Path to Freedom

http://bit.ly/1w0gpkm

For the Final Project, I chose to look into the 19 slaves Linn encountered on February 2, 1862. In his diary, Linn said that nothing happened except for a small boat with 19 slaves escaped from above Roanoke Island. This pique my interest since slavery abolition is the primary objective of the Union but Linn seems to be unfazed by the sight of 19 escaped slaves. This brought me to my question “how did the Civil War battles affect slavery?” I thought understanding the slaves’ origin, destination, and escape path would help us understand better about their lives hence giving us a better idea of the life of a slave during the Civil War. Depending on the path the slaves took, different difficulties arises.  To map their escape, there is no better tool than GIS. With GIS, I can illustrate multiple layers of informations associated with the escape.


When I started this project, I did not have much information about the 19 slaves. Linn only mention them once in the diary. All I know was that there were 19 slaves including 5 women and a baby and they came from above Roanoke Island. Without actual information regarding the slaves, I was unable to present this in a story format with GIS. This was the biggest struggle I had during this project. Without any information regarding the time and date, I cannot present this in a timely manner. To figure out their path, I have to find their origin and their destination first.

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Norfolk

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Slave Density

For the origin, I used a layer of the concentration of slaves and the battles fought before February 2, 1862. To come to the Cossack on a small boat, the slaves have to came from a place relatively close to Roanoke Island. There were 19 slaves so they must have all escaped together from a place of high concentration of slaves. Their escape itself is a clue that their origin must have been affected by the war for them to have to opportunity to escape. Using GIS, I can see that Norfolk has a high concentration of slaves and has 2 battles fought near it. After doing some reserching, I learned that during the Civil War, the Confederates used slaves to build their forts. With that, I concluded that the slaves must have came from Norfolk. While working on the forts, the slaves saw the opportunity to escape.

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Map of Underground Railroad and the Directions to Freedom

Professor Jakacki introduced me to the Underground Railroad leading me to find the slaves’ destination. Even before the Civil War, the Underground Railroad has helped freeing slaves in America. Using the Underground Railroad map layer, I could see the directions that the slaves were going in order to attain their freedom. Then, I created a map note for the possible directions that slaves could escape to during the Civil War. To understand the difficulties of each directions, I created a map note for the distance between Roanoke Island and the closest point for each direction. With this, I was able to see the difficulty of each direction in term of distance in kilometer and in days it would take to walk that distance. The slaves had limited resources. They most likely did not have any mode of transportation to travel far so they were trying to get to the North, the direction with the shortest distance. Using the Underground Railroad map layer, I found Wilmington to be the closest Underground Railroad site to where they encounter Linn and his regimen. With this, I can conclude that the slaves were going to Wilmington in order to go to the North.

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Two possible escape paths

With both the destination and the origin, I mapped out the different possible paths the slaves took in order to get to Linn’s location. After their escape, to get to Linn’s location, the slaves must have found a small boat first. If the shore is where they got the boat, they must choose the safest path possible. With 5 women and a baby, they cannot run so they must avoid being seen. They must also avoid conventional roads. They must go through the woods or swamps to avoid getting caught. Using the Terrain map, I can see the swamps between Norfolk and the Shore. Then I created a map note for the those swamps. There are 2 swamps that connect Norfolk and the shore so that must be a possible safe path for the slaves. The second path I found after adding the canals layer to the map. There is a canal that goes from Norfolk to the ocean. This canal goes through a swamp so it might have been safe enough for the slaves to use provided that the canal is big enough for the slaves to use. They must have stole a small boat from Norfolk and travelled down the canal to the Ocean and eventually to the Cossack.

With the help of GIS, I was able to deduce and map the escape path for the slaves with very little information and some research. The 19 slaves have encountered many difficulties in order to attain their freedom. Using GIS, I was able to see and understand the struggles that many slaves faced in their escape. I can see how the Civil War itself affect slavery. War is a double edge sword. Although slavery is the subject of the Civil War, the war itself caused the slaves to be under heavy surveillance. However, we can see that because of the battles, many slaves have to work on the forts providing them an opportunity to escape and gain freedom. This project has helped me to understand the state of slavery due to the Civil War.

Work Cited:

Linn, James Merrill. Diary. [February 2] 1862. MS. Bucknell University Archives and Special Collections, Lewisburg, PA.

“Underground Railroad.” History Net Where History Comes Alive World US History Online RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.

Rasmussen, William M. S., and Lora M. Robins. “How Did Slaves Escape?” Virginia Historical Societys Blog. Virginia Historical Society, 20 Oct. 2010. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.

“Underground Railroad Sites.” PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.

United States. National Park Service. “List of Sites for the Underground Railroad Travel Itinerary.” National Parks Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 16 Dec. 2014.

Did Linn Have A Major Impact In The Battle of Roanoke Island?

My research question for this project was whether or not James Merrill Linn had a major impact on the Battle of Roanoke Island, or if he just seemed important because of his concise account. To discover the answer to this question, I wanted to compare the movements of Linn to the overall movements of the Union and Confederacy. If Linn happened to be in an important position during a turning point of the battle, he would be considered to have a major impact. I first read all of Linn’s diary entries from February 7th to the 12th, 1862. These entries gave me a picture of the Union’s as well as Linn’s positioning during these dates.

This is a picture of Linn's diary from the 7th.

This is a picture of Linn’s diary from the 7th.

Luckily, these entries had already been transcribed, so it was easy for me to decipher what Linn was saying. Without prior transcription, this process would have been very tedious and time consuming.

Next, I then used ArcGIS to map out the positioning of Linn and the Union, as well as the Confederates. This process was much more difficult because the maps from 1862 are not exact replications of what the land actually looked like. Men who had walked the island drew these maps from hand; therefore, there was slight error when looking at exact positioning of troops.

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This the map “Roanoke1862” with nothing on it. You can see the locations of the gunboats, forts, cannons, etc. very clearly.

 

To illustrate the different movements of Linn, the Union and the Confederacy, I gave each subject a color. Linn was represented by purple, the Union by blue and the Confederacy by red. This helped show just from a glance at the map that was moving where.

Linn's movements are represented by the purple dotted line. The Union's movements are represented by the blue dotted line.

Linn’s movements are represented by the purple dotted line. The Union’s movements are represented by the blue dotted line.

On the positive note however, these maps did provide a unique look into what the soldiers were seeing in 1862. This is very evident in the layer “Roanoke1862” because the locations of the ships, forts and guns were drawn onto the map. This especially helped the mapping process because it gave me the locations of different Union soldiers that Linn left out in his diary. For example, in the map below, you can see exactly where the Rebels surrendered. In Linn’s diary, he fails to mention the location of where the Rebels actually surrendered, just the location of himself when he heard the news.

Looking at the blue stickpoint, you can see where the Union takes over the battle. Looking at the blue rectangle, you can see where Linn's regiment was located.

Looking at the blue stickpoint, you can see where the Union takes over the battle. Looking at the blue rectangle, you can see where Linn’s regiment was located.

Upon completion of the map, I was able to see where Linn’s regiment was located during the actual land battle. This gave me good insight on his regiment’s importance to the battle, and whether or not they achieved any heroic actions. The 51st Pennsylvania (Linn’s Regiment) was located right along side the Rhode Islanders, in the bottom right corner of the Union’s positioning. This was very far away from the Confederate’s battery (as you can see in the map below). Looking closely, one can see that the Pennsylvania and Rhode Island regiments are in fact very close to each other.

The Rhode Islanders are located directly to the right of the 51st Pennsylvania (blue rectangle)

The Rhode Islanders are located directly to the right of the 51st Pennsylvania (blue rectangle)

This is vital because Linn points out that much of the Pennsylvania regiment ends up getting intertwined with the Rhode Islanders. Though not intentionally, this is somewhat comical because while the battle rages on up ahead of them, Linn is worrying about which of his men became tangled up with the Rhode Islanders. This in turn supports my hypothesis of Linn not being very vital to the overall battle, he just happened to have a very detailed account.

 It was through the completion of this map that I discovered that all fighting had stopped on February 8th. This was surprising at first because Linn’s diary account of Roanoke Island lasts until the 12th. Upon further inspection, I was able to conclude that after the battle, Linn in fact traveled all over Roanoke Island. Whether he was completing menial tasks for the military, or just relaxing on the shore, Linn paints a picture of what he accomplished after the battle. Due to the fact that he was simply completing menial tasks, I at first did not find his travel on the island important. After looking intently into his positioning however, I realized that Linn was able to see the island in an entirely different way from the Confederates. Being the victor, allows one to really see the beauty of the land he is fighting on. While the Confederates were being shipped to prisoner of war camps, Linn was able to take in just how beautiful Roanoke Island is. He realizes this when sitting on the shore with Jim, George and Gibson, watching prisoners being transported to the ships.

In conclusion, ArcGIS is a fantastic tool to map out the Battle of Roanoke Island, while at the same time, look at the significance of Linn in the battle. I was able to see that while the battle was raging at the Confederate battery, Linn was in fact far behind, trying to assemble lost troops. Also, Linn was not in fact present when the remainder of the Confederate troops surrendered. He was notified by General Foster, who on horseback, ran into Linn and his regiment on their way back from the battery towards headquarters. Both of these examples solidify my hypothesis of Linn not having a major impact on the overall battle. We are assuming he had one because of his very in depth diary.

In order to see my web application click here: http://bit.ly/1wKZsy0

 

Citations

Linn, James Merrill. Diary. [February 7-12] 1862. MS. Bucknell University Archives and Special Collections, Lewisburg, PA.

 “Map of the Battlefield of Roanoke Id. Feb. 8th 1862 / | Library of Congress.” Map of the Battlefield of Roanoke Id. Feb. 8th 1862 / | Library of Congress. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.loc.gov/item/99447476/>.

 “Map of Roanoke Island. [February 8, 1862]. | Library of Congress.” Map of Roanoke Island. [February 8, 1862]. | Library of Congress. N.p., n.d. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <http://www.loc.gov/item/99447479/>.

 

 

 

Annapolis to Roanoke: The Troubled Naval Voyage of the Burnside Armada

The Movement of General Burnside’s Armada

http://bit.ly/1vWDVP6

When I started this project, I knew I wanted to talk about Linn’s naval travel, but I was unsure about what specific aspect would be most interesting. My research question was how did naval warfare effect the way that the Civil War was fought, and how did the weather, tides, wind, and other nautical issues effect the way that the war played out. The answer, however, was hidden deeper than I expected. In order to start teasing out the answers to those questions, I began to read through both the Linn diary from January 6th to February 1st and the 3rd and 4th chapters of the Burnside Diary, highlighting things that were related to naval movement, a struggle that they faced while on the water, and anything that I thought could be added to my map to further my story. Both accounts go into incredible detail about the terrible struggles they faced while on these ships, and my fear changed from not knowing what to talk about to not knowing how to pick out the best information and represent it on my map. My next issue was going to be finding what could be depicted as text and what could be added as visuals. After highlighting some sections of all of the texts, I went back through and changed the color of highlighted sections to green that I thought could be represented with symbols on my map.

A sample of my highlighting of the journal

A sample of my highlighting of the journal

As I continued to do this, I complied a sort of relative timeline, which was, at its core, chronological, but at the same time was not necessarily linear. I found that although information may not be grouped together in the journals, adding it together on my map would allow better understanding of how issues related to nautical travel harassed them during their passage. After moving all of the information from the highlighted journals to the progression of the story that I wanted to tell, I found that I had both information that was clumped linearly and information that went together best when pulled from different areas and presented together.

An example of non-linear information that helps my story when clumped together

An example of non-linear information that helps my story when clumped together. In this case, issues caused by large waves

An example of a section of my linear timeline, where it made sense to present the data chronologically

An example of a section of my linear timeline, where it made sense to present the data chronologically

Unable to find a true ending in the information that I had, I decided to continue on in the Burnside Biography, reading the 4th chapter, when I had initially intended to just use the 3rd, and decided that the perfect ending for my story was when they disembark from the Cossack and arrived at Roanoke. Then, I went onto my map and went through my new “storyboard,” adding map notes in places where I thought they would better represent an ideal better than just pure text. I broke these up into several different layers so that I could isolate the notes that represent different types of events, obstacles, and movements.

The different layers of my map notes

The different layers of my map notes

Then, I started to move the rest of my story into the panels, while trying to connect the images on my map to the writing on the panels. As I continued to work, my idea of how I was going to represent my story changed again, and I put different pieces of information where I thought they fit best, not necessarily where they landed in the story. After looking over what I had added and what I had left out so far, something that I found that I had not added were a lot of the direct quotes from the journal. Although I had used these quotes as evidence for some of the text in my side bar, I thought that adding the first hand perspective of these soldiers would strengthen my argument. In order to do this in a matter than continued my exploration of combining visual and textual aspects, I decided that the best place to include these quotes was in the bubbles of the map notes. By adding the quotes to these notes, I hoped to allow the reader to draw a deeper understanding of both what these visuals truly represented and how they connect to the writing in the side bar.

An example of the link between my quotes and writing

An example of the link between my quotes and writing.

The quotes also proved helpful in other ways, as the combination of quotes, historical maps, and the distance indicators on the charts allowed me to estimate several locations, such as the wreckage of the Pocahontas. In the journal, Linn describes the wreckage to be 15 miles above the lighthouse, so using the distance measures on the chart I literally used a note card to measure out 15 miles and guess where the wreckage could be.

An example of how quotes helped me create links to visuals

An example of how quotes helped me create links to visuals

Because I had to estimate a lot of the locations, using bubbles and free form areas seemed like the best option because it allowed some error in my approximations. The intersection of visuals and text turned out to be one of the hardest aspects, as representing a complex story through multiple different outlets is never easy. As things began to come together, I looked back over what I had done to see if I thought it presented my story well. Although I do believe that there are some limitations to the ArcGIS software, I think that there was no other medium that could present my story in a better way. By integrating visuals and text, I was able to show the audience the movement of the ships, key points of interest, projected locations of different anchorages, wrecks, and lighthouses, as well as explaining the story of the armada and the struggles they faced. A perfect example of this integration is my work on the “swash,” which was represented with a combination of quotes, map notes, text in the side bar, and an additional historical chart.

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An example of how the integration of text and visuals allows for a deeper understanding

Although all of this process may seem important, the building blocks of what of my successful story erupted from the storyboarding process. By laying out what I wanted to say, it allowed me to see all aspects of my thoughts, and manipulate them in the easiest way for my audience to understand. The image that my work had created said less about how naval warfare affected the Civil War as whole, but endless information on how the natural struggles of naval travel inhibited the travel and success of Burnside’s armada, and additionally, how the weather and its associates, such as wind, current, tide, waves, and fog, affected their movement and the advance of the armada as a whole. The data projected a story about nature, whether it be the land itself or the weather, and its effect on travel, and less about the war and the actual battles. The ships constantly had to stop sailing because of thick fog, lost contact with each other due to heavy winds and large waves, and in some cases, the ships were wrecked due to any number of reasons including being stuck on sand bars because of wild tides, thrown into each other by waves, and having water overflow over the sides while in the valley between waves. The Civil War was a dangerous era in naval travel, mostly because of the lack the technology we have today, and the Burnside Armada would have faced issues even in the most spectacular of weather. However, because they faced one of the worst storms in years, the struggles associated with naval travel were increased exponentially. This project allowed me to foster a deeper understanding of both naval travels during this time and how drastically weather conditions can alter the success of a voyage.

Bibliography 

Foster, John G. Sketch Showing Route of the Burnside Expedition [to Roanoke Island, N.C., February 6, 1862]. Digital Image. Digital image.Library of Congress. Washington, Government Printing Office, 1866. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. <http://www.loc.gov/resource/g3901s.cw0317120/>.

Hatteras Inlet Map. Digital image. Sons of the South. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. <http://www.sonofthesouth.net/leefoundation/civil-war/1862/february/hatteras-inlet-map.htm>. I found this map inside of a Harper’s Weekly Civil War newspaper from February 15th, 1862.

Linn, James Merrill. Diary. January 6th– February 1st 1862. MS. Bucknell University Archives and Special Collections, Lewisburg, PA.

Major-General Ambrose E. Burnside and the Ninth Army Corps: A Narrative of Campaigns in North Carolina, Maryland, Virginia, Ohio, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee, During the War for the Preservation of the Republic. Chapters 3-4. Augustus Woodbury, 1866

“Map of the North Carolina Coast.” Extract from Harper’s History of the Great Rebellion, Feb. 1862, p. 243. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. http://dc.lib.unc.edu/cdm/singleitem/collection/ncmaps/id/887/rec/26

United States Coast Survey. Preliminary Chart of Hatteras Inlet, North Carolina. Digital image. Library of Congress. N.p., 1862. Web. 12 Dec. 2014 <http://www.loc.gov/resource/g3902h.cw0316700/>.

Linn’s Connection to Roanoke Island: Using GIS

Humans often think in terms of space: where things are, how far apart, in what direction.  When examining a story, whether it be real or fictional, mapping out a spatial representation of the events can be a powerful tool in understanding deeper meanings and reasons.  As Bodenhammer explains it, “space offers a way to understand fundamentally how we order our world” (14).

Many of the decisions we make every day are greatly dependent on how we examine the space around us.  This was no different for people living 100 or 1000 years ago.  When we look at historical recordings, the reasoning behind many actions can be lost or go unseen, simply because we can’t see what they saw.  However, using GIS mapping, historical maps,  and other visual tools, we can recreate, to some extent, the world that these historical figures lived in.  By examining these maps and other visuals, we gain a better understanding of the circumstances and influences that led people to decide on the actions they took.  Bodenhammer mentions the example of the discovery of the New World (14-15).  It’s hard for us to imagine the allure of this land to the European countries 500 years ago because we know this place as our home.  However, historical maps and paths of the journeys of explorers let us see the vast open expanse that existed here.  Combine that with maps of population growth and religious turmoil in Spain, France, and England, and we can start to see the circumstances that led to the era of colonization.

Working in this way with Linn’s diary led to many interesting revelations.  The GIS mapping I did of his arrival to and departure from Roanoke island revealed a number of things about his experiences.  For instance, in his diary entry on February 7th, he mentions having to walk through a swamp to reach the rest of the regiment after making shore on the island.  With Linn’s short description, it was impossible to determine just how long he spent traversing these wetlands.  However, by drawing the path between the landing point and the regiment using GIS, I was able to see that most of that 2 mile journey was through swamp.  Once arriving at camp, Linn seems in a rather negative mood.  The difficulty that this march must have presented would explain his feelings at the time.

Bodenhammer describes a potential use of GIS technology as creating a myriad of different layers on a map, where each one “would contain the unique view over time – the dynamic memory – of an individual or a social unit” (27-28).  I think it would be very interesting to see what we could make of journal entries of different people with connections to Linn.  The personal stories of Beaver or General Reno could provide us with more insight into the things Linn didn’t write down, how these people were connected, and where their paths crossed and diverged.

 

Linn Diary  Arrival and Departure at Roanoke Island

Experiences While Mapping

In the past couple of weeks we have worked thoroughly with GIS. This has taught me a great deal about the digital world and how to convey it to the general public. For example, we learned how to create maps that represented the travels of Linn throughout his diary. With GIS, we are able to map Linn’s positions and see what he saw through different map layers. In my case, I used the map layer “RoanokeRebels” to plot Linn’s journey from the beaches of Reno all the way to Pork Point. I was able to visualize the various forts and land obstacles, as well as get a feel for the exact route Linn took to get to his destination. GIS creates a story out of just a few of Linn’s diary entries. This idea of mapping through GIS relates directly with Bodenhammer’s theory of spatial thinking.

Linn runs into a fellow soldier in this swamp who happens to also know James Merrill Linn

Linn and his comrades run into fellow soldiers in a swamp and stop to talk about past colleges, friends, etc. 

Spatial thinking is the way in which we navigate the world while manipulating the space around us. It is this type of thinking that has, “reinvigorated geography as a discipline, just as it has engaged scholars within humanities” (Bodenhammer, 14). More specifically, it has brought about what Bodenhammer calls “intellectual currents” into the American experience. GIS is a perfect example of how maps can provide a story in which anyone can follow. At the beginning of this assignment, I knew nothing about Roanoke Island and what battles had taken place there. However, through the process of mapping and what Bodenhammer calls, “observation and testing”, I have been able to develop a good understanding as to how the battle of Roanoke Island unfolded.

It doesn’t matter what the map is of or where it is, through spatial thinking with the right resources, we are able to comprehend any event in history. What’s so great about GIS is that it offers, “a view of the physical environment seemingly stripped of its cultural assumptions” (Bodenhammer, 16). This means that we are seeing the map as a plain canvas into which unlimited amounts of data are poured into it. Through the addition of map layers and map notes, the viewer is able digest what happened on that particular map, and can then proceed to make an inference on what occurred. Despite all these benefits of GIS, “most humanists have not adopted GIS, or more fundamentally, found it helpful” (Bodenhammer, 22). However, I believe that over time, people will start to realize the value of GIS and will learn to incorporate it more and more into their work.

Here is the link to my map project: http://bit.ly/1qv35c8