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Gettysburg Campaign Atlas

Gettysburg Campaign Atlas
by Philip Laino 

List Price: $40.00 
Hardcover: 481 pages
ISBN: 978-1-934900-45-1
Publisher:  Gatehouse Press
Publish Date:  2009 

Review written by Thomas J. Ryan

Histories that include a good set of maps are popular among Civil War enthusiasts. Maps are in demand because they are the next best thing to actually standing on the ground where battles and skirmishes took place. To see how the action unfolded is to better understand these events.

The Gettysburg Campaign has received more than its share of attention by historians; and, in recent years, a number of atlases have appeared on the market depicting the movements of the armies involved. None, however, has equaled the shear volume of material included in Philip Laino’s Gettysburg Campaign Atlas. The truth of this statement is reflected in the subtitle that informs purchasers they are receiving “421 Maps encompassing the march to Gettysburg, the battle, and the retreat.”

Some of the maps contained in this atlas are not unique, in that they have appeared previously in Gettysburg Magazine articles -- the publication that caters to serious students of the Gettysburg Campaign. Mr. Laino has been drawing maps for Gettysburg Magazine since 2002, and decided to offer a collection of his maps in a single package. He prefers to refer to himself humbly as a “compiler” rather than a cartographer. The maps he asserts are “approximations” of what transpired, and should not be considered the final word on the matter.

Gettysburg Campaign Atlas is subdivided into five sections: the March to Gettysburg, Day One, Day Two, Day Three, and the Retreat. A “Key to Maps” is included to explain the various designations used to depict positions, units, terrain, etc. For the most part, there is one map to a page, which permits extensive coverage of a particular event or action. To aid the reader, Mr. Laino included a “bare bones” text on every page that “explains, clarifies, and compliments“ the map. As needed, the author includes “notes” after each chapter to provide sources or further explanatory material.

The first section dealing with the March to Gettysburg covers June 3 to July 1, 1863. The maps in this section are dated and titled. If a particular title required more than one map, they are numbered (e.g., Brandy Station 1 through 11). The next section on Day One, July 1, 1863 includes 74 maps. Day Two, July 2, 1863 has the most maps; 166 in all. Day Three, July 3, 1863 comprises 69 maps. Interspersed in the latter section are maps depicting cavalry battles that occurred on that date at Fairfield (2), East Cavalry Field (8), and South Cavalry Field (8). The maps in the final section on the Retreat, July 4 to July 14, 1863 are labeled by date and include from 1 to 5 maps for each date.

While, as can be seen, this is a rather prodigious amount of material, Mr. Laino has also provided valuable appendices. In Union Troops Sorted by State, we find each unit listed that participated in the Gettysburg Campaign along with its parent corps, the name of the brigade and regimental commander, as well as strength figures and the percentage of casualties sustained by that unit. This is followed by Confederate Units by State that provides the same type of data. These two sections are a welcome bonus that researchers will especially find useful.

Not to be outdone, the author includes a complete order of battle for the Union Army of the Potomac and the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia. These are unique versions, however, since each unit has appended figures showing the strength and loss in killed, wounded and captured, as well as the percentage loss for each unit. Also listed are the commanders down to regimental level, and an indication of whether they were casualties of the conflict. Another important item is a listing of the number and type of artillery for each unit.

Rounding out this publication is a bibliography and an index. The soft back, spiral-notebook style binding allows the atlas to be readily used at home or in the field. One thing missing that would be preferable is a listing of the maps by page number in the Table of Contents. Note also that individuals are included in the textual portion by last names only, therefore requiring prior familiarity.

For Civil War novices and experts alike, owning a copy of Philip Laino’s Gettysburg Campaign Atlas will be beneficial. While it is stands on its own merits as an introduction to the six-week long campaign, it can also be a valuable reference when reading other Gettysburg histories and a useful guide while walking the fields of that legendary town in south central Pennsylvania.


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