Civil War Battle Plans

Grade Level High School
Location United States
Time Period 1800-1899
Topic Civil War, Military Engagement


In his Second Inaugural Address, President Lincoln observed about the war: “Both parties deprecated war, but one of them would make war rather than let the nation survive, and the other would accept war rather than let it perish, and the war came.” Much the same may be said about the geographic knowledge of the terrain upon which the war was fought. The North had few accurate maps of the areas of the South. This early advantage helped the South greatly because the battles were fought on its home turf. Most battle maps were drawn after the actual conflict. Maps, like other primary sources, also reflect a perspective, often in a literal sense. Students will explore how both location and historic time tempered what people saw and placed on maps.

Norman B. Leventhal Map Center (