With summer well underway, I thought I would share with you some great resources for those of you braving the high gas prices and traveling to our nation’s Civil War battlefields. For the beginning Civil War traveler, I recommend the battlefield guides from the University of Nebraska Press, which are written by well-known Civil War historians, including fellow bloggers at Civil Warriors. I reviewed one by Mark Grimsley and Steven E. Woodworth entitled Shiloh: A Battlefield Guide. Other guides similar to this one include the following:
- Gettysburg: A Battlefield Guide by Mark Grimsley and Brooks D. SImpson
- Chickamauga: A Battlefield Guide by Steven E. Woodworth
- Wilson’s Creek, Pea Ridge, and Prairie Grove: A Battlefield Guide, with a Section on Wire Road by Earl J. Hess, William L. Shea, William G. Piston, and Richard W. Hatcher
- The Peninsula and Seven Days: A Battlefield Guide by Brian K. Burton
I encourage everyone to look at the above books.
For the more daring and advance battlefield travelers, the fine folks at the US Army Combat Studies Institute and Command and General Staff College Press have placed a number of their staff ride guides online for download. These guides are a bit more detailed than the above listed works and are designed for groups of military personnel to study a battle and explore it more in-depth in terms of strategy and tactics. Here are some of the guides available in PDF and HTML format.
- Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Chickamauga, 18-20 September 1863 Dr. William Glenn Robertson, et al. (PDF verson) (HTML version)
- Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Perryville, 8 October 1862<, Dr. Robert S. Cameron. (PDF version)
- Staff Ride Handbook for the Battle of Shiloh, 6-7 April 1862, LTC Jeffrey J. Gudmens. (PDF version)
- Staff Ride Handbook for the Overland Campaign, Virginia, 4 May to 15 June 1864: A Study in Operational-level Command, Dr. Curtis S. King, Dr. William Glenn Robertson, and LTC Steven E. Clay. (PDF version)
- Staff Ride Handbook for the Vicksburg Campaign, December 1862- July 1863, Dr.Christopher R. Gabel. (PDF version) (HTML version)
- Wilson’s Creek Staff Ride and Battlefield Tour, MAJ (Ret) George E. Knapp. (PDF version) (HTML version)
I encourage everyone that can to get out this summer and travel to our Civil War sites and consider reading one of the guides listed above before you go and while touring the site, as they will allow you to get much more out of your experience. Finally, be sure to support the parks by providing donations and showing appreciation to the workers at the sites, as they work hard to interpret the history around the site. If you are heading to the following sites and want to know what to expect before you go, please do not hesitate to contact me. I have visited the following battlefields:
- Stones River
- The WIlderness
- Spotsylvania Courthouse
Well, what are you waiting for, get traveling and have fun.