Lesson Plan: Fort Fisher in the Civil War (8th Grade)

At the dawn of the American Civil War, the Confederacy took control of a neck of land in southern North Carolina near the mouth of the Cape Fear River. There the government constructed what was to become the largest and one of the most important earthwork fortifications in the South. Fort Fisher guarded the entrance to the Cape Fear and the port of Wilmington, which proved vital to the Confederacy. The seacoast guns at Fisher kept Federal blockading ships at a distance and allowed blockade runners safe passage to Wilmington, where they supplied the Confederate army and brought much needed goods into the South. The story of Fort Fisher is an integral part of the North Carolina Civil War Experience.

This education program, designed for 8th grade students, is one in a series that provides comprehensive, site-based learning experiences concerning the state's Civil War history. The program is a stand-alone unit, but its value is multiplied when combined with one or more additional units. Each program contains at least one supplemental lesson plan. These plans work best in support of the on-site activities, but can also be used if a site visit is not possible.

Program Goals

The story of Fort Fisher is a component for meeting the following NCSCS Goals for Social Studies for 8th Grade:

4.02 Describe the political and military developments of the Civil War and analyze their effect on the outcome of the war.
4.03 Assess North Carolina's role in the Civil War and analyze the social and economic impact of the war on the state.

The story of Fort Fisher is a component for meeting the following National Standard for the Social Sciences:

Standard 2 - The course and character of the Civil War and its effects on the American people.
2A - The student understands how the resources of the Union and Confederacy affected the course of the war.
2B - The student understands the social experience of the war on the battlefield and homefront.

Program Objectives

  1. Students should have an understanding of the importance of blockade running to the economic strategy of the South and how Fort Fisher fit into that strategy.
  2. Students should have an understanding of the strategic importance of Fort Fisher to the defense of Wilmington and Wilmington's importance to the Confederacy.
  3. Students will understand the importance of earthen fortification construction through changes in technology, specifically artillery.