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The Maps of Chickamauga is the anxiously awaited third volume in the acclaimed Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series. Author Powell and cartographer Friedrichs break down the entire operation (including the Tullahoma Campaign) into sixteen map sets or "action-sections" enriched with 126 orginial full-color maps. These cartographic orginals bore down to the regimental and battery level and include the march to and from the battlefield and every signifigant event in between. At least four (and as many as sixteen) maps...
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The Maps of Chickamauga is the anxiously awaited third volume in the acclaimed Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series. Author Powell and cartographer Friedrichs break down the entire operation (including the Tullahoma Campaign) into sixteen map sets or "action-sections" enriched with 126 orginial full-color maps. These cartographic orginals bore down to the regimental and battery level and include the march to and from the battlefield and every signifigant event in between. At least four (and as many as sixteen) maps accompany each "action-section."
Posted June 8, 2010
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My great great grandfather, Walter E. Partridge, received a wound on his forehead on September 20th, 1863. It was the second day of the Battle of Chickamauga and he was a private in Company F of the 36th Illinois Infantry, which was a part of the 1st Brigade, 3rd Division, 20th Corps of the Army of the Cumberland. The 1st Brigade, commanded by Brigadier General William H. Lytle, was tramping up a hill which would later bare the name of its commander, when a limber from Battery C, 1st Illinois Artillery, while falling back, swung "round with almost lightning speed struck a dead tree, which caused the top to come off, coming down into Company F" of the 36th Illinois Infantry "and striking two men, one of whom was Oscar Hobbs, supposed to be killed, but was afterwards revived." The other man, though unnamed is likely to be Walter E. Partridge.
I have referenced several books on the Battle of Chickamauga, trying to get a grasp on the situation my great great grandfather found himself in on that day. A true understanding of a battle can only be had by being able to visualize the battle, and most battle histories contain a sprinkling of maps to supplement the text and give the readers only a basic understanding of what happened on the field. There are never enough maps. until now, that is.
"The Maps of Chickamauga" by David A. Powell and David A. Friedrichs, is a blow by blow, nearly hourly account of the battle which took place on September 19 & 20, 1863, and the preceding Tullahoma Campaign. Their book, the 3rd in Savas Beatie's Military Atlas Series, contains 126 full page, full color maps, drawn by Mr. Friedrichs, and each accompanied by Mr. Powell's text on the facing page.
Since many of the maps are detailed down to the brigade and regimental level, the authors have made it possible to follow units on the battlefield throughout the entire course of the battle. Thus making it possible for me to literally walk in the footsteps of my great great grandfather on my next trip to Chickamauga National Battlefield, as well as many other family members who fought there.
My lone criticism, and it is an extremely small one, is the glossy pages made the text hard to read unless you held the book at just the right angle so the light did not reflect off the page. That being said Messrs. Powell and Friedrichs have done an outstanding job making the complicated troop movements during the ebb and flow of the Battle of Chickamauga understandable. Their book is a triumph and a must have for every student of the Civil War! I cannot wait for the next book in the Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series.
As for Walter Partridge, the list of casualties for Company F at Chickamauga in L. G. Bennett & William M. Haigh's "History of the Thirty-Sixth Regiment Illinois Volunteers, During the War of the Rebellion" lists Oscar Hobbs and Walter E. Partridge, side by side, both with head wounds. I may not ever know if he was the second man hit by the tree, but I now can at least stand on the hill upon which he fought, and see the battle from his perspective.
Posted December 2, 2009
The Savas Beatie Military Atlas Series is one of the few "must have" sets in a Civil War library. Each book contains sequential detailed maps coupled with excellent commentary solving the"map problem" that many current histories have. While inconvenient to keep two books opened, the maps in this series make the effort worthwhile. Each additional book in the series fine-tunes the presentation resulting in a more informative narration and maps that are more useful. "Maps of Chickamauga" is the newest book in the series and benefits from prior experience. The maps are more colorful, the contour lines are better. David A. Fredrichs produced an outstanding series of maps for this book. His maps are clear, detailed and make it easy to follow this confusing battle. The scale of the battle maps is from 80 to 400 yards per inch, depending on the action. The majority of the maps are 120 to 200 yards per inch giving a real tactical view of the battle. The larger scale illustrates a general situation or major movement. Strategic Chickamauga maps are in miles scale covering an area of up to 80 by 100 miles. The Tullahoma Campaign map scale is in miles except for the few critical actions that took place. The action maps scale is hundreds of yards per inch to accommodate the larger cavalry areas.
Narration is the key to a good map book. The author's narration is intelligent, informative and to the point. His excellent in-depth knowledge of the subject gives him a confidence few authors have.
The book contains the following major sections:
Prelude: The Strategic Situation in 1863 is a concise, clear overview that sets the stage for the campaign.
Map Set 1: The Tullahoma Campaign is a series of maps and narration that covers this little known but very important campaign.
Map Set 2: Rosecrans Crosses the Tennessee presents the complex maneuvers in a logical easy to understand manner. The narration and maps complement each other making the marches and counter marches understandable.
Map Set 3 through 16 cover the battle of Chickamauga. They detail the actions leading to the battle and the retreat into Chattanooga. A map and narration can be used answer a question. The best use of this book is to capture the full 3-day of battle by follow the sequence of maps. Doing that brought back some memories of standing somewhere on that map, listening to the author tells us about the fighting during his battlefield walks in March.
The book contains a complete Order of Battle for Tullahoma and Chickamauga. A full Bibliography, Endnotes and a must read Epilogue. Every student of the war in the West will want this excellent book in their library.