil War": section "Union Finally Accepts Black Soldiers" mentions Fort Pillow and the South Carolina First Volunteers.

Emancipation Proclamation

Topics: Preliminary Emancipation Proclamation and Emancipation Proclamation: Where did Lincoln stand on the issue of slavery at the beginning of the war? How did his views change as the war went on? How did he arrive at the need for the Proclamations? What were Lincoln's feelings regarding slavery and emancipated slaves at the end of the war?

"Lincoln's Decision for Emancipation": discusses Lincoln's evolution as the war progressed. From the National Park Service's online book, The Civil War's Black Soldiers, [you may also use pictures from this page]

"Emancipation Proclamation": introduction from Encyclopedia of Race and Racism.

"Emancipation Proclamation": introduction from Americans at War.

"Decisions Leading to Emancipation: An Overview": gives background on Lincoln's evolution from election to issuing the Emancipation Proclamation.

"A Letter from Abraham Lincoln to Illinois Republican James Conkling": a letter Lincoln wrote to an Illinois congressman defending the proclamation.

Mary Todd Lincoln and Elizabeth Keckley

Topics: Where did Mary Todd Lincoln stand on the issue of slavery? Did she have any African American friends? Her seamstress Elizabeth Keckley wrote a book about the White House called Behind the Scenes: or Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. What reflections does this book give you on the feelings of the White House inhabitants?

Summary of Keckley's Book: From DocSouth at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Full-Text of Keckley's Book: From DocSouth at UNC-Chapel Hill.

"Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley": Biography of Keckley with some details on her relationship with the First Lady.

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Last updated: 02/08/16