School of the Soldier

Students engage in hands-on activities and handle authentic and reproduction artifacts, and primary and secondary sources like letters, photographs and army manuals to learn about life during the Civil War.  The program begins with a brief orientation, in which the students will hand in their enrollment forms (see pre-activity) pass a short “physical”, and take the Oath of Enlistment.  The students will then break into groups and move between six stations where they will learn about topics like food preparation, uniforms, letter writing, medicine of the time period, and toys and games.  Students will also have a chance to drill and march with wooden rifles.  Following the program students will come back together to discuss what they have learned.  This highly active experience is best set up in a large activity area, gymnasium or outside.  The History-to-go-Van is available for visits by multiple classes at your school for a half-day (up to 3 hours/4 sessions) or a full day (up to 6 hours/8 sessions)


Primary Objective: Through hands on activities students will experience some cultural practices and products of the Civil War.

Location: An Ohio History Connection representative travels to your school.

Availability: Wednesday, September-February, expect December 23 and 30; Tuesdays and Wednesdays, March and April; any day June-August


Time Allowance: Half Day - 3 hours; Full Day - 6 hours



Half-Day- $200.00 plus mileage

Full-Day- $350.00 plus mileage

The school will be responsible for providing 6 volunteers who will help the entire time.


What will the students do?  Activities may include:

Drilling: Students will use wooden rifles to learn basic drill formation and simple marching steps.

Clothing: Students will help dress a manikin in a full Union solider uniform.

Letter Writing: Students examine copies of letters written by children during the Civil War and practice writing using a copy of Spencer’s system of penmanship and steel-nibbed pens and ink.  Students fold their letters and seal them with wax to create envelopes.

Food Preparation: Students handle authentic and reproduction artifacts to learn about methods of Civil War soldier’s food preparation including green coffee beans, coffee grinder, salt-pork, and hard tack.  Students will have the opportunity to taste a small piece of commercially made hard tack.

Medicine: Students handle and learn about medical instruments, medicine and sanitation during the war.

Toys & Games: Students play games and play with toys typical of those used by children during the Civil War.