Question of the Week: 7/13-7-19/20

Let’s start the week with some cartography…

What’s your favorite historic Civil War map—meaning one used during the war or created by veterans?

13 Responses to Question of the Week: 7/13-7-19/20

  1. My favorite is a map of Chattanooga & environs made using the revolutionary photo copying sun map process used by the Army of the Cumberland topographers. It is multicolored… in fact it is downright strange looking. Be that as it may, the sun map process created copies of maps with up to date corrections very quickly. It gave the AoC a clear tactical advantage over Bragg & his hand drawn maps.

  2. In the Western Theatre the best maps were created by George Thom, USMA Class of 1839. He was responsible for the beautiful detailed depictions of Pittsburg Landing and Corinth in 1862, used by Buell’s Army of the Ohio. But, there was a secret to Colonel Thom’s work: if one examines those Western Theatre charts closely, the name, “Otto H. Matz” is likely to be discovered along one border in tiny print. Matz was born in Prussia in 1830 and trained at Berlin Polytechnic Institute; then he migrated to America. When Civil War broke out, he offered his services… and became Colonel Thom’s assistant until July 1862. When Henry Halleck was called east, he took Colonel Thom with him; and Major Matz ended up working for Ulysses S. Grant. Matz produced maps used during the Vicksburg Campaign; and he produced after-battle maps of Milliken’s Bend, and Fort Donelson. The works of Thom and Matz are available via Library of Congress,+otto+h.

  3. The Hotchkiss map of the Shenandoah. It was on display a few years ago at the Library of Congress. It’s size and details were both amazing!

  4. 1. Nathaniel Michler’s maps of the Army of the Potomac’s battlefields.
    2. Jeremy Gilmer’s maps of Virginia counties.
    467. Henry Knox Sneden’s watercolors.

  5. The maps created by William Merrill ‘s superior topographical system of the Army of the Cumberland during the Tullahoma Campaign…both his weekly skeleton maps with their question marks to alert subordinate topo engineers of priority input & the resulting composite maps distributed to division commanders. Rosecrans praised Merrill’s system as key to perhaps the most effective maneuver campaign of the war.

  6. I don’t think I could pick out any single map. I love maps. I have two of the super-large format OA Atlas books, well used with lots of yellow stickies on them, as the organization makes it difficult to find all the relevant maps of a single location. The West Point Army atlas books are also very good. I have some GIS software, and years ago had a go at trying to geoposition some tiffs of civil war maps for the Antietam campaign, but it was very difficult to get a good fit. The “topogs” were good, but not perfect. I guess they could have used a good GPS.

    As an aside, I think it would be great if publishers made digital maps available, either geo-tiff (raster) or shapefile (vector), then users could use map display tools to manipulate the data. That way things like troop positions could be set as map layers.

  7. The sketch map of artillery positions at Gettysburg by Charles W. Reed (9th Massachusetts Light) is an interesting one. Obviously the scale is kind of whacky and the locations are super general, but its still a cool concept.

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