Educator's Guide: Social Studies: Maps


Maps were a critical aspect of any battle. Generals would plan strategies and tactics based cavalry reconnaissance, spies and maps. Maps provide the preliminary information to plan the strategy for the campaign.


Students will research reference materials, including topographic maps of the Vicksburg area. Using the activity sheet map, students will outline the strategies of the Union and Confederate armies during the siege. The class may be divided into groups. Each group will make tactical decisions based solely on the information on the map. Students will construct a map of the Vicksburg area with their battle plan. Students will then compare their strategies and tactics with the actual map from the siege.

Younger students may color the map of the Siege of Vicksburg and identify the location of earthworks, historic roads, railroads, creeks and venous boundaries. They can answer the questions on the activity sheet.

Challenge to older students: Divide the class into two groups, Confederate and Union. Each member of the group is a general trying to get the group to adopt their plan. By the end of a two day session the groups must design a strategic plan to defend or open the Mississippi River. Using; topographic map of the United States, the students will mark sites of forts, possible battles, major economic, transportation and supply centers. Once the groups have developed their strategies, they will decide on the tactics necessary to achieve their goal This is an excellent introductory activity to the Western front of the war. The students can refer back to their plans as they study the Civil War.

Classroom Activities:

  • Art
  • Geography
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies


  • 5- 12


Students will read and construct a map to demonstrate a knowledge of physical geography and spatial relations during the Siege of Vicksburg.


Map Activity Sheets, Writing materials, art supplies.


Last updated: April 14, 2015

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