Preview: Gottfried, “The Maps of the Wilderness”

6 05 2016

MapsWilderness_LRGAt your bookstores now is the latest in Brad Gottfried’s Savas Beatie campaign atlas series, The Maps of the Wilderness: An Atlas of the Wilderness Campaign, Including all Cavalry Operations, May 2-6, 1864. (Usual caveat: maps, even though a pretty cut and dry visualization of the story, are a version of the story constructed from documentary evidence chosen by the mapmaker, or director. As such, they are a version of the story. They are not necessarily the story, but a story. With The Wilderness, the challenge is to represent something so notoriously disorganized in a rigid, organized, understandable format.

That being said, here’s what you get: 24 map sets (action-sections) containing a total of 124 full page color maps with facing narrative pages; orders of battle; endnotes; bibliography, and index. Gottfried has tackled a big job with The Wilderness. I’m sure there will be something for students of the battle to pick apart (there always is, with any project like this), but even in the picking apart there is understanding to be gained. We’ll all be better off checking this one out.



6 responses

6 05 2016
Ted Savas

Thanks Harry. I worked closely with Brad on this (as I do all of the map atlas books). This out of all the battles is especially difficult and frankly, no one will ever know what really happened in the Wilderness. The men themselves didn’t really know where they were most of the time.

However, in debating the sources, the terrain, etc., he/we reached a few conclusions that surprised us both, and are quite different than virtually every other historian/writer on a couple points, especially the fighting along the Orange Plank Road.

I think also that up north, in the fighting on the Orange Turnpike, Ed Johnson/Maryland Steuart continued demonstrating they didn’t know what the hell they were doing.

As always, these atlas books open up all the other writings on this subject and help make reading the sources or walking the terrain more enjoyable and understandable.


Liked by 1 person

6 05 2016
Harry Smeltzer

Thanks, Ted!

Liked by 1 person

6 05 2016
John Foskett

Harry: This (like all of the SB Maps books) is a solid addition to the library – especially given the highly confusing terrain and fragmented troop movements. The reader needs to understand that the N-S orientation of the maps varies, but it works once you get accustomed to it. Nice work by the author and by Ted as the publisher.

Liked by 1 person

6 05 2016
Ted Savas

Thanks John. Appreciate your support, as always, and hope you will leave a review online to help others understand what this is all about.

Happy Friday.

Liked by 1 person

6 05 2016
john butler

Great book for anyone interested in Civil war history.The Maps of the Wilderness and the other books by Mr.Gootfries and Savas Beatie are wonderful to carry around while touring battlefield to understand the chaotic Civil War battlefields and the read over and over.I’m requesting from my kids,The Maps of Chickamauga,for Father’s Day gift.

Liked by 1 person

7 05 2016
Joe LaFleur III

I’m still digesting it, but haven’t found anything that get’s my hackles up. If there’s a controversial set of Maps so far, it would be 16 – Longstreet Counterattacks North of the Orange Plank Road. Not that I could do better; it just still seems a mess to me, despite all the neat, orderly, and bland maps to examine. As always, it may just be me.


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