Maps are essential for most historians, especially military historians. Without maps reference points can get confusing and events that are described are not nearly as understandable. Military maps quickly show distance, geographical features of battlefields, and troop location. Without maps battlefield students are literally lost.
Fortunately, the Civil War Preservation Trust knows the importance of maps to those of us who enjoy touring Civil War battlefields, or even just reading about battles. The CWPT has gone to great lengths to provide a database of high-quality maps that are accessible at any time with a point and click.
The CWPT has divided their maps into basically three categories. Each of these categories show different but important aspects of maps and mapping. One category is "historical maps." These are largely period-produced maps drawn by engineers and cartographers during the war. The historical maps are important for many reasons, but mostly because they do not show the many modern changes that have appeared on so many battlefield landscapes.
Another category of maps are the "CWPT battle maps." These stunning maps show troop locations and movements, topography, direction, and even modern roads. The map legends are easy to understand and provide excellent reference. CWPT battle maps are a must have for modern battlefield explorers.
The most impressive CWPT maps though are the "animated maps." These amazing digital works of art vividly show troop movements without the distracting arrows, rather the skirmishers, regiments, brigades, and divisions actually move on the map as the narrative of the battle is displayed. In addition, a running timeline is also provided to give the viewer a better chronological understanding of what time actions occurred during the battle. BEWARE though, these animated maps are highly addictive and hours can slip by while viewing them without even realizing it.
To see CWPT's offering of maps click on the following link: www.civilwar.org/maps/