The Battle of Gettysburg took place 150 years ago, and is considered by many to be the turning point of the Civil War. By marrying the magic of cartography and technology, we can put ourselves in the places of General George Meade of the Union army and Confederate general Robert E. Lee as they planned their respective movements around the limitations of the era and the terrain. Anne Kelly Knowles explains the map features.
Our team, which includes myself, researcher Dan Miller and cartographer Alex Tait, have done just that. Alex recreated the 1863 terrain based on a superb map of the battlefield from 1874 and present-day digital data. Dan and I captured troop positions from historical maps. Our interactive map shows Union and Confederate troop movements over the course of the battle, July 1 – 3, 1863. Panoramic views from strategic viewpoints show what commanders could – and could not – see at decisive moments, and what Union soldiers faced at the beginning of Pickett’s Charge. You will also find “viewshed” maps created with GIS (Geographic Information Systems). These maps show more fully what was hidden from view at those key moments.