In June of this year, Lt. Col. Shawn Callahan of the U.S. Marine Corps Command and Staff College contacted the Digitization Projects Group with an exciting request. As part of his planning for a major training course for officers from all branches of the United States military, Callahan was trying to find maps of the 1862 Peninsular Campaign, which had been led by U.S. Gen. George B. McClellan against the Army of Northern Virginia, led by Gen. Robert E. Lee. A Google search led him to our Digital Collections, which includes a fully searchable, freely accessible copy of the “War of the Rebellion Atlas,” the definitive source for maps related to the U.S. Civil War.
Callahan’s idea was to use primary resources derived from the campaign – particularly maps – to pose this problem to his students: based only on the information available to McClellan at the time, how would you have planned and conducted this campaign?
After finding what he needed in our “War of the Rebellion Atlas” collection, Callahan contacted the DPG to request high-resolution versions of the maps that he could then print out and provide as reference materials for his students. Of course, we were eager to help and readily provided Callahan with the maps he requested. Digital Collections Consultant Eric Ames also worked to identify other maps that embraced the time, place, and force outlays related to the campaign, ultimately providing 30 images to Callahan for use in the course.
The training was held in late September, with members of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force and international officers from 28 nations participating. These photos show the officers consulting large-format printouts of the maps as they formulated their strategy for the Peninsular Campaign.
We received a letter of appreciation from Col. Royal P. Mortenson, Director of the College, expressing his thanks for providing access to the high-res files, as well as our efforts to support “an educational initiative which has sharpened our military leaders and will help maximize their contributions to our national defense.” He went on to say, “Your efforts to coordinate access to Baylor University’s digital archives for the Command and Staff College faculty were instrumental to the success of this exercise.” (2)
From everyone at the DPG – and on behalf of our colleagues at the Texas Collection, where the pristine original copy of the “Atlas” is preserved – we want to thank the fine men and women of the U.S. Marine Corps for allowing us to participate in this exercise, and we are proud of the opportunity to help support their efforts to keep our country safe.
Semper Fi, and Sic ‘Em, Bears!
You can view the entire “War of the Rebellion Atlas” in our Digital Collections, located at http://contentdm.baylor.edu.
(1) Photos courtesy Lt. Col. Shawn Callahan
(2) Letter from Col. Royal P. Mortenson to Eric S. Ames, 10/7/2011