Revised March 24, 2008


AMH 4571


The American Civil War and Reconstruction


Spring 2008


Matt Gallman



Office: Keene-Flint 007  (Graduate Coordinator’s Office)              

Office hours Wednesdays 2:30-4:30

(352) 392-0272  x231


Teaching Assistants:

  • Taylor Patterson
  • Angie Zombek


Course Summary

This course is a broad survey of the events and issues surrounding the Civil War.  The course falls into three (uneven) chronological periods.   In the first four weeks or so we will consider the chain of events leading up to the Civil War.   We will then turn to a close analysis of the war years themselves, considering events and issues on the battlefield and on the home front.   The final three weeks will consider some aspects of the war’s impact.


Although this is a large lecture course, it is not intended to be an introductory level course.   You will find that the readings are fairly heavy and the expectations are high.   This is not a good course for students who have a hard time showing up for class or doing the readings.



Course Requirements


The following books should be available at Goering’s bookstore.

  •  Michael Fellman, Lesley J. Gordon, Daniel E. Sutherland,  This Terrible War: The Civil War and Its Aftermath (2nd Edition)  (Longman, 2007).   This is a very new textbook.   Be sure that you have purchased the second edition.  The authors made major revisions after the first edition.  
  • Stanley Harrold, The Civil War and Reconstruction:  A Documentary Reader (Blackwell, 2007).   This is a brand new collection of documents.   In the reading assignment it is referred to as “Harrold.”
  • William Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery   -    This is an incredible first person narrative of  how a husband and wife who were enslaved in Georgia escaped to Massachusetts.
  • Charles B. Dew, Apostles of Disunion Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War  (Univ. of Virginia, 2002).   A short account of the events that led up to secession.
  • Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels   -  The Pulitzer prize winning novel about the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • Louisa May Alcott, Civil War Hospital Sketches Hospital Sketches  (Dover edition).   The first published writings by the author of Little Women and other classics.
  • Albion Tourgée, A Fool’s Errand:  A Novel of the South During Reconstruction  -  A Northern “carpetbagger” describes his postwar experiences in a famous novel.
  • Tony Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic: Dispatches from the Unfinished Civil War (Vintage, 1999).   A fascinating and amusing account of the war’s enduring memory.



            Although this is a fairly large lecture class, please keep in mind that you are neither invisible nor anonymous.   I find that my ability to do my best job is undermined when people in the audience are not paying attention.  So when class begins please put aside your newspapers and other reading materials.  Similarly, I expect you to be on time for each class meeting.   I am easily distracted when folks are wandering in after I have begun class.


            I am of two minds about computers in the classroom.   I do not think that you will need one to take notes, but some folks prefer to take notes on a laptop.   However, students with computers should not divide their attention between note taking and surfing the web, working on other projects, or email.   If you are like me and cannot resist bouncing from one function to another, please leave the computer at home.


            Lecture attendance is required;  we will take attendance occasionally.  Students who miss more than one lecture (or who are persistently late) will see a reduction in their grades.   Students who ignore the above requests about newspapers, computers, etc. will be treated as absent for the purpose of final grades.


Discussion Sections / Weekly Papers / Reading Quizzes

            You should attend each discussion section with notes on the assigned readings and with issues in mind that you would like to raise in discussion.  


            As a way of ensuring good preparation, you will write a short (250 word) analytic summary of the readings for each week.   These are due on the Tuesday lecture prior to the discussion section.   You should submit hard copies to your TA before lecture begins.  


            The Teaching Assistants will also give periodic open note quizzes on the assigned readings.


            Both short essays will be due in class at the start of the week’s discussion section.  On several other occasions you will have short research assignments that will be due in section.   These are noted below and will be discussed as the dates approach.  


            As with the lectures, students who miss more than one discussion section (or who are persistently late) will have their final grade reduced.



            In addition to the weekly essays on the readings, you will write two short essays (4-5 pages) in this course, each based on a very small research project.   Assignments will be handed out prior to the due dates.   All essays are due in discussion section on the date assigned.   Extensions will only be approved under unusual circumstances.



            There will be a midterm and a final.   The midterm will be taken in the discussion sections.   The final will combine a short take home essay and a one hour exam during the regular final period.


Academic Integrity 

            I assume that anything you do in this class is your own work unless I am told otherwise.  You also may not rely on someone else's notes in taking the reading quizzes.  Please review the section on Academic Integrity in the Student Handbook.  In your papers all direct quotes should be identified with quotation marks and cited properly.  Any instance of intentional dishonesty on any assignment -- no matter how small -- will result in an automatic F for the entire course. Please review the University’s honesty policy at


Special accommodations

Feel free to contact me if you have any individual concerns or issues that need to be discussed. Students requesting classroom accommodation must first register with the Dean of Students Office (  The Dean of Students Office will provide documentation to the student who must then provide this documentation to the instructor when requesting accommodation.



            Midterm                                                          15%                 (Review Sheet)

            Final                                                                25%

            Paper #1                                                          20%

            Paper #2                                                          20%

            Class Discussion and Preparation                   20%

            ** Missed classes and lateness will result in extra reductions.




Class Meetings and Assignments

All readings should be completed by the Tuesday lecture.  


·        January 8th               An expanding nation

·  Readings: 

§  This Terrible War:   Chapter 1:  11-42.



·        January 15th            Political tensions  (1820-1854)

·  Readings: 

§  This Terrible War:  Chapter 2:  43-78.

§  William and Ellen Craft, Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom


·        January 22nd                     Bleeding Kansas, Bleeding Sumner

·  Readings:  

§  This Terrible War:  Preface:  1-10.

§  Harrold:  Chapter 1


·        January 29th            1860 and the Road to Secession

·  Readings: 

§  Charles B. Dew, Apostles of Disunion.

§  Harrold:  Chapter 2:  “Disunion to War.”


·        February 5th             To Arms!

·  Readings:

§  This Terrible War:  Chapters 3 and 4:  79-145.

§  Harrold:  Chapter 3:  # 1, #2.

·  Paper #1 Due in section:  On Brooks-Sumner or John Brown - editorials

·  Grading Checklist


·        February 12th                     The First Year of War – (1861-1862)

·   Reading: 

§  This Terrible War:  Chapter 5:  146-171.


·        February 19th           Emancipation  

·  Readings for lecture:  

§  Harrold:   Chapter 6, # 2, 4, 6.





·        February 26th                    The Road to Gettysburg 

·  Readings:

§  This Terrible War:  Chapter 6:  172-198;  Chapter 8:  230-263.

§  Michael Shaara, The Killer Angels.


·        March 4th                 The War at Home 

·  Readings:

§  This Terrible War:  Chapter 7:  199-229.

§  Harrold:  Chapter 3: #8;  Chapter 5:  # 4, 5, 6;  Chapter 6: # 3, 5.



·        March 11th               Spring Break



·         March 18th              Women and Voluntarism

·  Reading:  Louisa May Alcott, Hospital Sketches.


·         March 25th              The Soldier’s Life  

·  Reading:  Harrold: Chapter 4:  entire.


·         April 1st                   The Road to Total War?  (1864-1865)

·  Reading:   This Terrible War:  Chapter 9:  264-297.

·  Paper #2 due in section:    Close analysis of 1 or 2 documents.  Assignment to be discussed in sections.


·          April 8th                  Reconstruction – I

·  Readings:

§  This Terrible War:  Chapter 10:  298-328

§  Albion Tourgee, A Fool’s Errand, pages TBA.


·          April 15th                Reconstruction – II

·   Readings: 

§  This Terrible War: Chapter 11-12:  323-382.

§  Harrold:  Chapter 8.


·         April 22nd                 The Civil War in Memory

·   Readings:  

§  This Terrible War:  383-399.

§  Tony Horwitz, Confederates in the Attic, pages TBA.



·           April 28th               FINAL EXAMINATION

·  10:00-12:00       (This will be half take home and half in class.)