Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Maps of Chickamauga

The latest release in the amazing Savas Beatie "Maps of ... "series is the Maps of Chickamauga, by Dave Powell and cartography by David Friedrichs. I received my copy the other day and it is another amazing volume.

The basic concept for each book is that when the book is laid open the right side page has a map and the left side page has the text that explains the actions on that map. The book is in a large format (7X10) so the maps are nice and big and there is quite a bit of text accompanying each map. This is not simply a paragraph or two but a full page of text. If you just read the text and never looked at a map you would have a good understanding of the battle but the maps really seal the deal.

The other way to get the most out of these map books is to refer to those maps while reading one of the highly detailed battle histories that are out there. For instance with this book you would pair it with Peter Cozzens' This Terrible Sound. Cozzens' book does have a good number of maps for a battle history but Powell and Friedrichs probably have 10 times the maps, with more detail. Also the problem with a book like Cozzens is that often when you need a map you've already passed it so you need to flip back to the map. Now you just need to keep a second bookmark in the map book so that you keep pace in that book as you read the detailed battle history. (I don't mean to pick on Cozzens, I'm just using him as an example since the latest map book is on Chickamauga, all battle histories suffer from this problem, its not the fault of the author, its just that none of them have upwards of 100 maps in them).

When the Rocky Mountain Civil War Round Table does a battle study we always have a ton of maps in a binder. When Chickamauga comes around again on our schedule we can just use this book instead of creating a massive binder of maps. Okay, I'll probably still create a massive binder of maps, but I really wouldn't need to.

Earlier Ted Savas provided me with a few low resolution images from the book. If you click on them they'll be a bit better.

Ted also informed me that Powell and Freidrichs are currently working on a book on Chattanooga/Knoxville (and attendant satellite actions). And that Bradley Gottfried is keeping the series going in the Eastern Theater with the Maryland Campaign coming out next. The map series will also include several books on the Trans-Mississippi theater campaigns.


Here's a page of text and the accompanying map.


Nick said...

Oddly the files I have for the maps also shows the facing page of text but when it loaded here the text ends up being blank space. I'll take a picture tonight of the book opened and post that here as an update.

Dave Powell said...


Thanks for the klnd words. We tried hard to make Chickamauga coherent, and I think we succeeded. I'm glad you approve.

Dave Powell