General E.F. Dutton (1838-1900) and his family settled in Sycamore in 1846. In 1861, Dutton enlisted in the Civil War. He quickly rose through the ranks. In 1862 he joined the 105th Illinois Volunteer Infantry, and in 1863, he was made a member of the examination board of the Army of Cumberland, organized by the War Department to choose and assign officers to the regiments of the U.S. Colored Troops. He rejoined his regiment in 1864. In 1865, he was named Colonel Dutton for his distinguished service in the campaigns in Georgia and the Carolinas and in the Battle of Smiths Farm in North Carolina. He was named brevetted general on March 15, 1865.
Note: Materials are for educational purposes only
Core Curriculum: CC.5.R.1.3 Key Ideas and Details: Explain the relationships or interactions between two or more individuals, events, ideas, or concepts in a historical, scientific, or technical text based on specific information in the text.
Illinois State Social Studies Goal: 16.A Understand events, trends, individuals and movements shaping the history of Illinois, the United States and other nations. Apply the skills of historical analysis and interpretation.
District 427: List the goals the North and South hoped to achieve by fighting the Civil War ( through personal letters of General Dutton).
What inferences can be drawn about life as a soldier during the Civil War after reading the personal letters of General Dutton?
What can you tell about the level of respect people had in the 1800s?
Share background information about General Dutton with students.
Allow students time to read the personal letters (see complete letters in the downloads) written by General Dutton to his friend, who later became his wife. There are five letters. Depending on time, students could scaffold the readings, or if time permits, they could read them all. As they read, students should make inferences about what the daily life of a Civil War soldier would have been like in 1861.
In groups, students could record inferences or actual details about life as a soldier.
Students could also trace the path General Dutton took during the time period of these letters on a map.
Once students have discussed what they have learned in their groups, they should report out to the whole class.
Students could write a letter to General Dutton as a friend in response to one of his letters, including inferences made from reading his letters.
Respondents not only discussed this impulse to document the past, they also talked about their efforts to preserve pieces of it. They said they turned photo albums and diaries into treasured artifacts passed from one generation to the next.