For Educators
Curriculum Title:
Plotting out Sycamore's influence in the Battle of Atlanta

Sycamore native Everell Dutton fought in the battle of Atlanta. This photo of him, is from the Civil War, when he was only 27. Dutton commanded the 105th. The 105th advanced through the south under Sherman’s command. With Sherman, the 105thbecame part of 20th Corps, commanded by General William T. Ward and Colonel Benjamin Harrison. “This machine,” as Dutton referred to it, moved into Georgia.

On June 18, 1864, Dutton was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel. Around this time, Daniel Dustin’s son, Will, arrived. A later account said, “When General Dustin was on the exciting campaign to Atlanta the son, then aged 14 years, ran away from home and joined him and followed the 105ththrough that campaign, and although he was sent home, it was only a few weeks later that he again appeared among the troops.”[1] A school friend of the boy, Turner G. Wing, later wrote:

Colonel Dustin of Sycamore had a son, Bill, who was several years older than I. Bill wanted to go, and so did I. His father was on duty somewhere in the south and Bill and I started on foot to join him. A neighboring farmer saw us and sent me back home. I was seven years old. But Bill somehow joined his father and stayed with him til the close of the war.[2]

At the time, Everell Dutton wrote, “Willie Dustin is under my care yet. He is a pretty wild boy and I fear unless some change is wrought over him he will not make a very good man.”[3] And again, within the month, he noted, “Wilie D— is still here. He is pretty wild, and just the age to think it a disgrace to be governed by a woman, so his mother can do little with him. He is pretty wild.”[4] He had “at the age of 13 years accompanied his father to the scenes of the Civil War, spending a year and a half at the front during a period that included the Atlanta campaign, the March to the Sea, in Washington both days of the grand review.” Dwight Star and Herald, February 23, 1918.

[1] Sycamore True Republican, February 20, 1918.
[2] Sycamore True Republican, March 24, 1923.
[3] Everell Dutton to Rosa Paine, August 1, 1864, Near Atlanta, Georgia, The Letters of Everell Fletcher Dutton, 1863 and 1864 (unpublished manuscript, 1984), 337.
[4] Everell Dutton to Rosa Paine, August 23, 1864, [Chattahoochee River, Georgia], The Letters of Everell Fletcher Dutton, 1863 and 1864 (unpublished manuscript, 1984), 310.


Note: Materials are for educational purposes only.

Grade Level:
Sixth-Eighth Grade
Common Core: CC.6.SL.1, CC.7.SL.1, CC.8.SL.1; CC.6.W.3, CC.7.W.3, CC.8.W.3; CC.6.SL.3, CC.7.SL.8 (for details visit

Illinois State Learning Standards: 14 Understand political systems, with an emphasis on the United States.

District 427: Students will identify the events of the Civil War and Reconstruction and will communicate the changes that the Civil War Era caused in social, economic, and political elements in the North and South.
Guided Questions:

What was the Battle of Atlanta really like?

Suggested Activity:
  1. Introduce General Dutton to the class.  Explain his background.
  2. Dutton’s commander, Dustin, was away between July 14 and August 4, 1864.  So Dutton was in charge of the 105th Illinois Volunteer Infantry. He wrote a report telling of his troops’ activity during that time. Explain to class that reading a Battle Report provides one with detailed activity. In reading Dutton’s report, the class will get a better understanding of the pace and movement troops were expected to keep up during war.
  3. Preview military vocabulary with student :• Picket:  guard post
    • Bivouac (bivouacked):  set up tents for the night
    • Entrenchments:  trenches (see photo)
    • Breast-works:   temporary trenches used for defense
  4. Pass out empty timelines and Dutton’s report.  Explain to the class that they should complete the timelines as they read the report.   Students should notice that Dutton begins his report with an error in date.  He writes about August 14, and it really should be July 14.
  5. Upon completing the timelines,  ask the students these comprehension questions:• What happened to the 105th?
    • As you review what happened on July 20, notice that the soldiers are fighting on hills.
    • Which army has the advantage?
    • The Union or the Confederates?  Why?
    • Does the 105th get a lot of rest?  Do you think that’s unusual?  Why?
Suggested Assessment:

Dustin’s son, Willie was with the 105th during these weeks.  Explain to students how Willie ran away from home to help his father in the war.  Willie’s job was to help the cooks and move the mules.  However, being right in the midst of battle had to be a bit exciting to say the least.  Willie was only 14.  Ask students to imagine they are Willie.  Then, have them write a picture postcard home describing this battle.