Civil War Battlefields: Constructing a Field Report

DURATION: Two sessions: One session for research, one session to construct report



The state of Tennessee played a major role in the Civil War, as it turned into a battlefield when the war commenced. Besides Virginia, more battles and skirmishes took place in Tennessee than any other state. Many of these battles instigated turning points in the war and created a history that forever tells the story of the Civil War and its effect on Tennessee.

Objectives:  Students will 

  • Learn about a specific civil war battle in Tennessee


  • Student will construct a report to their “commanding officer” that includes historically accurate information from the TN4ME website.


1.      Set the scene: Each student is a Civil War general, and one of their most important duties is to write reports to their commanding officer in Washington, D.C. or Richmond, Virginia, explaining exactly what happened and its significance to the overall war. Each student can choose to be a Union or Confederate general.
2.      Assign students one of the ten battles featured on the TN4ME website:
3.      Allow them time to access this link and click on their battle on the map of Tennessee battles.
4.      This link will bring them to a new link with information on their battle. Have them read and take notes on important information using the field report notes sheet attached.
5.      Have students use this information to craft a field report that will be received by their commanding officer with details about the battle, the outcome, location, etc.
6.      Explain that these reports were used during the war to communicate valuable information about battles, troop movements, and casualties.
7.      If the link contains information on several small battles, allow students to select one for their report.

Extensions:Have students

  • Students may be given the opportunity to share these reports. Have them take turns reading their “field reports” in the order they happened during the Civil War. Using a map, have students trace the course of the war in Tennessee.


National Standards
NSS-USH 5-12.5

  • Understands the causes of the Civil War
  • Understands the course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people

Tennessee State Standards
Era 5 - Civil War and Reconstruction (1850-1877)
  • 5.18 Recognize the causes, course, and consequences of the Civil War.
  • 5.20 Identify Tennessee's role within the Civil War.
  • a. Identify important Civil War sites within Tennessee's borders.