Civil War Letter

Civil War Letter Activity

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See more activities in: Middle School, US History

If you had lived during the Civil War, it is probable that you would have sent a letter to a loved one in the field. In response, soldiers wrote as often as possible, using it as a time to reflect and connect with home.

What You Need:

What You Do:

  1. Print out the attached worksheet. The letter in the worksheet was written to Sarah Ballou in Rhode Island from her husband, Sullivan, at Camp Clark in Washington, DC, on July 14, 1861. Read it and try to put yourself in Sullivan’s shoes.
  2. If the language is too tough for your kid to slog through, help him to break it down – tell him to read each sentence, think about what it means, and rewrite it in his own words.
  3. Next, ask him to think about the following questions: How would you respond if you were Sarah? If you were Sullivan’s son, what would you say to him in a letter?
  4. Ask your child to write a response to Sullivan either as his wife or his son.
  5. When he’s finished he can take the activity further. Ask your child to think about modern times. How would a soldier communicate with his loved ones today?

This activity adapted from The Civil War Kids 150: Fifty Fun Things to Do, See, Make and Find for the 150th Anniversary. Find out more about The Civil War Trust and their education programs at

Updated on Sep 17, 2014
See more activities in: Middle School, US History
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