Civil War in Texas Lesson Plan

Instructor: Christopher Muscato

Chris has a master's degree in history and teaches at the University of Northern Colorado.

With this lesson plan, your students are going to learn about Texas' role in the American Civil War. They will expand on this by researching the ways that Texan soldiers participated in the war.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Explain the role that Texas played in the Civil War
  • Discuss issues facing Texans during the Civil War
  • Describe unique features of Texan experiences in the Civil War


60-90 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text.


Propel conversations by posing and responding to questions that relate the current discussion to broader themes or larger ideas; actively incorporate others into the discussion; and clarify, verify, or challenge ideas and conclusions.


Integrate quantitative or technical analysis (e.g., charts, research data) with qualitative analysis in print or digital text.



  • Begin class by reviewing some facts about the Civil War.
    • What caused the Civil War? What were the major issues that led to this conflict? Which states seceded from the Union? What was the war like for them?
  • Break the class into groups of 3-5. Distribute copies of the text lesson Texas in the Civil War: Battles & Soldiers.
  • Students will read the lesson aloud in their groups, with one student in each group reading at a time. The reader will change with every paragraph.
  • Ask groups to read through the sections ''Texas and the Confederate States of America'', and ''Texan Soldiers'', then pause here to discuss this information as a class.
    • Why do you think Texas left the Union and joined the Confederacy? Why did they often join the cavalry? What did you have to own in order to participate in this military unit?
    • How did ranching life impact Texans' attitudes about the Civil War and their role within it? How do you think this influence their decision to secede from the Union?
  • Ask groups to continue reading through the lesson, completing the sections ''Texan Battles'' and ''Battles on the Frontier''. Pause here and talk about this information as a class.
    • What do you think life was like in Texas in the 1860s? Why were Apache and Comanche raids still a problem? What does this tell us about the population size/density of Texas at this time?
    • How do you think many Amerindian nations saw the American Civil War? What did it mean to groups like the Apache and Comanche?
  • Ask groups to finish the remainder of the lesson. Talk about this information as a class.
    • How do you think the Civil War was different in territories like New Mexico as opposed to states like Texas? Why did both the Union and Confederacy want control of the Southwest territories? What advantage did it have? Why do you think Texan soldiers spent more time fighting in these territories than in the Southern states?
    • What role did Texas have in the Confederacy? How did Texas contribute to the CSA? Why do you think the Union Army was never able to fully capture Texas?
  • You may test student understanding with Lesson Quiz.

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