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Teaching about Civil War Veterans

How to use this exhibit

Explore with students how the experiences of disabled soldiers–and nurses who aided them–during and after the Civil War shaped American attitudes and government. 

Emerging America developed this exhibit and an inclusive curriculum unit of six lessons on Civil War veterans as part of the Reform to Equal Rights: K-12 Disability History Curriculum.  


Start with the curriculum unit built around the exhibit materials: 

  • The cover of the Grades 8-10 Unit Overview: How Civil War Veterans Transformed Disability
    Familiarize yourself with the six lessons of the curriculum unit for Grades 8-10: How Civil War Veterans Transformed Disability. Lessons introduce the topic of disability, provide context for impacts of the Civil War on disability, and guide students as they conduct mini-research projects using the exhibit. Lessons include guiding questions, classroom handouts, and teaching tips. Four of these lessons include classroom presentation slides. This is one of seven units supporting grades K-12. 


Or explore on your own: 

  • Gain context on the topic by reading the article, "How the Civil War Transformed Definitions and Experiences of Disability for Americans," by historian Graham Warder, at Disabled Civil War Veterans - Background.  
  • Read and compare concise, illustrated biographies of eight Civil War soldiers and nurses (and one Vietnam War veteran) through Civil War Veterans - Biographies and Profiles
  • Read and compare profiles of institutions that served disabled veterans through Civil War Veterans Institutions also through Civil War Veterans - Biographies and Profiles.
  • Locate and consider relationships between places discussed in the biographies and profiles–and reflect on Civil War songs–through Civil War - Maps and More
  • Browse nearly 100 primary sources: photos, books, speeches, periodicals, political cartoons, and government documents using the complete illustrated list of primary and secondary sources in the curriculum Unit Plan linked via Civil War Sources


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