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An Environmental History of the Civil War$
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Judkin Browning and Timothy Silver

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781469655383

Published to North Carolina Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.5149/northcarolina/9781469655383.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.northcarolina.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of North Carolina Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in NCSO for personal use.date: 22 September 2021

Terrain

Terrain

Fall 1864–Spring 1865

Chapter:
(p.160) Six Terrain
Source:
An Environmental History of the Civil War
Author(s):

Judkin Browning

Timothy Silver

Publisher:
University of North Carolina Press
DOI:10.5149/northcarolina/9781469655383.003.0007

This chapter discusses not only how terrain shaped battles, but also how battles and campaigns affected the landscape for decades after the war. Armies utilized high ground, limestone formations, and dense woods to give them advantages in battle, but also engaged in massive deforestation, and reshaped the terrain with fortifications and artillery explosions. The Union campaign to capture Saltville, VA is discussed as a way of denying the South that critical resource. William Sherman’s siege of Atlanta devastated that city and led to a reshaping of its residential geography in the decades after the war due to the search for quality water and high ground. The agricultural practices of the South led to extreme soil erosion after the war. The chapter also discusses the National Park Service interpretation of Civil War battlefields, and the myriad problems with trying to present these landscapes as they were during the war.

Keywords:   limestone, Saltville, Siege of Atlanta, Sherman, Topography, National Park Service, Deforestation, Soil erosion

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