The Elliot Burial Map

The Elliot Burial Map

In Chapter #5, Crosses Marked The Graves; Uncle Byron sends Hattie a map of The Battle of Gettysburg. The map is attributed to SG Elliot, although there is some question as to whether Elliot did the actual field work represented in the map. Regardless, he created the final map we have today.

Unlike other battlefield maps from that time, Elliott’s map documented the aftermath of the battle and the locations of buried Union and Confederate soldiers, buried horses and mules, and breastworks (fortifications), among other features of note. The map has been an invaluable resource used by generations of Civil War historians.

Union Burial Party Along Hagerstown Pike (Antietam) – Alexander Gardner – Library of Congress

In the days and weeks immediately following the battle, the task of “cleaning up” fell almost solely upon Adams County residents. When the two armies vacated the area, thousands of dead soldiers had been left in hastily dug graves. Hundreds of horse carcasses were gathered together and burned. The ghastly sights and smells in and around Gettysburg were nearly unbearable. Yet, in the midst of unimaginable chaos, town leaders like David Wills wasted no time in establishing a plan to both heal the community and honor the dead. Within ten days of the withdrawal of Union forces from Gettysburg, Wills was already in correspondence with Pennsylvania Governor Andrew Curtin. And by July 16, less than two weeks after the close of the battle, it was reported that “a map has been made of the battlefield, which shows the exact locality of every grave.” Quite an impressive feat.

Adams County Historical Society

In 2020 researchers discovered in the NY Public Library archives a previously unknown map made by Elliot of the Antietam battlefield. As mentioned elsewhere, new discoveries and analyses of the Civil War are still going on to this day. These two maps are considered among the most significant maps made after the war because they document the post-battle environment.

error: Content is protected !!