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Jackson: The Capital City and the Civil War lesson plan


The destruction that awaited Jackson, Mississippi, was, of course, unknown in November 1860 when Governor John J. Pettus first called for Mississippi’s secession from the Union. As in any country or region, the capital city symbolizes the essence of the people; it is the heart and soul of the area. With secession from the Union, Mississippi’s capital was placed on an ill-fated journey that would physically and psychologically affect not only the citizens of the capital, but all Mississippians.


Mississippi Studies Framework: Competencies 1, 3 and 4.


Grades 7 through 12



The students will:

  • Determine the cause and effect of historical events.
  • Illustrate the impact of the American Civil War on Jackson, Mississippi, through a picture, journal entry, or song.


The teacher will ask the students the following questions.

  • Why is a city chosen as a capital for a state and country?
  • What importance does the capital have for the area?
  • If a capital city was affected by some type of tragedy, how might the people of the region be affected? How might they react?

The teacher will tell the students that over the next several days they will learn about destruction their state’s capital experienced during the Civil War.


Individually, students will read the Mississippi History Now article, “Jackson: The Capital City and the Civil War.” The students will record notes in their notebook as they read the article. This activity can be assigned prior to class.

The teacher will lead a class discussion about the Mississippi History Now article. The discussion will be facilitated by questioning students about what they learned about Jackson in the Civil War after reading the article.

The students will copy into their notebooks the multi-flow thinking map found at the end of this lesson. This type of map is used to assist students in understanding cause and effect. Students will list one or more causes and effects for each of the historical events listed on the thinking map. The causes should be placed in the boxes on the left side of the events and the effects should be listed in the boxes on the right side of the events. Students can work alone or with a partner for this portion of the lesson.

Once the students have completed their thinking maps, the teacher will lead a class discussion by asking for student volunteers to share their answers for this activity. The teacher can record the student responses on the classroom board or an overhead transparency in order for students to check their answers.

For the last segment of the lesson, students will choose to complete one of the assignments below as they pretend to be a citizen of Jackson during the Civil War. The Mississippi History Now article will be used as a reference to complete the assignment. Students can work alone or with a partner on this activity.

  • They will write three journal entries for different days during the war. The students will describe the emotional and physical impact of the war in their journal entries.
  • Students will write a song that tells of the Civil War’s impact on the city of Jackson and its citizens.
  • The students will draw a picture that illustrates Jackson during the Civil War.


The students will share their assignments with their classmates.


Class participation
Multi-flow thinking map


Locate Mississippi Civil War battles on a Mississippi state map.

Visit a Mississippi Civil War battle site, such as Vicksburg or Corinth.

Students can be engaged in other Mississippi History Now lessons regarding the Civil War. Look under the Civil War category on the site’s Archive page.

Multi-flow Thinking Map

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