Digital Project Draft: Immigrants in the Union Army

For this project, I originally intended to create a multi-layered map that showed the trajectories of multiple immigrant soldiers who fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. I confronted a major challenge to this plan when after meeting with Megan Snow I learned that unlike in Google Maps I cannot create different layers or change specific pin colors. I soon decided that I would instead create an individual map for four different soldiers. I tried to create a single line that goes from point to point but it was difficult to create since some of them are so close together and the line kept fluctuating. In the next phase, I plan to try to draw individual ones between each point instead.

The maps contain at least eight to twelve points. I am also debating including more points that discuss the lives of the soldiers after they were mustered out of service. There is a disparity in the information I accumulated on Schurz and Krzyżanowski versus Pierce and Cashier who both left little to no personal records about their lives. However, by knowing what regiment they were in I was able to track what major battles and campaigns they partook in. Since the research for each map was extremely time-consuming I am still in the process of constructing a website to go along with the map. Along with a tab with links to the map the website will include a bibliography of all the sources I am using, a recommended reading list with scholarly monographs and articles that people could use to map out the lives of other immigrant soldiers and links to museum databases such as the Vesterheim Civil War Database, which contains information on the lives of soldiers born in Norway. I am also still in the process of accumulating a collection of photographs and personal accounts that I plan to put on a Primary Source page so people can explore. I also drew up a list of some of the immigrant soldiers that fought in the Union Army organized by country of origin so if people who visit the site are interested in tracking the life of a soldier they can choose one from the list.

Next Steps

  1. I added text to go with most of the pins on each of the maps, but some still need text or more information. I also want to include photographs of the soldiers or photographs of the aftermath of certain battles. I am also interested in creating two more maps possible for Thomas Meagher or Frederick Füger.
  2. Organize the pins in a way that creates a coherent story.
  3. Continue building the accompanying website.
  4. I am still interested in possibly creating lesson materials to include on the website, but as a result of the current time constraints, I am not sure if I will be able to complete this in time. I do intend to include basic information about immigrants in the Union Army as well as how to navigate the website on the homepage of the website.

2 Replies to “Digital Project Draft: Immigrants in the Union Army”

  1. Hi Leah, Great to see you are making progress on these maps! Your decision to switch from making one map to multiple maps given the constraints of the system you are working with makes a lot of sense.

    Looking forward to seeing how these come together in the website you are putting together too. It’s going to be important to see the kind of interpretation and context that you use to draw out points of comparison or questions from the maps.

    Agreed on your points about creating lesson material to go along with this. It would be nice to have, but it makes more sense to focus in on getting the site together and getting the maps fully set up as you’re priority. Overall, exciting to see the progress you are making on working with this platform.

  2. Leah, I love this idea for your project! Combining two of my fav things: the Civil War and maps. Ha! But your idea to switch maps and use a point to point system for presenting your information was a smart move. I think it will be easier for people to follow along and understand. I really like your idea of possibly including lesson materials with the maps. I think this could provide such a great lesson for students on both the Civil War and immigration in general.

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