Teacher Lesson Plan:
Reading Lincoln's Letter to Fanny McCullough
- It is the aim of this lesson to provide an opportunity to teach an aspect of Lincoln's presidency and character while infusing rich and meaningful local history within the national historical narrative of Lincoln and the Civil War.
- In December of 1862, prominent local resident William McCullough was killed in action near Coffeeville, Mississippi. Local residents were shocked and saddened by the news. Not surprisingly, the news was especially difficult for his family and in particular, his daughter, Fanny. Her dramatic expression of grief caused a series of letters to be written as an effort to assuage her sadness, culminating with Abraham Lincoln's famous consolation.
- Why did Lincoln write to Fanny McCullough?
- What does Lincoln's letter to Fanny reveal about the president's character?
- Is this letter from Abraham Lincoln important? Why or why not?
- Using the Interactive Tools page have student go through the Prezi, or use it as a starting point for discussion to make basic connections before students get into the primary source documents surrounding Lincoln's letter.
- Because of the amount of material available for this module, it is suggested to split up the class into 6 or 7 small groups. Each small group would be tasked with looking at one of the letters in the correspondence in addition to Lincoln's letter.
- Fanny McCullough's Flag Presentation Speech
- Excerpts from William Orme's letters to Nannie Orme (1855)
- Letter from Leonard Swett to David Davis (December 9, 1862)
- Letter from William Orme to Leonard Swett (December 13, 1862)
- Letter from William Orme to David Davis (December 13, 1862)
- Letter from Laura Swett to David Davis (December 13, 1862)
- Letter from David Davis to Laura Swett (December 21, 1862)
- Bring the groups back together and have them give a short oral presentation on their letter.
- What does this letter add to the story?
- What piece of information was the most important?
- How does this letter give information about the Civil War era?
- Lastly, as a class, answer the essential questions.