Course Syllabus  



Rules and Procedures 






Reports on Johnson, Giesberg, Horwitz: For each book, write a 500-word paper in two parts: 1) summarize the author’s main arguments, 2) explain the most important way in which the book helped you understand the meaning of the Civil War.


Thomas DuVal’s Journey Project and Paper


In 1863 Thomas DuVal, a federal judge in Austin, Texas, slipped out of town and headed for Washington, DC.  As a Unionist, DuVal had not resigned his judgeship when Texas seceded from the Union more than two years earlier.  He hoped to get back pay and to offer his services to President Lincoln.  After a long journey by mule, horse, rowboat, riverboat, train, and ocean-going steamer, DuVal reached Washington, then journeyed to Brownsville, Texas, where he was part of the federal force invading the Lone Star State.  The failure of that expedition led him back to New Orleans, where he spent about the last year of the war.


Here's a map of his journey.


Your major project for The Civil War Era will be creating digital projects and writing 1000-word papers on the cities and towns through which DuVal passed or spent significant amounts of time.  Although you’ll be working in groups (your groups and the places you research will be selected at random), the bulk of your grades will be based on your own work.  In collaboration with your “team” of three or four classmates, and in consultation with me, you will choose the three or four most significant ways that the Civil War affected the place you’re researching (examples could include the social, cultural, political, economic, military, and racial changes that occurred because of the war) .  Each of those effects will be demonstrated via a digital history project and explained in a formal research paper.  The digital project and the paper must both include the following:


--at least two major primary sources (newspapers, diaries, letters, etc.)

--at least two secondary sources (books written by professional historians).

--a timeline, map, gallery, original video, or other methods of presenting material in a way that complements and expands on the paper version of the project.


Your grade for the digital portion of the project and the presentation will be based on:

--it’s originality

--it’s appearance

--the effective use of evidence

--the effective construction of an argument


PDFs of the diary he kept throughout his journey will be made available to you (although you can certainly use it, and are rather expected to use it, it does not “count” as one of your primary sources). Duval 1 Duval 2 Duval 3 Duval 4 Duval 5


All groups will make 15-20 minute presentations on their projects; although you will work together on the overall design and concept for the project, including an introductory section, you will each be graded separately on your own segment of the project. 


You will have the opportunity to conceptualize and develop your digital projects with the Digital Scholarship Lab in Raynor Library. Here’s more about the lab:


The Digital Scholarship Lab <>, located in the lower-level of Raynor Library, is here to help students create and collaborate in the digital realm. Whether video, visualization or web design, the Lab has the equipment, software and support for student projects.


Ways to get help from the DSL:

Walk-in: Trained student tutors, familiar with your assignment, are available M-Th, 4 PM-8PM for troubleshooting and advice.


By appointment: Full-time staff can consult on technical and design components of your assignment M-F 8:30 AM-5PM, by appointment via this form ( or contact Elizabeth Gibes, Digital Scholarship Librarian, directly at The DSL can accommodate most consultations within 1-2 business days.


The same material can obviously be used for the DuVal’s Journey Project Paper. Full citations and bibliographies are required.


FYI: The Raynor Library has subscribed to many on-line databased of primary sources, some related directly to the Civil War Era:  In addition the Library of Congress has an extensive collection of digitalized, archival sources, at Many other libraries and archives have also digitized portions of their collections, including some in the places you’ll be researching.