The American Revolution Through the Eyes of a Soldier

Contributor: Danielle Childers. Lesson ID: 10411

Look through the diaries of American soldiers during the Revolutionary War to grasp a deeper understanding of life during that time.


History, World

learning style
Auditory, Visual
personality style
Grade Level
Intermediate (3-5)
Lesson Type
Quick Query

Lesson Plan - Get It!


When you think about war, what comes to your mind?  Do you think of big tanks, bombs being dropped from airplanes, and long-range missiles? 

In the media and through video games, we see what modern warfare looks like.  Did you know that war in Revolutionary times looked much different?

During the Revolutionary War they had no vehicles, or advanced technology. War was hand-to-hand combat. Soldiers saw their enemy up close and used muskets, pistols, swords, and cannons. Diseases killed many more soldiers than combat.

Letters, diaries, and pictures give us a closer idea ofwhat the soldiers might have gone through during this war. These are all examples of primary resources. Primary resources are one of the best methods of giving us an inside look at the emotional side of a particular period in time.

Look at this image entitled A View of the South Part of Lexington, 1775.

  • What do you see?
  • What is the general feeling of the picture?

Battle of Lexington and Concord, December 1775

Image by Charles E. Goodspeed, Boston, 1903 - Concord Museum - Concord, Massachusetts, USA, via Wikimedia Commons, is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication.

To learn everything about the American Revolution would take a great amount of time, but in this lesson we are going to learn about a specific person and his life in the American Revolution. Primary resources are important pieces to help us gain a full picture of historical events.

In today's lesson, you will look through different primary resources to help understand life during the Revolutionary War. First, you will learn about Jeremiah Greenman, a soldier during the Revolutionary War. Through his diary entries, we can start to understand the hardships that the soldiers had to endure in the war.

Before you read his diary, you will learn more about him through secondary resources. A secondary resource is something that was written and made after Jeremiah lived and was not his own first-hand account.

First, read Jeremiah Greenman’s Biography from History Is Fun. When you are finished, answer the following questions:

  • How old was Jeremiah when he died?
  • Did he die in war?
  • Why did he decide to go to war?

Now, watch Jeremiah Greenman: Revolutionary Soldier by HistoryTube to learn an overview of his life.

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