Civil War Weaponry and Medicine: A Disastrous Mismatch

New Review

Ironically, science was the reason why the Civil War was so deadly. Despite the use of medical practices now considered barbaric—such as conducting surgery with bare, dirty hands—developments in weaponry meant that more men died on and off the battlefield during the war. Using firsthand accounts and photographs, young historians consider the deadliness of battlefield deaths from both guns and germs. The lesson plan includes scaffolded analysis activities that compare images of operating theaters over time and a role-playing scenario.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas
  • Use as a capstone to a unit on the battles of the Civil War
  • Offer as a supplementary lesson to bolster primary source analysis skills 
Classroom Considerations
  • Class members need some background on the Civil War
  • Resource includes a blend of print and images for primary source analysis
  • Activities include a creative role-playing exercise, stimulating analytical thinking
  • None