For Immediate Release: 12/08/12
Civil War Trust Marks 150th Anniversary of Battle of Fredericksburg with Pair of Multimedia Offerings
Updated Fredericksburg Battle App integrates augmented reality viewer, new content and interactive “Battlefield Challenge”; Fredericksburg360 offers users worldwide a virtual trip to the battlefield
(Fredericksburg, Va.) – As commemorations of the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Battle of Fredericksburg take place, the Civil War Trust, the nation’s largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization, has launched a pair of exciting multimedia offerings available to the public at no cost. These efforts are designed to deepen public understanding of the battle and its unique place in American history; with more than 200,000 participants, no Civil War battle featured a higher concentration of soldiers than Fredericksburg, which also marked the first incidence of intense urban combat during the conflict and the first major opposed river crossing in American military history.
“Although history lovers know that the past is anything but static, traditional media, like textbooks, offer limited means to demonstrate just how dynamic the events experienced by our ancestors really,” said Trust president James Lighthizer. “But by using 21st century technology to integrate video, audio and other media, we can create an immersive and interactive experience, helping 19th century history appeal to a whole new generation.”
First released in May 2011, the Trust’s Fredericksburg Battle App has received a major upgrade and overhaul in time for the battle’s sesquicentennial anniversary. Like all the titles in the Battle App series, unique smartphone tour features a detailed, GPS-enabled map that includes a wealth of virtual signs and other points of interest. Within this extensive offering are videos from top historians, primary source audio recreations, detailed accounts of the battle, modern and historic photos, and a detailed set of reference materials. This major anniversary update also integrates a selection of new sites and supporting media, as well as our “Field Glasses AR” viewer, which allows you to use augmented reality to locate key battlefield landmarks. Visitors to Fredericksburg will be able to participate in an interactive Battlefield Challenge, urging them to explore the field and share their discoveries.
Trust Battle Apps are undertaken with the support of the National Park Service staff and the assistance of History Associates, Inc., and developed in partnership with NeoTreks, Inc., an industry leader in mobile GPS-based touring apps. The project was made possible through the generous support of the Virginia Department of Transportation, through its transportation enhancement matching grant program. To date, nearly 100,000 people have downloaded one of the 10 titles in the Battle App series. Detailed information on the format and specific capabilities of the Fredericksburg Battle App, and the other nine titles in the series, is available at www.civilwar.org/battleapps. The Fredericksburg Battle App can also be downloaded directly from the Apple iTunes App Store or Google Play App Store. Those who have already downloaded the Fredericksburg Battle App can access the new content as an update without needing to reinstall the entire product.
For those who can’t make it to central Virginia in person for the anniversary, the Trust’s Fredericksburg360 offering — with stirring panoramic images to help viewers appreciate the beautiful and significant scenery of the battlefield — is the next best thing. A wealth of clickable points of interest on each panorama lead to historian videos and other resources that bring the Fredericksburg landscape to life. All of the detailed panoramic images are linked together, so it’s possible to travel, virtually, across the Rappahannock, through the streets of town, up the bloody slopes of Marye’s Heights, along Prospect Hill and to the Slaughter Pen Farm. Never has it been easier to see and appreciate the true nature of the battlefield — except in person. Check out the Trust’s Fredericksburg360 at www.civilwar.org/fredericksburg360.
Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside assumed command of the Army of the Potomac on November 10, 1862 and immediately began devising a bold plan to capture Richmond. When he reached Fredericksburg, he found it only lightly defended, with the bulk of Confederate forces a week’s march away in the Shenandoah Valley. Only the river stood between Burnside and the likely capture of Richmond, but his speed and superior numbers were meaningless without the pontoon boats necessary to cross the Rappahannock. Due to administrative problems, no crossing was attempted for three weeks and the delay afforded Lee time to re-unite his army in strong positions west of town. After completing the first major opposed river crossing in American military history and engaging in the first urban combat of the Civil War on December 11, Burnside’s plan was to use Gen. William B. Franklin’s Left Grand Division to crush Lee’s southern flank on Prospect Hill, while the rest of his army held James Longstreet and the Confederate First Corps pinned down on Marye’s Heights. The Union army’s main assault against Stonewall Jackson on December 13, produced initial success, but lack of reinforcements and a powerful counterattack stymied the effort. Meanwhile, Burnside’s “diversion” against veteran Confederate soldiers behind a stone wall saw wave after wave of Federal soldiers met with devastating rifle and artillery fire from the nearly impregnable Confederate positions. Ultimately, the battlefield was strewn with more than 17,000 casualties, and Robert E. Lee, watching the great Confederate victory unfolding from his hilltop command post reflected, “It is well that war is so terrible, or we should grow too fond of it.” Learn more about the Battle of Fredericksburg at www.civilwar.org/fredericksburg.
The Civil War Trust is the largest nonprofit battlefield preservation organization in the United States. Its mission is to preserve our nation’s endangered Civil War battlefields and to promote appreciation of these hallowed grounds. To date, the Trust has preserved more than 32,000 acres of battlefield land in 20 states, including 222 acres at Fredericksburg. Learn more at www.civilwar.org, the home of the Civil War sesquicentennial.