Civil War Poetry Lesson Plan

Instructor: Suzanne Rose

Suzanne has taught all levels PK-graduate school and has a PhD in Instructional Systems Design. She currently teachers literacy courses to preservice and inservice teachers.

In this lesson plan, students examine the Civil War poems of four prominent U.S. poets to determine differences in the their treatment of the war theme. Through a jigsaw activity, students share their findings with their peers.

Learning Objectives

As a result of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • read poems of the Civil War era
  • identify facts about Civil War-era poets Emily Dickinson, George Henry Boker, Henry Timrod, and Walt Whitman
  • compare and contrast poets' views of the Civil War, as evident in their poetry


60 minutes

Curriculum Standards

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.9

Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or more texts from the same period treat similar themes or topics.


  • SMART Board or projector to display online lesson
  • copies of the Civil War Poetry: Famous Poems & Poets quiz worksheet (1 per student)
  • Copies of poems written during the Civil War by Dickinson, Whitman, Boker, and Timrod, including:
    • Emily Dickinson poems
      • 'It Feels A Shame To Be Alive (444)'
      • 'If Any Sink, Assure That This, Now Standing (358)'
      • 'They Dropped Like Flakes (409)'
    • Walt Whitman poems
      • 'Vigil Strange I kept on the Field One Night'
      • 'O Captain! My Captain!'
    • George Henry Boker poems
      • 'In the Wilderness'
      • 'Untitled Poem' (begins 'Blood, blood! The lines of every printed sheet…')
    • Henry Timrod poems
      • 'Ode Sung on the Occasion of Decorating the Graves of the Confederate Dead, at Magnolia Cemetery, Charleston, S.C., 1866'
      • 'The Unknown Dead'
      • 'Carolina'

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 160 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create An Account