Learning from the Source: Where Do I Run to? Where Do I Hide?

Field of Gettysburg, July 1st, 2nd & 3rd, 1863
The Library of Congress Digital Connections are filled with great ideas for primary source learning. Below we highlight an activity from the Civil War Maps Collection Connection.

Historical Analysis and Interpretation

In many cases the battles of the Civil War were fought by men unfamiliar with the area of the country in which they were fighting. Have students [look at other Battle of Gettysburg maps]. They can then assume the role of a soldier who has never encountered this part of the country before. What can the students learn about the region from the map?

Add to the story by telling the students they are equipped with a gun and a sword. Where might they position themselves on the battlefield, given the opportunity? If their gun failed, where would they move to? What if they were then wounded? Is there a place for them to hide from the enemy?

After students analyze the map and answer the questions above, you might have them use this Battle of Gettysburg map and other Battle of Gettysburg primary sources to create a historical fiction story (written or digital/multimedia) or new lyrics to the song “Nowhere to Run” by Martha Reeves and the Vandellas.

If you have more ideas, please let us know!