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iPhone is tour guide for city, battlefield page 2
There's an app for that: Virginia, Civil War Trust launch 'battle app' for Fredericksburg's Civil War

 The Civil War Trust's Rob Shenk (left, director of Internet strategy and development) and President Jim Lighthizer look over a new 'battle app' that the group introduced.
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Date published: 5/5/2011


"Heritage tourists flock to Fredericksburg for the experience of being immersed in our nation's history," Hedelt said. "This dynamic resource offers another exciting way to make the past come alive for visitors of all ages."

The battle, waged Dec. 11-15, 1862, was one of the Civil War's largest and deadliest. It featured the first major opposed river crossing in American military history and the war's first urban combat, as Union and Confederate troops fought, block by block, through the streets of Fredericksburg.

With nearly 200,000 combatants, no other Civil War battle featured a larger concentration of soldiers.

All of that, and much more, is covered in the app.


Videos of top historians, period and modern imagery, artwork by Don Troiani and detailed topographical maps deliver "the power of place," said Rob Shenk, who managed the project for the Civil War Trust. "Now, people can visit and learn about the Fredericksburg battlefield from Juneau or Hawaii or Tokyo--or right here."

The app offers the convenience of a self-guided tour and the expertise of an expert-led exploration, Shenk said.

"Working on this project provided us a unique opportunity to apply cutting-edge, 21st-century technology toward the goal of making 19th-century history more accessible," said Michael Bullock, president of NeoTreks Inc. of Colorado Springs, Colo., which developed the software. "With the Fredericksburg battle app, visitors now have the past at their fingertips like never before."

History Associates of Rockville, Md., did the historical research for the app.

National Park Service historian Frank O'Reilly, considered the leading authority on the battle, appears in the app's videos and interprets what happened at key spots on the battlefield.

A GPS way-finder shows visitors their precise location on the field, updated on the fly, in relation to historic and modern landmarks.

Users, who may also use the app on the iPod Touch, can download or stream all of the tour videos and audio.

Onboard battle animations and customizable troop displays let you stand where the two armies stood and learn how their attacks and counterattacks unfolded.

In the audio elements, users hear the action described by many of its participants.

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From the Civil War Trust's Fredericksburg battle app:

1. Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside was appointed to the command of the Army of the Potomac prior to the Battle of Fredericksburg. Who did he replace?

2. What was the name of the Confederate army that Robert E. Lee commanded at Fredericksburg?

3. What river did the Union army need to cross to attack the Confederates at Fredericksburg?

4. Confederate Brig. Gen. William Barksdale's Brigade tenaciously defended the town of Fredericksburg on Dec. 11, 1862. From what state did most of his soldiers come from?

5. This Confederate action did much to annoy and slow the start of the main Union attack on Dec. 13, 1862

6. This hero of Gettysburg nearly broke Stonewall Jackson's line by leading his troops through a swampy, undefended portion of the line.

7. The Washington Artillery did much to thwart the Union attacks towards Marye's Heights. From what southern city did this famous unit herald from?

8. Brig. Gen. Thomas Meagher of the Irish Brigade issued this item to be worn in his soldiers' hats prior to their assault on Marye's Heights.

ANSWERS: 1. Maj. Gen. George B. McClellan. 2. The Army of Northern Virginia. 3. The Rappahannock River. 4. Mississippi. Barksdale's Brigade was comprised of the 13th, 17th, 18th and 21st Mississippi regiments. 5. Maj. John Pelham moved two horse artillery pieces secretly onto the left flank of the Union army and opened fire. This surprise attack unnerved the Union command and led to the redeployment of Doubleday's division as reinforcement for the flank--thereby removing it from the upcoming attack. 6. Maj. Gen. George Meade. Meade, who would later command the Army of the Potomac at Gettysburg, surprised the Confederates on Prospect Hill when his forces emerged from a swampy section of the battlefield that the Confederates felt was impenetrable. 7. New Orleans 8. Sprigs of boxwood. The greenery was intended to emphasize this unit's Irish heritage. Unfortunately for the Irish Brigade, almost 50 percent of their ranks would fall before Marye's Heights.