The Maps of Antietam – Bradley M. Gottfried

This book is an atlas of the Antietam campaign in the American Civil War.  It is part of a series that so far has done First Bull Run, Gettysburg, and Chickamauga.

Since it is an atlas of the campaign rather than just the battle, it includes the movements that led up to the battle, which in this case is the crossing of the Potomac and the taking of Frederick, MD, the move to take Harper’s Ferry and the counter-moves by McClellan that produced the battles of South Mountain and Crampton’s Gap, and then the fall of Harper’s Ferry and the battle itself.

The format is a good one for map lovers, as the right side page is a full-sized map and the facing page on the left is text for that map.  You never have to flip 50 pages back to refer to a map when reading the text of this book!

The text isn’t breaking a whole lot of new ground, but it is clear that the author is up to date with the rest of the field and used the information in preparing it.  And I don’t think that this is a bad thing – the main ‘new information’ is the frequency and accuracy of the maps themselves.  They are more or less one per day or more up to the battle and every few hours at most in the battle sections.  Each is full color, and the ground is marked with contour lines, and what kind of greenery and crops are present there.  The paper is has a glossy finish that makes the maps stand out well.  The background of the cover is one of the maps, on the opening of the battle.

It also isn’t too large a book to be carried on a battlefield tramp or to be used as a reference to follow the text of other books on the battle.

I’ve liked all the books in the series, and I look forward to it continuing, and for modern technology to be used to add more and better maps to all books.


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