During his session yesterday discussing the eastern theater versus the western theater, Kris White took a few minutes to define the theaters of war.
The eastern theater included Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia. “It was essentially concentrated in a 200-mile corridor between Gettysburg and Petersburg, then over to Appomattox, with most action between D.C. and Richmond,” he said.
The western theater is everything east of the Mississippi and west of the Appalachian mountains. But, he pointed out, if you came to North Carolina, where we are for the American Battlefield Trust’s Teacher Institute, that’s considered part of the west, too. “We’re to the south of Virginia, but this is still the west,” he said. “Go figure.”
He evoked a definition of the two theaters offered by Garry Adelman: “the east” and “not the east.”
“Dave Roth, former editor of Blue & Gray magazine, once described the western theater of the war to me like this,” Kris added. “He used a good football metaphor. Because there’s just so much distance and geography, the West is an open football field with a passing game, where they’re trying to move the ball down the field in chunks.”
The east, because of its much more confined nature, was something Roth described as being more like “two heavy-weight boxers in a phone booth and have them bludgeon each other for 10 rounds.”
“And then there’s the Trans-Mississippi,” Kris deadpanned. “No one seems to care about that.”