Civil War Talk Radio: September 11, 2009

by Brett Schulte on September 11, 2009 · 2 comments

Air Date: 091109
Subject: Mapping the Complete Gettysburg Guide
Books: The Complete Gettysburg Guide: Walking and Driving Tours of the Battlefield, Town, Cemeteries, Field Hospital Sites, and other Topics of Historical Interest
Guest: Steven Stanley

Summary: Civil War Cartographer and Photographer Steven Stanley talks about The Complete Gettysburg Guide, a new Gettysburg Tour Guide book he produced with author J. David Petruzzi.

TheCompleteGettysburgGuideJDavidPetruzziSavasBeatieBrett’s Summary: Steven Stanley’s maps and photos were used in J. David Petruzzi’s new and lauded book The Complete Gettysburg Guide.  Stanley makes his living full time making maps about the Civil War, which is very unusual.  Most of the non-academic authors on the show over the years do have a “day job” wholly or almost wholly unassociated with the Civil War.  Stanley has done maps for America’s Civil War magazine, The Civil War Preservation Trust, and others.  He was a graphic designer almost 10 years ago before he went into business for himself. Stanley started doing free maps for preservation groups and moved on to doing Civil War maps for the National Park Service.  He and Fredericksburg historian (and author) Frank O’Reilly did a 25 map series on the Battle of Spotsylvania Courthouse.  By 1999, Stanley got a contract with the Civil War Preservation Trust to do a map on the Battle of Cross Keys, and the rest is history.  Stanley’s beautiful maps for the CWPT (he does all of them) can be seen on their new web site.  Stanley has also done some maps on interpretative markers at some battlefields.

Stanley’s style includes the placing of modern roads on his maps but makes them less prominent than period routes.  He believes this is an important feature to help battlefield trampers from getting lost as the roads “turn you around.”

Stanley was hired on to do The Complete Gettysburg Guide as a result of his and Petruzzi’s association with America’s Civil War magazine.  Stanley had done several maps for Petruzzi’s articles in the magazine.  Petruzzi approached Stanley about doing a Gettysburg tour guide with him.  Petruzzi also approached Savas Beatie, a publisher he had worked with many previous times, about this book.  Ted Savas agreed to green light the project, and Petruzzi and Stanley got to work.

Gerry asks about the book and points out that the information was not just limited to the three day battle of Gettysburg.  He also mentions the U.S. Army War College Guide and asks if another Gettysburg guide book was needed.  Stanley and Petruzzi discussed this exact point and noted that previous guides stay within the National Park Service boundaries.  This book travels beyond those boundaries, adding many cavalry skirmishes in addition to some truly interesting tours not directly covering the battle itself.  Stanley and Petruzzi wanted more maps in the book and wanted people to get out of their cars and walk the field rather than just do a driving tour.  Stanley lives in Gettysburg as well, making him a great choice to provide the maps and photography in the book.

Stanley’s photographs were taken in all seasons, and they depict the unique beauty of those seasons.  Gerry mentions that those who live a long way from Pennsylvania, in the United Kingdom for instance, might not know how beautiful the battlefield can be.  Not all of the photographs Stanley wanted to include made it into the book, and the same goes for the number of maps as well.  Period photographs are included sparingly but pleasingly to Gerry’s eyes.

Gerry also asks about my personal favorite part of the book, a tour of the rock carvings around the battlefield.  Stanley relays that Petruzzi came up with the idea for this particular tour.  Previously, there had not been a combined look at all of the various carvings scattered around the battlefield, including a fossilized dinosaur footprint.  Soldiers came back after the battle to carve their names or initials and unit affiliations into rocks near where they fought.  In one case a father found his son’s grave at the battlefield and placed a carving on a rock near the site so he could return and find the body later.

Segment three starts with preservation questions.  Stanley talks about any potential preservation threats to the Gettysburg battlefield.  Gerry next asks Steven Stanley about his thoughts on the new Visitor Center which has been the subject of such controversy.  Stanley appears to like the new structure, especially the restored Gettysburg cyclorama.  Talk turns to how the battlefield has changed in the past 30 or so years.  Gerry believes many things are better now than before, especially the tree cutting initiative started by the National Park Service.  The vistas opened by this tree cutting allow people to better understand the battle.  Stanley also points out that the NPS is also restoring some orchards and woodlots which were present in 1863.

The next question involved the East Cavalry Field, a place the book made Gerry eager to visit.  The road there makes it a bit dangerous to stop and get out of your car, but it is definitely an out of the way area.  Stanley and Petruzzi hope the book causes more people to explore this neglected but important area.  Preservation of some of these sites was also discussed.  During the production of the book, Stanley notes that some people who had significant Civil War events happen on their property did not previously know this and were excited about the revelation.

Civil War Talk Radio airs most Fridays at 12 PM Pacific on World Talk Radio Studio A. Host Gerry Prokopowicz, the History Chair at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, interviews a guest each week and discusses their interest in the Civil War. Most interviews center around a book or books if the guest is an author. Other guests over the years have included public historians such as park rangers and museum curators, wargamers, bloggers, and even a member of an American Civil War Round Table located in London, England.

In this series of blog entries, I will be posting air dates, subjects, and guests, and if I have time, I’ll provide a brief summary of the program. You can find all of the past episodes I’ve entered into the blog by clicking on the Civil War Talk Radio category. Each program should appear either on or near the date it was first broadcast.

Check out more summaries of Civil War Talk Radio at TOCWOC – A Civil War Blog.

Check out Brett’s list of the Top 10 Civil War Blogs!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Coly Hope September 11, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Good to see that Civil War Talk Radio is back.

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admin September 11, 2009 at 6:41 pm

Coly,

Absolutely! The first three episodes have all been really interesting as well.

August 28: Wade Hamption
September 4: Dan Sickles at Gettysburg
September 11: The Complete Gettysburg Guide

I really enjoy what Gerry has put together over the years and I hope he continues with the show for years to come.

Brett

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