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In order to make the most effective use of the time your students have on-site, teachers should make arrangements to have their class view the Fort Fisher orientation program prior to their arrival. This will not only give your students important historical information ahead of their visit but will also allow time for more hands-on experience at the site. The video is available on the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources YouTube channel.
Students should read the chapters of The North Carolina Civil War Experience on North Carolina as a Civil War Battlefield which will give vital background information on the Battle of Fort Fisher and Wartime North Carolina which describes the economic hardships and how blockade running during the war attempted to address these hardships.
Students should read the Site Narratives provided in this unit which describe the economics behind blockade running, the importance of Wilmington to the survival of the Confederacy, and the importance of Fort Fisher and the Cape Fear River Defenses to the survival of Wilmington. The last three narratives detail the first and second battles at Fort Fisher as well as the advance on Wilmington after the fall of the fort.
View and, if possible, print out the Timothy O'Sullivan photos of Shepherd's Battery, Second Gun Chamber, Northern Battlements, and Land Front Interior found on the Fort Fisher website. When you visit the site, take a digital camera along to photograph the same view of each of these areas for post-visit comparisons. You may need to get your tour guide to point out some of these vantage points to you.
Teachers may use the Supplemental Lesson Plans as a pre-visit activity or a stand-alone classroom lesson. Classes preparing for a field trip to the site should familiarize themselves with the Site Map and the Glossary of Terms prior to their visit.