Tuesday, May 27, 2008

An Atlas Of A Battle

June 3 - July 13, 1863
By Bradley Gottfried

I can’t begin to tell you how many descriptions of Civil War troop movements I’ve been frustrated by: this brigade moved here or that regiment moved there. I am a visual person, I learn best when I can visualize things… therefore I, by my nature, am a map person. Most books on Civil War battles contain only enough maps to cover the most basic aspects of troop movements in a particular battle. There are never enough maps for me.

Bradley Gottfried understands me and others like me and has authored nothing less than an atlas of the Gettysburg campaign. Like an oasis in the middle of the desert, The Maps of Gettysburg: An Atlas Of The Gettysburg Campaign, June 3 - July 13, 1863, has quenched my thirst for maps.

Mr. Gottfried’s book contains 29 maps map sets, each containing between 2 & 21 maps, covering the advance to Gettysburg, the battle and the Confederate retreat. In all the 136 maps give nearly an hour by hour account of the three day battle that changed the course of American History. At last I am able to see and understand the fighting back and forth across the unfinished railroad cut on July 1st, the bloody, awful fighting in the Wheatfield and Peach Orchard on the 2nd and the breathtaking and awe inspiring lines of the Picket-Pettigrew-Trimble charge as they moved across the Emmitsburg Road on July 3rd.

Each map is accompanied on its left facing page by a descriptive text detailing the specificities of troop movements at the corps, division, brigade, regimental and some times even down to the company level.

My one and only criticism of Mr. Gottfried’s book is there is almost no reference to time. A date/time stamp on each map would have been helpful, when moving from one map set to another in identifying events that were taking place on different areas the battlefield at approximately the same time. That is but a small flaw in an otherwise nearly perfect book.

The Maps of Gettysburg is without a doubt, an indispensable work on the Gettysburg Campaign. No library, Civil War historian or student of the war should be without a copy.


Sarah Keeney said...

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the time you took to write a review of The Maps of Gettysburg. We are glad you enjoyed the book. I know you will enjoy One Continuous Fight as well. You can read more about the book on our website here http://savasbeatie.com/books/OCF_book.htm, where there is also a link to the authors' site.

Sarah Keeney

Jim Miller said...

Thanks Sarah, my copy of One Continuous Fight is already on order & if the high quality of other Savas Beatie books I've read is indicative, I'm sure it will be an excellant book which I will most definitely enjoy!