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Anticipatory Set

1. Make a list of your everyday needs. Start with the things that you use from the time that you wake up until you go to bed. *Have students create a two-column list. The first column should be labeled "My Everyday Needs." Directions for the second column list are shown further down on this page.

Think, Pair, Share

Picture of Camp Life

Prompt students to carefully observe the photos to make appropriate and historically relevant conclusions. Use the following site as a guide.The Library of Congress

Picture of camp life

Letter from Benjamin's Manuscript

Prompt students to carefully read the letter to prepare appropriate and historically relevant conclusions. Use the following site as a guide. The Library of Congress

My dear mother I now take my pen in hand to inform you that I am well and presently hoping these few lines will find you the same. I say that I am well but I have got a very sore finger but otherwise I am well it is only a fester but it is very painful. You want to know if I want to draw my money no I don't want it drawed but I am out of tobacco and other little necessary articles and its uncertain when we will draw our monthly pay perhaps not until our time expires and I often feel hungry and have not got a cent to purchase anything with apples are 3 to 5 cents a piece tobacco 5 cents a paper that I used to buy for 3 cents in Paterson you say you will send me a broiled chicken don't do that mother it will be 3 or 4 days and perhaps more before it reaches me and then it will be spoiled butter is 35 cents a pound and I am very fond of it and I should like to have you send me down a pound or two. Some good apples and cake and chestnuts if you have got them. I want sour apples I would like to have quite some cake and a pie if it is not to much trouble for you to get it for me and send me down a few more postage stamps I was delighted with those you sent me I bought some tobacco with some of them. I hope you are well at ease in your mind dear mother the only thing that troubles me is that I have horrible dreams in the night about you I sometimes dream that I am cutting your throat and at other times I dream you are crying and then I wake up in unutterable agony and feel most dreadful for a few minutes until I can fully realize that it was but a dream over two months of the time has already expired and spring will soon return again and then I will return to see my dear kind mother again to leave her no ore until I die perhaps it will be settled before spring and then I will return home tell father...(letter ends)


Manuscript Group 670
Serven-Winters Family
(Paterson, New Jersey)

The purpose of this is to make the student aware of the setting in which a Civil War soldier lived.

  • *Label the second column "Everyday Needs of a Soldier."

Following the same criteria what do you think that soldiers need on a daily basis? Make a list with a partner.


Have students compare data in their two column lists with the evidence from the photos and letter.

  1. Were soldiers taken care of during the American Civil War? Why do you think so? What evidence do you think exists to prove what you believe is true? Discuss
  2. Make reference to A Soldier's Heart Chapter 2 — Fort Snelling. Discuss the main character's impression of the availability of supplies for soldiers.