Grade Level

Middle Level Lesson

Document Type

Lesson Plans


United States--History--Civil War, 1861-1865--Women--Study and teaching; United States--Armed Forces--Nurses--Study and teaching;


Learning Objectives

  • Analyze an 1868 article about a nurse who erected monuments to Union soldiers and piece together information about her work and family

Featured Cemetery

  • Beaufort National Cemetery, Beaufort, SC

Lesson Overview

  • Students examine ways that women found to contribute to the war effort within the limits of the nineteenth century by learning about Eliza Potter, who cared for the sick and dying during the war and worked to honor the dead afterward. They look at Potter’s life as a Unionist in Charleston, losing two children during the war, nursing Union soldiers in the Confederate prisons, and memorializing them after the Civil War in Beaufort National Cemetery. Finally, students write her obituary or eulogy drawing on different sources to commemorate her life and achievements.


Department of History


This lesson plan was developed for the Veterans Legacy Program, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

The Veterans Legacy Program offers educators an integrated new suite of lesson plans designed to teach students about the service and sacrifice of our nation’s veterans, and to take advantage of our national cemeteries as historic places for teaching and learning — both in the classroom and on-site. The educational resources of the Veterans Legacy Program draw on rich stories from national cemeteries to offer teachers a variety of hands-on activities directly connected to national curriculum standards.

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