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Tuesday, 26th July 2011

First Battle of Manassas Map in NOAA’s Civil War Chart Collection Shows Confederate Strategic Advantage at Bull Run

Source: National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration

From the press release:

The 150th anniversary of the Civil War’s First Battle of Manassas, also known as the First Battle of Bull Run, offers an interesting peek into a significant advantage the Confederacy held over the Union Armies – better battlefield knowledge.

Maps and battlefield charts, highlighted this week as part of NOAA’s historic Charting a More Perfect Union map collection, played a significant role throughout the war. NOAA’s collection features two maps – one Confederate, one Union – of Manassas Junction, Va. and the surrounding area.

It was expected to be an easy Union victory – so easy that hundreds of people came to Prince William County, Va., now the site of suburban homes near Washington, D.C., to witness  what they expected to be a Union rout of the rebel forces in the first major land battle of the Civil War, July 21, 1861. Instead, it was a significant Confederate win that presaged a long and arduous struggle and where Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson earned his famous nickname when Confederate troops yelled, “There is Jackson standing like a stone wall.”

The Confederate map, “Sketches of the Country occupied by the Federal & Confederate Armies on the 18th & 21st July 1861,” is significant not only because it shows the vital points of combat, but, as Jenkins Wilson, a history major at Washington & Lee University studying the collection as a summer project for NOAA, said, “It is a map that gives us a unique insight into a field relatively understudied – Confederate cartography.”

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An Info Pro, librarian, entrepreneur, author, worldwide connector and book-lover, Heather Negley is recognized for her new ways of thinking about librarianship, research, social media and creativity. Heather is the founder of HelpALibrarian.com and Zing Information Services. She has most recently been an Information Research Specialist with the Congressional Research Service at the Library of Congress where she provided business research for members of Congress and their staffs. Heather also worked as a research reporter for U.S. News and World Report and as a technical advertising producer on the washingtonpost.com. She received her MS in Library and Information Science from Simmons College in Boston, MA.

Heather can be reached at heather.negley@freepint.com

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