Author Topic: What's in the Maps of Antietam?  (Read 4176 times)

bgottfried

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What's in the Maps of Antietam?
« on: May 02, 2012, 01:16:29 AM »
As with the Maps of Gettysburg and Maps of First Bull Run, I like to cover the entire campaign.  So, the Maps of Antietam Book begins on September 2 with the condition of the armies and the germination of the idea for an invasion of the North.  It follows that armies northward to South Mountain and Harpers Ferry.  I really liked getting into the three actions at SM (Fox's Gap, Turner's Gap, and Crampton's Gap) and mapping the siege of Harpers Ferry (including a couple of maps on the seminal action on Maryland Heights) really helped me to get a better understanding of the action there.  Then the armies move on to Sharpsburg.  After covering the action on September 16, I dive into the Battle of Antietam in fairly good detail.  The book ends with the action at Shepherdstown and about seven maps showing the action there.

The book is hefty because it contains 124 color maps on glossy paper.  The colors are vivid and almost jump off the page.  We all owe a debt to Ted Savas for finding a printer who can produce the book at a reasonable cost. 

Brad

History101

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Re: What's in the Maps of Antietam?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2012, 01:09:45 PM »
One thing I have been curious about is how you come up with all the maps? How do you know or find that kind of information to put that together?

CW4ever

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Re: What's in the Maps of Antietam?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2012, 01:57:37 PM »
Thank you for this. Also, I would be curious to know how you determine which source to use when drafting a map when there are so may varying accounts. Deciphering them and piecing them together could get . . . messy, I would imagine.

bgottfried

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Re: What's in the Maps of Antietam?
« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2012, 12:55:30 AM »
Response to CW4ever and History101:   When preparing the map templates, I try to get my hands on as many primary and secondary maps as I can find.  Now comes the fun part-- accurately placing each unit on a page, being careful to show its movements in the same and subsequent maps.  For this I use a variety of primary and secondary sources.  Putting a time on the action is always a challenge as there is so much discrepancy here.

There are so many interpretations of an action.  I have found that you can read the accounts of two men in the same unit who were literally standing 10 feet from each other, describing the events quite differently afterwards.  Length of time from the battle (and memory) have something to do with this, as does a soldier's mental condition.

So, how do I determine which source to use? It really comes down to credibility.  How accurately is the action being described?  Can I find more than one source and if there are, are there some that corroborate each other? Are there geographic features mentioned that don't exist?  How accurate is the timing?  How long after event has it been since the piece was written?  For secondary works, the reputation of the writer is so important. 

All one can do is use his/her best judgment and be prepared to have "discussions" with other knowledgeable individuals who may have different interpretations.

Brad

« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 01:06:32 AM by bgottfried »

Patrick Young

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Re: What's in the Maps of Antietam?
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2012, 08:05:11 AM »
I already have two in the series. They really are great tools for understanding the battles. Thanks for your extraordinary work on these.

bgottfried

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Re: What's in the Maps of Antietam?
« Reply #5 on: May 09, 2012, 01:14:43 AM »
Thanks for your kind words, Patrick.  My hope is that before too long you have a full bookshelf with these campaign books, starting with First Bull Run and ending with Appomattox.  I am now concentrating on the actions after Gettysburg and that will take three volumes to cover.  Stay tuned for additional information.

History101

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Re: What's in the Maps of Antietam?
« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2012, 09:24:05 AM »
I'm glad to hear that you research the maps so extensively. Sometimes some research doesn't seem thorough to me. So how long did it take you to compile The Maps of Antietam?

bgottfried

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Re: What's in the Maps of Antietam?
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2012, 01:40:51 AM »
Thanks for your note, History 101.  I agree with you that some history books may seem light on research.  This may not necessarily be a reflection on the author as much as a dearth of information on a topic.  There is also the possibility of conflicting accounts and the question of which one to use.  Selecting "incorrectly" could impact perceptions.

To your question about my book-- "how long did it take me to write the Maps of Antietam," I'd have to say about 30 years.  The actual intense research, writing, and cartography, probably took about two years.  One thing that I always do is to have knowledgeable historians review my books before they go to the publisher for editing.  For the Antietam book, Tom Clemens and John Hopkak, both authors of important Antietam works, reviewed the book, as did Ted Savas, who does it while editing.  If there is a loose thread or a vague thought, Ted will find it! 

Hope you enjoy the book.

Brad

History101

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Re: What's in the Maps of Antietam?
« Reply #8 on: July 06, 2012, 12:42:02 PM »
Wow, 30 years! That was a higher number than I was expecting. Is this how long it took you to write and research your other map books? My copy of Antietam just arrived. It is a beautiful book :)

bgottfried

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Re: What's in the Maps of Antietam?
« Reply #9 on: July 06, 2012, 12:51:40 PM »
Okay, I probably exaggerated, but Antietam has always been a favorite of mine.  Until I sit down and work on a map book, I never really understand a campaign.  I can honestly say that I understand the Antietam Campaign much more than I ever did before. 

Thanks for your feedback on the Antietam book...I agree!

Brad

bgottfried

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Re: What's in the Maps of Antietam?
« Reply #10 on: August 05, 2012, 02:41:13 AM »
Not often enough.  I need to be better at checking it out and posting responses/new forums.  I have been so busy with my "day job" and with getting my newest map book out the door.