Writer's Guide to Government Information

Resources to inject real life detail into your fiction

Civil War Staff Rides

Civil War Staff Rides – http://www.history.army.mil/srides.html

Representative questions that can be answered with this resource:

  • What took place in the “bloody cornfield” near Antietam?
  • What were typical rations for Union and Confederate soldiers?
  • Where can I find a quick biography of General Nathaniel P. Banks?


From the definitions section of the introductory brochure,

A staff ride consists of systematic preliminary study of a selected campaign, an extensive visit to the actual sites associated with that campaign and an opportunity to integrate the lessons derived from each. It envisions maximum student involvement before arrival at the site to guarantee thought analysis, and discussion. A staff ride thus links a historical event, systematic preliminary study, and actual terrain to produce battle analysis in three dimensions. It consists of three distinct phases: preliminary study, field study, and integration.

The available staff ride guides are:

  • Ball’s Bluff
  • First Bull Run
  • Second Bull Run
  • Antietam
  • Fredericksburg
  • Chancellorsville
  • Gettysburg
  • Wilderness
  • Spotsylvania

Each guide is divided into chapters including: overview, suggested further readings, chronology, order of battle, casualties, organization, tactics, small arms, artillery, logistics, selected biographical sketches and suggested stops.


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