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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 01:14 am
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Here Come the Rebels!
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Gentlemen,

I have just recently joined this site, and this is my first posting, and first question.  I must admit this site is quite extensive and I am not sure if this is being posted in the proper place, but I thought I'd rather get it out there in the wrong place, than wait until I figure out the right place, (which could take a little while).

So, the question is this what book(s)/ resources would you recommend that have "Battlefield maps" from the time period of the actual battles that occurred during the Civil War?  Is there an Atlas of maps, (or better), that you could recommend?

Specifically I am looking for maps that, ideally, were crafted by someone back in the same year, or up to ten years after the battle.  I would like to get a clear sense of the accurate distances between crossroads junctions, as well as, the distances between units. 

I would also like to get a sense of the altitude changes, rivers, creeks, fords, towns, bridges, woods, and how thick those woods are.

Basically, I am just taken with the little that I have found, and want to see more and be able to get a very clear picture of the terrain and units on the field of battle.

Topography maps are fine, maps with units better, maps created close to the time of the battle best.

Any and all help will be very welcome!

Cheers,

Will Green

(Here Come the Rebels!)



 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 01:29 am
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ole
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Sounds like what you want is the "official Military Atlas of the Civil War. It was done to accompany the Official Records.

At one time, it was worth $75, and it's way too big to fit on your shelves. Just guessing here, but it's about 16" by 20 ". The good news: Barnes & Noble has reprinted it. Last time I saw, it was about $20.

These are mostly maps made at the time, if not on the spot. Some are very good. Many are not. But all are what was known about the field at the time.

ole



 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 04:00 am
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susansweet
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I have the offical atlas that Ole was talking about.  The problem with it is the size.  Finding a place to keep it is the major problem.  I have stubbed my toe on it many times.  Also it is so big a place to open and keep it is needed.  I swear I am going to get a table to put it on and a big magnifying glass.

Susan



 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 04:38 am
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Ole, this may sound like just the thing.  Did you pick a copy of this up?  Is it a resource that you consider to be worthwhile?  Also, you mentioned that Barnes and Noble reprinted it.  Does that mean it is available in their stores presently?

Thanks for the help!



 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 04:40 am
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Here Come the Rebels!
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...and Ladies... thank you for the warning!  I am okay with 'them big books'...I'm gonna' start lookin' for it today!



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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 05:24 am
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ole
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Spect that you can order it. Remember that B&N reprinted it and you don't need to pay $70 for it. I've had mine for more than 20 years. Almost bought the reprint, because mine is quite tattered and almost looseleaf now. I had it on the kitchen table for about a week once. Then the slamming doors and pots and glares gave me a hint. So now it leans wherever there is a spot.

As mentioned, there are better maps out there -- but not in one great big grand book. If you never buy another book, Here Comes, this is one you will be glad you have.

ole



 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 06:33 am
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susansweet
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I have seen it at Barnes and Noble . I won mine at a Conference. So it cost me five dollars.



 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 11:09 am
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TimK
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I bought mine through the Barnes & Noble web site. I believe they are the publisher. If I remember correctly, it cost about $27.



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 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 02:09 pm
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Here Come the Rebels!
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Hey All, I really appreciate all of your insight, and sharing of the wealth of information.  I am looking into each of your suggestions.  Thank you.



 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 04:49 pm
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David White
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You also can get the full OR (army and navy), the maps, Fox, Lossing, Medical History and several other works on DVD for a pretty reasonable price now ($160 of so) and all are pretty searchable with a search tool better than the ones at the sites that host the OR.



 Posted: Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 05:41 pm
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ole
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Hey, Mr. White. I heard that Guild Press is now defunct. And that someone else has taken up the business of supplying the OR CD. My copy is old and doesn't include all the bells and whistles that later versions had.

In any event, there are at least two online sources featuring the ORs. But, I figure having the CD is worth some sacrifice (like skipping lunch for two weeks). It's like Here Comes search for an atlas ... there are a few things that a CW student must have. The ORs, CD, on line, or (gasp) the 128 volume set. If you're serious about it, you need to be able to check someones end note.

(Edit and add on.) For our new friends: Eventually, you will get to a place where you check the source to see what it really says.  You will occasionally find that a snippet of a record is presented to show this or that ... but that the entire source says something else. The checking of footnotes and endnotes will slow the reading, but it will help you verify the believability of the author. It's a price you will eventually pay. A book I would have read in a week now takes a month. (The book a week was when I was working. I'm retired now and the book takes a lot longer because I need to check the reference now and then.)

It is rare that an author will falsify, but it does happen. One example and I'll leave you alone. Lincoln was a racist ... see what he said in the 1858 debates. Now. Read that entire debate. Well. You get the picture. The more you know, the more you know what you don't know. It's a vicious cycle. But welcome to the circle of people asking questions.

ole

Last edited on Wed Apr 23rd, 2008 06:03 pm by ole



 Posted: Sat Apr 26th, 2008 09:03 pm
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David White
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Ole:

Mine is from Oliver Computing LLC and I regualry see them atvertise in all the Civil War rags.



 Posted: Sun Apr 27th, 2008 04:47 pm
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Hello, HCTR, welcome to the board, and a very good question.

You already know that some maps were incomplete, inaccurate, and had confusing place names.  Generals sometimes couldn't tell where they were in relation to a crossroads, ford, etc.

Other maps were drawn for the after-action report.  Stonewall Jackson worked closely with one of his cartographers, Jed Hotchkiss.  Hotchkiss had already made his maps, and was able to get maps from other commands, so had about as accurate a picture as possible.  Jackson couldn't know the terrain features of every pasture and woodlot, so he depended on his cartographers to tell HIM who went where, in order to submit an accurate report.

I have trouble interpreting some of those old maps, because streams and roads look the same.  The maps were drawn for the generals on the ground, not for the casual 21st-century book-reading tourist like me who can't tell the difference between a creek and a run.  :=))  Patty



 Posted: Mon Apr 28th, 2008 12:18 am
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Widow wrote: Hello, HCTR, welcome to the board, and a very good question.

You already know that some maps were incomplete, inaccurate, and had confusing place names.  Generals sometimes couldn't tell where they were in relation to a crossroads, ford, etc.

Other maps were drawn for the after-action report.  Stonewall Jackson worked closely with one of his cartographers, Jed Hotchkiss.  Hotchkiss had already made his maps, and was able to get maps from other commands, so had about as accurate a picture as possible.  Jackson couldn't know the terrain features of every pasture and woodlot, so he depended on his cartographers to tell HIM who went where, in order to submit an accurate report.

I have trouble interpreting some of those old maps, because streams and roads look the same.  The maps were drawn for the generals on the ground, not for the casual 21st-century book-reading tourist like me who can't tell the difference between a creek and a run.  :=))  Patty


Hi Patty, and thanks for the welcome!  Your insight into the interaction between Jackson and Hotchkiss is very well received.  This is new information for me, and I do appreciate it.

Which resources have you found to be most helpful?

Thanks, in advance, HC the Rebels.



 Posted: Mon Apr 28th, 2008 07:56 am
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fedreb
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Hello HCTR,
Jed Hotchkiss wrote a book, called "Make Me A Map Of The Valley, The Civil War Journal of Stonewall Jackson's Topographer", fascinating read although only a few maps. Well worth getting hold of a copy.



 Posted: Mon Apr 28th, 2008 10:46 am
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HCTR, fedreb mentioned Jed Hotchkiss' "Make Me a Map of the Valley."  That's the book where I learned about Jackson's reliance on the maps of his cartographers.

Hotchkiss kept a journal during the war, and also wrote letters to his wife.  Years later he published the journal, and inserted parts of his letters, along with explanatory comments.  The result was a more complete story of his wartime years.

Fedreb is right, there aren't many maps in "Make Me a Map of the Valley."  It wasn't a how-to book for cartographers, but rather a description of his daily activities.  Something like "spent several hours in my tent working on the Cross Keys map."  Or "Sent most of my documents home because I will be on detached duty from the General's staff."  Or "Took two privates to the top of the mountain.  Spent two days studying and sketching the terrain, as well as observing the enemy's positions."  These aren't verbatim quotes, by the way.

Hotchkiss' home was in the Shenandoah Valley, he was well acquainted with many men in Jackson's army, and of course with the farms, hamlets, roads, railroad, fords, etc.  What an awful feeling to know that the enemy is now occupying the area of your house, that your wife and children are at their mercy.  There you are, up on top of the mountain, and you can't do a thing to protect your own family.

Hotchkiss owned a boarding school for boys, and was for many years a teacher of math, among other subjects.  He knew how to explain complicated ideas so his pupils could understand them.

Hotchkiss commented that Jackson had trouble making the mental leap from markings on a map to the 3-D ground truth.  Therefore Hotchkiss drew his maps in such a way to make it easier for Jackson to grasp; during their consultations, Hotchkiss explained the features so the general didn't have to ask a lot of time-consuming questions.

Other little insights into the character of Old Blue Light.  One day while riding along, the general whistled a jaunty tune.  Another time he cracked a joke.  I suppose Hotchkiss mentioned it because it was unusual.  It's hard for me to imagine that Stonewall had a sense of humor, because he took everything so seriously.  That's why I enjoyed Jed's book.  Patty



 Posted: Mon Apr 28th, 2008 01:34 pm
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After hearing about Jackson, through the eyes of Hotchkis, I think of the adage, "the more you know, (or find out), the more you realize how little you know."  This book is definately on my wish list now.

Thank you both for the information.

HCTR



 Posted: Mon Apr 28th, 2008 09:16 pm
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Check out "Abebooks.com"  They have a couple under $20.

 

Check this URL this is from addall.com

They had several under $20.

http://used.addall.com/SuperRare/submitRare.cgi?author=+&title=%22Official+Military+Atlas+of+the+Civil+War%22&keyword=&isbn=&order=TITLE&ordering=ASC&dispCurr=USD&binding=Any+Binding&min=&max=&timeout=20&match=Y&store=Abebooks&store=AbebooksDE&store=AbebooksFR&store=AbebooksUK&store=Alibris&store=Amazon&store=AmazonCA&store=AmazonUK&store=AmazonDE&store=AmazonFR&store=Antiqbook&store=Biblio&store=Biblion&store=Bibliophile&store=Bibliopoly&store=Booksandcollectibles&store=Half&store=ILAB&store=LivreRareBook&store=Powells&store=Strandbooks&store=ZVAB

Don

 



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