- May 30, 2007Murfin's maps also suffer somewhat from the problem that there is no
image of the whole battlefield, making orientation difficult. Since I
owned a copy of the Parks and History Association map before I read
any of these books, I never really had a problem with orientation.
While it is certainly not the 'best' book (at least not for an overall
introduction to the battle), Luvaas & Nelson's "US Army War College
Guide to the Battle of Antietam" is worthy of mention, particularly
for actually visiting the battlefield and related sites at S Mountain
and Harper's Ferry. Definitely the best driving directions for getting
around S Mountain. Whenever I take visitor's to the battlefield, I
always take the route that they suggest: start at the Pry House, then
to the Keedysville road, over the little Antietam, past Pry's Mill,
over the upper bridge, down the Smoketown road into the east woods.
Not only does it take you past fields, roads and houses that look like
they haven't changed much since 1862, but it also gives a good sense
the kind of ground in the area. And, there will be no other tourists
entering the battlefield from that route. At first glance their maps
are somewhat primitive, but they do show contour lines, which in my
opinion makes them far more useful than the maps in the other three.
Cute symbols for corn and clover and stubble are cool but they just
don't work when the map is reduced to book page size. Also
indispensable if you are using the map while visiting the battlefield
is the inclusion of modern features (e.g. roads, structures and tour
stops) so that you can figure out where you are in relation to the
historical features. None of the big three's maps show modern
features, but the Luvaas & Nelson maps do. It's too bad that Luvaas &
Nelson only did little map segments at Antietam to illustrate the
portions of ground they study instead of producing a whole battlefield
map because I think they had the right idea given the limitations of
maps that appear in a book. Their map of the Harper's Ferry area is great.
--- In TalkAntietam@yahoogroups.com, "Thomas Clemens" <clemenst@...>
>Carman/Cope maps, but they do indeed leave out the elevation markings.
> I couldn't agree more! The P&H map is the base map of the
Great if you want to know crops types, fences, etc. but not good for
understanding the battle. Preist used this map, but the whole thing
never appears in the book so if you don't know the field to begin
with, you'll be lost like a hiccup in a hurricane. Also he used some
odd symbols for artillery, etc.
> Tom Clemen
> Thomas G. Clemens D.A.
> Professor of History
> Hagerstown Community College
> >>> "T. R. Livesey" <tlivesey@...> 05/30/07 1:36 PM >>>
> In Murfin's introduction, he states that the maps are the work of
> James D. Bowlby, the result of 10 years of field surveys, a revision
> of the Cope maps. The base map looks a lot like the Cope maps, but
> use terrain symbols much more suitable for smaller-scale reproduction.
> There are a few differences: one shows a corn field where the other
> shows clover, etc. Inexplicably, the elevation contour lines have
> been removed in Murphin's, seriously compromising their usefulness.
> Priest uses the "Parks and History Association" map as his base, which
> I think more closely follows the Cope maps. It uses symbols that are
> similar, but not identical to the Cope maps. I don't know the history
> of this map. It too lacks elevation markings.
> From my experience, including elevation markings is always a
> challenge, especially if you want to zoom out and show a broader
> expanse of area. The downside, of course, is that you end up with
> maps that look like the way Sears' text reads: there is no way to
> really understand how the terrain affects the situation. For example,
> in the maps of all three of these books, the reader cannot appreciate
> the situation in the 40 acre cornfield: how can the 4RI get `lost'?
> How can A.P. Hill come up out of nowhere on Burnside's left? I think
> a serious argument can be made that the elevation information is more
> important than the ground cover information (woods vs. corn vs.
> clover, etc.). But ground cover maps are more aesthetically pleasing
> to look at and readers are drawn to them.
> The obvious solution to the `busying-up' effect of contour lines is to
> use contours of greater intervals: 50 ft. instead of 20 ft. or
> whatever. Curiously, the version of the Parks and History Association
> map sold at the Antietam bookstore is plenty large for contour
> makings, but they are nonetheless omitted. I think somehow the authors
> of these maps have simply decided that elevation markings are not
> necessary. This is why the Cope maps are far more useful than any of
> these others.
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