Little Blue, Little Gray

bluegray-bookIt wasn’t the thoughts of tomorrow that kept Charlie from his sleep. It was the sounds of today’s fight that horrified him now. The cries of the wounded men left on the field burned in his ears. Men from both sides were suffering as they lay on the cold ground with no cover and no water. The sight of all the dead, who were no longer suffering but whose families would when they received the news, still played in his mind.”

War is no place for a child, and yet many boys found themselves, for various reasons, in the middle of the fight during the War Between the States. For Johnny and Charlie, this was the case. Both boys couldn’t see themselves anywhere else but fighting for their cause, and both boys would soon find out, firsthand, the absolute tragedy of war. In the midst of all their differences, will they see they are actually quite the same, even though one is Little Blue, and one Little Gray?
Teacher’s Resources are listed below.


Using good questioning techniques before studying a subject or reading a book is a good way to generate interest. One good questioning routine (Harvard Project Zero) is to let students write on post-it notes what they think they know about the subject. The post-it notes can be put on a poster to refer to later after reading /studying has been done.

Then students can be asked what they would like to know about the subject. These questions are also written on post-it notes and put on a poster to guide the learning.

After reading or studying, it’s interesting to see how students change from what they first thought about the subject as compared to what they now know. Many times the ‘what I would like to know’ questions lead to enhanced interest and further research.


Words in Context. Also a Vocabulary list and Word Wheel is included in the PDF.

Fill-in the blanks with the best word.
tragedy/ impulse/ stragglers/ commotion/ reinforcements/ brambles

1. Her sleeve caught in the ____________as she picked berries.
2. The soldier’s first ____________was to run but instead, he hid behind a tree.
3. The sinking of the Titanic was a great __________in our history.
4. Our scout master called to the ________________to catch up to the group.
5. Dad ran outside to see what was causing the loud noise and ________________in the street.
6. The ________________arrived just as the soldiers were ready to surrender..

Write an adjective to describe each noun in the list.


Fill-in the blank with the best word.
hazy/ desperate/ gawk/ cumbersome/ fare/ legendary

1. Sometimes drivers slow down to ________________at an accident near the road.
2. The usual birthday party_________________is pizza, cake, and lemonade.
3. The _________________morning air mde it difficult to see across the lake.
4. Covered wagons pulled by oxen were a ____________________and slow way to travel.
5. The people of the city built a statue of a ___________ hero of World War I.
6. One prisoner made a _____________attempt to swim across the river to escape.

Write an antonum for each word.

hazy__________________ cumbersone_____________

Write a synonym for each word.
gawk_________________ desperate_______________

Fill-in the blanks with the best word from the list.
comrade/ advance/ trudge/ dismount/ captor/ captive

1. The hunter wears heavy boots to __________ through the high drifts of snow.
2. How far did the troops ______________during the battle?
3. The runaway dog was trapped in a corner and could not escape his ___________________.
4. It’s time to _______________and lead your horse to the barn.
5. Here are two tickets for your bother and his ________.
6. The bank robber realized he was a ___________when the handcuffs were put on him.

Choose 1 word from the list and write a statement.

Choose a different word from the list and write a question. ______________________________________

Fill-in the blank with the best word.
scrounge/ agonize/ parallel/ delicate/ coax/ endure

1. I don’t think I can __________another minute of that loud music.
2. The rails of a train track run ______________ to each other.
3. How ______________this tiny bird’s egg is!
4. Mother tried to _________________the scared kitten out of its hiding place behind the bed.
5. The lost hikers had to _________________for food in the forest until they were rescued.
6. “Don’t ______________over losing the game, ” said the coach. “We’ll win the next one.”

List the 4 verbs.________________________________

Write a sentence using one of the verbs. ________________________________________

Vocabulary List
Check the words you are sure you can read and define.
___ advance
___ agonize
___ brambles
___ captive
___ captor
___ coax
___ commotion
___ comrade
___ cumbersome
___ delicate
___ desperate
___ dismount
___ endure
___ fare
___ gawk
___ hazy
___ impulse
___ legendary
___ parallel
___ reinforcements
___ scrounge
___ stragglers
___ tragedy
___ trudge


Understanding the story. This is just a sampling of questions.
Download the PDF for all questions.

1. When did the War Between the States begin?
a. November, 1860
b. April, 1861
c. July 4, 1776
d. April, 1865

2. Why was Johnny nicknamed “Johnny Shiloh”?
a. He was sent to get reinforcements for Gen. Grant
b. The men at Shiloh appreciated Johnny’s help.
c. He spotted the enemy approaching Shiloh.
d. He stood bravely and beat signals on his drum.

3. Why did Johnny leave the line of marching men?
a. He went to the woods to find food.
b. His hat blew off, and he wanted to find it.
c. He was ordered to beat a signal on his drum.
d. He was sick and needed to rest under the trees.

4. What did Johnny do when he saw the Rebel boy?
a. He yelled for help, and the boy was captured.
b. He gave the boy a drink of water.
c. He looked at the boy without saying a word.
d. He shook hands with the boy and asked his name.

5. After seeing the Yankee boy, Charlie was frightened by:
a. a hog running through the woods.
b. another Yankee looking for berries.
c. the sounds of gunfire close by.
d. someone yelling at him.

6. Why was Charlie’s pouch so heavy?
a. It was filled with food.
b. It was filled with his friends’ keepsakes.
c. He was carrying bullets for the soldiers.
d. Charlie carried everything he owned in it.

7. Why was Charlie sent north?
a. He had orders for General Forrest.
b. He had to report to Big Ben.
c. He had to care for the wounded.
d. He needed to deliver ammunition.

8. What happened to Charlie on his way north?
a. He fell in a stream and was almost drowned.
b. He ran into a Yankee camp.
c. He met General Longstreet.
d. He was captured and held at gunpoint.

9. Charlie could not sleep the night after the battle because:
a. he had to cut trees all night.
b. he was lost in the woods and couldn’t find Big Ben.
c. the sounds on the battlefield kept him awake.
d. he was ordered to stand guard all night.

10. As Johnny and the 22nd Michigan came on the battlefield, the Union army was:
a. pushing the Confederate army back
b. surrendering to the Confederates.
c. holding a position on a ridge against the Rebels.
d. capturing Longstreet’s left flank.

Story Plotting:PDF

An exercise to help walk through the storyline.


An exercise to determine the location of the Battle of Chickamauga.

The Battle of Chickamauga–September 19-20, 1863
Color the state of Tennessee orange
Color the state of Georgia green
Place an X where the battle took place.

Characters in the Story:PDF


Book Report:PDF

Help students organize their ideas for writing a book report. Complete sentences are not required on the guide. Here are some suggested ways to organize the report.

Use this guide to create an outline for your book report.
Paragraph 1 should include: Book Title: ____________________
Author: _______________
Main Characters: _______________________
Setting: ______________________________
Book Genre: ________________

Paragraph 2: Write a summary of what happened in the first part of the story.
1. ______________________________
2. ______________________________
3. ______________________________
4. ______________________________

Paragraph 3: Write a summary of what happened in the middle part of the story.
1. ______________________________
2. _________________________________________________
3. ____________________________________
4. ________________________________

Paragraph 4: Write summary of what happened in the last part of the story.
Be careful to to give away the ending
1. __________________________________
2. ______________________________
3. ______________________________
4. ______________________________

Paragraph 5:
My favorite character was____________________________
My favorite part of the book was____________________________________
I recommend this book to anyone who likes____________________________

Critical/Creative Thinking:PDF

S-T-R-E-T-C-H Your Thinking

Complete the analogies.

1. North is to South as blue is to ___________________.

2. North is to United States of America as South is to

3. Union general is to George Thomas as Confederate general is to ______________________________.

4. Battle of Shiloh is to Tennessee as Battle of Chickamauga
is to ____________________________.

S-t-r-e-t-c-h your thinking even more. What is the relationship in analogy #4?
Relationship: _______________________________ is to

Create an original analogy that has the same relationship as analogy #4.
___________________________________________is to


Teacher’s Key:PDF

Download the PDF containing the key to all the questions.
Included are the answers for all the questions.

Further Research:

Try these web sites to learn more about the following:

1. Battle of Chickamauga

2. The Chickamauga Campaign

3. Chickamauga & Chattanooga Military Park

4. General Rosecrans
Another link for General Rosecrans

5. George H. Thomas

6. James Longstreet