Interview with Dr. Bradley Gottfried, Author of The Maps of First Bull Run

Buy The Maps of First Bull Run at Amazon.comI recently read Dr. Bradley Gottfried’s newest book, “The Maps of First Bull Run: An Atlas of the First Bull Run (Manassas) Campaign, including the Battle of Ball’s Bluff, June-October 1861.”  This is the second in the series of Gottfried’s “map books,” having released “The Maps of Gettysburg” in June 2008.  Dr. Gottfried holds a Ph.D. in Zoology from Miami University and is president of the College of Southern Maryland.  An avid historian Gottfried has published seven books on the American Civil War.

Having enjoyed “The Maps of Gettysburg,” I was quite excited to learn that Savas Beatie, LLC was publishing the “Maps of First Bull Run.”  Working for a company based in Centreville, Virginia, I have always considered Manassas to be my “home-away-from-home” battlefield.  Over the years I have had the opportunity to visit Manassas National Battlefield more times than I can count.  Visiting our corporate headquarters at least six times per year, I almost always stay in Manassas, so I can be close to the battlefield.  Like most of you that visit battlefields regularly, I try to learn as much about the battles as I can, before visiting.  With that said, I have read numerous histories of both battles of Bull Run.  Unfortunately, the First Battle of Bull Run has not been written about extensively and the books that are currently available offer little in the way of maps.  While I possess a solid understanding of the battle, I have always felt like I could have a better feel for the battle if another book were published – one with more maps!  “The Maps of First Bull Run” fulfilled my needs and exceeded my expectations.  Gottfried has designed this book based on the successful format of “The Maps of Gettysburg.”  Written in chronological order, starting with each army’s movements around Washington, D.C., the author provides a stirring narrative on each time frame with a wonderful color map on the facing page.  Unlike most other battlefield maps, Gottfried’s maps include fields, woods, creeks and other major features of the landscape.  Additionally he has included the time-frame on each map.  All told, “The Maps of First Bull Run” contain 51 maps and the accompanying narratives.  Unlike most Civil War scholars Dr. Gottfried created all the maps himself.

Dr Bradley GottfriedBefore I endorse a book like this, I like to take it for a test drive.  I was able to do this on a recent trip to Centreville, this past June.  The book truly allowed me to understand the minutiae of the troop movements.  With the “Fighting 69th” New York being one of my favorite regiments, I was able to trace their movements with Colonel William Sherman’s brigade, from the Farm Ford to their actions near the intersection of the Warrenton Turnpike and the Manassas-Sudley Road.  This enhanced my visit to the battlefield as I was able to walk in the same paths as the Sherman’s brigade.  The book is set up to take the reader on a long tour through the battlefield or can easily be used to drill down into one part of the engagement.  It provides enough detail, especially with the maps, to be a valuable resource for the serious Civil War student and its engaging prose is very easy for the casual enthusiast to conceptualize the flow of the battle.  While Dr. Gottfried did not write this book to be a complete narrative of the battle, it is very nearly one.  “The Maps of First Bull Run” is organized in three parts with separate subsections in each part.

Part 1: Maps of First Bull Run/Manassas

  • Preliminary Movements – 6 maps
  • Skirmish at Blackburn’s Ford (July 18) – 3 maps
  • Bull Run Preliminaries – 3 maps
  • Matthews Hill Fight – 5 maps
  • Henry Hill Fight – 15 maps
  • Chinn Ridge – 2 maps
  • Blackburn’s Ford – 1 map
  • The Federal Retreat – 1 map plus a summation

Part 2: August-September 1861 – 3 maps

Part 3: Ball’s Bluff – 12 maps

I highly recommend “The Maps of First Bull Run” to anyone with an interest in the first major battle of the Civil War.  Additionally, if you are interested in having the same resources for Gettysburg, please check out “The Maps of Gettysburg.”  Please consider supporting Savas Beatie, LLC and purchase the books directly from them.  You can do so by clicking HERE.  The books can also be purchased from Amazon.com by clicking on the book covers, below.

Buy The Maps of First Bull Run copy

Details about “The Maps of Bull Run”
Written by: Dr. Bradley Gottfried
Hardcover: 144 pages
Publisher: Savas Beatie, LLC
Date of First Edition: June 10, 2009
ISBN-10: 193271460X

 

 

I had an opportunity to speak with Dr. Gottfried on August 31, 2009.  The interview, like my previous interviews, is separated into several parts.  You can read the contents of each part, and listen to the interview below.

Dr. Bradley Gottfried Interview – 10 Parts
Total Time: 1 hour, 2 minutes, 50 seconds

Part 1:  Brad Gottfried Interview Part 1
Time: 3:51
Contents: Welcome and introduction | About Dr. Bradley Gottfried | Books by Gottfried

Part 2:  Brad Gottfried Interview Part 2
Time: 5:48
Contents: Discussion on “The Maps of Gettysburg” | Why write “The Maps of First Bull Run” | Dr. Gottfried’s grand mapping plan for the Eastern Theater

Part 3:  Brad Gottfried Interview Part 3
Time: 6:50
Contents: Battles in the Eastern Theater put in context | The importance of maps in Civil War narratives | Brad’s mentors | Significance of first hand accounts

Part 4:  Brad Gottfried Interview Part 4
Time: 6:51
Contents: Discussion on the design of “The Maps of First Bull Run” | How Dr. Gottfried came to make his own maps | Creating his own niche

Part 5:  Brad Gottfried Interview Part 5
Time: 6:12
Contents: Researching “The Maps of Bull Run”

Part 6:  Brad Gottfried Interview Part 6
Time: 6:31
Contents: Narrative or not a narrative? | Using quotes and primary source material

Part 7:  Brad Gottfried Interview Part 7
Time: 8:06
Contents: Using digital books for research | Preliminary movements and preparations for the Battle of First Bull Run

Part 8:  Brad Gottfried Interview Part 8
Time: 5:40
Contents: Magic numbers – constraint by design | The value of end notes | Skirmishes around Washington City and the Battle of Ball’s Bluff

Part 9:  Brad Gottfried Interview Part 9
Time: 7:00
Contents: What are you working on now? | What battle or campaign should be covered in the next map book?

Part 10:  Brad Gottfried Interview Part 10
Time: 6:01
Contents: Continued discussion on future books | Future generations will benefit from Dr. Gottfried’s map books | Kudo’s for Savas Beatie, LLC | Working with Ted Savas | Wrap up and closing

Check out other great Civil War titles by Bradley Gottfried

Buy The Maps of Gettysburg at Amazon

Details about “The Maps of Gettysburg”
Written by: Dr. Bradley Gottfried
Softcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Savas Beatie, LLC
Date of First Edition: June 19, 2008
ISBN-10: 1932714359

 

 

Buy The Artillery of Gettysburg at Amazon.com

Details about “The Artillery at Gettysburg”
Written by: Dr. Bradley Gottfried
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Cumberland House Publishing
Date of First Edition: February 1, 2008
ISBN-10: 1581826230

 

 

Buy Kearney's Own at Amazon.com

Details about “Kearney’s Own”
Written by: Dr. Bradley Gottfried
Hardcover:  320 pages
Publisher: Rutgers University Press
Date of First Edition: September 9, 2005
ISBN-10: 0813536618

 

 

Buy Brigades of Gettysburg at Amazon.com

Details about “Brigades of Gettysburg”
Written by: Dr. Bradley Gottfried
Hardcover: 704 pages
Publisher: Da Capo Press
Date of First Edition: December 24, 2002
ISBN-10: 0306811758

 

 

Buy Roads to Gettysburg at Amazon.com

Details about “Roads to Gettysburg”
Written by: Dr. Bradley Gottfried
Hardcover: 300 pages
Publisher: White Mane Publishing Company
Date of First Edition: October 2002
ISBN-10: 1572492848

 

 

Buy Stopping Pickett at Amazon.com

Details about “Stopping Pickett”
Written by: Dr. Bradley Gottfried
Hardcover: 270 pages
Publisher: White Mane Publishing Company
Date of First Edition: September 1999
ISBN-10: 1572491647

About Michael Noirot

I grew up in the Central Illinois farming community, of Dunlap. Growing up, I played sports, tinkered with cars and enjoyed photography. While I did well in school, I did not become passionate about history until my early 30's. I have built a large library, of books on early America, politics and the Civil War. I am an avid reader. Fortunately, I have had plenty of opportunities to travel, over the years, and have been to most of the Civil War battlefields. I work while I travel, so more often than not, I am up, in the middle of the night, to get sunrise pictures, or I will be out until well after dark, exploring Civil War battlefields. I have other hobbies, and passions, that I really enjoy. Number one on the list would be guitar. I play my guitars on a regular basis, and enjoy the Bluegrass, and Contemporary Christian (CCM) genres. I play a style of guitar, called FLATPICKING, where using a flat pick, you play lead solos, similar to the way a fiddle would have been played during the 19th and early 20th Centuries. Laura, my wife, and I also enjoy scuba diving, travel and spending time at our property, in the country. Lastly, we spend as much time with our families, as possible. Thanks for stopping by.
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