Have the students refer to large map of the Mississippi River Valley. Have them locate: Vicksburg, MS, Port Hudson, New Orleans, LA, Helena, AR, Memphis, Fort Pillow, Fort Donelson, TN, Columbus, KY, Cairo, IL, New Madrid, Belmont, MO. Have the students answer the following questions.
1. Why was Vicksburg so important to the Union and Confederates
2. Why was Vicksburg a good place to build fortifications?
3. On the topographic map of Vicksburg, mark the old river channel. Mark the sites where you would place forts and batteries.
4. Why was the big bend in the river, important to the defenders of Vicksburg?
5. Looking at the scale of miles, estimate how many miles of fortified lines would be needed to protect Vicksburg today?
6. What features protected Vicksburg from land attack? Which direction would be the way to assault the city?
7. Why wouldn't fortified lines work today? Why did they not work in 1863?
Color the river light blue, the old channel dark blue, color the swamps green, bluffs brown. roads red, railroads black.