I just put the finishing touches on two new battlefield maps. One I had started quite some time ago, put it aside for another map and forgot about it. It’s always nice to find a project in progress. The other map was a bit of a challenge. A family friend asked if I could do a map. Doing a map is easy for me–it’s the research that tends to trick me, but in this case it was more than just the research, it was the weather. I’ll explain.
Stones River Map
Stones River, a battle that took place during the Civil War, was the map I found. I had originally started a version of it for Stephen Sear’s Lincoln’s Lieutenants, an excellent history and a must read if you are interested in the American Civil War.
I am very pleased with the results of my Stones River map. It is a relatively obscure western battlefield. The significance of the battle: the relative victory came at a low point in the Union’s fortunes and Lincoln in gratitude thanked General Rosecrans, the Union Commander, saying that had it been a Union defeat instead of a Union victory the nation could scarcely have lived over it. Later in the war Lincoln mentioned the victory at Stones River and General Grant scoffed that it was no victory.
For Grant, victory meant flags being surrendered, armies being disarmed and marching off the field. But when an Army has endured a long string of stinging defeats, an outcome only slightly better than a stand-off can seem like a moral victory, a turning of the pages, a new lease on life. For Lincoln, whose political senses were fine-tuned, the equivocal outcome of Stones River, was to a despondent Union public, a comparative victory at a point in time when an actual, outright defeat, could have been a disaster.
There are cotton fields in the map which are always a treat to do. Many pine trees – always a nice effect. And corn fields, my absolute favorite embellishment—delightful corn stalks with little yellow kernals—dot the map.
It is always nice to bring attention to the western battlefields which tend to be overlooked.
Bastogne Belgium Map
The other map I finished was Bastogne. Bastogne was a town that figured heavily in World War II. Family friends asked me to do a map of a battle where their father had fought. He was a man I knew and greatly admired. I was thrilled. But I didn’t want to commit until I knew I could do it. He documented his service during the battle. Mapping the area in which he saw battle will take a little more research on my part.
But in the mean time I decided to do a study. Reason being—the weather, how does one do a map and depict the weather. The winter weather was notorious during the Battle of the Bulge and had an impact on the battle. But how does one, or should one, depict that in a map. In the end, on my study at least, I opted to go for a green terrain. Weather, at least in my home base western NY and I’m betting Belgium as well, changes every hour, but the terrain—fields take seasons, trees take years, river courses takes centuries (and can sometimes dramatically change) and those beautiful mountain take eons to take hold.
Currently on the map table: The finishing touches on a small map of Stones River, TN, the research for the second Bastogne Map, and a very interesting one for me—a local map of my parish and two other local parishs.
And on a Completely Different Note
And on another table, at least for a couple of days – parts of my small collection of Rock memorabilia. My son’s co-worker is a fan of that era, the music and the rock and rollers. It was treat for me to bring it all out—especially my short arm Rickenbacker.