Monday, June 7, 2010

Review: The Maps of Chickamauga

The Maps of Chickamauga
By David A Powell & David A. Friedrichs

My great great grandfather, Walter E. Partridge, received a wound on his forehead on September 20th, 1863. It was the second day of the Battle of Chickamauga and he was a private in Company F of the 36th Illinois Infantry, which was a part of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 20th Corps of the Army of the Cumberland. The 1st Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General William H. Lytle, was tramping up a hill which would later bare the name of its commander, when a limber from Battery C, 1st Illinois Artillery, while falling back, swung “round with almost lightning speed struck a dead tree, which caused the top to come off, coming down into Company F” of the 36th Illinois Infantry “and striking two men, one of whom was Oscar Hobbs, supposed to be killed, but was afterwards revived.” The other man, though unnamed is likely to be Walter E. Partridge.

I have referenced several books on the Battle of Chickamauga, trying to get a grasp on the situation my great great grandfather found himself in on that day. A true understanding of a battle can only be had by being able to visualize the battle, and most battle histories contain a sprinkling of maps to supplement the text and give the readers only a basic understanding of what happened on the field. There are never enough maps… until now, that is.

“The Maps of Chickamauga” by David A. Powell and David A. Friedrichs, is a blow by blow, nearly hourly account of the battle which took place on September 19 & 20, 1863, and the preceding Tullahoma Campaign. Their book, the 3rd in Savas Beatie’s Military Atlas Series, contains 126 full page, full color maps, drawn by Mr. Friedrichs, and each accompanied by Mr. Powell’s text on the facing page.

Since many of the maps are detailed down to the brigade and regimental level, the authors have made it possible to follow units on the battlefield throughout the entire course of the battle. Thus making it possible for me to literally walk in the footsteps of my great great grandfather on my next trip to Chickamauga National Battlefield, as well as many other family members who fought there.

My lone criticism, and it is an extremely small one, is the glossy pages made the text hard to read unless you held the book at just the right angle so the light did not reflect off the page. That being said Messrs. Powell and Friedrichs have done an outstanding job making the complicated troop movements during the ebb and flow of the Battle of Chickamauga understandable. Their book is a triumph and a must have for every student of the Civil War! I cannot wait for the next book in the Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series.

As for Walter Partridge, the list of casualties for Company F at Chickamauga in L. G. Bennett & William M. Haigh’s “History of the Thirty-Sixth Regiment Illinois Volunteers, During the War of the Rebellion” lists Oscar Hobbs and Walter E. Partridge, side by side, both with head wounds. I may not ever know if he was the second man hit by the tree, but I now can at least stand on the hill upon which he fought, and see the battle from his perspective.

ISBN 978-1932714722, Savas Beatie LLC, © 2009, Hardcover, 320 pages, Maps, Appendices, Endnotes, Bibliography & Index. $39.95

1 comment:

Christopher said...

ekstrasAbsolutely concur with your review of this book! The Battle of Chickamauga has always fascinated me, and this book has been one of my favorites since I bought a copy, and along with Cozzens' book on the battle they are the definitive story of this bloody battle. Well done! Cheers! Chris