About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration files "Fort Pickens" (with photographs) and "Fort Barrancas Historic District" (with photographs), and on historic structure reports for both forts. It was written by Ann Marie Folker, a Park Ranger at Gulf Islands National Seashore. The lesson was edited by Fay Metcalf and the Teaching with Historic Places staff. TwHP is sponsored, in part, by the Cultural Resources Training Initiative and Parks as Classrooms programs of the National Park Service. This lesson is one in a series that brings the important stories of historic places into the classrooms across the country.
Where it fits into the curriculum
Topics: This lesson could be used in teaching units on the Civil War in U.S. history.
Time period: 1820s-1860s
Relevant United States History Standards for Grades 5-12
Relevant Curriculum Standards for Social Studies
Find your state's social studies and history standards for grades Pre-K-12
Objectives for students
1) To describe events in the region of Pensacola, Florida, that preceded the Civil War.
2) To examine the role of Fort Pickens prior to and during the Civil War.
3) To evaluate decisions made by key individuals in Pensacola in 1861, and to describe the consequences of those decisions.
4) To investigate the impact of military installations in their own community.
Materials for students
The materials listed below either can be used directly on the computer or can be printed out, photocopied, and distributed to students. The maps and images appear twice: in a low-resolution version with associated questions and alone in a larger, high-quality version.
1) one map of harbor defenses for Pensacola, Florida, 1861;
2) three readings about the defense sites and important historical figures in the Pensacola area at the outbreak of the Civil War;
3) one photo and one diagram of Fort Pickens and its design;
4) one photo and one diagram of Fort Barrancas and its design.
Visiting the site
Gulf Islands National Seashore, administered by the National Park Service, comprises several sites. Fort Pickens is located at the tip of Santa Rosa Island along Fort Pickens Road, west of Pensacola Beach, Florida. The park is open year-round, although operating hours vary seasonally. For additional information, write the Superintendent, Gulf Islands National Seashore, 1801 Gulf Breeze Parkway, Gulf Breeze, FL 32561, or visit the park's Web site.