Thursday, June 10, 2010

Recovering Fence Lines

Sometime in the 1930s an aerial photograph was made of the battlefield looking eastward in the direction of the New York monument and the Dunkard Church (second illustration).

Although the West Woods had been cleared and the land turned to agricultural use, the original fence lines depicted in the Cope-Carmen map were still visible.

In the intervening years, these fence lines were nearly obliterated by agricultural and residential development. Using the Cope-Carmen map, the aerial photo, and a 2010 Google Earth image, we can once again locate the nearly vanished original fence lines.

Here is how it was done. First the Cope-Carmen map (first illustration) is marked with letter coordinates (A-G, H) with F marking the Dunkard Church and H marking the location of the Maryland Monument.

Next the letter coordinates and unit locations (using the Cope-Carmen map) were marked on the aerial photo. Note that the map is oriented North while the aerial photo is oriented East.

G.T. Anderson's position and the positions of the 7th, 8th, and 2nd South Carolina are shown here.

Finally, an image of the same ground from Google Earth was downloaded.

Using the Cope-Carmen and the 1930s aerial map, the letter coordinates were layered onto the Google Earth image (third illustration).

Next, following the traces of the original fence lines marked by small trees and other growth, the fence lines were marked on the Google Earth image using transparent gray lines (fourth illustration). The result is a modern "map" of the original fence boundaries.

As with all images on this blog, click once on the image to enlarge.

For those tramping the ground you can now align yourself with the position of Anderson (C - E) and the 2, 7 and 8 South Carolina (straddling North and South of coordinate A).

Thanks to NPS Ranger Alann Schmidt for supplying the aerial photograph.


John Banks said...

As usual, very neat Jim. Hope you are doing well. John Banks

Jim Buchanan said...

Hi John--Good to hear from you again! and thanks for the kind words. Although I haven't been posting much (work gets in the way) I am still up at the field on most weekends. Hope you can make a trip down before the NFL season gets underway. On that note SHAF (Save Historic Antietam Foundation) is organizing a tour of South Mountain and Harpers Ferry on July 31. Should be very interesting. The sign up deadline is July 21 and the registration site is See you !

John Banks said...

Hope to make it down there soon..will stop by the West Woods.