Thursday, December 8, 2005
Marvel's dips into the Antietam
The January 2006 article of America's Civil War magazine has an article written by William Marvel on the subject of the possible usefulness of the creek crossings on the Union left flank during the battle. The author waded through the creek himself and recorded the depth at various places. He seems to make the quite reasonable assumption that the flow today is about the same as it was back in 1862. What makes me think twice about this is an episode of Battlefield Detectives I watched a few nights ago that investigated the Revolutionary War battle at Oriskany. The cartographer/geographer was puzzled why the raging creek of today on a key area in the battlfield was not noted on period maps. After studying the problem, he posited that the considerable deforestation and other vegetation losses in the intervening years led to a high erosion situation that resulted in a far greater volume of free water flowing into low lying areas. Thus, rivulets are transformed by the increased runoff into creeks and creeks into small rivers and so forth. Makes me wonder if Marvel took this possibility into consideration.