Mapping and the Battle of Roanoke

Although it took my a while to understand the program and how it all works, i found mapping to be incredibly useful and it allowed me to pull out a deeper understanding of what my diary entry truly means and how it connects to the war. Mapping itself is a very useful tool, and the ways that we utilized ArcGIS was very interesting. Although it took my a while to understand all the features, it allowed me to create a more interesting and compelling final product. Mapping allowed me to see what my diary was talking about in an easier context, by showing the course of the battle and his movements on an historical map. My mapping assignment allowed me to directly understand what effect my individual entry had on the war. Once i saw the historical map that was geo rectified on the the larger map, i was able to dissect my entry and see how his movements played out. Although it was hard for me to make conclusions from the basic writings of his diary, pulling out key phrases was what helped me in the long run. Little comments such as “He said he had been in pineswamp, but this was worse” and “Here we had to wade a pond up to our middle,” allowed me to make conclusions about where he moved around the map. GIS allows people to make a “more complicated story than traditional methods allowed,” (Bodenhamer) and thats exactly what i tired to do with my map. By combining the historical map and the entry, my story became stronger.

Looking at the historical map, a few things stuck out to me. My map notes below are without the historical map underneath it because it does not show up on my laptop, so i will have to explain. The battery image that comes up on the map is almost identical to the hand drawn sketch from Linn, as well as the location of the swamp in correlation to how he talks about his path to the battery. Although it may have seemed easy to me, its important to realize how perspective plays into all this. As Bodenhamer says, “the same body of water flowing in a channel may be called a brook, stream, or river.” This quote shows the importance of perspective, and it is important because someone else may have interpreted Linn’s writing in a different way from me. I made conclusions about the pineswamp and the pond, but they were not specifically talked about in the diary. Because of this, someone else may look at his path differently than i did.

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my map notes without the historical map


the battery from my entry


All in all, the practice of mapping allowed me to gain a deeper understanding of the way that Linn records history and how maps can help us gain a better understanding of how history works. By using this software, i was able to figure out “what happens in a geographic space” (Bodenhammerr), which in my case, is the island of Roanoke and specifically my battle field.  Just by looking at the historical map and re reading my diary, i was able to make incredible conclusions about my entry. Mapping for me was useful and interesting, and i think that it is something that i would be interested in pursuing as a final project if i found information that fit well into a mapping situation.

Above is the embedded code to my map