Last week in history class, we did a Civil War scavenger hunt. Each student was assigned a battle to learn about, and we each made our own Google Doc that others can view. The Google Docs included the battles' location, date, victor, and theater (east, west, or naval). We then created signs with a QR code linking to the document, a link to the document, and the location of the next battle. We then put the signs in any area of the school of our choosing for our classmates to look for, making a total of 20 battles for the class to look for around the school. We then carried out the scavenger hunt, and when everyone had gotten all the information for all of the battles, we regrouped with the class and used an app called Padlet to determine which side in the Civil War performed the best in each theater. There were two essential questions for this activity. First, who was the ultimate victor in each of the theaters of war: East, West, Naval? Second, what are some commonalities you can identify in the reasons for the results of the battles?
In the east theater, the Confederacy dominated the Union. For example, in the battles of Fredericksburg and Second Manassas the Confederacy had access to heavy artillery and almost invulnerable positions on the battlefield, and therefore were able to win more easily. However, in the western theater, the Union was more dominant over the Confederacy. For example, at the battle of Chattanooga, the Confederate army was overwhelmingly outnumbered. Troops also suffered from poor communication and pressure from their leaders. The Union won most of the battles in the Naval Theater, such as the Battles of Baton Rouge and Vicksburg. They succeeded because they used both the land and sea to their advantage, gaining a positional advantage over the Confederate troops. The Union seemed to generally have much greater tactical skill than the Confederacy. For example, the Union utilized both land and sea to their advantage more so than the Confederacy in such battles as Baton Rouge and Vicksburg. They also used the tactic of surrounding the enemy until they were forced to surrender, such as in the battles of Shiloh and Fort Donelson.After doing this activity, I know a lot more about not only the Civil War itself, but the tactics and advantages each side used in the war. It is very important to not only look at who has won the war, but also who has won each battle and how they did it, so that we can learn from them.