Civilians & Divided Loyalties

These lesson plans are designed to help students study the impact of military campaigns and other wartime pressures on the Mississippi home front. They also reveal that while some Mississippians remained devoted Confederates, others were steadfast Unionists, while others changed their positions during the war. Students can also explore the changing gender roles women experienced in the war — thrusting them into positions as heads of households in the absence of husbands, fathers, or adult sons in military service. Women of all classes asserted their needs to the governor, especially soldiers' wives and widows. The collection also indicates that women's leadership of households did not end with the war. Considering the high death toll of the Civil War (750,000 Americans (military and civilian; North and South), and the number of permanently disabled veterans, it shouldn't be surprising that women would need to remain in roles as breadwinners.

Lesson Plans

Grade 4

Middle School

High School

Further Reading

For further reading, see The Mississippi Encyclopedia for related entries, including: "Home Front, Civil War," "Guerrilla Warfare in the Civil War," "Civil War Diaries and Memoirs," "Newspapers During the Civil War," "Free State of Jones," "Religion and the Civil War," and "Unionists"


Catherine Beasley serves as a Curriculum Specialist with the Rankin County School District in Brandon, MS. In this capacity, she works closely with teachers and administrators to enhance social studies instruction throughout the schools in the district. Catherine has worked as a teacher at the middle and high school levels. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from The University of Southern Mississippi and a Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership from Arkansas State University. Catherine and her family reside in Madison, Mississippi.