Children of the American Civil War: The Civil War and its’ Aftermath. How America’s Youth Responded to Sectionalism

Jessica Hon, Social Studies, Piedmont Open IB Middle

Curriculum Unit (pdf)


After war broke out in 1861 in the United States, American children across the North and South said goodbye to brothers, fathers, uncles and cousins. While few were lucky to remain a child during this time, others may not have been so fortunate. Many Union and Confederate boys traded in their youth to serve alongside their regiments. Tremendous hardships existed for children left on the home front. Confederate children may have lost their home due to invasion of opposing forces while Union children may have gone to work to replace their missing father, brother, or uncle. Overall, children on both sides of the conflict endured a wide array of experiences Nonetheless; the War shaped the prejudices, attitudes, and opinions seen in future generations as it pitted brother against brother and divided a nation. Nonetheless, war was essentially blind to age, location, and circumstance.