A Teacher’s Guide to "A Civil War Journal"
website address to “A Civil War Journal” is “http://www2.smumn.edu/deptpages/~history/civil_war/index.htm.”
You can also access the site by first visiting “http://www.winonahistory.org,”
then single-click the “Sites” button, and finally single-click “Company
K at Gettysburg Web Site.”
Although this guide is titled “A Teacher’s Guide
to ‘A Civil War Journal’”, it will no doubt be helpful to anyone who is
interested. If you’re not a
teacher, don’t be scared off! The
guide was written to assist the classroom teacher, for that will probably be
its primary use, but everyone is welcome to take advantage of it.
This teacher’s guide is intended to assist you with
the various sections of the “Civil War Journal,” and to give advice on how
you can incorporate its vast amount of Civil War information into the
classroom. It will be helpful to
any teacher, whether he/she be a computer whiz or technologic novice.
Not only will it include pointers on how to complete simple tasks, but
it will give an extensive overview of each of the website’s sections.
This overview will allow you to find the information you are looking
for, instead of forcing you to skim over each and every section’s paragraph.
you come across a certain quote or piece of information that you would like to
save onto your computer, it’s as easy as pie.
Highlight the text you would like to keep, select “Copy” under the
“Edit” button, paste the text into a word processing document (examples:
Microsoft Word, Claris Works), and then save the document for future use.
The Home Page
The home page begins with a picture of three of the
journals that were written by soldiers of the Company K, 1st
Minnesota Volunteer Infantry Regiment during the Civil War.
It proceeds with a brief description of the “Civil War Journal”.
Within this paragraph are five highlighted names; these names are
actually buttons that take you to the letters written by these people. Clicking the name will take you to the subsection of the “letters”
section that you chose. Also
included is the objective of this site, a description of the manuscripts, and
lastly, a more extensive description of the site.
Towards the bottom of the page is a “To the Top” button that
returns you to the top of the home page.
A few other pages include a “To the Top” button, and are convenient
for quickly returning to the top of the page you are currently on.
At the very bottom of the home page is an e-mail address that you can
send comments, questions, and complaints to, and the street address of the
Winona Country Historical Society.
The first broad section is “Winona
1851-1861”. It begins with a
beautiful picture of the Mississippi River (remember, you can save these
pictures onto your hard drive for both personal and classroom use).
This section provides lengthy information on Winona’s early history.
It deals with Winona’s early rapid growth and the economic factors
that contributed to it. Beginning
by describing the initial economic infrastructure, the section proceeds to
describe in detail how the steamboats, railroad, wheat industry, and lumber
business contributed to Winona. What
is especially interesting is how the wheat industry also greatly contributed
to the Union’s victory over the South.
The bustling lumber industry is also greatly detailed, and one thing it
makes not of is the Winona Lumber Company taking pride in ranking very high
among other Midwest lumber firms and reaching peak production in 1892.
“Dakota Era” is the first subsection of “Winona 1851-1861.”
You are introduced with a passage written by an anonymous Native
American. The passage reminisces
about what America once was. The
author describes the sacred memorabilia, such as the rocks and valleys, and
progresses with the streets and cities that have risen since the natives’
subsection proceeds to explain how influential the Mississippi River was on
numerous cultures reaching as far back as 9500B.C.
The Mississippi was so influential that the band of Dakota who
inhabited the Winona area believed they lived over the center of the earth,
and Abraham Lincoln called it “The Father of Waters.”
it gives extensive information on the earliest known cultures that inhabited
the Winona and surrounding areas. It
briefly explains the evidence found that showed signs of early civilization
and the organization that found the evidence.
Extensive information, such as the crops grown and trade that took
place, is given on the ancient cultures that inhabited the vicinity of Red
Wing and mid-northern Minnesota River.
the seven allied bands of Dakota are listed.
The terms and relationships between these bands are briefly detailed.
The relationship between the Dakota and the “white men” is written
chronologically from the beginning to the Sioux Uprising, which was a bloody
and tragic conflict.
relationships proceed to the time when the center of Dakota culture moved to
the Mille Lac region of Minnesota, where they traded fur with the French and
British. Chippewa and Dakota
trade conflicts arose, and the Dakota once again moved to another area.
the ongoing settlement changes of the Mississippi Valley are explained.
What is interesting to note is that many present-day towns and cities
are the areas occupied by ancient civilizations.
Concept: Ask your students to ponder over how the respect for the Mississippi
and nature in general has greatly decreased and to think of some reasons for
why nature seems to be of such less importance today than what it was hundreds
of years ago. Is nature of less
importance today than in the past? If so, why?
If not, why does our society deem it less important than in the past?
County was once an Indian village called Wabasha’s Prairie.
It was one of the founding areas for migration across westward America.
Until 1851, Minnesota was off-limits to settlers because it was still
the property of the Chippewa and the Dakota.
Later, Winona became an important commercial, industrial, and
transportation center in southeastern Minnesota.
The abundant amount of resources allowed Winona to grow substantially,
and the Mississippi River was critical for it’s growth.
The earliest written record, which is shown, of this area is Lieutenant
Zebulon Pike’s small passage called Impressions of the Mississippi Valley,
written in 1805. A few decades
later, Captain Orrin Smith selected the Winona area as a town-site.
Smith had learned that the Dakota’s would be moved to a reservation,
and that much of Minnesota was basically up for grabs. Settlers came rushing into Minnesota so rapidly that in less
than a decade there were eighty-seven towns established in the new territory.
Smith foresaw what would happen to the area, and this all is described
in detail. The urbanization of
Winona connected it to many other areas.
Classroom Concept: Using the small amount of information given on this website, and some outside sources for more information, discuss the hardships the Native Americans endured. Describe how their land was stolen from them, in one form or another, chunk by chunk. Discuss how numerous land deals were established to gain more land from the natives, and this is the way in which the “white men” obtained the land of Winona.
subsection begins by detailing the harsh Winona life.
The City of Winona became more and more complex as the population grew
and more industries were erected. Two
beautiful pictures, one during 1856 and another during 1861, showed the
progression of Winona.
subsection asks a number of questions referring to the material that was
covered in that section. It
concludes with a poem titled “Winona” written by Sam Whiting, and a brief
biography is given on him.
final subsection lists the three references used to find information.
These might be good books to refer to for further information.
This main section begins with an excerpt from Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage. It gives a descriptively written perspective of an army awakening. Next, a map is shown from The Boy’s of 61, that details the route Company K took. The First Regiment, which the Company K was a part of, marched off on June 15. The days between this time and June 29 are described in Goddard's letters and Marvin's diary.
subsection is a long one. It is
comprised of three main parts: 1) Charles Goddard’s Letters, Matthew Marvin’s
Bound Diary, and Matthew Marvin’s Loose Leaf Diary.
The first part contains two of Charles Goddard’s
Letters. One was written on May
24th, 1863, and the other was written on June 30th,
1863. The first one, as was the
second one, was written to his mother. It
starts off on personal matters, and then describes how confused he was about
the army’s decisions. He then
writes extensively about traveling with the army and later writes more about
personal matters. This is very
interesting information for someone interested in realizing what the soldiers
were thinking and the way of culture back then.
The second letter written by Goddard starts off
similarly to the first one, as he begins writing personally, and then writes
about the men that have died and those that have been injured.
Next up is Matthew Marvin’s Bound Diary.
In it are fourteen days’ worth of written material, where each day
contains a single passage. In this bound diary, Marvin writes about what it was like to
be a soldier. Rather than
expressing his personal thoughts and feelings, he described what rough
conditions all the soldiers had to cope with.
Every once in awhile, Marvin describes his own physical condition and
small tasks he carried out, but he predominantly writes about the troops in
This subsection ends with Matthew Marvin’s Loose
Leaf Diary. The content of this
diary is written in a similar manner, for each day is given only one passage
and he doesn’t write on a personal level all that often. The first day’s passage is extremely long because it was
quite an interesting day. The last few passages are approximately half the
length of those in the bound diary.
The first half of this second (and final) subsection details the actions of parts of the Union army, and how the diaries described previously played a large role in understanding the thoughts and actions of the soldiers. The last half asks various questions that require the reader to think long and hard about how they interpret the facts presented.
broad section opens with a small poem written by Walt Whitman, which gives a
thorough illustration of looking at a traveling army in the third person. It proceeds to explain how the Battle of Gettysburg began and
where Company K was during this time.
This section includes a small excerpt from Captain Henry C. Coates’ report. It also contains an excerpt of William Lochren’s Narrative of the First Regiment, detailing the morning of July 1st. This excerpt is similar to Marvin’s diaries in that it gives a broad perspective on what things happened as opposed to any thoughts and feelings he had at the time.
subsection includes three excerpts from three different sources.
The first excerpt, taken from a letter by Alfred Carpenter, gives
information on how the Corps was placed on the first day of the Battle of
next excerpt is taken from Marvin’s bound diary. Essentially, he writes
about the army waking up, where they went, and what was accomplished in July
Loose Leaf Diary is used for the third excerpt, which explains July 1 in much
greater detail. Much of this less
important information is explaining what the soldiers did during the day.
broad section introduces you with a picture of the 1st Minnesota
charging the Confederates with much determination and without fear of being
shot at. Under the picture is a quote from that describes the tactics
the war veterans used to make decisions.
The page also includes three lists of the soldiers who fought on July
2, divided into three different categories: killed, wounded, and not wounded.
throughout this page are six pictures of various members of the Company K, and
one extraordinary drawing of the 1st Minnesota charging the enemy
fiercely with their guns thrust forward and the American flag held proudly.
page is entirely dedicated to five historians’ perspective of the 1st
Minnesota Regiment at Gettysburg. The
first one, given by David M. Jordan, should put pride into any Minnesotan’s
heart by concluding with, “The charge of the First Minnesota at Gettysburg
has become one of the most famous of the whole war."
McPherson describes two attacks that the 1st Minnesota took part in
and included the fact that up until, and for some time after, the battle he
described, the 1st Minnesota took part in all of the army's battles
since the beginning at Bull Run.
was here that the First earned the right to be on William F. Fox's list of the
Civil War's great fighting regiments,” wrote Robert W. Meinhard, as he
briefly describes how valiantly the 1st Minnesota fought the
Foote, the historian who was quoted on a previous page, describes in great
detail how it was that the 1st Minnesota fought on July 2, 1863.
1st Minnesota was a regiment with a reputation, if there ever was
one,” is yet another acknowledgement of the 1st Minnesota’s
courage on July 2, this time written by George R. Stewart as he gives his
this subsection, you are introduced with a colorful picture of the Union army
fledging forward with full force, even as the men in front are shot dead.
Immediately following is an excerpt from the “Letter on the Battle of
Gettysburg”, which was written by one of the soldiers less than a month
after the battle occurred. It
explicitly details the infamous battle. In
fact, it is written so well, the reader is able to closely experience every
aspect of what was written.
following the first paragraph is a picture of a campsite where part of the
Union army lay down to rest.
what was written on the inside front cover of Matthew Marvin’s bound diary
is rewritten for the reader on the left, and to the right is a picture of this
inside front cover.
the passages from both the bound and loose-leaf diary, written for July 2, are
given. The bound diary passage is
a short description of the most-exciting day, and the loose-leaf passage is
about three times as long, for it describes the day much more clearly.
subsection consists of three reports written by three different individuals. The first one, written by Capt. Henry C. Coates, is an
excerpt from a report on the 1st Minnesota Infantry.
It is a detailed description of how the battle was fought on both
sides, and gives extensive information on the losses that the Union army
suffered. He goes so far as to
even give the names of all the high-ranking individuals that died in the
is an excerpt from William Lochren’s narrative of the 1st
Regiment. In the first paragraph he writes briefly about the 1st
Minnesota’s courageous efforts, but concentrates mainly on the battle as a
whole. In this paragraph he also goes on about the great amount of fatalities
suffered. In the next paragraph
he quotes John Hancock, showing his great admiration for the 1st
Minnesota’s willingness to knowingly sacrifice themselves for the good of
the Union army as a whole. The
last paragraph concludes with information on the wounded and adds a brief
incident that had occurred before the battle, and was not yet talked about.
subsection concludes with an excerpt from Brigade General Cadmus M. Wilcox’s
report. His report is quite
interesting because Wilcox gives the reader a good analysis of how he
perceived the battle. He
described what different groups of men did, and the positive and negative
effects that resulted. Towards
the middle-end he describes the losses the Union suffered.
The excerpt ends by acknowledging the efforts of the Union as a whole,
and gives the names of those who fought exceptionally well.
Classroom Concept: Make note of the fact that more men were killed in the U.S. Civil War than any other war in recorded history. Explain that it is because of the courage of these men that the United States of America is still standing. Discuss why this is not as apparent in today’s society as it was during the mid-nineteenth century.
broad section includes only an excerpt taken from Alfred Carpenter’s letter
on the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg.
It is similar to reading a novel of a man describing how his army
endured the day. He doesn’t
write about how he perceived the day, but wrote as if the army was one being,
and wrote from that being’s perspective.
He begins describing the peaceful morning’s sudden transition to a
chaotic battle, where they were being shot at without returning much fire.
After being shot at for such a long time, though not injured because of
a safe position, the firing finally ceased.
Acting quickly, the men stood and saw what the Rebels were up to. Two Rebel lines were proceeding towards them, though because
they were not at an angle to shoot, the Union fired at them so much as to
destroy their massive lines. Then
another regiment emerged from their right, but did not proceed very far.
On the left came another regiment, but even though it fought through
the enemy fire with much determination,
it eventually fell to the Union’s fire.
ends by giving a more personal perspective of the day.
Carpenter and his fellow men fought with such determination for two
long hours that they didn’t hesitate to search for guns and shells among the
dead. Carpenter explains the
battle as both “a grand and terrible scene.”
The last paragraph is a short passage where Carpenter expresses his
more personal thoughts.
subsection contains two excerpts: one from Captain Henry C. Coates’ report
on the 1st Minnesota Infantry, and the other from William Lochren’s
narrative of the 1st Regiment.
From the first paragraph of Coates’ report, the Rebels initiated the
fight by sending infantry to three different positions.
The Union won and took about 500 prisoners.
Coates mourns for the massive number of men lost that day, but added
that the enemy had suffered greatly as well and was retreating.
The last paragraph credits the vast amount of courage that so many men
second excerpt, like the title states, gives a narrower and more precise
description of the day, for he is mainly concerned with only the 1st
Regiment. This excerpt is
extremely long, and is good reading for someone interested in learning the
This subsection contains the same excerpt that is given in the “July 3, 1863” section.
subsection contains what was printed in the Daily
Winona Republican, concerning the various battles that occurred up until
July 3. Nine different articles
are given, some of which are extremely long, and some only a few sentences in
length. It seems as though the
editors of the newspaper wrote about whatever information they were given.
On some days, the whole day was detailed explicitly, and on other days,
small portions of information were given.
For example, in the article concerning Thursday at 4:30 p.m., the
information given is only a brief summary of what has happened and what could
happen before the night falls, including a brief remark: “The rebel
sharpshooters are very troublesome - shooting at our men from the steeples of
This section begins by briefly describing the motions
made by the two opposing
after the Battle of Gettysburg. Other
quite interesting small bits of information are given also.
In this section, two excerpts are provided: one from Captain William Lochren’s Narrative and another from Captain H.C. Coates’ Report. Lochren’s narrative gives details on some of the Union’s commanding officers. The rest of the excerpt concerns the overall actions and movements the army made from July 4th until approximately July 18th.
The first paragraph of Coates’ Report reports the prisoners and colors captured, and the next two give information on the fatalities and wounded. In the last paragraph, Coates is quite entertaining as he describes the valor of his fellow soldiers.
This first excerpt is from one of Alfred Carpenter’s letters, and begins where the last one ended. He writes of the suffering his men must endure if they are to win the war, and describes how differently they celebrated Independence Day than ever before. Below this letter is a picture of the soldiers’ tents (was previously shown).
The second letter is Charles Goddard’s letter to his mother. He predominantly writes about his good friend Ely and the others he knows of who were wounded and killed. The second paragraph is of a more personal side.
Next is Matthew Marvin’s bound diary section for July 4. It is very brief and writes negatively of the day and night.
Following his bound diary is his loose-leaf diary. Here he goes into more detail of how the army endured the night, and in the last half of the paragraph he lists those who were killed and those in command.
The last part of this subsection is written by William Lochren, and was written to the Winona Daily Republican, which printed it on July 6, 1863. The first paragraph describes the horror the Company K endured. The rest lists all those mortally wounded, killed, and wounded.
The first part of this subsection is exactly the same as the final part of the previous “Company K” section. The section continues with what the Winona Daily Republican editor wrote for July 6, 1863. The first paragraph describes the celebration that took place in LaCrosse on July 4, and the second paragraph describes the boat-ride back to Winona. The last paragraph gives the time the boat returned to Winona and the fact that all those that attended were pleased with how the day went.
The first paragraph for this subsection lists all the information that is provided to help answer the following questions. The second paragraph lists some additional information to keep in mind. The rest of the section asks approximately fifteen questions that refer to information that was either presented in this section or earlier.
following subsections of the “Manuscripts” section contain complete
transcriptions of the following: the July 2nd and 3rd,
and August 3rd reports of Capt. Henry C. Coates; William Lochren’s
narrative of the 1st Regiment; the letters of Alfred Carpenter,
Charles Goddard, Matthew Marvin, Jane Ely, and Charles Ely; many of Matthew
Marvin’s diary entries; and the wartime Winona
Daily Republican newspaper articles.
This section briefly describes the New York City Draft Riot, which was the “greatest urban riot in American history.” Also included is a letter a Brooklyn woman wrote to the St. Paul Press, where she writes about seeing the First Minnesota for the second time.
This subsection on an excerpt from William Lochren’s narrative concerns his stay at New York & Brooklyn. He writes about the army’s travels to New York, the unexplained death of Lieut. August Krueger, their surprisingly wonderful stay at Brooklyn, another march through New York City, and the final destination to Alexandria. At New York and Brooklyn, the army was prepared to put down a citizen uprising because of the Draft Riot, but instead was met with good intentions and kindness.
This subsection contains Charles Goddard’s Sept. 21st letter to his mother. In it he writes of his departure from the hospital, his journey to an Alexandria distribution camp and his impressions of New York City.
Minnesota & 20th Maine
This section includes a chart of all the men in the 1st Minnesota that died from wounds, disease, accidentally, and those imprisoned. A summary of what the 1st Minnesota endured is also given, which sheds some light on what the data in the chart means.
The next half of this section contains a similar chart and summary of the 20th Maine so as to compare it to the 1st Minnesota.
Here are cited the individuals and institutions that helped create this wonderful site.
The next two subsections (Bibliography and Links) include only the bibliography and some other great sites based on the Civil War.
Patrick’s Day 1863
this section, you are introduced with a colorful painting of the horse races
at the St. Patrick’s Day celebration. Both
Matthew Marvin and Charles Goddard attended the festival, and they both gave
their thoughts on it, but before their passages are given, an objective
description of the festival is presented.
Also, the history of Brigadier General Thomas Francis Meagher, of the
Irish Brigade, is given, for it was the Irish Brigade that put on the St.
Patrick’s Day celebration. Two
pictures, one of Meagher and one of the flag of the Irish Brigade, are also
for Marvin and Goddard’s passages, Goddard’s is quite a bit longer for it
was taken from a letter he wrote to his mother.
Goddard no doubt enjoyed the festival, but Marvin seemed to enjoy it a
lot more. Considering Marvin’s
diary account of the event was much shorter, it is probably because he
remembered much less of it. Consequently,
considering there was whisky present and it was an Irish holiday, Marvin
probably remembered less of it because
he enjoyed it more.
Three books suggested for those interested in reading further conclude the section.
K Roster 1861-1864
A picture of the Soldier’s Memorial Poster (of the Company K 1st Minnesota regiment) and a brief history of it start off this section. Then, all the information presented on the poster is transcribed, which lists the field and staff officers, company officers, sergeants, corporals, musicians, wagoner, privates, and all the engagements and their dates, respectively.
J. C. Fuller
& Co., Baltimore, Md published the poster in January 1864.