Monday, March 17, 2014

Hunting for Answers

The ultimate victor of the civil war was not decided on one day, or by one battle, but rather by dozens of battles and events that contributed to the outcome of the war. In my History class we learned about many of the battles in the civil war. A total of twenty battles were assigned to people throughout the class, we worked either alone or in groups of two. We then researched the battle using reputable sources (not JUST wikipedia), and determined who the victor was, who the commanders were, and what type of battle it was (which theater). (Link to my google doc HERE). We then used the link from our google doc to create a QR code which functioned as a direct link to our google doc, and could be scanned from any smartphone or tablet that has a camera.
As you can see at the end of the google doc that I linked you to, there are directions to the next battle site. This is the location where the next QR code can be found. Each document had this, so the scavenger hunt could be completed no matter where it was started. After the scavenger hunt was complete, the class collaborated on Padlet, which allowed us to share what we learned with each other and understand what happened in the war.

These discussions allowed us to determine what really happened in each theater of the war, without confusion.
We were then tasked to answer two essential questions, the first being "Who was the ultimate victor in each of the theaters of war: East, West, and Naval?" In the Western theater the Union was the clear victor. The union claimed definitive victory in every battle except the Battle of Chickamauga, which was only lost due to poor union planning and execution, not due to good confederate maneuvering and tactics. In the naval theater, The Union was the victor. In the battle of Fort Henry, the union was the clear victor. They effectively used naval bombardment to devastate the fort. In the battle of Hampton Roads, there was technically no "victor" but the relentless assault of the Merrimack was halted and turned away, protecting the Union land advance and reassuring their Naval dominance. The Eastern theater was a completely different situation. The Confederacy had most of the early victories thanks to very opportunistic actions by Robert E. Lee and other confederate generals. However, once Grant and other, more "competent" generals from the union took over command in the Eastern theater, the union began to win. I believe that the union was the ultimate victor in the Eastern theater, because by the end of the war, they were winning most of the battles.
The second essential question was: "What are some commonalities that you can identify in the reasons for the results of the battles?" Most of the confederate victories were due to well thought out plans and defensive tactics by Confederate generals. The confederates often made the union generals make mistakes, then capitalized on these mistakes and used this to win the battle. In many of the Union victories, the union army was able to outnumber and overwhelm the confederate resistance. This is because the north had a greater population, and therefore more soldiers to fight in the war. Many of the victories were also due to great leadership from generals like Grand and Meade. These generals were able to secure important Union victories.
Students Scanning in to a QR Code

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