Question 12 Did you Ever consider that map-making wasn’t for you? What do you like the most about making maps? The least?
Once I started making maps I never looked back. It’s a very satisfying activity and I like every aspect of it. The research is fun, the drawing is fun, using watercolors is fun, deciding what to include on the reverse side of the map is fun, the process of taking the original manuscript of the map to the printer is fun (great inky smells, huge thundering printing presses) and getting paid for doing something fun is fun.
Question 13 What do you think makes your maps about the Civil War better that others?
Our Civil War maps are essentially unique. No one else has done Civil War battlefield maps that contain so much cultural and physical information and present that information is such a stylized format. The corn fields look like cornfields, the fences look like fences, the orchards look like orchards. Our maps give modern visitors to the battlefield the same view of the terrain as the Civil War armies had. That’s why when West Point does its staff rides at Gettysburg or at Saratoga, they carry our maps with them. They want modern soldiers to see the roads and lanes, the farms and fences, the rivers and bridges, the terrain, that Civil War soldiers confronted and contended with. Because these were the features that settled the outcome of the battles.
Question 14 During the Civil War, what do you this was Lincoln’s most strategic move as president?
Lincoln’s most strategic move as president was to ignore the lurid gossip about U.S. Grant, saying to Grant’s detractors, “I can’t spare this man, he fights.” Lincoln, sight unseen, intuitively trusted Grant (a fellow mid-westerner) and when he appointed Grant overall commander of U.S. forces, the Confederacy was done for because U.S. Grant brought William Tecumseh Sherman to the fore and the Southern Confederacy was done for.
Question 15 What do you think Lincoln would have done the 13th Amendment hadn’t passed? What would have been his next step?
The 13th Amendment passed. There are no “if’s” in history. Every “if” brings more “if’s” and one drifts away into a mist.
Question 16 Lincoln is always refered to as “honest Abe,” yet in the movie Lincoln, you see he could be very dishonest at times.
I don’t see Lincoln being dishonest in the movie “Lincoln.” He was contending with existential challenges and had to manage the give and take of politics in the midst of the iron contingencies of war. And throughout, he had to contend with political opponents who were in fact undermining the war effort in ways that didn’t exist in U.S. politics until the Vietnam War and the Iraq War. But in neither of the latter wars was the nation’s life hanging in the balance. At different times in the Civil War, there were Rebel flags from the White House.
Question 17 What would you say was the most important fact or scene put into the movie Lincoln? Meaning, what would you say is the most influential fact about Lincoln we should take away from the movie?
The best thing about the movie was its realistic portrayal of the character Lincoln. He was a consummate politician, a very real man, the wisest of the wise, and the only person in all the country that could have managed the menagerie that was Civil War era America partly with an iron will and an iron fist and partly with the most thoughtful political words ever spoken.