Writing Prompt 10: “Family Faith, the Drums of War”

Team Polaris
American History
Name ________________
Date _________________
Family Faith
The Drums of War
Southern State Scenario
In mid-19th century America our nation was preparing for the most crucial test in her
short history. Secession and the formation of the Confederate States of America were grave
threats to the continued existence of the United States. At the same time, the country faced
the moral ugliness of slavery and the political unrest caused by tariffs and states’ rights.
Writing prompt #9 is designed to help everyone understand the moral, social,
political, and economic aspects leading up to the American Civil War and
examine our own beliefs about personal freedom and responsibility toward
It is January, 1861 and 7 southern states just seceded from the Union. A call for
arms goes out to all citizens. Town meetings, church announcements, pamphlets, and
government issued posters all call for citizens to join the ranks of the military and support
the cause.
As an able bodied citizen you realize that love for country and dedication toward
freedom draw you into military service with war being a possibility at any time. You would
like to inform your family of your allegiance and why you made the choices that you did.
Please write a detailed letter to your family explaining who you would support in the
upcoming conflict and why. Be descriptive in your writing and use facts and
personal convictions in your letter. In your letter, be sure to include the following:
Writing Prompt 10: “Family Faith, the Drums of War”
1. You will begin your prompt in January, 1861. with the 5th generation character (the
child of the person who owned the factory). What is his/her name, how old is he/she,
what is his/her gender?
2. You are married and have children. Please describe your spouse and children with
their age, names, and what they look like.
3. Please describe your background. You were born in Boston, MA and lived there until
you were 10 years old.
4. You currently live in the state you represent in the Civil War Challenge and have lived
there for 12 years.
5. You have been very successful and own a small, but extremely prosperous, plantation
of 1,500 acres and raise tobacco and cotton.
6. In addition to your success as a plantation owner, you also hold a position in the local
county government.
7. You come from a family who is actively involved in government and your Father is a
United States congressman in a free state. In fact, your Mother, Father, and two
brothers still live in a free state.
8. To complicate things further, your youngest brother enlisted in the 20th Massachusetts
Volunteer Infantry.
9. What will you decide to do? Will your allegiance be toward the United States (north) or
the Confederate States of America (south)?
10. Write a letter to your parents explain the choice you made. Be sure to explain and
describe your reasoning.
o Personalize your letter to your parents
o Your letter should address your Mother, Father, family etc.
Peer Evaluation – Writing Prompt #10
Name of Writer: _____________________
Name of Evaluator: ___________________
Does the story contain the following?
1. Does your story explain Southern secession and the formation of the Confederate
States of America? _____
2. Does the story describe the moral ugliness of slavery and political unrest? _____
3. Does the writing explain the moral, social, political, and economic aspects leading up
to the Civil War? _____
4. Does the writing explain the government issued posters, pamphlets, and
announcements calling citizens to join the ranks of the military and support the cause?
5. Does the story state the time as 1861? _____
6. Does the story describe the character (name, age, and gender)? _____
7. Does the story describe your background (growing up in Boston, MA)? _____
8. Does the story explain where you live now and for how long you lived there? _____
9. Does the story explain what your life is currently like (plantation owner, local
politician)? _____
10. Does the story clearly demonstrate the connection the character has to the Union
(Father’s political career, where your parents and brother’s live, your brother’s
enlistment in the military)? _____
11. Does the story include a letter to your character’s family? _____
12. Does the story clearly state what allegiance the character has? _____
13. Does the story use your characters background to explain his/her decision of who to
side with? _____
14. Does the story clearly explain why your character chose the side they did? ____ X 2
Total Points______/15
Overall Point of View
(What did you think of the story?)
Bonus – Strengths/Weaknesses/Leader
Does the story contain the following information?
Each check mark is worth 500 enlistments.
1. Jefferson Davis as the newly elected President of the Confederacy? _____
2. How the Confederacy believed they were fighting a war for independence? _____
3. How the Confederacy was fighting a defensive war to protect their homeland? _____
4. How the Confederacy new the countryside better? _____
5. How the Confederacy has many of the nation’s best leaders? _____
6. How the Union had better industries to support the war? _____
7. How the North had a stronger navy and trading ships? _____
8. How the Confederacy had fewer industries to support the war? _____
9. How the North would have to march into the south and weaken their own supply lines?
10. How many thought Lincoln was not a good leader going into the war? _____
Total Enlistments ___________