As many readers of Civil War history know, I have been devoting my time to preparing map books of the major campaigns of the Eastern Theater. The Maps of Gettysburg was the first book in the series, followed by books on First Bull Run, Antietam, and Bristoe Station/Mine Run.
I am now completing a book on the Wilderness Campaign. It will contain 118 full-color maps and accompanying text and is being readied to head over to the publisher. This was a very tough campaign to map. Everyone who reads about the Civil War will roll their eyes when they hear about the Wilderness Campaign. Fighting in dense thickets does not lend itself to clarity and I certainly found that out.
Despite the confusion, I believe that I have crafted a book that will really help the reader sort out what happened in those thickets. I certainly have a better sense of it. When I walk around Saunders Field and the Tapp Farm, I have an enhanced appreciation of what these young men had to endure. Sections of the battlefield still contain some thick vegetation, so you can get a sense of what it was like back in May, 1864.
It was a fight where Lee and his ill-regarded lieutenants, Richard Ewell and A. P. Hill, did fairly well. It was fascinating to piece together what seemed to be complete victory by Winfield Hancock’s troops on the morning of May 6, but then transitioned to wholesale defeat just a few hours later, and to see how Lee’s reactions changed from panic to euphoria during this time.
I am not sure when the book will be published, but I am hoping it will be in the fall of 2014.