About This Lesson
This lesson is based on the National Register of Historic Places registration file, "Port Hudson Battlefield" (with photographs), and other primary sources about the siege. It was made possible by the National Park Service's American Battlefield Protection Program. The lesson written by Gregg Potts, Site Manager at the Port Hudson State Commemorative Area, and Arthur W. Bergeron, Jr., historian at Pamplin Park Civil War Site in Petersburg, Virginia. 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: The lesson could be used in units on the Civil War. Students will strengthen their skills of observation, research, and analysis of primary sources.
Time period: Late 19th century
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 explain how the physical features of the area made Port Hudson strategically important for both sides.
2) To examine the particular characteristics of siege warfare and how it affected soldiers physically and mentally.
3) To determine if their own community has withstood monumental crises, and how it responded to such a situation.
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-resolution version.
1) two maps showing the Mississippi Valley and Port Hudson;
2) four readings about the siege, including several first-hand accounts from soldiers;
3) five historic photographs made during the siege and after the surrender;
4) one illustration of AfricanAmerican troops at Port Hudson from Harper's Weekly;
Visiting the site
Port Hudson State Commemorative Area is located in East Feliciana Parish adjacent to the old town site of Port Hudson, Louisiana. The main entrance is located on U.S. Highway 61, approximately 15 miles north of Baton Rouge. Port Hudson State Commemorative Area is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. year round, except New Year's, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For more information, contact the Commemorative Area Manager, Port Hudson State Commemorative Area, 756 West PlainsPort Hudson Road, Zachary, LA 70791.