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.





Bull Run Atlas Talk

15 02 2009

chatter

Lots of chatter on my post on the upcoming Bull Run Atlas, including some information on other entries in the series.  Check it out here.





Bull Run Atlas

13 02 2009

mapsLast year Savas Beatie announced that the second entry in its series of Civil War battle map studies would cover First Bull Run.  I was involved in reviewing the manuscript, and today I received more information on the book from marketing director Sarah Keeney.

The Maps of First Bull Run: An Atlas of the First Bull Run (Manassas) Campaign, including the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, June-October 1861 (ISBN 978-1-932714-60-9), by Bradley M. Gottfried, is scheduled for release in May, 2009.  The 7″ X 10″ hardcover will feature 51 full color maps with facing text and run 144 pages.  It will retail for $34.95.

Anyone wishing to “reserve” a copy can do so here; register to be notified when the book is ready to ship.

In the coming weeks, I’ll have some specific content for you – including, hopefully, a sample map.  Also look for my interview with the author.





New Map

4 12 2008

I know I haven’t posted much here or in the Bull Run Resources about the fight at Blackburn’s Ford on July 18, 1861.  I’ll get to that eventually, I promise.  But for now, I have updated the Maps page with the below image of a map of that action drawn by E. Porter Alexander.  Check it out.  Thanks to Jim Burgess of Manassas National Battlefield Park for sending me the image from the Park’s archives. 

Recently some e-quaintances and I were discussing the position of Ayres’ (Sherman’s) Battery during the fight.  It would appear from Alexander’s perspective the battery was situated somewhat to the east of the ford, but it’s not clear from the map to which of Ayres’ positions Alexander was referring.

You can leave comments here or on the Maps page, but here is probably better.

alexander-map





First Bull Run Atlas

15 10 2008

Thanks to this announcement from Drew, I now know that Savas-Beatie will be publishing a new book on Bull Run as Volume 2 of its Civil War atlas series.  It will be authored by Bradley Gottfried, who wrote the Volume 1 on Gettysburg.  As I commented on Drew’s site:

I have to worry a bit about an atlas of First Bull Run, because there are some big questions about who went where and when, particularly during the Henry House Hill phase of the fighting. There are missing ORs for some key regiments (like the 11th NY and all of Jackson’s brigade). Joanna McDonald has a ton of maps in her book, and in fact wrote a tour book for that part of the fighting, but I don’t know that there is enough data available to produce maps that one could call definitive. This should be interesting.

The book is scheduled for release in Spring, 2009.  I’m going to see what I can do about getting an interview with Mr. Gottfried.





“The” Lewis House

26 06 2008

NPS Map of the Battlefield in 1861-1862

Reader Steve Keating asked:

I just finished Brent Nosworthy’s chapter in Roll Call to Destiny, on Burnside at First Manassas, and in it he keeps referring to artillery posted by the Lewis house firing on Burnside’s troops. Isn’t it the Henry house that he means? The only Lewis house I am aware of is Portici, and that is certainly out of 6 pdr range.

Portici is indeed a Lewis House, and there is a Lewis Ford on Bull Run as well.  Portici is, as Steve surmised, too far away to the southeast to have served as a platform for 6 pdr guns firing on Burnside.  After checking my maps, I replied:

I’ll look into this a little more (I only reviewed the book in brief, so I did not read it all), but there was a Maggie Lewis house just north of the northernmost bend of Young’s Branch, and south of Pittsylvania (the Carter house). Davidson’s guns were north of the pike and south of this house, and did fire on Burnside IIRC. You can see the house on Hennessy’s maps, the Collier overlay maps [their website is gone – what happened to Collier Maps?], and the Bearss maps.

Steve acknowledged:

Yeah, I dug out my Hennessy and found the Lewis place. It’s still a little low topographically, and I’ll check it out next time I’m there. With the tree removal going on, it may clear up the picture. Thanks for the info.

I have checked into it a little more, and found some info in the report of Lt. George S. Davidson, in command of a section of Latham’s Battery under “Shanks” Evans.  His is report #113 in Vol II of Series I of the ORs which I should post this weekend.  Here’s what he had to say about his positions during the day:

About this time [about 9:00 AM] it was known that the enemy was forming in force upon your [Evans’s] left flank. I was ordered to join Major Wheat’s command, which lay nearly a mile northwest of my first position. I passed by Van Pelt’s house, and went on to the Carter house, about one hundred yards northeast of which I placed my section in battery. Finding that the enemy, still encroaching upon our flank, had changed his position, I was ordered by yourself to return to the turnpike, which I followed to a high point about fifteen hundred yards west of the stone bridge. I placed my pieces in battery on open ground within two hundred yards north of the turnpike. From this position you ordered my second piece, under Lieut. Clark Leftwich, to advance along the turnpike and up the Sudley road. He accordingly took position about one hundred yards east of the Sudley road, bearing nearly five hundred yards north from the stone house of Matthews.

From this position Lieutenant Leftwich opened upon the enemy, advancing along the Sudley road, about one thousand yards distant. He inflicted considerable injury upon them, and maintained his position until our infantry had retired. He then retired to a hill south of the turnpike, and about one thousand yards distant from and west of Robinson’s house. Here he remained, firing upon the enemy until he had expended all ammunition from his limber chest. The horses of the caisson having run off, Lieutenant Leftwich came to ask me for ammunition, which I being unable to furnish him, he proceeded to the Lewis house, where he rejoined and reported to Captain Latham.

Lieutenant Leftwich had not fired more than six or eight times from his first position on the Sudley road when the enemy advanced toward our right (as our regiment then fronted), and came within range of my gun. I immediately opened fire upon him, which I kept up until I found the enemy advancing along the Sudley road toward my position. I then moved my gun into the turnpike immediately at the mouth of the lane leading to Robinson’s house, and fired upon the enemy with canister, and with good effect, until he had come up within one hundred and fifty yards of my gun. Having expended my ammunition, I reported my command to Captain Latham, then posted on Lewis’ farm, about four hundred yards east of the house.

The Lewis house mentioned by Davidson is I believe the F. Lewis House, Portici; Latham was positioned northeast of the house, between it and Bull Run.  Click on the NPS map image above for a larger version, click that again for an even larger one.  You’ll find both Lewis houses.  I hope that helps you out, Steve.  I’ll be posting some Confederate reports, including Davidson’s, this weekend, and should be getting to Burnside’s Brigade within another week or so.





Animated Maps

3 01 2008

The other day I stumbled on this site, which features animated maps of various Civil War battles, including First Bull Run.  I could quibble with some of the details, but as a general overview I think it’s pretty good.  Check it out.