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The Battle of Corydon  


Purpose of Lesson: This lesson is meant to be used as a supplement to teaching students about the Battle of Corydon.

Objectives: At the end of this lesson, students should be able to:

  • Describe the Battle of Corydon
  • Identify Union and Rebel leaders of the battle
  • Describe the effect of the battle on the town of Corydon

Correlation to Indiana Standards (for Eighth Grade Social Studies and United States History)

Social Studies

8.1.26 Develop and interpret United States history timelines from 1750 to 1877 by designating appropriate intervals of time and recording events according to the chronological order in which they occurred.

8.1.27 Recognize historical perspective by identifying the historical context in which events unfolded and by avoiding evaluation of the past solely in terms of present-day norms.

8.1.30 Form historical research questions and seek responses by analyzing primary resources, such as autobiographies, diaries, maps, photographs, letters, and government documents and secondary resources, such as biographies and other non-fiction books and articles on the history of the United States.

Historical and Methodological Context for the Lesson:

During the Civil War, only two battles were fought on northern soil. One was the Battle of Gettysburg. The other was the Battle of Corydon, which occurred on July 9, 1863 when 450 members of the Harrison County Home Guard attempted to delay General John Hunt Morgan's 2,400 Confederate soldiers from advancing through the North.

Using personal memoir(s), this lesson provides a narrative of the events leading up to the battle, the battle itself, and its aftermath. These sources have been organized into a newspaper, the fictional Weekly Democrat, so that students not only get to interact with historical sources in a more entertaining format, but may also engage the means and methods of journalism.



Lesson Activities:

1. Teacher may wish to have available a map of the Corydon region.

2. Teacher may wish to discuss the following terms with students before beginning the lesson:

    • Notorious
    • Guerrillas
    • Plundering
    • Cavalry
    • Charge
    • Infantry
    • Artillery
    • Indiana Legion/Home Guards
    • Breastworks
    • Plank Road
    • Surrender


1. Students should read the stories in the Weekly Democrat of July 14, 1863 (as reprinted from the IMH, June 1958) and complete the graphic organizer as they read. Students may work individually or with a partner.

2. When graphic organizers are complete, the class should discuss each section as the teacher completes a master for the class to view.

Optional Extended Lesson Activities:

1. Have students use printed or electronic sources to examine how the current town of Corydon understands and commemorates the raid.

2. The Battle of Corydon was one of only two Civil War skirmishes that took place on northern soil, yet few people recognize it. Have students research and provide explanations as to why The Battle of Gettysburg (the other northern clash) is so much more well-known than that of Corydon.

3. Students may want to create their own newspaper account of the Battle of Corydon, using software such as Microsoft Publisher or by hand using large sheets of blank newsprint paper.