Exploring Geography with History Quests

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If you have any history buffs in your house, you might be interested in the post Exploring History with History Quests over at Bright Ideas Press.

Using History Quests in Your Homeschool

If you need an independent tool for exploring history, check out all the reasons for you to use this format in your homeschool. Allowing your students to explore history on their own is a fun way to give them ownership of their studies within the curriculum you are using.

What is a History Quest?

A History Quest is a simple exploration activity in which your student chooses a topic and does some quick research. This year we are using All American History Volume II from Bright Ideas Press, and I chose to replace some of the “For Further Study” items in each chapter with a History Quest of my student’s choosing. At first, I was interested in creating the Quests for my students to do, but my ninth grader suggested she research a topic and write them for me to use on my blog Blog, She Wrote. What a challenge!

Blog, She Wrote: History Quest- Civil War Uniforms

Learn More about History Quests

By visiting the post at Bright Ideas Press. Then come back here for three History Quests we’ve written for you!

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History Quest: Civil War Uniforms

History Quest- Civil War Uniforms

This Quest’s topic is near and dear to Rebecca’s fashion designing heart. What did soldiers on both sides wear? Did they wear pajamas? What kinds of guns did they carry and how? Get ready for today’s History Quest: Civil War Uniforms.

Union Uniforms

Let’s see if you can find out some information about uniforms for the Union Army.

  • What itchy fabric made up most of the uniforms?
  • Cotton from home was preferred. Why was it rare during the war?
  • Standard Union uniforms featured a dark blue shirt with how many brass buttons?
  • Early in the war Union soldiers’ standard issue pants were dark blue. In 1862 this was changed to what?
  • They wore leather shoes which laced up around their ankles. These had a very specific name. What were they called?
  • What kind of hat was most common? What did the symbol on the front of the hat mean?
  • What kind of guns did infantrymen carry and use?
  • How much did an average soldier’s gear weigh?
  • What was the standard issue gear for a Union soldier?

If you could pick a few things to add to your pack, what would you take?

History Quest- Civil War UniformsConfederate Uniforms

How about the Confederate uniforms? Were they similar? How were they different?

  • Most Confederates wore gray, right? Wrong! What color did the majority of Confederate soldiers actually wear?
  • What nickname did the collar of their uniforms earn them?
  • The south had plenty of cotton, but what did the north have that prevented them from making many shoes?
  • Did you know that denim was around during The Civil War? What part of a typical Confederate uniform was made of cotton denim?
  • Why were Confederate uniforms heavily influenced by Union uniforms?

Making Your Own Civil War Uniform

History Quest- Civil War Uniforms

Each year our homeschool group hosts a Civil War Ball in the spring. What began as the culmination to one family’s unit on the war, has developed into an annual event for our group. Part of the process is preparing the gown and the uniforms. In the past Ethan has dressed as a civilian just like Dan (my husband), but this year he was a Union soldier like his younger brother. Rebecca, as you may have guessed, makes a new gown each year.

We used the directions from Time Travelers Civil War by Homeschool in the Woods to turn a navy blue sport coat into a Union jacket. You can do the same with the Confederate uniforms. We have even had brothers show up wearing uniforms from opposing sides!

What did we need?

  • Navy blue sport coat- acquired from the thrift store. I couldn’t find a boys’ size that I needed so I looked for small women’s coats instead. It was kinda hard to partially disassemble a Talbot’s wool jacket! You have to be strong.
  • Brass buttons- I hit a second hand sewing shop for this one and came up strong. I also used the buttons from the sleeves.
  • Gold ribbon- for the collar
  • Yellow fabric- to make the sash for the soldier’s uniform

It wasn’t hard to do at all, but aligning the buttons took some time. We were in a hurry so we could also use a better fastener at the top of the jacket. Next year!


History Quest- Civil War Uniforms

I promise a post on How to Host a Civil War Ball very soon! For now, enjoy learning more about what the uniforms were like so you are ready to make your own!

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History Quest: Around the World in 1862

Blog, She Wrote: History Quest- Around the World in 1862

Most Americans know what was happening in America in 1862. It was the second year of the Civil War in the United States, right? But, what about elsewhere in the world? What other things were happening in the US during the war? Today’s quest will take us on a tour- History Quest: Around the World in 1862.

Milestones of the Civil War in 1862

Of course, the war was in full gear by 1862 and a lot of battles and skirmishes were all over the south. As we take a look at what else was happening, it’s important to note the facts about the Civil War at the time.

  • This was the year of the bloodiest day in US military history- What was the name of the battle? Where did it occur?
  • The war tore the nation in half. It also tore a state in half. What new state was granted admission to the Union in late 1862 and was admitted in June of 1863?
  • President Lincoln issued a Proclamation which allowed African Americans to serve in the Union Army. What was it and what did it say?
  • There were several battles, surprises, and counter attacks during the war in 1862. Other than the bloodiest battle mentioned above, what were they and were they deciding factors during the war?

Notable Happenings in the US other than the War in 1862

The Civil War was in its second year, but other things were going on in our country.

  • What tax was put into place on January 1, 1862?
  • What were greenbacks? What US Bureau issued them?
  • Samuel Colt was an inventor who died in 1862. What did he invent?
  • Lincoln signed The Homestead Act into law. What was that act and how did it work? What literary family took advantage of The Homestead Act?
  • Lincoln signed The Land Grant Act that year. What was it? Can you name any institutions that came out of The Land Grant Act?

Events around the World in 1862

Outside of the US, lots of things were happening. Let’s find out what some of them were:

  • The bowling ball was invented- Can you find out anything about the early game of bowling or how it came to be invented?
  • Lewis Carroll is the pen name for an author who wrote a famous children’s book. What is the name of his famous book, written in 1862?
  • What war in Europe was brewing?
  • Name the Asian country also having a civil war in 1862. What was it called?
  • The Father of Germ Theory did the first of many experiments on April 20, 1862. Who was the Father of Germ Theory? What did he experiment on?
  • Italy and what other country signed a peace treaty?
  • A lot of countries were unifying or declaring independence during this time. Research to see what was happening politically in Europe in 1862.

I hope you enjoyed our trip around the world. Maybe it gave you a new perspective from which to see the American Civil War as you learned what was happening besides the war that year. It was a fun quest to write because I was growing a little tired of all the battles. I decided to see if anything else was going on at the same time. I was surprised by all the other business our government was engaged in during the war. Were you?

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