Category Archives: American Civil War Simulation

Civil War Highlights: The Battle of Fredericksburg

On November 6th, 1860, Abraham Lincoln was elected the 16th president of the United States. Although no shots were fired, this was a strong, yet silent start to the American Civil War. In the simulation, as students vote for the candidate that matches their state’s political beliefs, they will begin the see the divide the elected creates. As the states began splitting into distinct sides, our country began battles, just as your students will be able to.

Many battles will take place as the simulation goes on, but a major battle of the American Civil War is the Battle of Fredericksburg. This battle became significant to the Civil War, as it had the largest concentration of soldiers out of any other battle with 200,000 men fighting. The Battle of Fredericksburg took place from the early hours of the morning on December 11th to the cold night of December 15th, 1862. Before the battle began, Ambrose Burnside replaced Major General McClellan, with reluctance, as the commander of the Army of the Potomac. The army was equipped with 120,000 men under the direction of Burnside. On the other side of the battlefield was Robert E. Lee and his Army of North Virginia.

As Robert E. Lee had his army stationed in Fredericksburg, the Union army experienced many delays. By November 19th, 1862, Burnside was in Falmouth, but the pontoons they wanted were late and heavy snowfall prevented any military action for a week. While the Union was delayed, Robert E. Lee and his soldiers had ample time to find advantageous defensive positions, establish supply lines, and even bring a 30-pound artillery piece to the field. Students in the simulation will be able to experience advantages like this with the Northern Industry and Railroad.

On December 11th, in the early hours of the morning, Ambrose ordered his troops to assemble their pontoon bridges and cross the Rappahannock River. Burnside believed the speed and surprise would bring success for the Union. Although his plan was hopeful, it backfired as Brigadier General William Barksdale’s Mississippians shot at the Union soldiers that were trying to assemble their pontoons. Burnside retaliated against the Mississippians, and by mid-afternoon, several Union soldiers had finally managed to drive Barksdale’s troops out of town. The Union soldiers were finally able to build their pontoons.

Finally, on December 12th, Union soldiers crossed the Rappahannock River. Lee’s soldiers were defending themselves in a seven-mile long curving line with Longstreet’s corps on the left along Marye’s Heights, and Stonewall Jackson’s corps near Prospect Hill. Once Burnside’s soldiers cross the Rappahannock, they began a two-pronged attack and hit Longstreet and Jackson’s flanks. Along with Burnside, Major General Franklin attacked Longstreet’s men while Major General Sumner hit Jackson’s. In a critical misstep, Burnside gave ambiguous orders to Franklin and Sumner on the morning of the 13th, instead of after their meeting on the 12th. Major General Franklin was unaware of how forceful her was supposed to attack the south of the sent, and only sent the 1st corps to work past the southern Confederate line. The Confederates delayed the Union advance as they had miscalculated.

The Union did not succeed anymore, and this became a major turning point for the Confederates, as they were outnumbered. The Union soldiers were able to slowly advance on Jackson’s position, but weren’t coordinated enough to finish the attack, and ended up retreating. Divisions of Union soldiers attempted to make it to Marye’s Heights, but were devastated with artillery fire time and time again. After Union soldiers retreated into the night, the Confederates stood victorious. Their morale soared after the battle while the Union soldiers, for they were outnumbered but still prevailed. The Union soldiers, who were already less than confident after Burnside was replaced with McClellan, left feeling low and unsuccessful.

3 Interesting Ways To Teach Kids through Civil War unit plan

The Civil War started in April, 1861 and ended in May, 1865. This is the allotted time frame that the Civil War Unit Plan simulation gives. The purpose of the simulation is to give kids a better understanding of the events that took place in the Civil War in a more engaging and interesting way. During the reenactment simulation, it will have a similar feel of a board game. Each side will have a turn or “round” where during that time they can make their next move. During the course of the simulation be prepared to encounter many obstacles. You will be expected to have knowledge about your given side before the simulation starts. This is very important that you know what actually took place in the real life event. The knowledge is not only very helpful, but will insure a higher percent of success for your given side in the simulation. So brush up on some facts!

Typically in the simulation, each day is a year of the war. For example, Day 1 of the simulation would be 1861 and Day 2 would be 1862. This is an important part to understand, the days move quickly and you only have so much time to complete your objectives. However, if you use your allotted time wisely, you will have no problem completing them. Your objectives are basically a set of goals that your given side has to accomplish within the time of the simulation. Certain objectives will have to be completed in a specific year, while others you have until the last year of the war. It is also very important that you keep your objectives a secret. Your set will be different than the opposing sides. Treat them as top secret documents and if leaked, the opposing side will do all it takes to keep you from completing them. So pay close attention to your set! Read all things carefully.. Completing objectives is the key to ensuring a good grade. So make a valid attempt to fulfill them.

You will also be expected to keep a journal of your daily accomplishments in the simulation. This means that anything you do during that day will need to be recorded. Such as, your plans for war, what you plan to do the following year, what moves the opposing side made against you, the objectives you completed during that day and how you did it. This needs to be a detailed journal and include strategy. These journals are meant to help you keep track of what you did throughout the simulation and also provide proof for your teacher that you are putting in worthy effort. Single sentence journals will not do, a solid paragraph or more is required. This is another vital part of your grade.

The simulation itself is wild and intense. Kids really get into it once they have an understanding of the process. With new twists, turns, and different problems arising daily students can get quite competitive. The atmosphere of the classroom changes within a few short rounds of the simulation. The Civil War Unit Plan simulation is a great way to get the students interested for the new upcoming unit. It also allows them to have experience and a little knowledge of the topic before doing the reading about it. So remember, be strategic and may the best side win!

Why should you consider Civil War map activities for your kids?

Instead of lecturing your students about the American Civil War or showing them another boring PowerPoint, you should consider hands on, Civil War Activities. How much more excited and engaged would your students be if they were participating in history, rather than just learning facts about it. Probably the most important thing to learn about the American Civil War is the reason it started and the circumstances leading up to the first shots being fired on Fort Sumter. With the American Civil War Simulation, your students get to make the critical choices that were faced by Grant and Lee, Lincoln and Davis in the Civil War.

One of the benefits of doing a Civil War Map Activity is how students develop an understanding of where geographic landmarks are and locations of states as well. As kids pour over the maps, they strategize and work within the geographical limitations of their particular situation/state on the map. Constantly working over strategy and developing plans builds a template in their minds as to where things are: oceans, seas and mountains to name a few. This also helps create a relationship to the reasons certain strategies were used in the war.

What really drives simulations like this are the objectives that each student has. Students are playing roles of leaders of states and have to make decisions based on ever-changing circumstances. Because other students in the classroom are trying to achieve the same objectives or stop others from completing their objectives. This interaction between students creates a lot of substantive conversations, not only between students but also with teachers and parents.

The role that natural resources played in the Civil War cannot be overstated. With the Northern states having their own supplies of resources, the Southern States did not have them. This forced the South to get resources from overseas from European countries. Withe the United States Navy firmly in the hands of the Union, a naval blockade will severely cripple the Confederacy’s ability to gain the resources they need. Unlike many Civil War Activities, this one takes the logistics of conducting a war into account. With a Civil War Map Activity, geography plays the role it did in the real War. Access to railroads is another logistical problem that had a huge impact on the war and again a problem the South had to deal with. Inside the Northern territories was vast railroad network linking all the Northern states together. This made the transport of troops, supplies and war materials faster and more efficient. The new, online platform makes the teacher’s job much more streamlined and gives them time to observe and interact with students.

In conclusion, if your looking to get your students engaged, then using Civil War Activities are the way to a more interactive classroom and a dynamic learning environment.

5 Stunning Facts About Civil War For Kids

North or South. Union or Confederate. Freedom or slavery. What do all of these things have in common? You guessed it…the American Civil War. The American Civil War start was in 1861 lasted until 1865. The United States was divided between North and South and a war was fought all across the United States. The journal, “Live The Adventure,” says that there are three main reasons why the Civil War is something very important for kids to understand. The first of the three reasons is that the Civil War was perhaps the greatest event in our country’s history. It is believed to be one of the single most important events because it completely reshaped our nation. America was divided between the North and the South, the biggest difference between the two “sides” being the practice of slavery. But according to the “Live The Adventure” journal, the second reason kids need to know the events of the Civil War is to understand that the Civil War was not only about slavery. When most people think of the Civil War, they think of Abraham Lincoln freeing the slaves with the Emancipation Proclamation. Yes, this was a very important and key feature of the Civil War but the conflict of the Civil War did not start because of slavery but rather because of states wanting stronger federal rights and then becoming increasingly angry they were not gaining those rights. When the North wanted to abolish slavery, that is when each territory, North and South, really started to become angry. This anger lead to the start of the Civil War. The third reason that the knowing the Civil War for kids is important is because it gives us an insight as how beliefs and convictions motivate people. As a kid learning about the Civil War, I would always question why so many people had to die at the expense of a disagreement. By studying the Civil War, I have come to understand the role that beliefs and convictions can make when fighting a war. Understanding what caused the Civil War to happen provides many, children and adults, with a deeper understanding of how to better avoid the things that lead to such a divide in our nation.
Once the three main reasons as to why learning the Civil War is something that is imperative to understand is understood, we can look at the true history of the Civil War and even come to understand some stunning facts about it.

One interesting fact about the Civil War was that one-third of the soldiers that fought for the Union Army were immigrants and every one in ten was African American. During the Civil War, the African American soldiers fighting with the North actually refused their salaries for 18 full months in an effort to protest being paid lower wages than that of the white soldiers. The Union Army was fighting for freedom and equality of the slaves being kept in the South, usually African Americans and yet, they refused to pay their soldiers equal amounts. I think that this is another example of the third reason as to why learning the Civil War is important. Seeing that there was still segregation in the North, even when those soldiers were fighting to abolish that, shows us what beliefs and convictions about certain people can do. Another surprising fact about the Civil War is that even before the war started, Abraham Lincoln pushed to send freed slaves abroad. Even before the push to free the slaves, Lincoln was pushing to free the slaves. But because of the push to free the slaves and territorial disagreements, a war swept the United States. Another surprising fact about this war is that more men died in the Civil war than any other American conflict. That includes WWI, WWII, Vietnam War, etc. Knowing and understanding what happened during the Civil War is a very important thing to learn. By understanding, we as a nation, can better avoid any conflicts within our country that would lead to something like this.

Facts, Events & Information about The American Civil War


Are you looking for a way to get your students excited about your upcoming unit on the American Civil War?  Maybe trying to find some way to make your classroom more dynamic, interactive and engaging?  The great American Civil War start that your looking to hook your students with could be Mr. Harms’ American Civil War Simulation! One of the best American Civil War Games on the education market today.  

    Students are assigned the roles of leaders of individual states in 1860.  Each state then votes in the national election for the candidate that most closely fits the beliefs of the majority of people in their state at that time.  One by one, each state casts it’s vote for the 4 candidates that ran in 1860: Stephen Douglas, John C. Breckinridge, John Bell and Abraham Lincoln.  The objectives of the states clearly fall along the lines of States Rights and the supporters of the Union.  One by one, the Southern States begin to secede from the Union and form their own government: The Confederate States of America.  The Northern States meet and determine how they are going to deal with these rebels.  Border states are torn by which side they should support.  Conflict is now the order of the day!

    Both sides meet to determine their course of action and discuss their strategy.  During the course of the simulation, students experience the obstacles, advantages and disadvantages each side has as they navigate through multiple difficult situations. With the vast majority of industries/factories located in the North, the Union has the capacity to manufacture the war materials they need.  The South, which is primarily agricultural, is relying on the Factories of Europe to produce it’s war materials.  Eventually the North will Blockade Southern Ports with it’s vast navy.  The South will get a trickle of supplies from the blockade runners, but will be no match for Northern industrial production.  Another effect of the blockade is that Southern Cotton can’t get to markets in Europe.  Logistics is an important component of conducting war.  The Railroad network in the North is vast and the railroad network in the South is sparse to say the least.  The ability to move men and materials rapidly is a decisive advantage the North had with its’ vast railroad network.  Natural Resources are another important factor in the production of war materials.  The North has the lion’s share again and the South is dependant on outside sources.  

    These simulations originally started as Word and Excel documents which could keep teachers frantically busy keeping up with student’s movement and declarations of war.  Now, with the online simulation platform, the teacher can easily move armies and conduct battles with a click of the mouse.  Students also have access to online maps that update every time they refresh their browser.  Create a dynamic environment in your classroom and at the same time get your students interested in learning more about the American Civil War.