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About the Book
The Maps of the Wilderness: An Atlas of the Wilderness Campaign, May 2-7, 1864 continues Bradley M. Gottfried’s efforts to study and illustrate the major campaigns of the Civil War’s Eastern Theater. This is his fifth book in the ongoing Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series. The previous four were The Maps of Gettysburg (2007), The Maps of First Bull Run (2009), The Maps of Antietam (2012), and The Maps of the Bristoe Station and Mine Run Campaigns (2013).
This latest magisterial work breaks down the entire campaign (and all related operational maneuvers) into 24 map sets or “action-sections” enriched with 120 original full-page color maps. These spectacular cartographic creations bore down to the regimental and battery level. The Maps of the Wilderness includes an assessment of the winter of 1863-1864, the planning for the campaign, the crossing of the Rapidan River, and two days of bloody combat and the day of watchful stalemate thereafter.
At least one—and as many as eight—maps accompany each “action-section.” Opposite each map is a full facing page of detailed footnoted text describing the units, personalities, movements, and combat (including quotes from eyewitnesses) depicted on the accompanying map, all of which make the story of the first large-scale combat of 1864 come alive. Each cartographic snapshot also serves to unlock everything ever written on the subject. This detailed coverage also includes an order of battle, interview with the author, bibliography, and an index.
This original presentation leads readers on a journey through the epic battle that would prove to be the opening salvo in a prolonged fight that would not end until the Confederates surrendered at Appomattox in April 1865. The Wilderness Campaign has two unique characteristics. First, although he did not command the Army of the Potomac, the battle was Ulysses S. Grant’s first against General Robert E. Lee. Second, the Wilderness fighting—prolonged, bloody, and inconclusive—is widely viewed as the most confusing action of the entire war. The dense thickets and deep smoke obscured much of what occurred during the two days of combat. Gottfried’s book cuts through the confusion to deliver a clear account of the horrendous struggle.
Perfect for the easy chair or for walking hallowed ground, The Maps of the Wilderness is a seminal work that, like his earlier studies, belongs on the bookshelf of every serious and casual student of the Civil War, or in the hands of an avid enthusiast out walking the Hallowed Ground.
'"It is impossible to conceive a field worse adapted to the movements of a grand army," wrote a Union officer about the Wilderness. For modern readers, though, Bradley Gottfried's The Maps of the Wilderness makes this 'dark, close wood' immediately accessible and understandable.With clear prose and outstanding maps,this volume is a worthy successor to Gottfried's other fine work."
-- Chris Mackowski,Emerging Civil War Series editor and co-author of That Furious Struggle:Chancellorsville and the High Tide of the Confederacy
"The Maps of the Wilderness, Bradley M. Gottfried's latest addition to the outstanding Savas Beatie Military Atlas series, is arguably his best work to date. Through exhaustive research, Gottfried effortlessly interweaves text and maps together,making sense of the Civil War's most confusing battle. Countless firsthand accounts, coupled with a detailed understanding of the battlefield's terrain,vividly bring this battlefield to life.Gottfried has an uncanny ability to cut through the fog of war to create calm from chaos, and flawlessly reconstruct the harrowing actions in the Wilderness. This work bolsters the historiography of a complex battle, and reshapes the way buffs and historians view the battle for decades to come."
-- Kristopher D.White,co-author of A Season of Slaughter:The Battle of Spotsylvania Court House and Chancellorsville's Forgotten Front: The Battles of Second Fredericksburg and Salem Church
Bradley M. Gottfried served as a college educator for over 40 years before he retired in 2017. After receiving his doctorate, he was a full-time faculty member for eleven years and then entered the administrator ranks, rising to the position of president, serving for 17 years in this position at two colleges. His interest in the Civil War began when he was a youngster in the Philadelphia area. He has written 14 books on the Civil War, including a number on Gettysburg and map studies of various campaigns. A resident of the Chambersburg/Gettysburg, Pennsylvania area, Brad is an Antietam Licensed Battlefield Guide and a Gettysburg Licensed Town Guide.