A Terrain Study of the Gettysburg Battlefield
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA
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Many historians have studied and restudied the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War. As a result, numerous conclusions have been reached based upon Confederate and Union force structure, tactics utilized, weapons capabilities, and individual personalities as to the outcome of the battle. Little investigation has centered on terrain and its possible effect on military planning and operations during the battle. This study is an attempt to set the stage with respect to depicting the terrain as it existed during the 1860s. Data were gathered using map and aerial photographic analysis, literature search, personal interviews, and quantitative models. Terrain data bases consisting of surface configuration slope, drainage, surface materials soils , vegetation, and lines of communication were prepared in order to derive the potential effect of terrain conditions on military operations during the battle. In addition, mapping capabilities which existed during the period were also examined for its utility in planning and conducting the battle. The results of the study are not conclusive, but surely the effective utilization of terrain had a clear, recognizable impact on the outcome.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics