The Army and Navy: Significant Factors in the Vicksburg Campaign During the Civil War
Table of Contents
Museum Collections, Similar Items and other Materials Used
National Educational Standards
Student Learning Objectives
Background and Historical Context
Teacher Tips
Lesson Implementation Procedures
Evaluation/Assessment for Measurable Results
Extension and Enrichment Activities
Site Visit

A. Title: The Army and Navy: Significant Factors in the Vicksburg Campaign
        During the Civil War
  • Developers:
    Colby R. Fisher, Bowmar Avenue Elementary, Vicksburg, MS 39180
    Grade Level:
    Grades 4-6
  • Number of Sessions in the Lesson Unit Plan: Five 45-minute sessions/activities over a five-day period.
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B. Overview of this Collection-Based Lesson Unit Plan
  • Park Name: Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Description:
    Through object-based inquiry students will understand the role of the army and navy in the outcome of the Civil War.  
  • Essential Question:
    • What role did successful army/navy operations play in the outcome of the Vicksburg Campaign and consequently the Civil War?
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C. Museum Collections, Similar Items and other Materials Used in this Lesson Unit Plan
MUSEUM OBJECT [photos of objects in the Carl Sandburg Home NHS museum collections] SIMILAR OBJECTS [local items similar to museum objects] & OTHER MATERIALS Length of time
Percussion Caps
Letter Kepi Hat

Similar items [similar to objects in the Park museum collection]

  • Military hat similar to U.S.S. Cairo Hat
  • Maps of Army and Navy sites
  • Pictures of famous battle sites and notable military personnel

Other materials

Forms and Charts:

Art-making materials

  • Writing materials including special paper varieties, bindings for journals, and special format books, construction Paper
  • Sewing thimble
  • Aluminum foil
  • Scissors
  • Glue, Paints, markers, oil pastels, adhesives, and 3-D sculptural materials.
  • Science and math materials
  • United States Map
Five 45 minute sessions
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D. National Educational Standards
NSS-USH. 5-12.5. Era 5: Civil War and Reconstruction [1850-1877]
    • Understands the course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.

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E. Student Learning Objectives
    After these lessons students will be able to:
    • Communicate their ideas and hypotheses of the effect of the army/navy during the Civil War through an oral presentation of the Civil War.
    • Critically analyze objects from the museum collection.
    • Create a classroom museum exhibit on the Civil War using maps and pictures.
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F. Background and Historical Context

The Vicksburg Campaign, a series of maneuvers and battles, consisted of several important naval operations, troop maneuvers, failed initiatives, and battles between 1862 and 1863.The Campaign consisted of two phases:  Operations against Vicksburg and Grant’s operations against Vicksburg. Both the Union and Confederates needed supplies. Union soldiers traveled long distances from their supply wagons and lived mainly off the land. Confederates on the other hand, hoarded food and ammunition. Grant conducted several expeditions in an attempt to enable water bound access to the Mississippi south of Vicksburg’s artillery batteries. All of the expeditions failed. Pemberton’s army surrendered on July 4, 1863, one day after the Confederate defeat at Gettysburg. Grant’s Vicksburg Campaign is considered one of the masterpieces of American military history.
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G. Vocabulary
Cavalry – Soldiers who fight on horseback.
Flank – The right or left side of a formation of soldiers.
Infantry – Soldiers who fight on foot.
Siege – An attempt to capture a place by surrounding it and battering it until it surrenders.
Adversaries – Enemies or opponents
Insignia – Badges that show rank, honor, or membership.
Maneuver -  To carry out a military movement.
Veterans – People who have served in the armed forces.
Rations – Fixed amount of food allotted to military personnel.
Watch – A period of time a crew member is assigned duty, usually of four hours, on board.

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H. Teacher Tips
  • Download and laminate color prints of the museum objects used in the lesson unit plan.
  • Provide materials and pictures for students‘ use.
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I. Lesson Implementation Procedures
Activity One:
Informative Session:  Discuss meaning of each vocabulary word with students using handouts. Students keep definition in binders. Discuss Civil War and why it was fought.

Activity Two:

Review words and facts on The Civil War. Students write 5 questions about material discussed on Day One.
Students will read an image using the “Read a photograph” chart.
Students create question cards to be used in next day’s activity.

Activity Three:
Read, discuss historical documents on Vicksburg Campaign.
Play Civil War trivia game. Divide the students into two groups. Use question cards generated by students on previous day. Have one student be caller for game. Caller asks questions. Teacher will monitor groups. Group with most correct answers wins the game.

Activity Four: 
Students will plot the troop movement of Fred Grant, the 12 year old son of General Ulysses S. Grant on a United States map and calculate the mileage that the unit traveled. Students will write a letter to U.S. troops in Iraq.

Activity Five:
Students will design a flag or banner featuring the insignia for their regiment.
Provide students with a description of a typical Civil War sailor’s daily routine on board a gunboat. Use a large clock face. Divide the class into “Watches” by assigning groups shifts in blocks of 4-5 hours (shift/watch times vary depending on number of students in class) to cover the whole 24 hours. Have students compile a list of duties that would be conducted during each of their “Watch periods.”
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J. Evaluation/Assessment for Measurable Results
  • Vocabulary Test
  • Matching test/pictures of objects from museum with words to define it.
  • Exhibit displays
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K. Extension and Enrichment Activities
  • The students will go on a field trip to the Vicksburg National Military Park and view the park’s fiber optic map as well as films at the park’s main Visitor Center and the U.S.S. Cairo Museum.
  • Students will visit the local library to view video on the Civil War., slide show presentation on the Army/Navy and its effect on the Vicksburg Campaign.
  • Students will write paragraphs on why the Vicksburg National Military Park is important to Vicksburg and Mississippi.
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L. Resources
  • Bibliography
  • Catalog cards on museum objects used in the lesson unit plan
  • The Civil War Dictionary, Boatner, Mark M. David Mckay Company, Inc. New York. 1959
  • The Army’s Naval Series, Volume 2, Gibson, Ray, Ensign Press. 1995
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M. Site Visit
The site visit includes a visit to the:
  • Vicksburg National Military Park
  • Students will visit the local library
  • Virtual museum exhibit

  • Pre-visit:
    Before the visit, have students visit the institution’s website for an overview or provide brochures and other written/visual materials about the site. Have each student come up with 2-3 questions to guide the visit.  Work with park interpretive and museum staff to arrange the visit with challenging activities.

    Site visit:
    At the site, have students select at least two objects on exhibit to analyze.  Provide “How to Read an Object” sheets.  It also includes an object sketch sheet (white space to make a detailed sketch of the objects).  For younger students, use the ‘How to Read an Object’ chart for elementary school students together with a “scavenger hunt” object list to encourage close observation skills.

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