Monday, December 3, 2018

Booknotes: Visual Antietam Vol. 1

New Arrival:
Visual Antietam Vol. 1: Ezra Carman’s Antietam Through Maps and Pictures: Dawn to Dunker Church by Ezra Carman, ed. and illus. by Brad Butkovich (Historic Imagination, 2018).

Only recently published, Ezra Carman's Antietam manuscript is one of the most celebrated accounts of any Civil War battle written by a participant. Carman, who led the 13th New Jersey (Gordon's Brigade/Williams's Division/ Twelfth Corps) as its colonel during the 1862 Maryland Campaign, solicited accounts of the battle from both Union and Confederate veterans and created an extensive history of the battle that holds up well to this day.

Brad Butkovich's Visual Antietam series (a planned three volumes) publishes the Carman manuscript again, but while others have focused on extensive annotation of the document itself this time the greatest emphasis is placed on creating visual reader aids (maps and photographs) directly tied to Carman's writing. Visual Antietam Vol. 1: Ezra Carman’s Antietam Through Maps and Pictures: Dawn to Dunker Church "contains sixty-three (63) images, both period and modern, allowing the reader to see the battlefield today and as it was only days after the battle. Twenty-six (26) original maps intricately detail troop movements that fateful morning." Covering the initial phases of the battle, the maps consist of highly detailed renderings of the natural and built landscapes upon which the small-scale troop movements and positions of both sides are dutifully traced. If you're unfamiliar with the author, I've discussed some of Butkovich's earlier work (see links here) where he's displayed considerable mapmaking and history writing talents.


  1. Drew:

    This looks promising though my Antietam shelves are nearly full! Hope you are able to review it and perhaps compare/contrast it with Tom Clemens' 3 volume work. Perhaps they complement each other?

    1. Hi John,
      It looks like the crossover content is limited to the middle volume of the Clemons trilogy. So all three of Butkovich's books cover just the battle itself, while Clemens covered the campaign, South Mountain, Shepherdstown, the Antietam aftermath, etc. in his Vols. 1 and 3. Where they meet, I would say they are complementary.

  2. I am not a "gamer" but I have several of his scenario books. As you note, they are worthwhile just for the maps and OOB. But I would definitely also mention the modern battlefield photos. Excellent and revealing.


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