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The Maps of the Bristoe Station and Mine Run Campaigns

 Bradley M. Gottfried, Savas Beatie

This is the latest in Savas Beatie’s continuing series of map guides on important Civil War battles and campaigns. As with its predecessors in the series that examined the Battles of Antietam, Chickamauga, First Bull Run and Gettysburg, this volume provides a step-by-step breakdown of the Fall 1863 Bristoe Station and Mine Run campaigns, which occurred in the wake of Robert E. Lee’s ill-fated Gettysburg Campaign. In 188 pages, Bradley Gottfried balances a great deal of new and critical information alongside 87 full-color maps. This allows readers to follow the evolution of both campaigns almost moment by moment.

Gottfried claims he does not reimagine or reinterpret any major elements of events, but simply presents known accounts and interpretations within their geographical and environmental contexts. But Gottfried had access to a great deal of data and information that most participants in the battle never did, information that many scholars of the battle also haven’t have access to before. That makes this a new and revealing portrayal of these often-overlooked battles.

An interesting inconsistency in the book is that most of the movements of Union Maj. Gen. George Meade’s Army of the Potomac are shown from the perspective of the principals in Meade’s command headquarters, whereas Confederate movements and reactions are shown primarily through the lens of subordinates and smaller units. This gives the impression that the Federals conducted these two campaigns in a much more coordinated fashion, while the Confederates were essentially rudderless and relied more on the reactions of local commanders to specific crises.  Lee was ill during this period of the war, so there may be a great deal of historical truth to Gottfried’s depiction of events, but there’s no doubt the geography of the area played a part in events as well.


Originally published in the April 2014 issue of Civil War Times. To subscribe, click here.