Sunday, August 18, 2013

Great Book and Maps About the Battle of Antietam

A couple of weeks ago I visited the Antietam National Battlefield, some 40 miles from where I live. It is a less busy place than Gettysburg (which I visit every other month), which is very nice because it allows you some time for reflection and thought.

The battlefield park has some majestic panoramic views. The lines of sight are a tad less restrictive than the ones on Gettysburg. It is also less commercial (not many souvenir and gift shops), but that doesn't mean that I didn't hit the park's store for some goodies.

Among other things, I got this CD with maps of the battle.

Hands reflected on the cover are mine taking the picture. :)
The CD itself was a bit useless for two reasons. First, the software included in the disk does not run in Windows 7. This software is one of those nerdy GIS data visualization things, which is needed to see the extremely high definition maps included. Second, the 14 maps in the CD are available for free from the Library of Congress (link will be provided below).

The maps in the disk turned out to be General Ezra Carman's exhaustive study of the Battle of Antietam (part of his manuscript and maps can be found here).

The link above offers a nice view of the maps, but if you want to see the maps in high definition you will have to view them at the Library of Congress website. Just click on the map you want to see and them zoom in and out with the radio buttons in the webpage.

For a more convenient view, I recommend to download the JPEG2000 map files from the Library of Congress and then use the free IrfanView software to view them. Be aware that you will need to download some plugins in order to see the JPEG200 files. Those plugins are available in the IrfanView webpage, at the left column menu.

The IrfanView software with one of the maps loaded and viewed at an intermediate zoom. Right click and open in a new tab or window for a more detailed view.
The finer details, like the names of individual regiments can be seen at higher zoom values. In this case, the east part of Sharpsburg (left) at 15:30 hs.
Now for a complete threat, the two books by Dr. Clemens are the ultimate reading experience of Carman's manuscript. Both books are annotated with corrections and additions to the original manuscript. Most importatnly, they allow the reader to easily locate the action in the before mentioned maps.

Both books (volume two shown here) are one of the greatest additions to my library.

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