Showing posts from January, 2011

The Civil War Teaches Us About Death... and the Beauty of Life

There is a great beauty in life that we fail to recognize until something, some experience or some knowledge, gives us the gift of perspective.  I have personally gone through some difficult moments recently, but I was reminded of the great beauty of life last week as I got off a chairlift and buckled down my ski boots for the first run of the day at Attitash in Bartlett, New Hampshire. Rarely do we teachers get the opportunity to give our teenage students, who are caught up in a material and highly virtualized world, such perspective.  There are countless passages and examples of the lives and deaths of ordinary soldiers throughout Drew Gilpin Faust ’s book, This Republic of Suffering: Death and the Civil War . This book just might provide us teachers with that opportunity. Faust is able to present ample evidence to prove that the nature of death and the American understanding of what death meant changed as a result of the war. The study of these ordinary soldiers is important f

Using John Booker's Civil War Letters In the Classroom

John and James were born to John Booker (1797-1859) and Nancy Blair Reynolds Booker (1796-1859) on October 10, 1840, and both enlisted in the Confederate Army on May 24, 1861, at Whitmell, Virginia, in Company D 38th Virginia Regiment, Infantry (also known as "the Whitmell Guards"). They began writing letters to their cousin soon after enlisting, and they continued until they were both severely wounded in the Battle of Drewry's Bluff near Petersburg, Virginia, on May 16, 1864. John died of his wounds in August 1864, but James recovered, married Martha Ann Fulton ["Pat"] (?-1923) of Pittsylvania County, on October 31, 1867, and lived until 1923. ( Click here for the source of this summary) The John Booker letters are great examples of the realities of participation in wartime. They demonstrated that the initial enthusiasm and adventure-seeking that motivated young men to volunteer and enlist faded away when the realities of war became evident. Booker, a Confede

Louis XIV Podcasts from Freshmen Students

My freshmen are studying 17th Century European absolute monarchs. In an effort to keep them on task before the much-anticipated winter holiday break, they are recording podcasts about Louis XIV of France. Click the link below to hear what they wrote and recorded. I think they did a pretty decent job with both the history content and writing. Feel free to comment. They would love to hear from you! Thanks for listening.