Sgt. William P. Holden, Co. H, 2nd Maine Infantry, On the Battle

29 01 2013

Position of the Second.

1861 8-3 Bangor Daily Whig and Courier 2d Maine Bull Run with map 1861 8-3 Bangor Daily Whig and Courier 2d Maine Bull Run with map

We copy above what we should judge to be a very correct diagram of the position of our Second at the battle of Bull Run. It was roughly made, with such conveniences as are at the command of soldiers, by Wm. P. Holden of this city, and accompanied a private letter to his father. We copy such portions of the letter as explain the map; that our readers may understand, as clearly as may be, the exact position of our regiment, at the fight. After giving an account of the terrible forced march, fatigue and almost starvation preceding the attack, he says: -

We started for Bull Run on Sunday morning at 2 o’clock. The head of the column came up to a battery about 8 o’clock, and the artillery commenced throwing shell and balls into it, and in about half an hour they left it, and retreated to another. The artillery moved to the top of a hill, marked our battery. I have only marked on the map the battery which our regiment charged upon. There were eight more to the right. It was 12 o’clock before our regiment was called to charge. They were about three miles to the rear of the battery which they charged upon. They marched double quick all the way, and as it was a very hot day, you can judge what kind of shape the boys were in to fight. A great many of them could not stand it to run so far, and fell out of the ranks before they arrived at the battle ground. Our regiment went upon the main road as far as the line, marked through the cornfield and woods, and drew up in line of battle, in front of the woods. When we came out of the woods, there were a lot of rebel troops in the orchard, but as they were dressed in gray, our officers supposed they were our troops, and did not find out otherwise until they retreated some distance, turned and fired upon us, killing all that were killed during the fight. The Colonel then gave the order to charge upon them, which we did until within 40 yards of the battery, where our men stood until they were ordered to retreat by Col. Keyes. They then retreated to the woods, and laid down to rest. Gen. Tyler soon came down and ordered them to charge again, but Colonel Keyes said our regiment had done their share of fighting, and that he had better order one of the Connecticut regiments on, as they had not done any fighting. About 4 o’clock a general order to retreat to Centreville was given, as the rebels had received a reinforcement of 30,000 men from Manassas, and our troops had been fighting for eight hours and were pretty well tire out. We retreated to Centreville and encamped. About 12 o’clock at night, orders came from Gen. McDowell to retreat to Washington.

Bangor Daily Whig and Courier,  8/3/1861

Clipping Image

William P. Holden at Ancestry.com

Contributed by John Hennessy





D. B. Harris Map

10 11 2010

Here’s an unpublished map of the First Bull Run battlefield, by Confederate engineer D. B. Harris.  According to the notation, this sketch was used by Beauregard to prepare his map of the battlefield.  It’s a recent acquisition of the Manassas National Battlefield Park and has been provided by Ranger Jim Burgess.  You’ll need to use your photo viewer’s zoom to see the detail.  I’ve viewed the original and it’s quite faded.  It’s difficult to tell exactly what is being depicted here – for instance, is this as of a point in time or does it show movement?  Look at all the guns shown north of the Warrenton Pike, for instance.  Click once for a larger image.  Click that image for a really large image.

By sketch I mean this was made on the field and was not a final product.  As noted on the map, it was surveyed, so it is more than a free-hand sketch.  FYI, Confederate items are in blue.





West Point Atlas Maps

4 08 2010

Two of the seven Bull Run maps from The West Point Atlas of the Civil War:

Situation July 18, 1861

Situation 1400 Hours July 21, 1861





Sherman’s March to the Sea

2 07 2010

Thanks to friend Susannah Ural for passing this along.  Anne Sarah Rubin has a cool site of interactive maps, Sherman’s March and America: Mapping Memory.  From the introduction:

Sherman’s March and America: Mapping Memory is designed as an experiment in digital history. Historian Anne Sarah Rubin is working on a project about the ways Americans have remembered Sherman’s March to the Sea in 1864, and wanted to bring her work to a broader audience. Rather than build an archive of documents, images, and essays, she decided to take a more interpretive approach, and this site is the result. A generous Digital Innovation Grant from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) allowed Dr. Rubin to collaborate with Dan Bailey and Kelley Bell (both of the UMBC Visual Arts Department and the Imaging Research Center). What we have here is a small prototype—a proof of concept for our larger vision.

Mapping Memory is organized around both place and narrative. It consists of five maps, each one representing a genre of tales about the March. They are:

  • The Sherman or Fact Map, which lays out the basic events of the march.
  • The Civilians Map, for events involving African-Americans and Southern civilians.
  • The Soldiers Map, for events told from the perspective of veterans
  • The Tourism Map, which is about tourism and travel accounts.
  • The Fiction Map, which plots places both real and imagined that have appeared in novels and films about the March

When you draw the time slider across the base of each map, two lines, schematically representing the left and right wings of Sherman’s Army move across the landscape. At the same time, an array of map pins, or points, also appears. These points mark spots of significance, and the idea is that you can toggle between the maps, and see how different people remembered or wrote about different places or events. Not every place appears on every map, but most of them are on two or three, and Atlanta, Savannah, and Milledgeville are on all five. Clicking on a point will bring up a window with a mini-documentary about that place, from the map’s perspective.

For now, we have only animated one point per map, although ideally we will receive funding to complete the stories for each and every point. We tried to pick a range of places and stories, and also use a variety of styles and techniques to illustrate them. The active points, which are highlighted, are:

  • Sherman Map—Ebenezer Creek: A place where one of Sherman’s Generals abandoned scores of African-Americans to drown or be captured by Confederates.
  • Civilians Map—Oxford: The story of Zora Fair, the “girl spy of the Confederacy”
  • Soldier’s Map—Milledgeville: Sherman’s men repealing secession in a mock session in the state capitol building.
  • Tourism—Camp Lawton: The story of the prison camp turned state park outside of Millen. (
  • Fiction—Tara Plantation, Jonesboro, Clayton County: The roots of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with The Wind

We hope you find the site thought-provoking, and welcome your comments.





The Maps of First Bull Run Update

16 06 2009

This for everyone who has been asking:

According to Ted Savas, Bradley Gottfried’s The Maps of First Bull Run was to ship from Savas Beatie’s warehouses yesterday (Monday June 15) to stores and wholesalers.





One More Thing on the Map Book

21 02 2009

Ted Savas tells me he is considering publishing softcover versions of the Atlas books – in addition to hardcovers – that will be spiral bound with coated pages.  The book would come with a grease pencil that you could use to take notes on the map pages (say, in the field).  The pages could be wiped clean later.  Due to restrictions of the larger bookstores and Amazon on spiral bound volumes, this edition would be available only through Savas Beatie or the NPS bookstores.  “Bundling”  with the hardcover (that is, selling them both as a package) is also a possibility

That sounds pretty cool to me: what do you think?

Also, a tour guide was cut out from the Maps of First Bull Run, but will be made available on line.  I don’t know if such is the intention for any other books in the series.





Interview with Brad Gottfried

19 02 2009

Author Brad Gottfried of the upcoming The Maps of First Bull Run was kind enough to take the time to respond to a few questions regarding the book and the Savas Beatie project in general.

What is the Savas Beatie Battlefield Atlas project, and how did you get involved?

The “Battlefield Atlas” project actually started with my Maps of Gettysburg book.  I had written a book entitled, “The Brigades of Gettysburg” that highlighted the activities of every infantry brigade that participated in the battle.  As a result of that book, I realized that the battle would be much more understandable if they had a series of good, accurate maps, accompanied by a descriptive text.  After some thought, I came up with the idea of a map book, where the map is on the right page and the description is on the left.  That book included over 140 maps and it has been well received.  Since that time, Ted Savas has decided to broaden the concept and has signed up authors to do maps of other campaigns.

Why did you choose Bull Run as your second project?

I basically decided to prepare a book on every campaign in the Eastern Theatre of the Civil War, so it was natural that I go in order.  I had been to the battlefield several times, but like so many others, really had trouble getting my arms around the swirl of events.

How does this book differ from your Gettysburg Atlas?

The book is similar to the Gettysburg Atlas with two exceptions.  First, and perhaps most important, the maps are in color.  This was one of the biggest criticisms of the Gettysburg volume.  The second difference is the length of the book.  The Gettysburg book ran 363 pages and contained about 140 maps; the new one on First Bull Run/Manassas, is 144 pages long and contains 51 maps.  It also includes a section on Ball’s Bluff.

What were the particular challenges of doing a Bull Run Atlas?

I think that Gettysburg spoiled me.  There are so many first-person accounts and so many analyses of what occurred there that I was able to get a much richer picture of what really happened.  Less is written about First Bull Run/Manassas and there is much more ambiguity.  Harry Smeltzer and Jim Burgess really helped me to sort out the fact from the fiction regarding the First Bull Run/Manassas campaign.  Jim Morgan did the same for the Ball’s Bluff section.

Were there any surprises while writing this book?

Not really.  I learned so much about the campaign.   If I had to name some, it was how close General McDowell came to winning this battle and how lucky the Confederates were in moving units into position at just the right time.  Most of us know about Stonewall Jackson’s gallant stand on Henry Hill, but I was surprised by how so many of his units were defeated at one time or another.

What’s up next for you in the series?

I will stop going in order now and concentrate on the most “popular” campaigns.  Next up is the Maryland campaign.  After that I may go back and work on the Second Manassas Campaign.  That book will probably be double the size of the First Bull Run/Manassas book.

Ted Savas was good enough to provide me with one map and corresponding facing text.  You can find the pdf file here.   The pages will face, text on the left, map on the right.  The map is lower res than what will be in the book.  If you can’t open pdf files (you can get a pdf reader for free, just enter “free pdf reader” into a search engine), below are clickable thumbs of each page.

text-17map-17

Again, you can register to be notified when this book becomes available here.








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