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Fort Sedgwick, Battle of Petersburg, 1860s

Bomb proof, Fort Sedgwick, Battle of Petersburg

Bomb proof, Fort Sedgwick, Battle of Petersburg

New York State Archives, NYSA_A3045-78_X_3099
Document Description
Fort Sedgwick, 1860s;;
What materials were used to build these structures?
What would you do to pass the time?
What hardships might a soldier face living here?
Historical Challenges
What was Fort Sedgwick? Where was it located?
Interdisciplinary Connections
Art: Draw a map of a Civil War camp and label the command headquarters, cavalry, enlisted men's tents, kitchen, laundry, and hospital.
Moore, Ray. If You Lived at the Time of the Civil War. Scholastic Paperbacks, 1994. ISBN: 0590454226.

About this Activity


Lesson Topic:


Historical Context
Camp life was hard for both Union and Confederate soldiers. When not in battle, a soldier’s day started at 5 a.m. in the summer and 6 a.m. in the winter. The majority of the day was spent on drills. When not at drill, soldiers cleaned the camp, dug latrines, built fortifications and roads, and gathered wood for cooking and heating. Finding fresh water was also a constant goal.

A soldier would eat salted meats, canned vegetables, coffee, and hardtack. When the armies were marching or at battle, the supply trains could not always reach them to bring fresh supplies. Therefore the soldiers would have to forage for food.

Camp life was also boring. Soldiers passed the time by reading, writing letters, or playing cards or games like baseball and boxing.

Essential Question
How does war impact a society?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and evaluate the impact of the Civil War on the lives of these soldiers.