Union Army Lesson for Kids: Generals & Facts

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Debra Patuto

Debra has taught at elementary levels and has an M.ed with certification in elementary education and special education

This lesson is about the Union Army and the generals that commanded it during the Civil War. We'll take a journey back in time to learn about the Union Army and the generals that led it through four years of war. Updated: 02/28/2020

The Union Army

The Union Army, which was the Northern army during the United States Civil War, and President Abraham Lincoln were determined to keep the United States united together and have slavery abolished. As more men joined the Union Army, it grew to twice the size of the Confederate Army, which was composed of soldiers from the 11 Southern states that had seceded (separated) from the Union.

The Union Army, however, was made up of mostly immigrant men from different parts of the world who had come to live in America. In 1863, African-American men were allowed to join and although women weren't allowed to fight at this time, some disguised themselves as men so they too could fight.

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  • 0:04 The Union Army
  • 0:40 Leading the Way
  • 1:20 Union Generals
  • 2:20 On the March
  • 2:58 Lesson Summary
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Leading The Way

Who were the great leaders that led over 50 campaigns (battles) over four years of war and ultimately led the Union to victory? Let's start with one of the most well-known Union generals during the Civil War. If there were magazine covers and social media back in the 1800s, this man's face would have been posted everywhere. His name was Ulysses S. Grant.

Grant led the entire Union Army. His aggressiveness and determination to win ultimately led the Union Army to victory against the Confederate Army. Confederacy leader Robert E. Lee eventually surrendered to Grant at Appomattox Court House in Virginia. This ended the Civil War and meant the United States would stay together as one.

Union Generals

General George G. Meade led his greatest victory during the Battle of Gettysburg. He and his soldiers were able to force the Confederates to retreat back to Virginia. This was a huge victory! The problem was, although President Lincoln was pleased the Confederates had surrendered, he wasn't happy that Meade allowed the soldiers to retreat so quietly. He would have preferred Meade to have been much more aggressive and to have followed behind the Confederate Army as they retreated, completely destroying them.

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