U.S. Civil War Generals Lesson Plan

Instructor: Kerry Gray

Kerry has been a teacher and an administrator for more than twenty years. She has a Master of Education degree.

This lesson plan is a tool for helping students learn about the generals on both sides of the Civil War. Students will be able to describe the role each of these men played in the war.

Learning Objectives

Upon completion, students will be able to:

  • Name some of the most important generals from both sides of the Civil War
  • Describe the background and service of each general
  • Explain each general's life after the war


60 minutes

Curriculum Standards


Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources.


Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary of the source distinct from prior knowledge or opinions.


  • Civil War
  • Confederate
  • infrastructure
  • Ku Klux Klan (KKK)
  • Union


  • Copies of the quiz
  • Copies of the lesson

Reading & Discussion

  • Review what students already know about the Civil War. Discuss the meaning and significance of each of the vocabulary words.
  • Pass out copies of the Confederate & Union Generals of the Civil War to the students.
  • Read 'Generals of the Civil War' and 'Union Generals' with students.
  • Ask students the following questions:
    • Who was Henry Halleck?
    • Describe the Battle of Vicksburg.
    • What did General Grant do after the war?
    • Who was William Tecumseh Sherman?
    • What was Sherman's 'Hard War' policy?
    • Describe 'Sherman's march to the sea.'
    • Who was George B. McClellan?
    • Describe McClellan's relationship with Lincoln.
    • What did McClellan do after leaving the service?
  • Read 'Confederate Generals' with students.
  • Ask students the following questions:
    • Who was Robert E. Lee?
    • What did Lee do before the Civil War?
    • Describe the end of the Civil War.
    • Who was Stonewall Jackson?
    • What happened to Jackson?
    • Who was Nathan Bedford Forrest?
    • How did Forrest become a colonel?
    • What did Forrest do after the war?
  • Have students read the lesson summary with a partner.
  • Pass out the printable worksheet. Have students complete the questions independently, then check the answers together.

Research Project

Materials needed: paper, pens, copies of the lesson, poster board, markers, tape, scissors, access to computer/internet/printer

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