Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Booknotes: Civil War Arkansas

New Arrival:
Civil War Arkansas: A Military Atlas
by Randy Puckett & Ron Kelley (Ark Toothpick Pub, 2016).

In 1864, Confederate captain and Chief of Topographical Engineers of the District of West Louisiana and Arkansas Richard M. Venable was tasked with creating a detailed map of the state of Arkansas. The end result was a sprawling work of cartographical art, completed in two 35-inch x 77-inch sections. Depicted are towns, creeks, rivers, forts, camps, roads, trails, county lines, prairies, swamps, drainage features, railroads, cemeteries, homes, and more. With the Union in control of much of the northern and central parts of the state, the most detail is found in the southern reaches (meaning only around 29% of the state was able to be thoroughly surveyed). The authors of Civil War Arkansas have digitized and redrawn this map, reproducing all the original details in full color. The book sections the map into 147 squares using a grid system. Each grid square gets its own page in the book. One appendix lists towns and municipalities and another compares the map's road system to today's. It looks like a very useful resource. Civil War Arkansas was created with the sole purpose of reproducing the Venable map, so it should also be mentioned that this isn't a "military atlas" in the common usage of the term (i.e. a book that maps campaigns and battles).

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